NEW YORK, NY — This week, progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) joined Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in opposing the bipartisan Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), claiming the bill violates the First Amendment right to support boycotting Israel and the settlements by penalizing U.S. citizens.
The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is an anti-Israel effort that seeks to cripple the Middle Eastern democracy’s legitimacy by targeting it financially and subjecting it to left-wing propaganda.
“I do not support the boycott. I think the boycott is wrong, but I think outlawing protected free speech activity violates our basic Constitution,” Warren said during her “10th town hall of the year” in Revere, Massachusetts on Saturday.
— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) August 8, 2017
Warren’s statement came in response to a question asked by “Jewish Voice for Peace” (JVP) member William Ruhm, who asked, “Senator Warren will you stand with us in opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act?” At an event in April, JVP hosted a convicted former Palestinian terrorist who is scheduled for deportation from the United States this month for lying on her immigration papers.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which was introduced by Warren’s fellow Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) in March and supported by 45 additional senators from the Republican and Democratic parties, “opposes the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution of March 24, 2016, which urges countries to pressure companies to divest from, or break contracts with, Israel” and “encourages full implementation of the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014 through enhanced, government-wide, coordinated U.S.-Israel scientific and technological cooperation in civilian areas.”
Last week, Sen. Gillibrand came under fire from World Jewish Congress president Ron Lauder, who said he was “deeply disturbed” by her decision to withdraw her backing of the Act.
Gillibrand also cited the First Amendment as the basis for her choice; a position held by progressive groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Breitbart previously reported, “In an op-ed last month, the ACLU wrote, ‘Last week, the ACLU came out against a bill that would criminalize constitutionally protected boycotts and certain speech targeting Israel. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which was introduced in both the House and Senate earlier this year, would expand a 1970s-era export law and expose a range of activity to sweeping penalties, including criminal prosecution.'”
The ACLU has also targeted members of the Democratic Party over their support for Israel.
Last month, they attacked Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) for supporting the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.
In a recent interview with Breitbart News, Jacob Millner, senior policy analyst for The Israel Project (TIP) said, “The ACLU is wrong. They are not interpreting the bill correctly. The bill is not dealing with personal speech, it’s dealing with commercial activity.”
Millner added, “The ACLU is conveniently leaving out the fact that the 1979 Anti-Boycott bill has been upheld as constitutional. These bills have now passed in 22 states and it’s important that we call out BDS for what it is; a hate campaign against Israel. It’s economic warfare. It’s not a human rights campaign. It’s an effort to delegitimize the Jewish state.”