Legislation targeting advocacy for Palestinian rights

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Introduced vs. passed bills

Introduced: 202

Passed: 50

Only a fraction of the hundreds of bills lawmakers have introduced targeting advocacy for Palestinian rights have become law because of strong grassroots and civil liberties opposition. This chart illustrates the number of bills and executive orders introduced versus those that are in effect at the state and federal level. It does not include resolutions, affirmative legislation, or local bills.

Number of Bills Introduced Over Time

Type of Legislation

  • Anti-boycott
  • Antisemitism Redefinition

Bills targeting advocacy for Palestinian rights have proliferated since we began tracking in 2014, and the types of bills introduced have evolved in response to the movement’s victories. Early efforts focused on defunding universities to punish or deter support for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions. Subsequent legislative efforts aimed to prohibit state contracts with or state investments in entities that support BDS. More recent legislation aims to redefine antisemitism to include criticism of Israel for use in discrimination complaints or criminal investigations. This chart illustrates the number of state and federal bills and executive orders introduced; it does not include resolutions, affirmative legislation, or local bills.

Types of Laws in Effect

This table illustrates the types of laws (including executive orders) targeting advocacy for Palestinian rights currently in effect at the state level. Given the common backers of the legislation, the laws are very similar across states, but there are important distinctions between different types of legislation and what each law does. Some anti-boycott laws include written certification requirements, mandating that potential contractors pledge not to boycott Israel, and some call on the state to compile public blacklists of entities that boycott for Palestinian rights or support BDS. 

Anti-boycott State Contracts State Investments Defunding Antisemitism Redefinition Affirmative Other
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
District of Columbia
Total 30 25 13 0 2 0 0

Data Last Updated

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Overview

In December 2019, Donald Trump signed an executive order redefining antisemitism (EO 13899). The executive order directs government agencies to consider a distorted definition of antisemitism designed to censor advocacy for Palestinian rights when investigating discrimination complaints. Attempts to pass similar legislation in Congress have failed, following organizing and advocacy by grassroots and civil rights groups. Since 2014, dozens of measures targeting advocacy for Palestinian rights have been introduced in Congress, only three of which have passed (H.R. 2146, H.R. 644, H.Res. 246).

Federal Legislation

Legislation
HR 5595
Status
Pending
Introduced
January 2020
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 5595 

HR 5595, titled the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, is an anti-boycott bill that criminalizes participation in boycotts of Israel, singling out international efforts to hold Israel accountable for its illegal settlements. The bill amends the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA) of 2018, a successor to the Export Administration Act of 1979 that targeted the Arab League boycott, to prohibit U.S. entities from complying with or supporting boycotts of Israel fostered or imposed by international governmental organizations. This prohibition includes “furnishing information” for the U.N. Human Rights Council’s database of entities contributing to Israel’s illegal settlements. Violations may be punishable by severe fines, up to $300,000 in civil cases and up to $1 million in criminal cases, though the possibility of prison time included in previous iterations has been removed. 

The bill conflates coercive commercial boycotts—like the Arab League boycott where U.S. companies were forced to boycott Israel as a condition of doing business with other foreign parties—with constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights. 

Similar bills failed to pass in the last Congress after multiple revisions (S 720, HR 1697).

Legislation
S 1
Status
Pending
Introduced
January 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read S 1 

S1 includes the Combating BDS Act of 2019, an anti-boycott bill that purports to authorize state and local legislation prohibiting state investments in or state contracts with entities that engage in boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns for Palestinian rights. The bill claims that such measures are not preempted by federal law and defines BDS activities to include boycotts of Israel and persons doing business in Israel or its illegal settlements. Several courts, however, have blocked state anti-boycott laws over concerns that they suppress constitutionally protected political expression. The Senate passed S 1 in February 2019. An identical bill in the House stalled, despite efforts by House Republicans to force a vote. Previous versions of the Combating BDS Act (HR 2856, S 170, HR 4514, S 2531) failed after activists, media, and civil liberties groups raised constitutional concerns. Related legislation: HR 336.

