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Americans Have a Right to Boycott, Even If It’s Wrong

I am not in favor of boycotting Israel. Israel has been a good ally. I have traveled to Israel, and it was one of the best and most meaningful trips I have taken with my family. Standing at the Western Wall was special and powerful. Visiting old Jerusalem was incredible, and sailing on the sea of Galilee while a double rainbow glowed above us is something I will never forget. Israel is truly a unique and special place.

I also agree with both supporters of Israel and PLO leaders that a boycott has the potential to hurt both Israel and the Palestinians.

At the same time, I am concerned about what the role of Congress can and should be in this situation. I strongly oppose any legislation that attempts to ban boycotts or ban people who support boycotts from participating in our government or working for our government.

I firmly believe we have to be very careful what powers we exercise in government—and think through whether or not we would want them used if the situation were different.


We must be very, very careful here to not let our dislike for something cloud our judgment in our roles as legislators and what powers we grant to Congress and to government in general.

America is the land of freedom of expression, and the hallmark of a truly free country is that it allows expressions, speech, and actions that we do not agree with. By all means, opponents of boycotting Israel should be heard—but so should their opponents. Legislation to end boycotts goes against the very principles America was founded upon.

America is distinguished by dissent and dissenters. It was founded amidst a boycott of English tea. Abolitionists boycotted slave goods. Rosa Parks led the boycott against segregated busing.

The bus boycott lasted for 382 days in 1955 and 1956. The protest was set off by denying Rosa Parks a seat in the “white” section. Thousands of black men and women boycotted the Montgomery, Alabama, bus system in an attempt to end segregation.


It was their right, and the right of those from Ralph Abernathy to E.D. Nixon to Martin Luther King, to lead these protests.

But throughout the more than year-long protest, the homes of Dr. King and Mr. Nixon were bombed. And on a single day in 1956, over 80 leaders of the protest were indicted on “conspiracy” charges in an attempt to stop the boycotts.

This was wrong, but we don’t fully understand the way the rule of law and our freedoms work if we think it was wrong because we agreed with their boycott.

It was wrong regardless of what was being protested and what was being boycotted. The law shouldn’t be used to shut down protests or boycotts, no matter what the dispute involves.

Courts have ruled on this as well, notably in NAACP v Claiborne Hardware Co. The court held that the economic boycott of white-owned businesses by blacks was entitled to First Amendment protection, as should be the case. It argued that a “non-violent, politically motivated boycott” was political speech and protected. I agree fully.

Whether or not to support a boycott depends on the merits of the argument. Whether or not to allow boycotts should be independent of the merits of the boycott. The First Amendment is about speech you like and speech you don’t like. If anything, it is more about protecting unpopular speech or the speech of minorities, whether they be a minority by the color of their skin or the shade of their ideology.

Let’s hope calmer heads prevail. Let’s hope Congress votes against limiting boycotts or free speech of any kind.

Rand Paul is the junior U.S. senator from Kentucky and a Republican.

50 Comments (Open | Close)

50 Comments To "Americans Have a Right to Boycott, Even If It’s Wrong"

#1 Comment By Egypt Steve On January 10, 2019 @ 3:36 pm

Good on you, Rand.

#2 Comment By John Mann On January 10, 2019 @ 3:40 pm

Well said.

Legislation to end boycotts does indeed go against the very principles America was founded upon.

However, I think that it might be a slight exaggeration to say that Israel has been a good ally of the U.S.

The sinking of the USS Liberty is not exactly the sort of thing that good allies do.

See [1]

#3 Comment By Stephen J. On January 10, 2019 @ 4:07 pm

Once freedom of expression is suppressed for some it could be suppressed for all.
“I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.” Voltaire

#4 Comment By Sid Finster On January 10, 2019 @ 4:25 pm

If you are going to write articles like this, you are going to incur the wrath of the Israel-First crowd. Anything short of full-throated Kool-Aid chugging support will earn you a black mark in Netanyahu’s book, so you might as well stop mincing your words.

