Speech, media, academic, and other fundamental freedoms are threatened in America by majority bipartisan congressional hardliners.
Undemocratic Dems are as hostile to fundamental rights as Republicans. On January 3, neocon hardliner Senator Marco Rubio and three co-sponsors introduced the Orwellian Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019—SASME (S. 1).
It has nothing to do with “improv[ing] defense and security . . . in the Middle East”—everything to do with banning constitutionally guaranteed views on all issues, no matter how divergent from Washington’s agenda—notably criticism of Israeli apartheid rule.
It’s about consigning First Amendment rights to the dustbin of history. Banning views on one issue practically assures the same for others to come—what totalitarian rule is all about.
Congressional Israel Anti-Boycott legislation was introduced in 2017. It sought to punish US individuals and entities engaged in or supporting a boycott against nations allied with Washington—specifically with Israel in mind, notably by wanting legitimate BDS activities banned.
The unconstitutional Israel Anti-Boycott Act lacked enough congressional support to pass. It never got through committees for a House or Senate floor vote.
If legislation is enacted prohibiting free expression on any issues, Washington will have a new weapon against views it considers politically objectionable—what fundamental international laws and the First Amendment strictly prohibit, what totalitarian control is all about if legitimate criticism of Israel is banned, or publicly expressed views on any issues.
A previous article explained the following: In NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982), a landmark civil rights case, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the organization’s right to boycott white-owned businesses in Mississippi—protesting against segregation and racial injustice, its constitutional right.
The ruling stressed that states may not prohibit peaceful advocacy of a politically-motivated boycott, what First Amendment rights are all about.
Legislation delegitimizing BDS activism, prohibiting it, and falsely equating it to anti-Semitism was enacted by 26 states, 13 others considering it—flagrantly violating the Supreme Court ruling and fundamental First Amendment rights.
If similar congressionally introduced legislation is enacted into law, it’ll do the same thing—subordinating constitutionally protected rights to Israel’s unlawful apartheid persecution of Palestinians, along with prohibiting criticism of other US allies.
Peaceful advocacy of any views, no matter how divergent from others, is what politically-protected speech is all about.
Rubio et al sponsored legislation has nothing to do with protecting the national security interests of America, Israel, or any other countries, nothing to do with countering regional “destabilization threats.”
It has everything to do with advancing totalitarian rule in America, advancing the nation’s imperium, targeting its enemies with new tools, making the US more tyrannical than already.
SASME incorporates four previous police state measures, failing to get enough support for enactment into law:
- the United States-Israel Security Authorization Assistance Act of 2018;
- the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act;
- the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2018; and
- the Combating BDS Act of 2018.
Enactment of SASME is AIPAC’s top legislative priority, reason enough to strongly oppose it, plenty of other reasons explained above.
Most of all, it’s flagrantly unconstitutional—what no legitimate tribunal would accept. Two US district courts ruled that punishing individuals or entities for engaging in or supporting boycott activities against Israel is flagrantly unconstitutional.
The ACLU called SASME “a message to Americans that they will be penalized if they dare to disagree with their government”—on Israel and other issues.
The US Supreme Court will likely have final say on this fundamental issue—again.
It remains to be seen if its justices uphold the High Court’s unanimous 1982 ruling. Given its right-wing majority, it’s uncertain which way they’ll go.
The bipartisan supported erosion of constitutional rights in America should scare everyone—what police state rule is all about.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.