Legislation
HR 336
Status
Pending
Introduced
January 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 336 

HR 336 includes the Combating BDS Act of 2019, an anti-boycott bill that purports to authorize state and local legislation prohibiting state investments in or state contracts with entities that engage in boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns for Palestinian rights. The bill claims that such measures are not preempted by federal law and defines BDS activities to include boycotts of Israel and persons doing business in Israel or its illegal settlements. Several courts, however, have blocked state anti-boycott laws over concerns that they suppress constitutionally protected political expression. The Senate passed an identical version (S 1) in February 2019. House Republicans have made multiple attempts to force a vote on HR 336 to no avail. Previous versions of the Combating BDS Act (HR 2856, S 170, HR 4514, S 2531) failed after activists, media, and civil liberties groups raised constitutional concerns. Related legislation: S 1

Legislation
S 852
Status
Pending
Introduced
March 2019
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read S 852 

S 852 is an antisemitism redefinition bill titled the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019. This bill directs the U.S. Department of Education to consider the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), including the contemporary examples related to Israel, when investigating complaints of antisemitism on campuses. The IHRA definition and the problematic contemporary examples falsely conflate political criticism of Israel with antisemitism and are so broad and vague they could encompass virtually all criticism of Israel and Israeli government policies. The bill adds no new legal protections for Jewish students, but will likely be used to justify federal investigations into Palestine activism on campuses. Substantially similar versions of this bill were introduced and failed to pass in 2016 (S 10, HR 6421) and 2018 (S 2940, HR 5924). In December 2019, Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO 13899) adopting this distorted definition. Related legislation: HR 4009 (2019).

Legislation
HR 4009 (2019)
Status
Pending
Introduced
July 2019
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HR 4009 (2019) 

HR 4009 is an antisemitism redefinition bill titled the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019. This bill directs the U.S. Department of Education to consider the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), including the contemporary examples related to Israel, when investigating complaints of antisemitism on campuses. The IHRA definition and the problematic contemporary examples falsely conflate political criticism of Israel with antisemitism and are so broad and vague they could encompass virtually all criticism of Israel and Israeli government policies. The bill adds no new legal protections for Jewish students, but will likely be used to justify federal investigations into Palestine activism on campuses. Substantially similar versions of this bill were introduced and failed to pass in 2016 (S 10, HR 6421) and 2018 (S 2940, HR 5924). In December 2019, Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO 13899) adopting this distorted definition. Related legislation: S 852.

Legislation
HR 644
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
February 2016
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 644 

HR 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, contains several anti-boycott measures, including a statement of policy opposing “politically motivated actions” to penalize or limit commercial relations with Israel, such as BDS campaigns. The law states that discouraging boycotts for Palestinian rights is a principal U.S. objective in negotiating foreign trade agreements. It directs the President to report annually on BDS efforts to Congress, including on the specific steps the United States is taking to discourage other countries or international organizations from establishing barriers to trade with Israel or its illegal settlements. The bill also bars state and federal courts from recognizing or enforcing foreign judgments against U.S. persons that are based on a finding that conducting business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories violates the law. After signing HR 644 into law, President Obama issued a signing statement that the law’s conflation of Israel and the territories it occupies is “contrary to longstanding bipartisan United States policy” and signaled that his administration would not apply those aspects of the law. Related legislation: S 1269, HR 1907.

Legislation
EO 13899
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
December 2019
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read EO 13899 

This antisemitism redefinition executive order was signed by Donald Trump on December 11, 2019. The order directs government agencies charged with enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, including the Department of Education, to consider a distorted definition of antisemitism designed to censor advocacy for Palestinian rights. Attempts to pass similar legislation in Congress have failed to date (S 852, HR 4009 (2019), S 2940, HR 5924, S 10, HR 6421) following criticism from activists and civil liberties groups over the legislation’s clear encroachment on political speech.

The order incorporates the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and its problematic contemporary examples, which falsely conflate political criticism of Israel with antisemitism. Past efforts to deploy the redefinition to silence advocacy for Palestinian rights leave little doubt that the order will be used to justify federal investigations into Palestine activism on campuses while adding no new legal protections for Jewish or other students affected by a resurgence of violent white nationalist antisemitism and racism. Since the order was signed, there has been an uptick in federal complaints and investigations against campus Palestine advocacy.

