U.S. Congress prepares to pass law criminalizing boycott of Israel and jail who does it

Washington _ Palestine News Network

The US Congress is preparing to vote on a bill criminalizing support for Israel's boycott of the PDS (Congressional Resolution HR 1697), but the ability to vote before The end of the year is less likely at the moment, as members go to their states and counties until the end of Christmas, to return on January 3, 2019, in the new Congressional session, where the chances of passing the law that characterizes the current anti-Palestinian Congress are declining. The Israeli occupation and settlement policies have strong support in Congress, which is likely to continue in the next Congress, but the election of many Democratic Progressives in the last midterm elections and the Democratic Party's control of the House will make the passage of the resolution even more difficult.

Last summer Democratic Sen. Ben Kardan of Maryland and Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, both supporters of the Israeli lobbyist AIPAC and relying on its financial and organizational support (and were prominent members before they were elected to the US Congress), introduced a bill in the Senate , The "Anti-boycott of Israel Law" (a similar bill was drafted by HR 1697 before the House of Representatives).

Both bills have broad bipartisan support, but after the American Civil Liberties Union (ECLU) issued a written statement that these laws are "major challenges to freedom of expression," some Democrats have backed off from supporting these projects.

The withdrawal from the support was "shock waves" as described by the New York Post, which is close to Israel, which declared that "in the Democratic Party, reliable support for Israel seems to be something of the past", which many observers have begun to acknowledge.

Last summer, a number of prominent Republicans in the Republican Party began to back down from their positions of absolute support for Israel, in line with the party's progressive base, which began to grow, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MD, from Massachusetts) "I think the boycott is wrong, but I think the ban on freedom of expression violates our basic constitution," she said. Sen. Christine Gillbrand, Democrat of New York State (and potential candidate for the 2020 presidential election), said she would support the main purpose of the bill to fight the boycott, but would only support the bill if her language was changed to avoid legal ambiguity.

Progressive members of the Democratic Party, who were elected to progressive pro-freedom and human rights programs, are protesting a US senators' decision to compromise a basic constitution of the US under the pretext of protecting Israel from the boycott, threatening the US Constitution.

"The struggle for the protection of freedom of expression, as a necessary and commendable one, is an important part, but one of the larger picture. It should not be separated from the human rights violations that the Israeli occupation deprives the Palestinians of, Because that's their right, "said one of the staff of the crew of a democratic representative of" Jerusalem ", asking not to be named.


The proposed bills are aimed at boycotting Israel, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and criminalizing them.

It is noteworthy that this movement was launched in 2005, a non-violent movement based on human rights, established with the support of more than 170 Palestinian civil organizations, and inspired by the historic boycott efforts in Palestine against Israel, as well as the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa a resounding success, and ended the apartheid regime there, although some critics of the BDS they described as "anti-Semitic", but its supporters believe that the movement focused on attracting attention to specific violations of the rights, not ethnic or religious identities, and the basis of the activity of movement focused on the rights of Man, one of the reasons I have made it With significant international support from academic organizations, trade unions, ecclesiastical groups and others around the world.

This success is precisely why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the boycott a "strategic threat" and pushed the Israeli lobby (AIPAC) to target the movement, which drafted the proposed bill, under the cover of the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Import and Export Act of 1979 1945.

The current AIPAC project extends the scope of criminality to measures aimed at responding to the boycott call from non-state actors: in this case, the United Nations and the European Union. The proposed legislation also raises the maximum civil penalty from $ 100,000 to $ 1 million, and increases the maximum prison sentence to 20 years.

As the letter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ECLU) makes clear, the proposed laws do not distinguish between doing business with Israel and doing business with companies that are part of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land. Any individual or organization (ecclesial, union, academic, etc.) or commercial entity that follows international human rights provisions and refuses to purchase products from companies in the occupied Palestinian territory may be subject to prosecution.

In fact, these bills criminalize international human rights law and other conventions.



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