Alternet via Blacklisted News.com Posted Fri. Eve., July 21, 2017
A growing number of Republicans and Democrats in Congress are backing a bill that would criminalize support for the international boycott against Israel, also known as the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
Named the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, the bill so far has garnered support from 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats in the Senate. A similar piece of legislation introduced in the House of Representatives has 237 co-sponsors—63 Democrats and 174 Republicans.
With the intent to suppress the BDS movement and others allied with the boycott against Israel, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act imposes harsh punishments: any person guilty of violating the law faces a “minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.”
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act was introduced by Democratic Sen. Benjamin Cardin on March 23 and was drafted with the help of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. In fact, passage of the bill was listed as one of the group’s top lobbying priorities for 2017.
The bill would build upon two laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, the former law making it illegal for U.S. corporations to cooperate with the boycott of Israel. The Office of Anti-Boycott Compliance under the Department of Commerce was created to enforce this very measure.
In addition to its already draconian felony punishments, the law would penalize people for requesting information about boycotts against Israel and would extend the boycott ban into any parts of Israel, including the settlements that were deemed to violate international law by the United Nations.
The act would also expand upon the prohibition of partaking in boycotts sponsored by foreign governments to include boycotts from international organizations like the U.N. and the European Union.