Recently in America, a bipartisan group of senators and congressman signed a bill called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which, if signed into law, would make it a crime to support a boycott against Israel. More shockingly, the proposed punishment for violating this law includes a minimum fine of $250,000 and a maximum fine of $1 million, and you could be thrown in jail for a maximum of 20 years. The AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) acts as if it’s a necessary part of what they see as a fight against the “delegitimisation of Israel”, and indeed, this was a top priority for the lobbying organisation this year.
My own views on Israel notwithstanding, this is simply an extremely abhorrent piece of legislation that I’m shocked anyone supports. The people who support it seem to have no idea of the ramifications this bill might have, namely regarding free speech. They seem to have forgotten that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly forbids any laws abridging freedom of speech. Of course their politicians, so I almost except them to skirt the constitution, but not so brazenly as they will do if this law passes.
Note that this bill was supported by both Democrats and Republicans. You have prominent conservative senators like Ted Cruz, Ben Sasse and Marco Rubio supporting it (thereby throwing Ted Cruz’s commitment to the constitution in question), along with left-wing senators such as Kirsten Gillibrand, Adam Schiff and Maria Cantwell. That should basically tell you that they’re all career politicians who want money wherever they can get it, and apparently the Israel Lobby is an indispensable source of income to them, so they have to appease them however they can.
Before you misconstrue me for some anti-Israel leftist, consider this. I actually oppose Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, because it’s an obvious attempt to delegitimise the state of Israel through hard-left moralising, and is one-sidedly in favour of the Palestinian side of the Arab-Israeli conflict. I’m about as supportive of Israel as I can get, but as a matter of principle, I am diametrically opposed to any law that threatens freedom of speech in any country, especially the West. We are facing enough threats to freedom of speech from potential totalitarians in our own governments (and in opposition). The last thing we want is more.
What’s really sad is that this can go on because there is no real opposition. Bipartisanship notwithstanding, this is the kind of bill I would have expected from a die-hard Republican back in the late 2000’s. In fact, I bet it’s mainly the chickenhawk neo-cons who want this, but the so-called liberals aren’t doing anything, and that’s because the left has lost its mind. Instead of focusing on serious issues like this, they’re focusing on non-issues like the wage gap, Islamophobia and the so-called “Trump-Russia collusion”, none of which are even real things, let alone things that Americans care about. The “liberal left” has spent so much of its energies on fantasy issues that it lost track of the real ones, and now its left to the functionally retarded ACLU to try and stop this. Yes, the very same ACLU that came out in defence of Islamist SJW Linda Sarsour.
In my opinion, this is the true moral bankruptcy of the bill. It’s an opportunistic piece of authoritarian legislation being trotted out by a bunch of unscrupulous political sellouts who know that they can slip it past the radar while the mainstream left is busy drumming up that phoney Russian collusion scandal. It’s exactly like how the British Parliament managed to pass the Investigatory Powers Bill while the opposition was in chaos and the left was too busy trying to undo Brexit.