Did you learn nothing from your presidential run, when you pitched yourself as a sort of decaffeinated neocon? Did you not learn that half-measures satisfy nobody?

The neocons still called you an Agent of Russia. People not determined to hurl ourselves into WWIII for no good reason decided that rather than resist the pressure, you would just take half-measures in an effort to please everyone.

“Maybe a really limited nuclear war!”

#5 Comment By Kurt Gayle On January 10, 2019 @ 4:26 pm

What Congress needs to do is to pass a bill comparable to “The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986.”

In the House vote, taken on September 29, 1986, 232 Democrats and 81 Republicans voted to override the President Ronald Reagan’s veto while 4 Democrats and 79 Republicans voted to sustain the President’s veto. In the Senate vote, all 47 Democrats were joined by 31 Republicans to override the President’s veto while 21 Republicans voted to sustain the President’s veto. This override marked the first time in the twentieth century that a president had a foreign policy veto overridden.

The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act against South Africa was only partially enforced by the Reagan administration, but in 1989, the newly elected President George H.W. Bush committed to “full enforcement” of the Anti-Apartheid Act. As a result, from 1990-1991, South African President F. W. de Klerk made steps towards meeting the preconditions of the Anti-Apartheid Act. In 1991, following de Klerk’s repeal of Apartheid laws and the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, President Bush issued an executive order lifting virtually all bans against doing business with South Africa.

The US Congress stood up to South Africa’s apartheid policies and forced South Africa to reverse those policies.

The US Congress should stand up to Israel’s apartheid policies and force Israel to reverse those policies.


#6 Comment By JohnInCA On January 10, 2019 @ 4:34 pm

Well, he isn’t wrong.

But he’s barely relevant.

At question isn’t whether someone should be allowed to boycott Israel, or allowed to boycott people who boycott Israel.

It’s whether or not a local, state, or federal government can consider said boycott in the matters of hiring, firing, and contracting.

More relevant to the case at hand then the NAACP case is the Bob Jones University case. In that one, the government said that Bob Jones University had a policy banning interracial dating among students that was against public interest, and that as a result, it would not receive certain federal funds. The courts agreed with this. Bob Jones got to keep it’s racist policy, and the feds got to withhold funding.

Similarly, when Harvard and other Ivy League universities refused military recruiters over DADT, the courts ruled that they could keep their policy of refusing recruiters… and the Fed could withhold funds.

So yes. Everyone has a right to boycott, and should not be imprisoned or threatened over the boycott. But the government is fully within it’s rights to opt not to hire, promote, or contract with you as a consequence.

And please note, this should not be read as an endorsement of any given boycott or boycotter-boycott.

#7 Comment By Jeeves On January 10, 2019 @ 4:38 pm

According to Haaretz:

In the past year, laws of this kind have been challenged in courts. State contractors have sued states over these laws, arguing that the demand to sign such pledges is unconstitutional and harms their First Amendment right to free speech. In two cases, federal courts in Kansas and Arizona ordered to freeze the implementation of the laws because of constitutional concerns. New lawsuits on the same issue have recently been filed in Texas and Arkansas.

#8 Comment By Interguru On January 10, 2019 @ 6:39 pm

If BDS is so interested in the rights of oppressed peoples, why does have a laser focus on the Palestinians, while ignoring the plight of the Chechens, Tibetans, and Uigars? In the latter case, they are being rounded up into gulags.

To ask the question is to answer it,

#9 Comment By JimDandy On January 10, 2019 @ 7:31 pm

Thank you, Rand, for meekly pointing out that water is wet and the sky is blue. And that’s no insult–what you did here is uniquely heroic these days.

#10 Comment By pensword On January 10, 2019 @ 7:38 pm


But the government is fully within it’s rights to opt not to hire, promote, or contract with you as a consequence.

Anti-BDS laws have already been struck down as unconstitutional in both Kansas and Arizona and, in other states, they’re likely to face a similar fate.

