November 16, 2018

Jewish Groups Praise Bill Protecting Businesses from BDS

A coalition of Jewish organizations has praised a bill put forward by a couple of Republican congressman that would protect businesses from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The bill, titled The Export Administration Anti-Discrimination Act (EAADA), updates the 1979 Export Administration Act, which outlaws boycotts of countries and businesses “friendly” to the U.S. The EAADA amends the EAA so boycotts that affect a country that is not subjected to United States sanctions are outlawed. The EAADA also allows private organizations harmed by such boycotts to take legal action.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who introduced the EAADA, said in a statement: “The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement has weaponized economic activity to purposefully inflict financial harm on Israel. Americans and our allies alike deserve the freedom to conduct business without the perpetual threat of discriminatory boycotts.”

“U.S. policy should reflect strong opposition to those who seek to isolate our allies and cause economic damage to countries such as Israel. The Export Administration Anti-Discrimination Act will strengthen current law and modernize important anti-boycott protections.”

Supporters of the EAADA include the World Jewish Congress (WJC), The Lawfare Project, the Israeli-American Coalition for Action and the Rabbinical Council of America.

“I would like to thank Congressmen Ron DeSantis and Chairman Bob Goodlatte for putting forward this important legislation that will combat the BDS movement, which is rearing its ugly head all over the world,” WJC President Ronald Lauder said in a statement. “The legislation being advanced does not in any way infringe one’s right to free speech, but it does ensure that those who engage in commercial discrimination on the basis of someone’s national origin will face consequences for that repugnant behavior. I urge members of both parties to sign onto this bill to assure its passage and enactment into law.”

Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project, said in a statement that the bill was “a commonsense way of improving and better enforcing current laws.”

“The EAA was passed nearly 40 years ago,” Goldstein said. “This bill updates that important legislation to provide clarity and close loopholes that prevent discriminatory boycotts targeting American allies like Israel.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Rights Council is considering an expansion of its blacklist of companies that do business with Israel.