Legislation
HR 2146
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
June 2015
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 2146 

HR 2146 includes the Trade Promotion Authority or Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015. This anti-boycott law states that discouraging boycotts for Palestinian rights is a principal objective for the United States in negotiating with foreign countries in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Similarly, the United States will “seek the elimination of politically motivated nontariff barriers” imposed on goods from Israel or its illegal settlements. Earlier versions of this and related bills had included affirmative reporting requirements and provisions calling for state anti-boycott legislation. Subsequent to the passage of HR 2146, the Obama Administration reiterated the U.S. government’s position not to support Israel’s settlements or pursue policies that legitimize them. Related legislation: S 995, HR 1890, HR 1314 (relevant amendments were removed prior to the bill’s passage).

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
S 170
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read S 170 

S 170, titled the Combating BDS Act of 2017, is an anti-boycott bill that purports to authorize state and local legislation prohibiting state investments in or state contracts with entities that engage in boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns for Palestinian rights. The bill claims that such measures are not preempted by federal law and defines BDS activities to include boycotts of Israel and persons doing business in Israel or its illegal settlements. Previous versions of the Combating BDS Act (HR 4514, S 2531) failed after activists, media, and civil liberties groups raised concerns that the legislation would chill constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights. Related legislation: HR 2856.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 6095
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 6095 

HR 6095, titled the Export Administration Anti-Discrimination Act, is an anti-boycott bill that imposes criminal sanctions on individuals and entities that boycott countries friendly to the United States or territories controlled by such countries. There is no requirement (as in the Export Administration Act of 1979 that focused on the Arab League boycott) that the boycott be in response to a call to action by a foreign country or any other organization. Individuals who intentionally violate the anti-boycott provisions face fines up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to 10 years. The bill also prohibits furnishing information about business relationships with countries subject to boycotts and participating in academic boycotts. It creates a private right of action allowing those harmed by prohibited boycotts to seek damages in federal court.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 5924
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2019
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HR 5924 

HR 5924, titled the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018, is an antisemitism redefinition bill that directs the U.S. Department of Education to consider the distorted definition of antisemitism found in the 2010 US State Department fact sheet on “Defining Anti-Semitism,” including its contemporary examples related to Israel, when investigating complaints of antisemitism on campuses. The State Department definition and its problematic contemporary examples falsely conflate political criticism of Israel with antisemitism. For example, under the State Department definition, “multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations” may be considered evidence of antisemitic intent. Advocates and civil liberties groups have raised serious concerns about the bill’s chilling effects on constitutionally protected political expression. Substantially similar versions of this bill were introduced and failed to pass in 2016 (S 10, HR 6421). Related legislation: S 2940.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
S 2940
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2019
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read S 2940 

S 2940, titled the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018, is an antisemitism redefinition bill that directs the U.S. Department of Education to consider the distorted definition of antisemitism found in the 2010 US State Department fact sheet on “Defining Anti-Semitism,” including its contemporary examples related to Israel, when investigating complaints of antisemitism on campuses. The State Department definition and its problematic contemporary examples falsely conflate political criticism of Israel with antisemitism. For example, under the State Department definition, “multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations” may be considered evidence of antisemitic intent. Advocates and civil liberties groups have raised serious concerns about the bill’s chilling effects on constitutionally protected political expression. Substantially similar versions of this bill were introduced and failed to pass in 2016 (S 10, HR 6421). Related legislation: HR 5924.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 2856
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 2856 

HR 2856, titled the Combating BDS Act of 2017, is an anti-boycott bill that purports to authorize state and local legislation prohibiting state investments in or state contracts with entities that engage in boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns for Palestinian rights. The bill claims that such measures are not preempted by federal law and defines BDS activities to include boycotts of Israel and persons doing business in Israel or its illegal settlements. Previous versions of the Combating BDS Act (HR 4514, S 2531) failed after activists, media, and civil liberties groups raised concerns that the legislation would chill constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights. Related legislation: S 170.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 1697
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 1697 

