Boycott. Divest. Sanction.

We gladly take this (dwindling) opportunity to exercise our constitutionally protected right to free speech.

Having reviewed the issue comprehensively, having read journalism, essays, and fiction and poetry authored by people of myriad perspectives, we’ve formed an opinion. We think Israel’s ongoing policies regarding Palestine are immoral. In our view, Israel’s behavior amounts to a type of terrorism — the type that encourages (guarantees?) other types of terrorism. Sure, we recognize counter-arguments and equivocations, and, yes, some of them sound pretty good. But, on the whole, we think Israel is wrong, and we think Israel should stop. The illegal settlements. The food and medicine embargoes. The whole occupation.

How depressingly ignorant and debased has our cultural debate become that I must write the following sentences? Although I do not practice the sacraments of any religion, my family heritage is Jewish. All of my grandparents and both of my parents are Jews. Ergo: I am Jewish. OK. There’s the disclaimer that (I assume) allows me to be critical of Israel.

Interestingly, any Jew who speaks out against Israel’s cruelties get’s branded a “self-hating” Jew. We’re easy to spot. We’re the ones who maintain our critical faculties and human compassion when presented with an ethical dilemma.

Because we (still) can without fearing a lengthy prison sentence, we’ll say it plainly: We call on American institutions — corporations, universities, state pension funds — to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel.

Writing those words today is perhaps somewhat controversial. If several dozen members of our Congress have their way, writing those words a few months from now will be criminal. A felony. Punishable by a minimum fine of $250,000. Maximum penalty is $1 million and 20 years in prison.

For exercising our constitutionally protected right to free speech and unfettered political protest, our elected representatives wish to make us felons.

Both Democratic Senators from New York (Schumer and Gillibrand) are co-sponsors of the bill, “The Israel Anti-Boycott Act,” along with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. The bill’s author, Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), has a history of inserting Israel-friendly provisions into unrelated bills. When interviewed by The Intercept, Cardin was seemingly unaware of the law’s harsh criminal provisions. Apparently he hadn’t actually read his bill. To the surprise of no one, the bill’s language was fashioned by AIPAC, benefactor of many fine legislators.

This foul an unpatriotic “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” quotes freely from AIPAC’s published 2017 Lobbying Agenda: 

The power of BDS is clearer than ever. It worked in South Africa and it will work in Israel. And that seems to be what our alleged Champions of Liberty in Congress, so-called “resistance” politicians like California’s Adam Schiff and Ted Leiu, are frightened of. The entire world — aside from the United States — disapproves of Israel’s bullying of a landlocked territory without a standing army. These American politicians are legitimately concerned. If citizens of the United States of America are permitted to express their disapproval of a foreign government, who knows what they’ll want to protest next?

Their own government?

 

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