Press Releases

CAIR Welcomes Sens. Sanders and Feinstein’s Rejection of “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” in Appropriations Bill

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/19/2018)””The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a letter from Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urging the Senate to not include the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” in any year-end appropriations bill.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720 / H.R.1697) penalizes Americans who participate in political boycotts aimed at Israel and its settlements in the West Bank. Knowingly violating the act could result in fines up to $1 million. Earlier versions of the bill would have made it a crime, subject to up to 20 years in jail.

SEE: Sen. Sanders and Feinstein’s Letter to U.S. Senate

“Senators Sanders and Feinstein’s decision to stand by the First Amendment and reject the Israel Anti-Boycott Bill is a step in the right direction,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw. “American involvement in foreign boycotts started with throwing tea in Boston Harbor. It is un-American and illegal for the U.S. Government to deny U.S. businesses and persons the right to challenge the illegal and discriminatory actions of a foreign government.”

TAKE ACTION: CAIR has issued an action alert calling on all Americans who value the Constitution to contact their representatives and urge them to oppose the proposed legislation.

The Senators Sanders and Feinstein letter said, in part:

“While we do not support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, we remain resolved to our constitutional oath to defend the right of every American to express their views peacefully without fear of or actual punishment by the government”¦ At a time when the Netanyahu government is pursuing policies clearly aimed at foreclosing the two-state solution, it is deeply disappointing that Congress would consider penalizing criticism of those policies.”

CAIR and other civil rights organizations such as the ACLU oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720 / H.R.1697) for violating the constitutionally-guaranteed free speech rights of American business owners and individuals who participate in the international boycott of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine territories.

Recently, CAIR announced a major First Amendment challenge to a Texas anti-BDS law.

SEE: CAIR to Announce Major First Amendment Challenge to Texas Anti-BDS Law

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Department Director Robert S. McCaw, 202-742-6448,; National Communications Manager Naaz Modan, 202-748-4319,


Share on facebook
Share on twitter