HR 1697, titled the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (IABA), is an anti-boycott bill that criminalizes participation in boycotts of Israel and its illegal settlements. The bill amends the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA), which prohibited boycotts “fostered or imposed” by a foreign country and specifically the Arab League boycott. H.R. 1697 expands the EAA to prohibit U.S. individuals and entities from complying with or supporting boycotts for Palestinian rights fostered or imposed by international governmental organizations, such as the European Union or the United Nations. In March 2016, the U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a database of companies contributing to Israel’s illegal settlements. Under the IABA, such accountability efforts, as well as supporting or furnishing information for these efforts, constitute prohibited activities. Violations are subject to civil penalties of $250,000 and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and up to 20 years in prison. 

The bill conflates coercive commercial boycotts—like the Arab League boycott where U.S. companies were forced to boycott Israel as a condition of doing business with other foreign parties—with constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights. The bill also amends the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 to include “politically motivated” economic activity against Israel as a reason for denying credit applications for the export of goods and services between the U.S. and foreign countries. 

In response to criticism from activists and civil liberties groups, the bill was amended, but the changes fail to address the underlying constitutional concerns raised by targeting political boycotts with criminal penalties. Similar legislation introduced in the previous Congress (HR 6298, S 3465) also failed. Related legislation: S 720.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
S 720
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read S 720 

S 720, titled the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (IABA), is an anti-boycott bill that criminalizes participation in boycotts of Israel and its illegal settlements. The bill amends the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA), which prohibited boycotts “fostered or imposed” by a foreign country and specifically the Arab League boycott. S 720 expands the EAA to prohibit U.S. individuals and entities from complying with or supporting boycotts for Palestinian rights fostered or imposed by international governmental organizations, such as the European Union or the United Nations. In March 2016, the U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a database of companies contributing to Israel’s illegal settlements. Under the IABA, such accountability efforts, as well as supporting or furnishing information for these efforts, constitute prohibited activities. Violations are subject to civil penalties of $250,000 and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and up to 20 years in prison. 

The bill conflates coercive commercial boycotts—like the Arab League boycott where U.S. companies were forced to boycott Israel as a condition of doing business with other foreign parties—with constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights. The bill also amends the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 to include “politically motivated” economic activity against Israel as a reason for denying credit applications for the export of goods and services between the U.S. and foreign countries.

In response to criticism from activists and civil liberties groups, the bill was amended to remove the jail time provisions, but the changes fail to address the underlying constitutional concerns raised by targeting political boycotts with criminal penalties. Similar legislation introduced in the previous Congress (HR 6298, S 3465) also failed. Related legislation: HR 1697.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 6421
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HR 6421 

HR 6421, titled the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016, is an antisemitism redefinition bill that directs the U.S. Department of Education to consider the distorted definition of antisemitism found in the 2010 US State Department fact sheet on “Defining Anti-Semitism,” including its contemporary examples related to Israel, when investigating complaints of antisemitism on campuses. The State Department definition and its problematic contemporary examples falsely conflate political criticism of Israel with antisemitism. For example, under the State Department definition, “multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations” may be considered evidence of antisemitic intent. Advocates and civil liberties groups have raised serious concerns about the bill’s chilling effects on constitutionally protected political expression. Related legislation: S 10.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 1572
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read HR 1572 

HR 1572 is an anti-boycott bill that amends the 1979 Export Administration Act, under which federal contractors were prohibited from boycotting Israel pursuant to the Arab League boycott. The amendment requires that prospective contractors provide written certification that they “are not a boycotting person.” A boycott refers in the bill to “refusing, or requiring any other person to refuse, to do business with or in the State of Israel, with any national or resident of the State of Israel, or a business concern organized under the laws of the State of Israel.” The bill expands prohibited boycotts beyond the Arab League boycott to include “any boycott against the State of Israel.” In doing so, the bill conflates coercive commercial boycotts like the Arab League boycott with constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights.The bill also requires the publication of a list of contractors that have been debarred or suspended from eligibility for federal contracts because of a false certification. Though similar to HR 5727 introduced in the previous Congress, this bill makes explicit that it targets boycotts of Israel specifically. 

