US Senators approved on Thursday a massive aid package to Israel, amounting to $3.3 billion in annual aid. However, the American Senate was compelled to disregard provisions that call for punishing Americans for boycotting Israel.
The legislation in the Senate (United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020) was co-sponsored by two strong Israel’s supporters, Democratic Senator Chris Coons and Republican Senator Marco Rubio, thus putting into law a 2016 agreement reached by Israel and the former Barack Obama administration.
Over 80 US Senators Push Obama to Increase Military Aid to Israel – Palestine Chronicle https://t.co/IDgN0JkgNs
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) April 25, 2016
Discussion on the bill led to a political controversy last year, as the aid package was part of a larger bill aimed, in part, at repelling the influence of the Pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
“The measure that stalled last year included some provisions broadly supported by members of both parties, including the aid,” reported Reuters, “but it also included a plank that would have let state and local governments punish Americans for boycotting Israel.”
— Richard Hardigan (@RichardHardigan) October 26, 2019
Some US lawmakers, including many Democrats, rejected the boycott provision, arguing that such a legal precedent would be considered an impingement of free speech.
Israel is the largest recipient of US aid in the world, with an annual aid package estimated at over $3 billion a year, in addition to billions of dollars in loan guarantees and hundreds of millions in the missile defense systems.
(The Palestine Chronicle)