Over 20 states have taken action in opposition to the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, designed to economically isolate the Jewish State.
Now that the federal government seems poised to join the party, the American Civil Liberties Union and other opponents have gone from fearmongering to near-hysteria in its opposition.
Since 1977, U.S. law has permitted civil penalties against U.S. corporations that participate in boycott requests from foreign countries against U.S. allies, or that make such requests themselves. Companion bills in the House and Senate would extend that to include boycott requests from international organizations such as the UN or the European Union. Those bills have garnered broad bipartisan support, with 45 Senate co-sponsors and 240 House co-sponsors.
Sadly, early reporting has been based on false ACLU claims of free speech infringement, scaring even some staunch anti-BDS Israel supporters into opposing it.
Contrary to the ACLU, the bill would not criminalize participation in BDS. Companies and individuals would still be completely free to trade with whomever they wanted, in whatever geographic regions they wanted. Nobody is being forced to do business with Israel; they are being prevented from cooperating with entities hostile to a close ally.
The bills would extend existing civil penalties for complying with boycott requests from foreign countries. Should Qatar, for instance, request documentation of a company’s transactions to verify that it is not trading with Israel, that company is forbidden to comply with that request. Nothing in the Act requires the company to trade with Israel, or to refrain from doing business with Qatar.