A new bill aimed at criminalizing boycotts of Israel and Israeli settlements is gaining bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate. The proposed Israel Anti-Boycott Act, as reported on by The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim, “would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel” and was drafted with help from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Amy Goodman sat down with Grim and Rabbi Joseph Berman of Jewish Voice for Peace to discuss what the origins of the legislation and what it means for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Watch the interview below:


“You know, the way that it was presented in the lobbying effort didn’t talk about the criminal penalties that were associated with violating this statute. And so, when our story came out and when the ACLU letter circulated this week, a lot of the people who had sponsored it were a bit surprised that they had actually backed something like this,” Grim tells Goodman. “They thought it was a rather simple kind of extension of a policy that had been in place for decades, merely extending it to the EU and the U.N. But, in fact, it comes with these—according to the ACLU, these draconian penalties. And so, I think you’re seeing a lot of them revisit it at this moment, now that there’s so much more public attention on it.”

Rabbi Berman then discuss AIPAC’s influence, noting that “they don’t speak for the Jewish community.”

“What we need to see is we need to see equality and human rights and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis. I personally care, care deeply, for the freedom and liberation of Palestinians, and that’s what—that’s what we’re struggling for and need to continue to struggle for, and care deeply, love my fellow Jewish sisters and brothers and want them also to be safe,” Berman continues. “And so I want to see that safety for Palestinians and Israelis, and the conditions, having equality and human rights and dignity, that can lead us to a just and lasting peace.”

—Posted by Emma Niles

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