Sanders and Feinstein call anti-BDS bill “threat to free speech”

Two of the most prominent Jewish members of the Senate warn that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act will harm free speech in the US.

By Amir Tibon | Haaretz | Dec 19, 2018

While we do not support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, we remain resolved to our constitutional oath to defend the right of every American to express their views peacefully without fear of actual punishment by the government.
— Sens. Bernie Sanders and Diane Feinstein in a letter to Senate leaders

Senators Bernie Sanders and Dianne Feinstein sent a letter on Thursday to Senate leaders urging them not to promote a controversial piece of legislation that will penalize boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Sanders and Feinstein, two of the most prominent Jewish members of the Senate, warned that the proposed legislation, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, will harm free speech in the US. . . .

Both Schumer and McConell support the anti-boycott bill, which is being promoted by the pro-Israeli lobby group AIPAC.

The legislation has been met with opposition from leading civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, over concerns that it will limit American citizens’ freedom of speech.

AIPAC and key Senators sponsoring the legislation have rejected these concerns by claiming that the bill will only punish large-scale companies that join the internationally-led boycott of Israel, and will not harm private citizens who choose to boycott the country.

The ACLU has warned, however, that the bill could be used for punishing private citizens, and would encourage states across the US which have passed similar laws against BDS, to prosecute individuals for their political views on Israel.

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