Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on legislation the Senate passed that encourages states to deny contracts to individuals or organizations boycotting Israel:
“Despite my strong support for Israel, I couldn’t support legislation that infringes on Americans’ First Amendment rights. Free speech is the foundation of our democracy and this bill would erode that foundation. I encourage my colleagues in the House not to support this bill as written.
“If this legislation were signed into law, I fail to see how it could survive a court challenge. Federal courts in Arizona and Kansas have already blocked state laws punishing contractors who boycott Israel. It’s unlikely this bill, which encourages similar laws, would be any different.
“Additionally, I’m deeply troubled by the fact the legislation would also apply to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, territory that Israel has never claimed as its own. U.S. recognition of the settlements as a part of Israel pushes the prospects of peace further out of reach and undercuts our ability to remain a neutral arbitrator between Israel and the Palestinian people.
“Any legislation that encroaches on the First Amendment should be considered with great caution. I don’t believe that was the case here. We can’t give states a free pass to undermine the Constitution.”