Posted on January 07, 2019 in Action Alerts

With every new Congress, the House and the Senate set their biggest priorities for their terms in the very first bills they introduce. Typically, these priorities focus on fundamental American interests. But this year’s first Senate bill, S1, takes aim at the First Amendment in an effort to shield Israel and its illegal settlements from American human rights activism that takes the form of boycotts.

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Risch (R-ID), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today introduced the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, a package that includes Rubio’s Combating BDS Act, which the ACLU says would “encourage states to adopt unconstitutional laws that would unjustly punish those doing business with the state based solely on their political beliefs.”

So far, two separate federal court decisions have ruled that anti-boycott state laws were unconstitutional as they violated the First Amendment-protected free speech of Americans. And beyond the legal technicality of the matter, there is an intuitive common sense question, which has been posed in a blog posted by the ACLU: “Since when do American citizens have to pledge to act in the interest of a foreign power in order to do business with their own government?”

Americans who engage in boycotts of Israel or its illegal settlements are engaged in First Amendment-protected activity, and Rubio’s efforts to enact punitive measures for them is unconstitutional and unAmerican. Contact your Senators and tell them to oppose Rubio’s effort.