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New York Sen. Gillibrand Won’t Support Anti-BDS Bill Without Changes

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced Monday that she would push for revisions to a bill that would penalize companies that support boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, after the American Civil Liberties Union raised free speech concerns about the legislation.

“I would never support any bill that chills free speech,” the New York Senate Democrat told a town hall crowd in Queens on Monday. “I would never be for something that you stated the bill says. It’s not something I would support. She added: “I will not support it in its current form.”

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, would ban U.S. exporters from refusing to sell to Israel. It would also prohibit the Export-Import Bank from helping companies that boycott Israel. The ACLU has expressed concerns that the act could lead to the sanctioning of companies who employ individuals backing BDS, leading Gillibrand to backtrack.

Forty-five senators, including Gillibrand herself, are cosponsors of the bill, which has received bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

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