As debate continues to rage over the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, and one rumored 2020 presidential candidate distances herself from it, another prominent Democrat and rumored presidential candidate has come out against it as well. Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her opposition to the bill this week, calling it a violation of free speech.
Warren, who was never a sponsor of the bill, was asked about it by a constituent at a town hall last night. In response, she said that while she disagreed with BDS, she also said that “outlawing free speech-protected activity violates our basic constitution.”
The bill is an addition to the Export Act of 1979, which criminalized a company knowingly joining the Arab League boycott of Israel. This addition would update the bill to criminalize US companies from joining on to boycotts of US allies called for by intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations or the European Union. Violations could be punishable by up to $1 million in fines and 20 years in prison.
Besides Warren, other Democratic Senators are feeling the heat regarding the bill as well. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon was confronted by constituents this past weekend who questioned why he supported the bill. Wyden argues that the bill simply updates the previous 1979 law targeting the Arab League boycott of Israel, and that no one has been imprisoned for violating that.
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