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Boycotts, Bans, & You:
Criminal Boycotts?!

U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminalize
Boycott Campaign Against Israel

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Within the last year, there has been a rise in political speech and activism towards many momentous events, such as North Korean conflict, same-sex marriage, to Twitter going beyond 140 characters! In relation to this article, a group of senators wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the boycott against Israel, resulting in a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

Why is there a boycott on Israel and why is it becoming an international movement?

According to a Time article, the boycott movement was started by the Israelis-Zionist (a person who believes in the development and protection of a Jewish nation, Israel) liberals who support Israel’s existence on land it won in the 1948 war, but with Israel’s occupation in Palestinian territory in 1967, the Israelis wanted to boycott goods produced by Israeli companies (that operate on Palestinian land). Over time, this situation gained different opinions from other countries. Some felt sympathetic towards the Palestinians while others were in favor of Israel.

For more information regarding the history of the Boycott campaign, click here!

Which leads us to the boycott movement today. Around the world, people are expressing their avoidance of Israel and are getting punished for it. For instance, in France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. In the U.K., has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. Leading into the United States, U.S. governors are trying to impose strict regulations of any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements. In July 2017, a group of senators wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel. But, people have questioned that penalizing boycotting may infringe upon the first amendment’s freedom of speech and protest.

 

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Questions:

1) How does this violate or how does this not violate the right to freedom of speech granted by the First Amendment?

2) How does this violate or how does this not violate the right to freedom of speech granted by the First Amendment?

3) Why do you think boycotting as a form of activism should or should not be a felony offense?

4) Some critics of the attempted boycott ban argued that this type of ban would not be attempted if it was any other nation allied with the United States, and that Jewish and Christian lawmakers have suggested the ban because of religious beliefs rather than out of national security concerns.  Remember: the First Amendment suggests there should be some separation of church and state, but how that separation should look has led to many legal battles throughout American history.

With those observations in mind Why do you feel that it is acceptable or unacceptable for lawmakers to make decisions based on their own personal beliefs when serving in government, and

5) How are your feelings (as explained in response to Question 4) supported or not supported by the wording of the First Amendment,  and what precedent-setting legal decisions support your response?

 

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:

 https://theintercept.com/2017/07/19/u-s-lawmakers-seek-to-criminally-outlaw-support-for-boycott-campaign-against-israel/

 

Contributed by – J. Pennington




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My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity. - Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]

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