Booker Flip Flops on BDS

Senator votes against pro-Israel bill

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) / Getty Images
January 31, 2019

Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) voted against pro-Israel legislation to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, a departure from his previous condemnation of those who boycott Israel.

Last year, Booker was seen as standing "alone," being the sole 2020 Democratic hopeful in the Senate to vocally oppose BDS. On Tuesday, however, he voted against the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, which provides aid to Israel and allows states to refuse to do business with companies that boycott Israel.

The legislation passed a procedural vote by a margin of 76 to 22. Votes against the bill came exclusively from Democrats, including Booker and prospective 2020 candidates Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), and Kamala Harris (D., Calif.).

The legislation gives state and local governments power to require contractors to disclose their position on boycotts of Israel before doing business with the state.

Booker's office did not immediately respond to request for comment on why the senator voted against the bill.

In 2016 Booker called BDS an "anti-Jewish movement" and last fall cosponsored legislation that would ban American companies from joining international boycotts of Israel.

"We've seen the alarming rise in anti-Semitism in the United States and across the world in recent years manifest itself in many deeply concerning ways, including in the actions of foreign governments targeting Israel and the Israeli people," Booker then said of the legislation.

However, the New Jersey senator also controversially posed with radical liberal activists at the Netroots Nation conference last August and held a sign calling for the removal of security borders in Israel.

The sign read, "From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go." The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a radical group that supports BDS and has been financially linked to terrorist organizations, posted the photo of Booker.

Booker later claimed he did not know what was written on the sign he was holding.