Speed Reads

it's not all health care

This bipartisan bill would make it a felony to support the international boycott of Israel

A bipartisan group of senators is aiming to make it a felony for Americans to cooperate "with efforts by international organizers — including the U.N. — to boycott Israel," The Intercept reports. The bill has been condemned by the ACLU, which writes that the organization "takes no position for or against the effort to boycott Israel or any foreign country" but that it takes issue with the fact that the bill "would punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs." If passed, Americans who support international boycotts against Israel could face up to a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The bill is primarily sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and boasts an additional 28 Republican and 13 Democratic supporters. Co-sponsors range from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). No senators have yet denounced the bill.

The Intercept is heavily critical of the bill, writing:

[T]he free speech debate in the U.S. is incredibly selective and warped. Pundits and political officials love to crusade as free speech champions — when doing so involves defending mainstream ideas or attacking marginalized, powerless groups such as minority college students. But when it comes to one of the most systemic, powerful, and dangerous assaults on free speech in the U.S. and the West generally — the growing attempt to literally criminalize speech and activism aimed at the Israeli government's occupation — these free speech warriors typically fall silent. [The Intercept]

Read the full report at The Intercept.