It appears the authors of this legislation knew it was destined to fail; they simply wish to flex their muscle by intimidating the unwashed masses into silence over the matter of Israel’s shameless treatment of the Palestinian people.

It’s good that Rand Paul shows the integrity he does, but Israel is hardly an ally of the United States. It played a significant role in dragging America into a needless war in Iraq and causing the subsequent chaos that ensued. Google “Oded Yinon Plan” for a broader view of what’s happening there.

#11 Comment By PAX On January 10, 2019 @ 7:47 pm

Brendan O’Connell an Australian from thrown into jail for three years on a criminal charge mainly over a rant on Youtube. The state of Western Australia has criminalized “hate speech.” His rant was definitely unpalatable. Should he have gone to jail? The government of Israel sent representation to the government of Western Australia to ensure prosecution of O’Connell. They did. Free Speech is sacrosanct. Maybe they would have Patrick Buchanan jailed for his 2003 “Whose war” article? Where will government sanction of our civil rights end? Who will be the arbitrators? Protect the First Amendment. Puts the US head and shoulders above most countries in the world. People who condone suppression of free speech probably would have been onside with the Spanish inquisitors. There are libel laws for false accusations.

#12 Comment By Groucho On January 10, 2019 @ 7:55 pm

I agree with John Mann. I don’t think Israel has been a good ally of the US. The USS liberty is one example. Israeli spying on Americans is another. The relationship seems very much one way.

That’s said, I agree with the senator’s argument. The bigger issue is about the right to free speech and political action.

The anti-BDS legislation requires employees and contractors to swear an allegiance to Israel that they are not required to have for the United States or for their state.

There doesn’t seem to be any limit to what politicians will do for campaign donations.

#13 Comment By Whine Merchant On January 10, 2019 @ 8:07 pm

The British tried to criminalise the boycott of their salt monopoly in greater India – look how that turned-out for them in the long run. This will never become law, but it may cause Israel to lose it’s colony in North America.

#14 Comment By SteveM On January 10, 2019 @ 8:12 pm

President Washington trumps Senator Paul:

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld.

And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation…

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it.

Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

Israel is anything but an “ally” of the United States.

#15 Comment By the mind reels On January 10, 2019 @ 8:46 pm

So. The US government has been shut down for over two weeks over the question of a $5 billion dollar wall for US border security.

Congress comes back into session, and Marco Rubio stands to introduce the first piece of legislation in the Senate.

Is it an inspired proposal to overcome the shutdown impasse and re-open the US government?

Actually, no.

It is a bill that would give the state of Israel $38.5 billion dollars in American tax money and punish Americans who criticize Israel.


#16 Comment By BobS On January 10, 2019 @ 9:34 pm

“The sinking of the USS Liberty is not exactly the sort of thing that good allies do.”

The attack on the USS Liberty is not even the sort of thing our supposed enemies (like Iran) do.

#17 Comment By Taras 77 On January 10, 2019 @ 10:18 pm

Good point, Rand.

I’m starting to respect Rand’s “swagger” more and more as he takes on the sacred cows of zionism, particularly as they are espoused by pompeo, bolton, et al.

#18 Comment By Ellimist000 On January 11, 2019 @ 12:35 am

Senator, if you truly mean to advance liberty and not oligarchy, surely you can see that the left at least advance it halfway, instead of the GOP who will do none of it?

#19 Comment By JEinCA On January 11, 2019 @ 3:02 am

And most of you folks would at least “publicly” deny that you believe in Jewish conspiracies. I publicly proclaim before all that I DO believe in Jewish conspiracies and the Zionist lobby in Washington doesn’t even hide them anymore it’s right out in the open for everyone to see. Grow a pair American man and take back your birthright from the cabal!

#20 Comment By Delby On January 11, 2019 @ 6:19 am

I’ve noticed that the supporters of Israel have taken a different tack in their attempts to prevent Americans from boycotting Israel: withholding government money from those who support a boycott, for example, not hiring teachers who refuse to sign “loyalty oaths” to Israel. On what basis could the courts decide that this was against the “public interest?” On the contrary, the exercise of free opinion is in the public interest. This is not Antisemitism, it is against policies of the Israeli state. What other country is exempt from a freely organized boycott by Americans? We can organize an economic boycott of Georgia or California but not Israel? One has to ask, who needs an ally like this?