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 4009 (2014)
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
December 2014
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, Defunding
Full Text
Read HR 4009 (2014) 

HR 4009 is an anti-boycott defunding bill that amends the Higher Education Act to make higher education institutions that participate in boycotts of Israel ineligible for federal financial assistance under the Act, which typically funds area studies programs. The bill would require the formation of a public blacklist of such institutions. “Participating” in a boycott of “Israeli institutions or scholars” includes when “any significant part of the institution, or any organization significantly funded by the institution adopts a policy or resolution, issues a statement, or otherwise formally establishes the restriction” of academic involvement based on institutions or academics’ connection to Israel. It was introduced in the wake of the American Studies Association’s resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, which triggered a wave of efforts to penalize such boycotts.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 4776
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
December 2014
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, Defunding
Full Text
Read HR 4776 

HR 4776 is an anti-boycott defunding bill that prohibits institutions of higher education that participate in boycotts of Israel from receiving any federal funds. The bill specifies that federal funds cannot be used to enter into contracts or other agreements, make grants, or provide loans to any institution “that participates in a boycott of the Israeli government, economy, or academia.” The prohibition extends to funds available through the Higher Education Act, which funds area studies programs. Participating in a boycott includes an institution that “adopts a policy or resolution, issues a statement, or otherwise formally establishes the restriction of discourse, cooperation . . . or any other involvement with the Israeli government, economy, or academia.” The bill would require the creation of a public blacklist of institutions determined to be participating in such a boycott. The bill was introduced in the wake of the American Studies Association’s resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, which triggered a wave of efforts to penalize such boycotts.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 5727
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
December 2014
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read HR 5727 

HR 5727 is an anti-boycott bill that amends the 1979 Export Administration Act, under which federal contractors were prohibited from boycotting Israel pursuant to the Arab League boycott. The amendment requires that prospective contractors provide written certification that they “are not a boycotting person.” A boycott refers in the bill to “refusing, or requiring any other person to refuse, to do business with or in the boycotted country, with any national or resident of the boycotted country, or a business concern organized under the laws of the boycotted country.” The bill expands prohibited boycotts beyond the Arab League boycott to include “any boycott against a country with which the United States has a free trade agreement.” In doing so, the bill conflates coercive commercial boycotts like the Arab League boycott with, for example, constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights. The bill also requires the publication of a list of contractors that have been debarred or suspended from eligibility for federal contracts because of a false certification.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 825
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 825 

HR 825, the United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act of 2015, is an anti-boycott bill. Under the bill, the United States considers discouraging boycotts for Palestinian rights as a principal objective in negotiating foreign trade agreements. It directs the President to report annually on BDS efforts to Congress, including on the specific steps the United States is taking to discourage other countries or international organizations from establishing barriers to trade with Israel or its illegal settlements. 

The bill amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require foreign issuers traded on the stock market to disclose whether they participated in economic boycotts of Israel or entities operating in Israel or territories it controls in the last calendar year. 

Finally, the bill states that no U.S. court may recognize or enforce any foreign judgments against U.S. persons that are based on a finding that conducting business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories violates the law. Related legislation: S 619.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
S 619
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read S 619 

S 619, the United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act of 2015, is an anti-boycott bill. Under the bill, the United States considers discouraging boycotts for Palestinian rights as a principal objective in negotiating foreign trade agreements. Related legislation: HR 825

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
S 995
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read S 995 

S 995, titled the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, is an anti-boycott bill. The bill states that discouraging boycotts for Palestinian rights is a principal objective for the United States in negotiating with foreign countries in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Similarly, the United States will “seek the elimination of politically motivated nontariff barriers” imposed on goods from Israel or its illegal settlements. The relevant anti-boycott provisions were added in committee. Related legislation: HR 1890, HR 1314 (relevant amendments were removed prior to the bill’s passage), HR 2146 (passed).

