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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Legal Penalties Of Supporting The BDS Action Against Israel

For all the noise the BDS movement is making lately it seems they are (intentionally?) forgetting to mention a tiny fact - it is illegal for US firms to boycott Israel and you could face up to 10 years in prison for violating the anti boycott laws.

The antiboycott laws were adopted to encourage, and in specified cases, require U.S. firms to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction. The law prohibits U.S. persons from taking certain actions in support of an unsanctioned foreign boycott against a country that is friendly to the United States.

Those laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain Muslim countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott.

US corporations are required by law to report foreign calls to join a boycott or divestment campaign against a friendly country. Corporations are additionally required to file form 5713 with their IRS tax forms declaring international boycott associated taxes and income. The form even has specific reference to boycott of Israel.

While the antiboycott laws apply to all boycotts imposed by foreign countries that are unsanctioned by the United States, the main boycott relevant today is the Arab league boycott of Israel.To that regard here is a clarification of what does the law prohibits:
  • Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
  • Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality.
  • Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
  • Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person.
While the law above relates to US corporations, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) requires any US person to report quarterly requests they have received to take certain actions to comply with, further, or support an unsanctioned foreign boycott.

It seems that anyone involved with the BDS campaign against Israel should be aware of these legal requirements. We in call on the BDS movement to educate its followers and ensure they comply with US laws and regulations.

They can use this video as reference

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