August 30, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) issued the following statement regarding H.R. 1697, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act of 2017:

“Last April, I cosponsored bipartisan, bicameral legislation, H.R. 1697, designed to achieve one thing: update a decades-old, court-upheld law that protects U.S. companies from being bullied into unauthorized foreign boycotts. That law was passed in 1977 in response to the Arab League Boycott, but it cannot apply to more modern foreign boycott efforts orchestrated at the United Nations or other multilateral institutions until it is amended. Several months after legislation to update the law was introduced the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) raised concerns that the legislation, as currently drafted, risks undermining Americans’ free speech. As a life-long defender of First Amendment protections and a card-carrying member of the ACLU, I take these assertions very seriously.

“Given that the intended purpose of the legislation has absolutely nothing to do with curbing Americans’ free speech, I have urged the bill’s sponsors to work with the ACLU and other stakeholders to address the specific language they view as problematic. I understand that one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), is currently engaged in that legislative process and plans to develop alternative language. I look forward to reviewing the changes born out of that review to ensure the legislation meets our country’s high standard of protecting free speech.”