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 1890
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 1890 

HR 1890, titled the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, is an anti-boycott bill. The bill states that discouraging boycotts for Palestinian rights is a principal objective for the United States in negotiating with foreign countries in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Similarly, the United States will “seek the elimination of politically motivated nontariff barriers” imposed on goods from Israel or its illegal settlements. The relevant anti-boycott provisions were added in committee. Related legislation: S 995, HR 1314 (relevant amendments were removed prior to the bill’s passage), HR 2146 (passed).

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 1907
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 1907 

HR 1907, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, is an anti-boycott bill opposing boycotts for Palestinian rights and encouraging states to adopt anti-boycott laws. It directs the President to report annually on BDS efforts to Congress, including on the specific steps the United States is taking to discourage other countries or international organizations from establishing barriers to trade with Israel or its illegal settlements. 

The bill amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require foreign issuers traded on the stock market to disclose whether they participated in economic boycotts of Israel or entities operating in Israel or territories it controls in the last calendar year. 

Finally, the bill states that no U.S. court may recognize or enforce any foreign judgments against U.S. persons that are based on a finding that conducting business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories violates the law. Related legislation: HR 644 (passed), S 1269.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 2645
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Investments
Full Text
Read HR 2645 

HR 2645 is an anti-boycott bill that prohibits the Thrift Savings Fund, a retirement fund for federal employees, from investing “in any company that boycotts Israel.” The bill defines a boycott of Israel as “actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with Israel or companies based in Israel or territories controlled by Israel,” thereby including boycotts of illegal Israeli settlements. The bill penalizes constitutionally protected political boycotts that companies may engage in.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
S 2531
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read S 2531 

S 2531, the Combating BDS Act of 2016, is an anti-boycott bill that purports to authorize state and local legislation prohibiting state investments in or state contracts with entities that engage in boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns for Palestinian rights. The bill claims that such measures are not preempted by federal law and defines BDS activities to include boycotts of Israel and persons doing business in Israel or its illegal settlements. Activists and civil liberties groups raised concerns that the legislation would chill constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights. Related legislation: HR 4514.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 4514
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 4514 

HR 4514, the Combating BDS Act of 2016, is an anti-boycott bill that purports to authorize state and local legislation prohibiting state investments in or state contracts with entities that engage in boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns for Palestinian rights. The bill claims that such measures are not preempted by federal law and defines BDS activities to include boycotts of Israel and persons doing business in Israel or its illegal settlements. Activists and civil liberties groups raised concerns that the legislation would chill constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights. Related legislation: S 2531.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
S 3465
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read S 3465 

S 3465, titled the Protecting Israel Against Economic Discrimination Act of 2016, is an anti-boycott bill that criminalizes participation in boycotts of Israel and its illegal settlements. The bill amends the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA), which prohibited boycotts “fostered or imposed” by a foreign country and specifically the Arab League boycott. S 3465 expands the EAA to prohibit U.S. individuals and entities from complying with or supporting boycotts for Palestinian rights fostered or imposed by international governmental organizations, such as the European Union or the United Nations. In March 2016, the U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a database of companies contributing to Israel’s illegal settlements. The bill claims such accountability efforts constitute prohibited activities under the Act. Violations are subject to civil penalties of $250,000 and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and up to 20 years in prison. 

The bill conflates coercive commercial boycotts—like the Arab League boycott where U.S. companies were forced to boycott Israel as a condition of doing business with other foreign parties—with constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights. 

The bill also amends the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 to include “politically motivated” economic activity against Israel as a reason for denying credit applications for the export of goods and services between the U.S. and foreign countries. Related legislation: HR 6298.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 6298
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HR 6298 

HR 6298, titled the Protecting Israel Against Economic Discrimination Act of 2016, is an anti-boycott bill that criminalizes participation in boycotts of Israel and its illegal settlements. The bill amends the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA), which prohibited boycotts “fostered or imposed” by a foreign country and specifically the Arab League boycott. HR 6298 expands the EAA to prohibit U.S. individuals and entities from complying with or supporting boycotts for Palestinian rights fostered or imposed by international governmental organizations, such as the European Union or the United Nations. In March 2016, the U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a database of companies contributing to Israel’s illegal settlements. The bill claims such accountability efforts constitute prohibited activities under the Act. Violations are subject to civil penalties of $250,000 and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and up to 20 years in prison. 

