Israel-focused Anti-Boycott Legislation — A Template for Quashing Free Speech on Other Issues


Back in 2018 I published an article entitled, U.S. Politicians Are Backing a Free Speech Exception for Israel — & Creating a Template for Broader Assault on the First Amendment. That analysis included the following warning:

“…lawmakers who support a free speech exception for Israel — whether for reasons of ideology or political expediency — run the risk of shoving the country down a very slippery slope that ends in a broad assault on the 1st Amendment. The dangers inherent in such an assault cannot be overstated. Free speech is the bedrock of America’s democracy. It is not absolute, but the exceptions recognized by the Supreme Court do not permit the suppression of political speech, especially speech that may be unpopular or run counter to the views of those currently in office. Regrettably, lawmakers thus far appear entirely indifferent both to the avoidable legal costs these Israel gag laws will inflict on tax payers, and to the far heavier costs they threaten to impose on American democracy.”

In 2021, my warning proved prescient, as states began using Israel-focused anti-boycott legislation as a template to quash free speech/protest on other issues, as documented in this table (which will be updated regularly).