Two pieces of controversial legislation may be inserted into a must-pass omnibus spending bill, virtually guaranteeing that they would become law without debate. Please contact your members of Congress to let them know that you oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720 and H.R.1697), under the guise of preventing companies from joining boycotts of Israel promoted by international non-governmental organizations, intentionally blurs the distinction between Israel and the occupation. Under this bill, measures targeting West Bank settlements and the occupation would be regarded as targeting Israel. APN opposes the occupation and supports boycotting West Bank settlements. While opposing boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel (BDS), APN believes that boycotts are a legitimate nonviolent expression of protest, which should not be criminalized.
The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (S.2940 and H.R.5924) would require the Department of Education to utilize a definition of anti-Semitism employed by the Department of State in assessing whether a school has violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by tolerating anti-Semitic harassment. That definition labels as anti-Semitism certain types of criticism of Israel and the occupation. The definition’s author opposes the ASAA, arguing that his definition was never intended for use on campuses as a means of censoring constitutionally protected free speech. Should it pass, the ASAA likely will have a chilling effect on speech related to Israel on college campuses.
Both pieces of legislation are opposed by the ACLU on the grounds that they unconstitutionally restrict freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Take action and let your members of Congress know that these bills should not be snuck into law through inclusion in must-pass budget legislation.