YDS Opposes the Criminalization of BDS

A bill was recently proposed that potentially poses a threat to a number of dedicated left-wing, anti-imperialist activists and their right to free speech. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) seeks to criminalize the boycott of Israeli produced goods and services. Any evidence of politically motivated acts of boycott against Israel will be prosecuted. To boycott Israel is an expression of the First Amendment right to free speech.

The Coordinating Committee of Young Democratic Socialists firmly stand for the Palestinian right to self-determination and supports the endorsement by DSA of a boycott of goods and services produced by Israeli and foreign corporations in the occupied territories and for divestment from companies such as Caterpillar and Motorola that economically benefit from the occupation. (Such a policy is commonly known as “partial” boycott, divestment and sanctions.)

The Center for Constitutional Rights has described the widespread suppression of human rights activism in support of Palestine as the  “Palestine Exception to Free Speech.” This is something that is present on our campuses and in politics at-large. We stand against this unfair double standard. YDS joins the ACLU and many others in denouncing this harmful bill, which would punish individuals boycotting Israel with a minimum penalty of $250,000 and a maximum penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The rise of the far-right in the United States and around the world raises the need to defend free speech. When even supposedly progressive politicians feel a need to stand with AIPAC, YDS stands for civil rights and human rights. Socialists past and present have consistently stood for free speech. For example, figures like Elizabeth Gurley Flynn played a key role in founding the American Civil Liberties Union. YDS stands firmly against this proposed bill and in solidarity with those opposing it.

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commented 2017-08-21 09:06:07 -0400 · Flag
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