Mass. Congressmen Still Support Anti-Israel Boycott Legislation

Jul 21, 2017

Two Massachusetts Congressmen remain supportive of a bill that would impose criminal penalties on Americans who support a boycott of Israel, despite concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union.

US Representatives Joe Kennedy III and Richard E. Neal said in statements Friday that they still support the bill known as the Anti-Israel Boycott Act. Both congressmen cosponsor the bill, along with 238 other House members.

A letter sent to Congress by the ACLU last week objects to aspects of the legislation, which the organization said would impose up to $1 million in fines and 20 years in prison for those who participate in a boycott of Israel.

In addition to the ACLU, the western Massachusetts branch of advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace stand against it, arguing that it contradicts parts of the US constitution, said organizer Rachel Weber.

“A bill like this, which is seeking to impose civil and criminal penalties on engaging in a constitutionally-protected act of boycott is really devastating," Weber said.

In separate statements, Neal and Kennedy each said they take seriously the issues raised by the ACLU, but oppose international efforts to isolate Israel.