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MI Senator Gary Peters is one of the co-sponsors of the bi-partisan bill to criminalize the BDS movement in the US

July 26, 2017

Since 2005, the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement has been growing and making significant progress in the effort to end the Israeli occupation

The BDS movement, which is modeled on the South African Anti-Apartheid movement, has been under attack since it began. However, there have been an increase in the number of tactics that governments are using to suppress this movement, particularly governments that support the Israeli occupation. 

The British government has attacked the BDS movement and now the US government wants to criminalize the movement.

According to a recent article by investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald

a group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.”

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) was introduced a few months ago and was drafted with input from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). 

The ACLU last week sent a letter to the Senators who co-sponsored this legislation stating, “We urge  you  to refrain  from co-sponsoring the legislation because it would  punish  individuals  for no reason other than  their political  beliefs.” 

One of the Senators that the ACLU sent the letter to was Michigan Senator Gary Peters.  This comes as no surprise considering that Senator Peters is following the same level of allegiance that his predecessor, Senator Carl Levin, had towards Israel. Senator Peters has been a top 20 recipient of Israeli Lobby money since taking over for Senator Levin.

The House version of the bill, H.R. 167, has nine cosponsors from Michigan alone, including Rep. Bill Huizenga from Holland. 

This piece of legislation represents the most recent example of the complete, bipartisan support of Israel and the demonization of any challenge to that support.

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