UPDATE: Sen. Gillibrand has dropped her support of this bill. You can call to congratulate her.
As a supporter of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, I strongly urge you to remove your sponsorship of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720) because the bill is an unconstitutional infringement on free speech and a blatant attempt to legitimize illegal Israeli settlements constructed in Occupied Territory in violation of international law.
The bill seeks to amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 to impose criminal penalties and fines on corporations that boycott business dealings with illegal Israeli settlements or divest assets from corporations profiting from illegal Israeli settlements. The bill also seeks to amend the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 to deny loans to corporations that similarly boycott or divest from business dealings with illegal Israeli settlements.
The Supreme Court has held that political boycotts, like boycotts for Palestinian rights, are unquestionably protected under the First Amendment. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, by seeking to penalize corporations which exercise that right, is an unconstitutional infringement on freedom of speech.
As the ACLU has stated, "the bill would punish businesses and individuals based solely on their point of view. Such a penalty is in direct violation of the First Amendment.” For additional reasons why the ACLU is opposed to this bill, please see: [ https://www.aclu.org/letter/aclu-letter-senate-opposing-israel-anti-boycott-act ]
Since 1967, stated bipartisan US policy has opposed the creation and expansion of Israeli settlements in Occupied Territory on the basis that these settlements constitute violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The intent and effect of this bill is to encourage business dealings with corporations based in illegal Israeli settlements and to penalize corporations which refuse to do so, thereby legitimizing and entrenching those settlements in opposition to official US policy.
For these reasons, I urge you to remove your sponsorship of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. I look forward to your response.
(From US Campaign for Palestinian Rights)