45 senators support bill that makes boycotting Israel a crime

A bill that would criminalise boycotts against Israel has been signed by 45 US senators and 237 congressman. 

The so-called “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” would impose fines of up to $250,000 (£192,000) on any US citizen “engaged in interstate or foreign commerce” who supports a boycott of Israeli goods and services.

The US has long defended Israel in territorial disputes in the Middle East, even as the Israeli military has expanded into areas assigned to the Palestinians by international law.

This position runs counter to that of the United Nations, which claims Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territory have “no legal validity”, and “constitute flagrant violation of international law”.

In their new legislation, members of Congress claim the UN is considering a resolution to withhold assistance from – and prevent trade with – settlements in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.

The Israel Anti-Boycott act would punish any American who supported such measures.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has argued that the bill would “impose civil and criminal punishment on individuals solely because of their political beliefs  about Israel and its policies”, in a letter sent to members of the Senate.

“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.”

Still, the bill – reportedly drafted with the help of the  American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) – has received widespread bipartisan support.

Even liberal-leaning senators like Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Maria Cantwell of Washington, and representatives like Adam Schiff of Massachusetts, have signed on to the legislation.

Conservatives like Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida also support it.

When asked by The Intercept about this support, many legislators seemed unfamiliar with the details.

Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan responded by asking: “What’s the Act?”

Senator Claire McCaskill claimed she had not read the ACLU letter, but would “take their position into consideration, just like I take everybody’s position into consideration”.

Meanwhile, Senator Benjamin Cardin – the bill’s primary sponsor – said that he “doesn’t think” the bill criminalises participating in boycotts, as the ACLU has claimed.

“We are very sensitive to freedom of speech; we are very sensitive to people having different views,” he said. “We’re not trying to weigh in at all on the differences between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”


  • Occams

    STILL think 9/11 was ‘Islamic terrorists’ – and NOT Israel and the US?

    • Never Blind

      Of course! It’s plainly obvious that bunch of guys with less than 200 hrs (on a single engine Cessna) can easily and simultaneously hi jack not one, not two, but three commercial jets, evade the most advanced and monitored airspace in the world – and pilot them with precision even seasoned airline pilots couldn’t replicate in simulators.

      It’s obvious that two of these planes could cause a controlled demolition in both the towers, and have a third building “pulled down” (with first res-ponders still in it).

      Meanwhile the the third plane performs a precision swoop, of around 1000+ miles, descending at the perfect rate (still being piloted by a guy with less than 200 hrs) to crash perfectly into the side of the pentagon, more specifically in the very room where documents explaining the 100+billion dollars “missing” from the Defense Ministry under Cheney.

      BTW, twin towers owned (& insured) by an Israel – American dual citizen who took out a multi-million dollar insurance policy specifically against terrorist attacks? Pure Coincidence.

      I don’t know what you are talking about – let’s wage war for another 30 years because “terrorism”