Condemnation Grows for Bipartisan Attack on Free Speech Rights of BDS Supporters
Lawmakers urged to reject bill that would punish Americans for supporting boycotts of Israel

Conley, Julia
Date Written:  2017-07-20
Publisher:  Common Dreams
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21051

A pair of bipartisan bills targeting boycotts of Israel and Israeli settlements appear to have widespread support in Congress, to the dismay of civil rights advocates who say the proposals are an attack on free speech.



The Israeli Anti-Boycott Act targets the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement aimed at ending Israel's occupation of the West Bank through a refusal to economically support the country. The law would specifically ban support by any U.S. citizen for international boycott efforts against Israel.

The law would make supporting such boycotts punishable by a fine of at least $250,000, with a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.

Despite the clear breach of the First Amendment that the bills represent, 42 senators and 234 representatives from both sides of the aisle have signed on as co-sponsors. tweeted about the bill's bipartisan support on Wednesday, urging lawmakers to stand up for the free speech rights of all Americans, regardless of whether their views align with the official U.S. stance on Israel.

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