The impacts of H.R.1697/S.720 would be antithetical to free speech protections enshrined in the First Amendment. This Bill could make any advocates for boycott a felony punishable by prison-time; would impose civil and criminal punishment on individuals solely because of their political beliefs about Israel and its policies.
H.R.1697/S.720 cannot fairly be characterized as an anti-discrimination measure, as some has argued. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 already prevents businesses from discriminating against customers based on race, color, religion, and national origin. This Bill, on the other hand, aims to punish people who support international boycotts that are meant to protest Israeli government policies, while leaving those who agree with Israeli government policies free from the threat of sanctions for engaging in the exact same behavior. Whatever their merits, such boycotts rightly enjoy First Amendment protection.