US: Senate passes Syria, anti-BDS bill

Washington: United States Senate on Tuesday approved legislation which includes a provision warning US President Donald Trump not to precipitously withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria until terrorist groups in the regions are destroyed.

The bill passed on a broad bipartisan vote, 77 to 23, reported CNN.

Furthermore, the legislation imposes new sanctions on Syria and boosts the US’ military alliances with neighbours of war-torn Syria including Israel and Jordan.

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This move will also make it easier for states and localities to approve laws to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, a movement against Israel.

However, the Democrats are divided on the BDS element of the bill as some of them are saying it hinders the free-speech rights of the American citizens to support boycott efforts against Israel for its treatment of Palestinians and other concerns.

Democrats also alleged that the Republicans purposefully added the BDS provision to a package that otherwise has bipartisan support to put political pressure on Democrats to vote against a bill that is viewed as pro-Israel.

22 of 47 Democrats voted against the bill.

It is pertinent to note that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is a Republican, authored the amendment urging Trump to keep troops in Syria and Afghanistan.


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