January 8, 2019

Senate considers trashing First Amendment on behalf of Israel

Institute for Public Accuracy -Ryan Grim and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept report: “U.S. Senate’s First Bill, in Midst of Shutdown, is a Bipartisan Defense of the Israeli Government from Boycotts.”

They write: “The bill is a top legislative priority for AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee]. In the previous Congress, that measure was known as S.170, and it gives state and local governments explicit legal authority to boycott any U.S. companies which themselves are participating in a boycott against Israel. As the Intercept reported last month, 26 states now have enacted some version of a law to punish or otherwise sanction entities which participate in or support the boycott of Israel, while similar laws are pending in at least 13 additional states.”

“Punishment aimed at companies which choose to boycott Israel can also sweep up individual American citizens in its punitive net, because individual contractors often work for state or local governments under the auspices of a sole proprietorship or some other business entity. That was the case with Texas elementary school speech pathologist Bahia Amawi, who lost her job working with autistic and speech-impaired children in Austin because she refused to promise not to boycott goods produced in Israel and/or illegal Israeli settlements. …

“With the seven Democratic co-sponsors, the bill would have the 60 votes it needs to overcome a filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. — who supported Sen. [Ben] Cardin’s far more draconian bill of last year and is one of the Senate’s most reliable AIPAC loyalists — also plans to support the Rubio bill, rather than whip votes against it, sources working on the bill said. Schumer’s spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders cited The Intercept piece and tweeted on Sunday: “It’s absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity. Democrats must block consideration of any bills that don’t reopen the government. Let’s get our priorities right.”

1 comment:

greg gerritt said...

Boycotts ought to receive the maximum of free speech protection, especially when theya re in oppostion to US government policy. Then I would think I live in a place where freedom is actually important.