The “grip” of AIPAC is so complete that writers who challenge it are smeared as “anti-Semites” and politicians who buck it “see their careers suddenly stalled,” Andrew Sullivan says in denouncing Schumer for leading the charge on the “creeping authoritarianism” of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act before Congress.
Andrew Sullivan has long been a singular critical voice on the Israel question among U.S. mainstream columnists and he plays that role again at New York Magazine in a column blasting Chuck Schumer for leading the charge on “creeping authoritarianism” with the new “Israel Anti-Boycott Act”. Sullivan ascribes the bill to the “complete… grip of AIPAC” in Washington. Crossing the lobby leaves writers smeared as “anti-Semites” and politicians’ careers “suddenly stalled.” Here’s the whole bit:
One of the features you most associate with creeping authoritarianism is the criminalization of certain political positions. Is anything more anathema to a liberal democracy? If Trump were to suggest it, can you imagine the reaction?
And yet it’s apparently fine with a hefty plurality of the Senate and House. I’m referring to the remarkable bill introduced into the Congress earlier this year — with 237 sponsors and co-sponsors in the House and 43 in the Senate — which the ACLU and the Intercept have just brought to light. It’s a remarkably bipartisan effort, backed by Chuck Schumer and Ted Cruz, among many solid Trump-resisting Democrats and hard-line Republicans. And it would actually impose civil and criminal penalties on American citizens for backing or joining any international boycott of Israel because of its settlement activities. There are even penalties for simply inquiring about such a boycott. And they’re not messing around. The minimum civil penalty would be $250,000 and the maximum criminal penalty $1 million and 20 years in prison. Up to 20 years in prison for opposing the policies of a foreign government and doing something about it! And, yes, the Senate Minority Leader is leading the charge.
Look: I’m not in favor of boycotting Israel when we don’t boycott, say, Saudi Arabia. But seriously: making it illegal? Every now and again, you just have to sit back and admire the extraordinary skills of the Greater Israel lobby. You’ve never heard of this bill, and I hadn’t either…