There's almost no end to the claims that boycotting Israel is "free speech," protected by law. But this actually reflects a misunderstanding of how the US Constitution and similar laws of other Western nations work.
The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has capitalized on this misunderstanding to galvanize support, wage a propaganda campaign, oppose laws that would stop those activities, and pursue Israel's economic isolation.
This is a topic that involves strong emotions, politics and complicated legal technicalities.
To be clear, no private citizen is obligated to buy products from any particular foreign nation: that is a personal choice. Individuals boycotting Israel have every right to select the goods they buy. Similarly, anyone may lobby the US government to institute a boycott at a national level: that is free speech.
However, attempting to implement a private boycott against a foreign nation illegally bypasses Congress's exclusive power to regulate foreign trade, and thus undermines the American democratic system.
What is BDS?
BDS seeks to cast Israel as an "apartheid state" that should be subject to international boycott. Many people mistakenly believe that boycotting Israel is a social justice movement designed to bring equal rights to Palestinians.
We addressed that inaccurate claim in one of our YouTube videos:
If one listens carefully to the BDS founders and heavyweight leaders, their stated goal is not social justice, but rather the destruction of the world's only Jewish state. These three quotes reveal their real agenda.
1. Omar Barghouti, founder, BDS:
"Definitely most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine."
(Separately he clarifies that "Palestine" means all of Israel.)
2. As'ad AbuKhalil, California State University Professor of Political Science, BDS leader and activist:
"The real aim of BDS is to bring down the State of Israel...this should be stated as an unambiguous goal."
3. John Spritzler, author, BDS leader and activist:
"I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist..."
None of this should be surprising, given the stated position of the Palestinian government: that all of Israel is actually occupied Palestine. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas clarified this point when he stood in front of a map of Israel in a public address in January, 2018 and said: "This is our country."
[Editor's note: This is an excerpt. To read the rest of the article, please click here.]