#21 Comment By EdK On January 11, 2019 @ 7:29 am

Agree with Senator Rand Paul, This Legislation goes against the First Amendment principles, the following article states best: [3]

#22 Comment By rta On January 11, 2019 @ 10:13 am

I stopped reading after the first paragraph. I couldn’t stop gagging. “Israel” and “ally” in the same sentence. That IS rich.

#23 Comment By tock tock On January 11, 2019 @ 10:27 am

“not hiring teachers who refuse to sign “loyalty oaths” to Israel.”

This is ironic. I guess there’s no point in accusing Jews of dual loyalty when they’re passing laws making the rest of us swear loyalty oaths to Israel, right?

I suspect that absurd overreach of this kind is a hopeful sign, heralding a major change in attitudes. When those harassing you are this brittle and hysterical, when they feel they have to tape your mouth shut, even prevent you from making a living, those are people who feel the ground shifting beneath their feet. People who have begun to fear. As well they should.

#24 Comment By good idea On January 11, 2019 @ 12:03 pm

@EdK – There’s a novel idea! An American Congress that represents Americans! An American Congress that spends tax money on Americans instead of giving it to Israel, Egypt, and Afghanistan! An American Congress that exercises its constitutional duty to declare war! That doesn’t let foreign countries use corrupt campaign money to buy the lives of our military men and women and put America itself at risk.

That means a lot of corrupt weasels and foreign agents have to be horsewhipped down the Capitol Hill steps and out of town, but I’m game!

#25 Comment By MC On January 11, 2019 @ 3:27 pm

I generally agree with Senator Paul here, but there is more merit to the constitutionality of anti-boycott laws than many of the commenters are allowing for. Many federal and state contracting programs come with significant strings attached in regards to hiring and staffing practices (affirmative action, small business and other programs), sourcing rules (hire American, buy American), ownership requirements, and other factors. There is no First Amendment violation for failing to meet any of these, i.e. “I want to source my parts from abroad and hire green card holders because I believe in the importance of free trade of goods and workers, and it violates my expressive rights to require me to source from American companies and hire American workers in order to get this contract” won’t avail you in getting the contract when the government imposes a policy preference. Rumsfeld v. FAIR makes this quite clear. It’s not a long conceptual leap from that to the government requiring that “We only want to support companies which don’t participate in such refusals to deal/buy/sell as we believe are injurious to our relations with a foreign ally”, especially when the courts tend to grant more discretion to Congress and the Executive in matters of foreign relations. This is even more apropos when the Export Administration of 1979, which prohibited companies from participating in the Arab League boycott of Israel, has never been ruled to violate the First Amendment and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission has just this past year recommended extending those antiboycott provisions to prohibit companies from participating in China’s effort get foreign companies to boycott Taiwan.

#26 Comment By JOHN SANSONE On January 11, 2019 @ 3:57 pm

He’s walking the tightrope, as usual.
Trying not to infuriate both sides. Can’t be done.

#27 Comment By JimDandy On January 11, 2019 @ 7:06 pm

My wild fantasy from Day 1 of Trump’s presidency was that Rand Paul would become the President’s Consigliori. It’s no longer that wild of a fantasy, and I continue to pray that it becomes a reality.

#28 Comment By C. L. H. Daniels On January 11, 2019 @ 7:07 pm

He’s walking the tightrope, as usual.
Trying not to infuriate both sides. Can’t be done.

Not in this day and age. Hence the likes of Trump who obviously doesn’t care who he offends. We tried the whole “Hope and Change” thing with Obama, and lo and behold we didn’t get the Change, mostly just a lot of pretty words. So now we’ve gone with “Fear and Change”. Seems to be working out a little better so far in terms of getting the Change, which is exactly why everyone is losing their ever loving minds…

I’ve come to the conclusion that anyone who cares about the approval of the chattering classes will never actually get anything useful done, because the chattering classes desire nothing so much as the status quo that keeps them comfortable in their Washington/LA/NYC sinecures.

