Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on legislation being considered by the Senate tomorrow that would encourage states to deny contracts to individuals or organizations boycotting Israel:
“This Israel anti-boycott legislation would give states a free pass to restrict First Amendment protections for millions of Americans. Despite my strong support for Israel, I oppose this legislation because it clearly violates the Constitution.
“The right to free speech is the foundation of our democracy. Any legislation that encroaches on that foundation should be considered with great caution. I don’t believe that has been the case here.
“Federal courts have already ruled against similar laws regarding boycotts of Israel in Arizona and Kansas. I fail to see why supporters believe this legislation would be any different.
“Equally alarming, the legislation would also apply to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, territory that Israel has never claimed as its own. That dangerous precedent would further erode our credibility as a neutral arbiter and push a potential peace agreement further out of reach.
“Instead of wasting time on this unconstitutional bill, the Senate should instead focus on reopening the government by voting on the federal funding package the House passed last week.
“I fail to see why this legislation is a priority during the government shutdown. The Senate has a responsibility to uphold the Constitution and keep the government running—this bill does neither.”