The bill conflates coercive commercial boycotts—like the Arab League boycott where U.S. companies were forced to boycott Israel as a condition of doing business with other foreign parties—with constitutionally protected political expression in support of Palestinian rights. 

The bill also amends the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 to include “politically motivated” economic activity against Israel as a reason for denying credit applications for the export of goods and services between the U.S. and foreign countries. 

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
S 10
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read S 10 

S 10, titled the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016, is an antisemitism redefinition bill that directs the U.S. Department of Education to consider the distorted definition of antisemitism found in the 2010 US State Department fact sheet on “Defining Anti-Semitism,” including its contemporary examples related to Israel, when investigating complaints of antisemitism on campuses. The State Department definition and its problematic contemporary examples falsely conflate political criticism of Israel with antisemitism. For example, under the State Department definition, “multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations” may be considered evidence of antisemitic intent. Advocates and civil liberties groups have raised serious concerns about the bill’s chilling effects on constitutionally protected political expression. Related legislation: HR 6421.

Resolutions

Legislation
SRes 120
Status
Pending
Introduced
March 2019
Full Text
Read SRes 120 

SRes 120 is a non-binding resolution opposing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. The resolution mischaracterizes grassroots efforts seeking justice for Palestinians as destructive to peace and accuses the BDS movement of promoting “collective guilt, mass punishment, and group isolation”—charges that human rights bodies have made against Israel for its actual treatment of Palestinians. The United Nations and the ICRC have found that Israel’s 12-year blockade of Gaza constitutes “collective punishment,” and a 2019 U.N. investigation concluded that Israeli forces had killed or gravely injured hundreds of Palestinian civilian protestors, including children, in besieged Gaza during the Great March of Return despite the fact that they posed no imminent threat. Related legislation: HRes 246.

Legislation
HRes 72
Status
Pending
Introduced
January 2019
Full Text
Read HRes 72 

HRes 72 is a non-binding resolution conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism and condemns both. The resolution falsely characterizes boycotts for Palestinian rights as antisemitic, claiming campus advocacy has exposed Jewish students to “rampant anti-Semitism.” The resolution’s preamble lists violent acts of antisemitism committed by white supremacists in Charlottesville and Pittsburgh alongside several clauses attacking critics of Israel and BDS supporters, including Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. The resolution cites the IHRA redefinition of antisemitism, though notably excludes its examples related to criticism of Israel.

Legislation
HRes 496
Status
Pending
Introduced
July 2019
Full Text
Read HRes 496 

HRes 496 is a non-binding resolution that affirms the constitutionally protected right to boycott for civil and human rights. The resolution emphasizes the long history of the use by Americans of boycotts to address injustices and calls on lawmakers and leaders to oppose “unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad.” This affirmative resolution stands in marked contrast to legislative efforts at the federal and state level to suppress advocacy for Palestinian rights. 

Legislation
HRes 764
Status
Pending
Introduced
December 2019
Full Text
Read HRes 764 

HRes 764 is a non-binding resolution expressing support for Trump’s executive order (EO 13899) that adopted a distorted definition of antisemitism. The resolution also references HRes 246, which opposed boycotts for Palestinian rights, as an example of “the United States unwavering support for the Jewish people and strong condemnation of anti-Semitism”—explicitly and falsely linking opposition to boycotts for justice with efforts to combat anti-Jewish hatred.

Legislation
HRes 782
Status
Pending
Introduced
January 2020
Full Text
Read HRes 782 

HRes 782 is a non-binding resolution that encourages public schools to teach about the “historic importance of the creation of the Jewish State of Israel in 1948” as part of broader curricula around the history of antisemitism and the Holocaust. The resolution’s preambulatory language claims that campus advocacy involving boycotts for Palestinian rights has exposed Jewish students to “rampant anti-Semitism.” The resolution makes this claim after ten examples of antisemitic violence, assaults, graffiti, threats, and killings—implicitly and falsely linking acts motivated by anti-Jewish hatred with student advocacy for Palestinian human rights.

