The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement trying to hold Israel to account for its severe human rights violations has long been under assault, but things have taken a nutty turn for the worse when the House and Senate introduced bills to flat-out criminalize BDS (Toto, I have a feeling we're not in America anymore). The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was reportedly involved in writing the bills. Thankfully, the people standing up to this madness aren’t just your typical defenders of Palestinian rights, but also giants of American free speech and civil rights like the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU just issued a letter to Congress saying: “We urge you to refrain from co-sponsoring the legislation because it would punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs,” noting that the law would institute penalties ranging from a $250,000 to 20 years in prison for violators of the ban on Israel boycotts. This is every bit as ominous as it sounds, and it calls on all who care about our rights as Americans to speak out, regardless of where we stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But if there is a silver lining in all this, it’s realizing that opponents of Palestinian rights are having to take extreme, loony measures to defend Israel’s occupation, even damaging American liberties, because they can no longer win the argument for the occupation on merits.

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