#29 Comment By pensword On January 11, 2019 @ 8:00 pm

MC wrote:

I generally agree with Senator Paul here, but there is more merit to the constitutionality of anti-boycott laws than many of the commenters are allowing for.

Two federal courts ~ one in Kansas and the other in Arizona ~ have held otherwise and it’s likely other courts will follow suit.

Your Arab League boycott analogy doesn’t fly here. From the ACLU, we read

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act seeks to amend a 1970s law known as the Export Administration Act. That law was passed in response to the Arab League’s boycott of Israel, which required U.S. businesses to boycott Israel as a condition of doing business with Arab League countries. To prevent foreign countries from bullying U.S. businesses into these compulsory boycotts, the EAA prohibited U.S. companies from entering into agreements with foreign governments to boycott countries friendly to the United States. Whereas the EAA was meant to protect U.S. companies from these compulsory boycotts, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act seeks to dictate the political activities Americans can and can’t engage in. It does so by imposing civil and criminal penalties on American organizations that participate in political boycotts called for by international organizations.

Big difference between commercial coercion by a foreign polity (or polities) and the very same imposed domestically (particularly by a government that purports to protect the rights of its citizens to engage in such boycotts).

When even the ADL thinks anti-BDS legislation is a bad idea, it’s obvious this assault is just another attempt to browbeat Americans into supine fealty toward Israel. They know it won’t work. They just want to show us how far they can push the proverbial envelope.

There’s a reason that pronunciation of the term “chutzpah” sounds as if the speaker is about to hock a loogie.

#30 Comment By Quizil Donor On January 11, 2019 @ 9:09 pm

Anyone thinking that we have a redeemable representative system should be disabused of that notion based on this act of pure insanity. I have decided based on this, I will not vote for a Republican Senate candidate again. This is basically tearing up the first amendment and dousing it in lighter fluid.
To suggest that paid-off elected lackeys, who have sucked down donor bribe cash like a drunk in a thunderbird factory, have the remotest right to punish legal speech is unthinkable in a representative republic. This is a oppressive act that shows the crooks now think they possess the people, and can act with impunity.
I don’t support any boycott, unless its purely military equipment or weapons / ordnance to a dangerous attacking state, because by their nature, whether its a commercial boycott of Israel, Russia, Iran, N. Korea, etc.. the harm falls on the average person in that society just trying to live their life, not on any high ranking corrupt actors.
Israel, uniquely, has its birth inextricably linked to the murder of Count Bernadotte. Murdering a man who personally saved so many Jewish Europeans during the Holocaust, for no real gain, no long term benefits, no strategic purpose that could not be gained by other means… stupid. This same truly dumb behavior passed down to the hours of straffing and bombing the Liberty.
Shooting medics at the border fence or kids who gave the finger to a soldier. Some of the border shootings are justifiable, when the attackers throw rocks or are armed with dangerous objects and weapons, and many of these protesters may well be affiliated with Hamas – but given that Hamas is the only employer, thats not a huge shock, and clearly multiple such shootings were of unarmed people by sharpshooters.
These sorts of acts take reasonable people who in many cases had genuine sympathy with a Jewish state, and left them as non-sympathetic. Simple-minded people, who dont know much or parse world events deeply, will then often blame all of Israel or all Jews, even those who are actively opposed to such acts.
A ‘good ally’ is not a ally that you FEAR. A good ally does not threaten your people or their daily lives, does not subvert their domestic leadership, does not subsidize subsidize sayanim or military aligned companies to undermine your people, or state, or operate sophisticated Hasbara campaigns to do what the Russians could only dream of doing.
When average americans go to web sites and see a organized surveillance and propaganda effort underway, every single one of those people loses sympathy, and you are left with iron-fisted control over the levers of government as the last means of control. This has now failed almost everyplace across the globe, except the United States, and when we lose the petro-dollar quite soon, it will fail with us as well.
What is really surprising to me about this Rubio proffered case is that those proposing this insanity dont seem cognizant of admonition about “beware of getting what you ask for”..
In a information age corollary to Count Bernadette, the passage and signing of the demise of the first amendment would actually threaten Israeli interests a lot more than for me to hold back on my next IMI Holster purchase..

