Rep. Zeldin Introduces “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” to Combat BDS Movement, Anti-Israel Boycotts

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus and one of two Jewish Republicans in Congress, was joined by 46 of his House Republican colleagues in introducing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. This legislation amends the Export Administration Act of 1979 to prohibit boycotts or boycott requests imposed by international governmental organizations against Israel.

This bill protects American companies from being coerced to provide information to international organizations for the purpose of furthering boycotts against Israel and holds individuals who attempt to violate this protection accountable. Additionally, it affirms Congress’ opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and that Congress considers the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council’s creation of a database of companies doing business in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in March 2016 to be an act of BDS.

Congressman Zeldin’s Israel Anti-Boycott Act is supported by the Republican Jewish Coalition and Zionist Organization of America, and the current cosponsors are: Representatives Michael McCaul (TX-10), Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Brian Babin (TX-36), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Scott Perry (PA-10), Bill Johnson (OH-06), Ted Budd (NC-13), Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Billy Long (MO-07), Rodney Davis (IL-13), David Kustoff (TN-08), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Joe Wilson (SC-02), Mo Brooks (AL-05), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Andy Barr (KY-06), Ron Estes (KS-04), David Schweikert (AZ-06), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Alex Mooney (WV-02), Dave Joyce (OH-14), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Randy K. Weber (TX-14), Drew Ferguson (GA-03), Robert B. Aderholt (AL-04), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Ann Wagner (MO-02), Bob Gibbs (OH-07), María Elvira Salazar (FL-27), Warren Davidson (OH-08), Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), Jake LaTurner (KS-02), Mike Garcia (CA-25), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), Mary Miller (IL-15), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Michelle Steel (CA-48), John H. Rutherford (FL-04), and Burgess Owens (UT-04).

“In the past year alone, we have witnessed an alarming rise in antisemitic and anti-Israel hate and violence in the United States and around the world. Whether it’s Hamas’ terror attacks on Israel, well-known companies embracing the BDS movement, antisemitism in academia, discrimination against Israel at the UN or congregants of a Texas synagogue being held hostage, there is no denying that antisemitism is a persistent problem in our society that needs to be identified, called out and crushed in all forms,” said Congressman Lee Zeldin. “Too many, even in the halls of Congress, have emboldened antisemitic and anti-Israel rhetoric by accepting the BDS movement whose founder, in referring to Zionism, said ‘I, for one, support euthanasia’. This legislation not only reinforces congressional opposition to the BDS movement, but protects American companies from being forced to provide information to international organizations that peddle this hate-filled movement, and holds those who attempt to violate that protection accountable.”

It’s been nearly three years since the House passed the resolution Congressman Zeldin co–authored condemning the BDS movement in 2019. The current Congress has a chance to act upon that overwhelming anti-BDS sentiment by passing Congressman Zeldin’s Israel Anti-Boycott Act. Our long-standing anti-boycott laws should apply to international organizations like the UN Human Rights Council and the EU just as much as they do to the countries in the Arab League. We are grateful to Congressman Zeldin for his continued leadership in this important fight,” said Senator Norm Coleman, National Chairman, Republican Jewish Coalition.

Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States said:

“I am personally pleased to see my dear friend Rep. Lee Zeldin, one of Israel’s greatest friends, continuing his outstanding leadership by introducing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. The Arab/Islamic war against Israel suffered a major setback by Israeli peace treaties with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates and closer relations with Morocco and the Sudan. Nevertheless, organized boycotts of the Jewish State continue to be a reality that seek to threaten Israel’s economic well-being and its deserved reputation as a human rights loving State. Today’s version of this evil, antisemitic action is as likely to be organized by the UN itself or the European Union as by an Arab state that is a terrorist human rights abusing dictatorship. This new Zeldin initiated law will update the Export Control Reform Act to make it explicit that US law still prohibits compliance with an anti-Israel boycott even when it is not organized by an unfriendly, radical government.\

“It also makes it clear that boycotts of the Israeli area Judea and Samaria are boycotts of Israel and Jews, and are punishable by American law. The disgraceful Antisemitic practice of the UN to facilitate the antisemitic BDS movement by compiling lists of companies doing business in Israel is also explicitly covered by this new law.

“ZOA urges all Congressmen to support this new law, and is working closely with Rep. Zeldin to build support for its passage.”

The full text of the legislation can be found here.