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Rubio: ‘Significant’ Number of Senate Democrats Support Israel Boycott

The Associated Press
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), said on Monday that a “significant” number of Democrats in the Senate support the boycott movement against Israel. 

In a tweet, Rubio accused Democrats of misleading about their reasons for blocking a bill he initiated that would fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

“The shutdown is not the reason Senate Democrats don’t want to move to Middle East Security Bill,” Rubio said. “A huge argument broke out at Senate Dem meeting last week over BDS. A significant [number] of Senate Democrats now support #BDS & Dem leaders want to avoid a floor vote that reveals that.”

The newly sworn-in Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), who is pro-BDS, slammed Rubio’s bill and the senators who support it, even using the anti-Semitic dual loyalty canard by saying its backers “forgot what country they represent.”

Rubio responded by saying Tlaib’s comment represented “a typical anti-Semitic line.”

“BDS isn’t about freedom & equality, it’s about destroying Israel,” he tweeted.

“And if boycotting Israel is constitutionally protected, then boycotting companies that boycott Israel is also constitutionally protected,” he added.

Rubio further accused Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) of lying about the bill by claiming that it bars Americans from their constitutional right to engage in political activity.

In an angry response to Rubio, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut suggested the Florida Republican was turning Israel into a partisan issue.

“I hope a staffer wrote this tweet and when you see it you take it down,” Murphy told Rubio on Twitter on Monday. “You know it isn’t true that ‘a significant [number] of Senate Dems support BDS’. Really dangerous to play politics with support for Israel.”

Last year, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) lambasted the BDS movement, describing it as a “profoundly biased campaign to delegitimize the State of Israel.”

“While Iran publicly executes its citizens, Turkey jails its journalists, scores of Arab nations punish homosexuality with imprisonment and torture, why does BDS single Israel out alone for condemnation?” Schumer told AIPAC. “When there is such a double standard, when the world treats everybody one way and the Jew or the Jewish state another way, there’s only one word for it: anti-Semitism! Let us call out the BDS movement for what it is.”

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