#31 Comment By PAX On January 11, 2019 @ 10:04 pm

MC The 1979 ban on corporations participating in the Arab League boycott of Israel is amazingly different from making an American citizen sign a loyalty oath to one specific foreign country or lose their livelihood. Especially when this loyalty oath is to a foreign government and is demanded by a U.S. government entity. This is a very slippery slope into retrenching on our First Amendment rights.

#32 Comment By Roadmaster On January 11, 2019 @ 10:33 pm

What ever happened to “Buy American”?

When did “Buy American” get replaced by “Buy Israeli, Or Else”?

“Buy American” is an American conservative motto and battle cry. I practice it to the extent I can. Why would any American conservative buy anything from Israel or any other damn country other than a postcard or a souvenir if they could buy American?

And how can these politicians afford to waste their time writing laws to enrich other countries when they can’t even keep our own government open?

#33 Comment By Joe Schmo On January 12, 2019 @ 8:44 am

If you are against it then why did you vote for it? I’ve lost all respect for you, Senator.

#34 Comment By Joe Schmo On January 12, 2019 @ 9:40 am

He says he doesn’t support the bill but he voted for it. wtf?

#35 Comment By paulo On January 12, 2019 @ 10:09 am

This is what Ray McGovern had to say about Israel being”an ally”:
(Interview with Scott Horton 19 November 2009; quote starts at the 12:20 min mark)

… what is generally called ‘our ally’, the state of Israel. And you probably have heard me say this before, and people are shocked that I would say it, that Israel is not our ally. Go to your dictionary and look up ‘ally’; ally is someone with whom you have a mutual defense treaty. There is none with Israel, and there is a reason why there is none with Israel. Do you know what the reason is? The Israelis were broached on this after the 1967 war; we said ‘maybe it would help if we formed an alliance, and then if the Arabs wanted to attack you they would know that they would be attacking us as well’. The Israelis said: well, that is very nice of you, but thanks, but no thanks. Why do you suppose? The reason why is because international treaties require internationally recognized boundaries; the Israelis were not interested in giving up the West Bank… treaties also bind each party to let the other know if they are going to attack another country, and Israel didn’t want to be bound by that either. […] Next time you hear Ileana Ros-Lehtinen or Howard Berman or Steny Hoyer say that we have to automatically protect Israel, our ally, ask them how it is that Israel is our ally any more than Egypt or Syria or even Iran as our ally. None of them are because we have no defense treaty with them.

#36 Comment By DRK On January 12, 2019 @ 1:33 pm

The attack on the USS Liberty is not even the sort of thing our supposed enemies (like Iran) do.

The survivors of the 37 personnel killed on the USS Stark by an Iraqi jet in 1987 would beg to differ. And at the time, Iraq was supposedly our ally.

#37 Comment By Dominique Watkins On January 12, 2019 @ 2:34 pm

Well said, Senator

#38 Comment By Stephen J. On January 12, 2019 @ 5:32 pm

article of interest at link below.
How a NeoCon-Backed “Fact Checker” Plans to Wage War on Independent Media

As Newsguard’s project advances, it will soon become almost impossible to avoid this neocon-approved news site’s ranking systems on any technological device sold in the United States.

by Whitney Webb
January 09th, 2019


#39 Comment By PAX On January 12, 2019 @ 6:00 pm


#40 Comment By PAX On January 12, 2019 @ 6:01 pm

#41 Comment By Ours Not To Reason Why On January 12, 2019 @ 10:36 pm

@Roadmaster — “What ever happened to “Buy American”? ”

“Buy American” is still acceptable, but only if you’re talking about competitors like China or Mexico.