In addition, the curricula called for in the resolution would likely not include how at least 75 percent of Palestinians became refugees due to Israel’s founding, and that Israel has since barred them from returning. This act of ethnic cleansing and forced exile is why some activists oppose Israel’s existence – a stance that other legislative efforts seek to paint as antisemitic using a distorted definition of antisemitism.

Legislation
HRes 246
Status
Passed
Date Passed
July 2019
Full Text
Read HRes 246 

HRes 246 is a non-binding resolution opposing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. The resolution mischaracterizes grassroots efforts seeking justice for Palestinians as anti-peace and accuses the BDS movement of promoting “collective guilt, mass punishment, and group isolation”—charges that international accountability bodies have made against Israel for its actual treatment of Palestinians. The United Nations and the ICRC have found that Israel’s 12-year blockade of Gaza constitutes “collective punishment,” and a 2019 U.N. investigation concluded that Israeli forces had killed or gravely injured hundreds of Palestinian civilian protestors, including children, in besieged Gaza during the Great March of Return despite the fact that they posed no imminent threat. Though it does not bear the force of law, the resolution’s language is a broad condemnation of individuals who boycott for human rights, raising concerns that it will reinforce and legitimize other legislative attacks on protected speech, including anti-boycott laws. Related legislation: SRes 120.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HRes 728
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2019
Full Text
Read HRes 728 

This non-binding resolution condemns the U.N. Human Rights Council’s efforts to document and seek accountability for Israel’s international legal violations. The resolution is in response to a Human Rights Council report collecting information on companies, including 22 U.S. companies, contributing to Israel’s illegal settlements. The resolution urges Congress to support the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S 720/HR 1697), which would extend anti-boycott laws to reach international organizations, such as the United Nations. 

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HRes 318
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Full Text
Read HRes 318 

HRes 318 is a non-binding resolution condemning resolutions or policies by institutions of higher learning or academic associations calling for “a boycott of Israeli academic institutions or scholars.” The resolution criticizes boycotts, divestment, and sanctions efforts for “singl[ing] Israel out” and “appl[ying] a double-standard to Israel.” The bill was introduced in the wake of the American Studies Association’s resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, which triggered a wave of efforts to penalize such boycotts.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HRes 567
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Full Text
Read HRes 567 

HRes 567 is a non-binding resolution that opposes the labeling of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements. The resolution follows a European Commission interpretive notice reaffirming the non-recognition under international law of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and Syrian Golan Heights and clarifying that goods produced in Israeli settlements located in occupied territories must not be labeled as “Product from Israel,” in order not to mislead consumers. The resolution notes with concern that more accurate labeling might prompt some consumers to boycott illegal settlement products and reiterates the House’s opposition to boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts for Palestinian rights. The resolution also encourages state legislatures to pass anti-boycott measures. Related legislation: SRes 346.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SRes 346
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Full Text
Read SRes 346 

SRes 346 is a non-binding resolution that opposes the labeling of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements. The resolution follows a European Commission interpretive notice reaffirming the non-recognition under international law of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and Syrian Golan Heights and clarifying that goods produced in Israeli settlements located in occupied territories must not be labeled as “Product from Israel,” in order not to mislead consumers. The resolution notes with concern that more accurate labeling might prompt some consumers to boycott illegal settlement products and reiterates the Senate’s opposition to boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts for Palestinian rights. The resolution also encourages state legislatures to pass anti-boycott measures. Related legislation: HRes 567.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HRes 402
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
January 2017
Full Text
Read HRes 402 

HRes 402 is a non-binding resolution opposing politically motivated boycott, divestment, or sanctions activities against Israel. The resolution calls on the Administration to increase its efforts to oppose BDS in international forums and expresses support for state legislation opposing BDS.

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