Friday, July 21, 2017

Take Action: Pro-Israel attack on US freedom

Born Jewish...practicing Buddhist
One of the most recent, and most pernicious, pieces of anti-boycott, divestment, sanctions legislation at the federal level is getting renewed attention right now.

On July 18, the American Civil Liberties Union released a letter to the Senate and a letter to the House of Representatives, urging them to oppose the bill because it violates the Constitution and discriminates against people “for no reason other than their political beliefs.”

The Intercept published an article highlighting how “the criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West.” Jewish Voice for Peace [with Wisdom Quarterly] opposes the legislation and has issued a backgrounder for engagement with Congress.
  • Jewish Voice for Peace ( is a national member-driven organization dedicated to a U.S. foreign policy based on peace, human rights, and respect for international law.
Future "felons" protesting Israel: Anti-Semites working for the ACLA and BDS Movement?

What does the bill actually do?
We've got the power. We've got to use it.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720/ H.R. 1697) is the latest, and most extreme, of a series of unconstitutional anti-boycott legislation at both the federal and state level.

The law aims to quell the movement for Palestinian rights by penalizing companies and individuals engaged in commerce for using the nonviolent tactics of boycott, divestment, and sanctions to hold Israel accountable for violations of Palestinian rights.

First introduced in March, this bill seeks to amend two laws -- the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 -- to penalize companies that participate in boycotts, and to preempt efforts by international governmental organizations from complying with international law and calling for an end to trade with Israel’s settlements or companies that operate in the settlements.

Gonna be a good boy like Obama? - Better!
Of course, as the ACLU letter points out, millions of people and businesses do not do business with Israel for any number of reasons.

This law would only punish those whose lack of business-ties to Israel or the illegal settlements in Palestine is based on their political beliefs -- which is why it is discriminatory in addition to being a threat to free speech.
We must kill others to protect our children.
The bill opposes the creation of a database of Israeli settlement companies by the UN Human Rights Council and any efforts to boycott those companies’ products. The bill categorizes violations as felonies, and the potential penalties are steep: a minimum $250,000 civil penalty and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years imprisonment. 

What doesn’t the bill do?
I trusted the CIA's Ben "Bibi" Netanyahu.
It does not make it illegal to support the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. It does not make it illegal for individual consumers to boycott Israeli or settlement products. 

While this legislation is horrible, it is important not to exaggerate the potential impacts of the legislation and thereby add to the chilling effect against advocacy for human rights in Palestine. More

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