If you say “Buy American” when you’re talking about Israel, well, that’s obviously bigoted and antisemitic. And please don’t ask why. Only bigots and antisemites ask questions like that.

#42 Comment By little marco strikes again On January 13, 2019 @ 9:56 am

This is still America, right? Sen. Paul shouldn’t even have to say something like this.

Rubio, huh? That guy’s been bad news from day one. It’s past time to start working to get FL another senator.

#43 Comment By Kurt Gayle On January 13, 2019 @ 11:34 am

Joe Schmo says (Jan 12, 8:44 am): “If you are against it then why did you vote for it? I’ve lost all respect for you, Senator.” (and then at 9:40 am, Joe says) “He says he doesn’t support the bill but he voted for it. wtf?”

You good points, Joe Schmo. Senator Paul voted “Yea” in the recorded Senate vote on January 8th “on cloture on the motion to proceed”–two days before his January 10th article was posted at TAC–without mentioning that he had already voted “Yea” on January 8th. (By the way, he voted “Yea” again on the 10th.)

Senator Paul might answer, us, Joe Schmo, that the Senate’s thumbnail description of the bill – “Measure Title: A bill to make improvements to certain defense and security assistance provisions and to authorize the appropriation of funds to Israel, to reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015, and to halt the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people, and for other purposes.” – meant that the bill involved more than a straight-up vote on the issue he writes about above. But then he should have explained his reasoning. Yes, Senator Paul certainly has some explaining to do. He has a history of caving to the Israel Lobby on Senate votes.

#44 Comment By MC On January 13, 2019 @ 11:54 am

Can’t help but notice that both of the people who replied to me focused on my example of the Arab League Boycott and the Export Admin Act of 1979, which was to show which way the government leans and policy precedent, but ignored the more meaty (from a legal standpoint) already existing restrictions in state and federal contractors that involve First Amendment interests and two actual Supreme Court cases concerning Rumsfeld v FAIR and Bob Jones U. What a pair of individual federal district judges did is irrelevant, there are several hundred of them; what matters is what federal circuit courts and the Supreme Court do. The ACLU’s opinion is likewise irrelevant, they’re an advocacy group. Let me be clear: I am not saying anti-BDS laws are clearly constitutional, but the case for their constitutionality is stronger than many are giving credit for (it’s a sure way to lose a case when you treat your opponents’ arguments as nonsense). And for what it’s worth, I would prefer to live in a world where the state and federal government can’t place policy restrictions on contractors.

#45 Comment By Josh On January 13, 2019 @ 12:42 pm

But at the end of the day, Rand voted for Israel (against the right to boycott Israel), contradicting his nice words:

I suppose that this is called in English – hypocrisy.
p.s. And that is this nonsense? “Israel has been a good ally” …

#46 Comment By Cuban Heel On January 13, 2019 @ 8:38 pm

Roadmaster asked “What ever happened to “Buy American”? ”

Rubio is already taking our tax money and giving it to Israel. Now he’s using his privileged position in the senate to try to force Americans to buy from Israeli companies instead of American ones.

Someone like that shouldn’t be in the US Senate. He should register as an agent of the state of Israel under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

#47 Comment By sweeper On January 13, 2019 @ 9:00 pm

Rubio breezes into DC just long enough to introduce legislation to give Israel tens of billions of US tax dollars. And to make Americans buy stuff from Israel and punish Americans who are critical of Israel.

Then he splits. He did this during the longest federal government shutdown in history.

There’s no question what his priorities are, is there? Or where his loyalties lie.

Next primary, Florida’s new GOP chairman needs to find a strong challenger for this piece of ^^^^.

