US Lawmakers Support Bill That Would Make it Illegal to Boycott Goods and Services from Israel

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The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, sponsored by Sen. Cardin, supported by 45 Senators and 237 congressmen, will criminalize the boycott of goods and services from the state of Israel. Source: If American citizens happen to defy this law, if approved, they will be fined a minimum of $250,000, and a maximum of $1 million plus 20 years in prison, designated for persons "engaged in interstate or foreign commerce." The bill is said to be purposed to countermand a potential UN resolution that will prevent trade with East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. The idea behind the bill would be to prevent any American from joining the fray. The ACLU takes exception to the bill, saying it's a direct violation of the First Amendment.

“In short, the bill would punish businesses and individuals solely based on their point of view,” it wrote. “Such a penalty is in direct violation of the First Amendment.”

  The bill, rumored to have been written by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has garnered widespread bipartisan support. Finally, Congress has found something they could agree on. Here you can see an AIPAC infographic highlighting this bill as part of their top lobbying priorities for 2017. Thus far, 45 US Senators and 237 congressmen (63 dems, 174 republitards) support the measure. The ACLU is actively lobbying opposition to this bill. Thus far, zero lawmakers have sided with them. Amusingly, the sponsor of this bill, Senator Cardin, doesn't seem to know anything about the bill, when approached by a reporter at The Intercept. The Intercept weighs in on the potential penalties that will be imposed on American citizens if passed.  

That’s because, as Josh Ruebner expertly detailed when the bill was first unveiled, “the bill seeks to amend two laws — the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945,” and “the potential penalties for violating this bill are steep: a minimum $250,000 civil penalty and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years imprisonment, as stipulated in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.”   Indeed, to see how serious the penalties are, and how clear it is that those penalties are imposed by this bill, one can just compare the bill’s text in Section 8(a), which provides that violators will be “fined in accordance with Section 206 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1705),” to the penalty provisions of that law, which state:


That the bill refers to the fine, but not the prison sentence, is not enough to prevent a judge from applying the statute’s prison term, because the bill brings the statute into play, said Faiz Shakir, the ACLU’s political director, who authored the letter to the Senate. “The referral to the statute keeps criminal penalties in play, regardless of what their preference for punishment might be,” said Shakir.   The bill also extends the current prohibition on participating in boycotts sponsored by foreign governments to cover boycotts from international organizations such as the U.N. and the European Union. It also explicitly extends the boycott ban from Israel generally to any parts of Israel, including the settlements. For that reason, Ruebner explains, the bill — by design — would outlaw “campaigns by the Palestine solidarity movement to pressure corporations to cut ties to Israel or even with Israeli settlements.”

  Back in March, the State of Israel banned any persons from entering the country who supported the boycott of goods and services from Israel. However, unlike the American version of the bill, the bill does not apply to citizen of Israel or those with permanent residency.  

Late Monday the Israeli parliament passed the bill 46 to 28 opposed. The ban will target individuals who publicly call for a boycott of Israel or Israeli goods, including goods made in West Bank or East Jerusalem settlements, which the majority of the international community considers to be illegal under international law. The law will allow exceptions and will not apply to Israeli citizens or those with permanent residency.   “In recent years calls to boycott Israel have been growing,” a statement on the Israeli parliament website said after the bill’s approval. “It seems this is a new front in the war against Israel, which until now the country had not prepared for properly.”

  It's worth mentioning, Sen. Cardin is one of dozens of US lawmakers who hold dual Israeli-American citizenships. Perhaps since we're all so concerned about foreign meddling into our affairs, we should shed a light on all foreign meddling, not just Russian. Here are the Senators who support the bill. Sen. Portman, Rob [R-OH]* 03/23/2017 Sen. Nelson, Bill [D-FL] 03/27/2017 Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL] 03/27/2017 Sen. Menendez, Robert [D-NJ] 03/27/2017 Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME] 03/27/2017 Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT] 03/27/2017 Sen. Graham, Lindsey [R-SC] 03/28/2017 Sen. Young, Todd C. [R-IN] 03/28/2017 Sen. Boozman, John [R-AR] 03/28/2017 Sen. Isakson, Johnny [R-GA] 03/28/2017 Sen. Peters, Gary C. [D-MI] 03/28/2017 Sen. Hatch, Orrin G. [R-UT] 03/30/2017 Sen. Perdue, David [R-GA] 03/30/2017 Sen. Roberts, Pat [R-KS] 03/30/2017 Sen. Wicker, Roger F. [R-MS] 03/30/2017 Sen. Hoeven, John [R-ND] 04/04/2017 Sen. Cornyn, John [R-TX] 04/04/2017 Sen. Fischer, Deb [R-NE] 04/04/2017 Sen. Heller, Dean [R-NV] 04/24/2017 Sen. Moran, Jerry [R-KS] 04/24/2017 Sen. Crapo, Mike [R-ID] 04/24/2017 Sen. Cantwell, Maria [D-WA] 04/24/2017 Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA] 04/25/2017 Sen. Capito, Shelley Moore [R-WV] 04/26/2017 Sen. Schumer, Charles E. [D-NY] 05/01/2017 Sen. Ernst, Joni [R-IA] 05/01/2017 Sen. Hassan, Margaret Wood [D-NH] 05/08/2017 Sen. Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [D-NY] 05/09/2017 Sen. Lankford, James [R-OK] 05/16/2017 Sen. Burr, Richard [R-NC] 05/17/2017 Sen. Donnelly, Joe [D-IN] 05/23/2017 Sen. Scott, Tim [R-SC] 05/25/2017 Sen. Cruz, Ted [R-TX] 06/05/2017 Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV] 06/05/2017 Sen. Strange, Luther [R-AL] 06/05/2017 Sen. McCaskill, Claire [D-MO] 06/06/2017 Sen. Thune, John [R-SD] 06/12/2017 Sen. Wyden, Ron [D-OR] 06/12/2017 Sen. Sasse, Ben [R-NE] 06/15/2017 Sen. Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE] 06/26/2017 Sen. Bennet, Michael F. [D-CO] 07/12/2017 Sen. Sullivan, Dan [R-AK] 07/12/2017 Sen. Cassidy, Bill [R-LA] 07/18/2017 Sen. Tillis, Thom [R-NC] 07/19/2017 Sen. Cotton, Tom [R-AR] 07/19/2017