Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Demonstrators rally in New York City to protest anti-BDS legislation, June 9, 2016. (Photo Sipa USA via AP)

25 Democrats Join GOP to Advance Anti-Boycott Bill Bernie Sanders Warns Violates "Americans' First Amendment Rights"

"It's vile that a law aimed at suppressing our democratic rights and silencing those fighting for solidarity with Palestinians would even make it to the Senate floor," declared one American Jewish advocacy group

Jake Johnson

In the Senate's first vote since the government shutdown ended last week, 25 Democrats teamed up with the Republican majority Monday night to advance anti-boycott legislation that Palestinian rights groups and civil libertarians have denounced as a brazen attack on the First Amendment rights of those protesting the brutal Israeli occupation.

"It is clear to me that S.1 would violate Americans’ First Amendment rights."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

"It's vile that a law aimed at suppressing our democratic rights and silencing those fighting for solidarity with Palestinians would even make it to the Senate floor," declared IfNotNow, an American Jewish advocacy group, following the 74-19 vote. "Shame on our community's establishment for pushing this bill forward."

Here are the 25 Democrats—including Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with the Democratic Party—who voted with the GOP to advance the anti-boycott legislation:

Bennet (D-Colo.)
Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
Cantwell (D-Wash.)
Cardin (D-Md.)
Casey (D-Pa.)
Coons (D-Del.)
Cortez Masto (D-Nev.)
Duckworth (D-Ill.)
Hassan (D-N.H.)

Jones (D-Ala.)
King (I-Maine)
Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
Manchin (D-W.Va.)
Markey (D-Mass.)
Menendez (D-N.J.)
Murray (D-Wash.)
Rosen (D-Nev.)


Schumer
(D-N.Y.)
Sinema (D-Ariz.)
Smith (D-Minn.)
Stabenow (D-Mich,)
Tester (D-Mont.)
Warner (D-Va.)
Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
Wyden (D-Ore.)

While the 25 Democratic senators who crossed the aisle were denounced for voting to end debate on Senate Bill 1 (S.1)—which legal experts have decried as "unconstitutional"—the 19 Democrats and one independent who voted no were applauded for taking a firm stand for free expression.

"Disappointing vote to undermine free speech rights for Palestinian freedom, but encouraging 19 senators understand minimal credibility as a progressive now includes standing up for freedom to boycott," said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace.

The 19 senators—18 Democrats joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—who voted no were:

Baldwin (D-Wis.)
Brown
(D-Ohio)
Carper
(D-Del.)
Durbin
(D-Ill.)
Feinstein
(D-Calif.)
Gillibrand
(D-N.Y.)
Heinrich
(D-N.M.)

Hirono (D-Hawaii)
Kaine
(D-Va.)
Leahy
(D-Vt.)
Merkley
(D-Ore.)
Murphy
(D-Conn.)
Peters
(D-Mich.)
Reed
(D-R.I.)


Sanders
(I-Vt.)
Shaheen
(D-N.H.)
Udall
(D-N.M.)
Van Hollen
(D-Md.)
Warren
(D-Mass.)

Seven senators did not vote, including 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), rumored 2020 hopeful Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

"The Senate just voted to clear the way for S.1, an attack on our right to boycott and on work for justice in Palestine. Regardless, we will continue to defend BDS!"
—CodePink

In a statement on his decision to vote against S.1 on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that he does not support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, but condemned the Senate's bipartisan effort to punish those who do as an attack on free expression.

"While I do not support the BDS movement, we must defend every American's constitutional right to engage in political activity," the Vermont senator said. "It is clear to me that this bill would violate Americans' First Amendment rights."

Sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), S.1 is a package of legislation that includes $38 billion in military assistance to Israel as well as the so-called Combating BDS Act, which would give state and local governments more power to punish companies and individuals who boycott or divest from Israel. Two federal courts have already deemed similar measures unconstitutional.

A final Senate vote on the legislation is expected as early as Wednesday. The legislation will then move to the House, but it is unclear whether the Democratic majority will take up the measure.

As Common Dreams reported, most Senate Democrats teamed up three times to block S.1 from proceeding earlier this month, arguing that the Senate should not be conducting any business unrelated to ending the government shutdown.

But while advocacy groups continued pressuring Democrats to use their power to block the bill even after the record-long shutdown ended, more than 20 Democrats opted to flip their votes to yes, ignoring grassroots pressure and grave constitutional concerns.

Condemning the 74-19 vote as "awful," the anti-war advocacy group CodePink vowed to continue to fight for the right to boycott Israel over its crimes against the Palestinian people.

"The Senate just voted to clear the way for S.1, an attack on our right to boycott and on work for justice in Palestine, to reach the Senate floor later this week. It is expected to pass," the group declared. "Regardless, we will continue to defend BDS!"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·


Patients in Trigger-Ban States Immediately Denied Abortion Care in Post-Roe US

Some people scheduled to receive abortions were turned away within minutes of the right-wing Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo