An op-ed by Miarav Zonszein in the Independent defending Congresswoman Ihan Omar from charges of antisemitism included the following claim:
“When you look at the anti-BDS legislation that has already swept half of the US and further efforts on a federal level to penalize Americans who so much as favor a boycott of Israel, it’s no wonder Omar is being attacked”.
However, if you read the text of the US bill here, it’s clear that it narrowly addresses business practices, not individual speech. And, even then, it merely protects the rights of local and state governments which decide to no longer wants to do business with those who boycott Israel. That’s quite a difference from Zonszein’s suggestion that the bill would penalize Americans for merely supporting BDS.
We tweeted the journalist.
It protects the right of local/state governments that decide to no longer do business with those who boycott #Israel.
Here's the bill https://t.co/f4aFyuM4dx
— UK Media Watch (@UKMediaWatch) March 7, 2019
We also contacted Indy editors, who eventually upheld our complaint and revised the sentence to note that the bill only impacts business practices:
Yet this talking point has been fully adopted in Washington. When you look at the anti-BDS legislation that has already swept half of the US and further efforts on a federal level to penalise American businesses which so much as favour a boycott of Israel, it’s no wonder Omar is being attacked
Though the new language is far from perfect, it’s a big improvement over the original. You can learn more about the bill in question in this podcast featuring constitutional law expert Eugene Kontorovich.