Monday, July 24, 2017
Jewish Privilege: New legislation in Congress would criminalize support for the international boycott against Israel
A group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison. The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23, 2017. The bill was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year. The bill’s co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate’s more liberal members, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Maria Cantwell of Washington.