The new film “Boycott” (directed by Julia Bacha, Just Vision Films) was screened as part of the Voices From The Holy Land Online Film Salon series. A chilling account of laws passed in 33 states intended to silence boycott and other nonviolent measures aimed at pressuring Israel on its human rights record, the film traces the courageous efforts of three courageous Americans who challenged these laws for their constitutionality in a nation-wide battle likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court.
The right to boycott has been enshrined as a first amendment right and “protected political expression” by the US Supreme Court. However, these recent state laws and executive orders prohibit individual citizens, corporations, and state governments from participating in any action that boycotts Israeli products or international companies that engage in violations of Palestinian human rights.
“Boycott” details the history of these anti-boycott laws. A separate Israeli ministry, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, was created for the sole purpose of blocking the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement initiated by Palestinian civil society as a call to action to pressure Israel to comply with international law. The anti-boycott laws in the United States were drafted by ALEC (American Legislative Executive Council) known to many for their legislative initiatives promoting mass incarceration as depicted in the movie 13th by Ava DuVernay. ALEC is supported by corporate leaders, evangelicals, and right wing legislators.
Boycott chronicles one of the most consequential First Amendment battles of the past few decades. It questions the implications of these laws, not only for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, but all social justice movements supported by WESPAC including reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, climate justice. “Boycott” demonstrates the potential of the government to thwart open political discourse.
(You can find out more about the film here: https://justvision.org/boycott
Harry Soloway – JVP- Westchester