Thursday, July 20, 2017

Time to Review a Bill Is Not AFTER You Co-Sponsor It

Following concerns from civil liberties advocates, Rep. Joe Kennedy’s office says he is reviewing an anti-boycott bill he cosponsors.

Kennedy is among 63 Democrats and 174 Republicans supporting a House bill, which currently would make supporting a movement to boycott Israel over its treatment of Palestinians a felony punishable by up to a $1 million fine and 20 years in prison, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate, where it also has received bipartisan support. The ACLU has called the bill a “direct violation of the First Amendment.”

Kennedy is one of two Massachusetts congressman listed as cosponsors of H.R.1697, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.


“Congressman Kennedy firmly opposes the BDS movement which seeks to isolate and undermine one of our closest global allies,” Kaufman said in a statement. “He takes the concerns raised with this particular bill extremely seriously and is reviewing the legislation.”


As The Intercept reported Wednesday, several of the bill’s supporters appeared unaware of the potential punishments for violators, should the legislation, as currently written, become law.


Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat who introduced the Senate version, told the outlet that he didn’t believe the bill criminalized participation in the Israel boycott and suggested he would support rewriting the language if it did.


“We’re very sensitive to people having different views,” Cardin said. “We’re not trying to weigh in at all on the differences between the Palestinians and the Israelis. What we’re trying to do is make it clear that the United States is not going to participate in boycotts.
Then maybe you should read the bills you're trying to pass.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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