#48 Comment By Dr. Diprospan On January 14, 2019 @ 8:57 am

I traveled to Kentucky once.
I remembered very tasty Kentucky fry chiken in local restaurants, but they were not the purpose of the trip. I was invited to take part in an event characterizing the USA.
It was a rehearsal.of the American wedding..
In Russia, people are planning events, but still anything can happen during a Russian wedding, up to the abduction of the bride, drinking vodka from the bride’s shoes,
a spontaneous scrimmage between the guests.. Another thing is America.
In America, everything should happen in accordance with a precise, rehearsed plan.
Despite the worship of freedom, America is a super-organized country.
The United States has become a world leader precisely because of its super-organization.
It always seemed to me that freedom and organization are two mutually exclusive concepts. In the organized system freedom is just the backlash of parts of a moving mechanism, which a certain mechanic regulates up or down.
Senator states: “America is the land of freedom of expression”. He knows better.
Today, in an orderly and predictable American establishment, only Donald Trump can claim freedom of opinion through Twitter. This is not surprising, since all life on the planet is organized, streamlined due to borders. Intuitively, a person understands freedom as going beyond boundaries. Jews are a people who, by sacrificing one of their representatives, showed that it is possible to free themselves from the boundaries of the body. Two thousand years have passed since then..
Exactly half a century ago, the United States, thanks to a higher scientific and technical organization, created the Internet, which gave freedom for all people on the planet to communicate. Sacrificing their freedom, individuals unite in an organization in order to create, through joint efforts, something that nevertheless raises everyone to a new level of freedom. Maybe it is time to stop using the unique organizing resource of America for such small things as declaring different boycotts but concentrate efforts to search for the possibilities of each person not only to go beyond the boundaries of his planet but from the boundaries of his body..

#49 Comment By Kurt Gayle On January 14, 2019 @ 1:04 pm

DRK (Jan 12, 1:33 pm) quoted John Mann who said (Jan 10, 3:40 pm): “The attack on the USS Liberty is not even the sort of thing our supposed enemies (like Iran) do.”

To which DRK replied: “The survivors of the 37 personnel killed on the USS Stark by an Iraqi jet in 1987 would beg to differ. And at the time, Iraq was supposedly our ally.”

Please compare, DRK, the attack on the USS Stark and the attack on the USS Liberty:

THE USS STARK: In May, 1987 the USS Stark was patrolling off the Saudi Arabian coast near the Iran–Iraq War exclusion boundary. A lone Iraqi plane fired two Exocet missiles at the USS Stark — the first missile from a distance of 22 miles (35 km) from the ship, and the second from a distance of 15 miles (24 km). After firing the second Exocet missile, the Iraqi pilot withdrew. The first Exocet missile struck the port side of the Stark near the bridge. Although it failed to detonate, rocket fuel ignited and caused a large fire. The second Exocet also struck the port side. This missile detonated, leaving a 10 by 15 ft (3.0 by 4.6 m) hole in the frigate’s left side. A total of 37 crew were killed in the attack, 29 from the initial explosion and fire, including two lost at sea. Eight would later die from their injuries. Twenty-one others survived their wounds.

THE USS LIBERTY: In June 1967, USS Liberty was in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea, when multiple jet aircraft and motor torpedo boats of Israel attacked the Liberty. The attack was preceded by more than six hours of intense low-level surveillance by Israeli photo-reconnaissance aircraft, which buzzed the intelligence ship thirteen times, sometimes flying as low as 200 feet directly overhead. The reconnaissance pilots were heard by intercept operators in Germany and by American airborne intercept operators reporting to their headquarters that they could see an American flag and men sunbathing on deck. The carefully orchestrated assault that followed was initiated by high-performance Israeli jet aircraft, was followed up by slower and more maneuverable jets carrying napalm, and was finally turned over to lethal torpedo boats which fired five torpedoes. Four missed. The one torpedo that hit the ship blasted a forty-foot hole in the ship’s side. The attack lasted more than two hours–killing 34 Americans and wounding 174 others–and inflicted 821 rocket and machine-gun holes. When the Liberty remained afloat despite her damage, Israeli forces machine-gunned her life rafts and sent troop-carrying helicopters in to finish the job.

#50 Comment By Oleg Gark On January 14, 2019 @ 8:15 pm

Foreign aid to Israel is what America has instead of publicly financed elections.