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Boycott Calls Against Israel
Anti-Boycott Initiative by Congress: Implications for Academic BDS


Editorial Note

Two House members, Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) and Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) introduced legislation, Boycott Our Enemies, Not Israel Act. Under the terms of the bill, contractors with the U.S. government and those seeking contracts would have to certify that they are not engaged in any boycott against Israel. Lamborn explained that the legislation will “thwart efforts by Palestinian organizations to pressure different corporations, companies and educational institutions to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel.” 

This is the second BDS-related piece of legislation in Congress. Responding to the American Studies Associations' BDS resolution, Peter Roskam (R-Illinois) and Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) introduced “Protect Academic Freedom Act” in 2014.  

Unlike the Roskam-Lipinski proposal that faces complex First Amendment questions, the Lamborn-DeSantis legislation should have an easy sailing in Congress where both chambers are controlled by Republicans. 

The new legislation is a potential game-changer.  None the BDS resolutions have prompted university authorities to actually divest, leading observers to note that the process of debating the resolutions is the actual prize.  The debates have provided the organizers with a well-publicized platform to present Israel as an apartheid state.  Should Lamborn-DeSantis pass, the BDS resolutions would essentially demand that universities put the said companies between the proverbial rock and a hard place.   They can divest to please their academic shareholders, but would have to face federal penalties if they seek contracts.    

Only time will tell how the new scenario will put a dent in the BDS movement or encourage the hard-core activists to take on their other great enemies, capitalism and imperialism. 


U.S. lawmakers introduce legislation to prevent Israel boycotts

'Boycott Our Enemies, Not Israel Act' tabled by Republican congressmen aims to prevent companies participating in BDS activities from winning U.S. government contracts.

By JTA | Mar. 27, 2015 | 12:32 AM |   2

Two Republican congressmen introduced legislation to prevent boycotts of Israel.

Under the Boycott Our Enemies, Not Israel Act introduced Wednesday by Reps. Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Ron DeSantis of Florida, prospective contractors with the U.S. government would be required to certify that they are not participating in any boycotts against Israel. The bill also includes penalties for false certification, including permanently banning a company from doing business with the government.

“Our government business practices should not play any role in harming our greatest ally in the Middle East,” Lamborn said in a statement, adding that the bill was introduced to “thwart efforts by Palestinian organizations to pressure different corporations, companies and educational institutions to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel.”

“The BDS movement represents a disgraceful attempt to single out Israel for punitive treatment,” he said.

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