Portman Statement on the Senate Passing Bipartisan Legislation to Protect U.S. Allies, Strengthen Israel Relationship

February 5, 2019 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement after the Senate passed the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act (S. 1) by a bipartisan margin of 77-23: 

“I was proud to support this legislation and pleased it passed by an overwhelming bipartisan margin. This measure will strengthen America’s partnerships with crucial allies in the Middle East, and it will hold accountable the brutal Assad regime in Syria for its violence against its own people.  Importantly, this bill also allows state and local governments to divest from entities that engage in boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) activities against our ally Israel. This bill provides key protections to those that chose not to participate in BDS actions that ultimately harm our long time strategic partner.” 

NOTE: In 2015, then-President Obama signed into law Portman legislation to help combat the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and make clear that if another country wants close economic ties with the United States, they cannot support efforts to weaken the economy of our ally Israel.  In the last Congress, Portman introduced legislation with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) – the Israel Anti-Boycott Act – which is designed to further combat the BDS movement.