If this legislation is enacted, it will be one of the most severe curtailments of political freedom in the United States’ history. And yet our right-wing “anti-Zionists” and our left-wing “anti-imperialists” are wasting time fighting over statues.
By Justine McCabe, CT Viewpoints
An alarming paradox has taken shape in legislation before Congress: Our representatives would violate Americans’ First Amendment rights in order to protect the State of Israel.
This draconian legislation is H.R. 1697/S. 720, the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act,” is a proposed law that could harshly penalize the free speech of Americans who support the international Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
By amending existing laws (Export Administration act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945), this bill would prohibit Americans from supporting BDS against Israel, as an ally of the U.S. This would include barring an American from promoting boycotts of Israel’s illegal settlements and their products, as well as even requesting information about BDS. Beyond muzzling our constitutional right to speak freely, express political opinions, the punishments themselves are extreme: minimal civil penalty of $250,000 and maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.