Understanding the First Amendment
The first amendment to the US constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The people have the right to petition and boycott against tyranny. Furthermore, people have the right to criticize the government and any organization. It does not take a constitutional expert to realize that one is able to protest another country using their First Amendment rights.
It has also been established that political boycotts are protected under the First Amendment.
Laws Prohibiting Boycott of Israel
However, some states have not gotten the memo. In 27 states there are laws that prevent parties from boycotting Israel. These laws prohibit state agencies from contracting with groups who boycott Israel. Any company that does not pledge to not boycott Israel will not be able to work with the state.
In Texas, it has gone a step further by creating a blacklist of private entities that boycott Israel. The State of Ohio passed a joint resolution condemning Palestinian rights activists as “anti-Semitic”.
These laws are similar to witch trials and McCarthyism. However, these people are not even criticizing America (which they should have the right to do ), but rather a foreign country!
These laws currently exist in 27 states with others having introduced it. The 27 states include;
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
If you live in these states, the government may refuse to work with you because of your opinions on how a foreign country (Israel) is running its operations or because you stand for Palestinians.
Israel Boycott Laws at the Federal Level
The very first proposed bill by the new US Senate was not one protecting our constitutional rights, but one that tried to take it away. The Republican-controlled Senate’s first bill was one authorizing state and local governments to hold these Israel boycott laws. The law has recently passed in the Senate but has yet to pass in the House.
Ilhan Omar was attacked by both the left and right as “anti-Semitic” when she called out Israeli interest groups inside the government. These laws prohibiting boycott of Israel may serve as evidence to prove her right. There are dozens of Israeli lobbying groups in the United States, and it is clear that they are doing something right.
No matter what the country is doing it, foreign lobbying is unacceptable. Furthermore, it is despicable that first amendment rights are being taken away. The Founding Fathers would be confused as to why the states won’t let people boycott or criticize other nations. They would see this as a blatant violation of the constitution.
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