scoop

Cruz to introduce anti-BDS amendment to bill countering Chinese tech advancement

The Texas senator plans to introduce the amendment during a Commerce Committee meeting to revise the Endless Frontier Act

Gage Skidmore

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) plans to introduce an anti-BDS amendment on Wednesday to a bipartisan bill aimed at countering China through federal investment in technological development, Jewish Insider has learned. Cruz’s amendment would deprioritize countries that “[take] actions to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel” in these technology development efforts.

Outside of its specific impact on the legislation, the amendment appears designed to put Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee — and ultimately all Senate Democrats, should the amendment pass out of committee — on record regarding the BDS movement.

The Texas senator plans to introduce his amendment during a committee meeting to revise the Endless Frontier Act, which seeks to preserve the U.S.’s economic and geopolitical edge over China through more than $100 billion in additional funding for the National Science Foundation to fund research and development in critical technology areas.

“The broad expectation is that the amendment is noncontroversial and if it becomes controversial then that will be dramatic this afternoon,” a congressional aide familiar with the amendment told Jewish Insider

The amendment would adopt the same definition of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as was included in previous congressional legislation in 2015, to include “actions by states, non-member states of the United Nations, international organizations, or affiliated agencies of international organizations that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories.”

Cruz’s legislation also names Israel among a set of “designated [countries],” which also includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand and others, that would receive priority under the legislation. The president can approve and add additional designated countries to the list.

AIPAC spokesperson Marshall Wittmann told JI that the organization supports Cruz’s amendment.