4 Facts about the Right to Boycott in Foreign Countries

Given the controversy and buzz surrounding other boycott laws around the world, we decided to take the time to debunk 4 common myths we’ve heard spread:

1. No Other Country in the World Forbids its Citizens from Boycotting:
There is not ONE democratic country in the world that has a law that limits the participation of citizens in a boycott; citizens are even allowed to participate in boycotts of their own country. Take for example in the 19th century, U.S. citizens who opposed slavery were allowed to boycott the products of the southern states, which permitted the use of slaves. In the 1960’s, civil rights activists boycotted the city bus company of Montgomery, which had a clear policy of discrimination against African Americans.

2. The United States Outlawed Companies and States from Joining Boycotts Declared by a Foreign Country:
The US has a law prohibiting a state or a commercial company of participating in the boycott declared by a foreign country. Under this law, U.S. companies and states could not boycott Israeli goods as part of a boycott of Israel proclaimed the Arab League states in the ’70s. However this law applies only to institutions and not civilians. Therefore, every American is entitled to attend and support a boycott publicly. Companies and states are allowed to participate in boycotts as long as the body declaring the boycott is not a foreign country.

3. U.S. Law Prohibits Boycotts of Racial Groups:
U.S. companies are prohibited from boycotting or refusing service to particular racial groups, but freedom of speech allows expressing even racist views.

4. In European countries, the Legality of Participation in Boycotts is a Basic Right:
The right to freely participate in trading requires the right to avoid it. Any violation of this right is not only an attack on freedom of expression and protest, but also right to freedom of commerce. All of these basic rights are despite the fact that U.S. and Europe do not have any illegal settlements that are damaging to the national interest of country’s themselves.

Read more at the briiliant piece by Lara Friedman at the Huffington Post: Israel’s New Boycott Law and U.S. Law: Like Apples and Orangutans.

Join us in our protest of the anti-democratic boycott law by joining our Facebook page – Sue me, I boycott settlement products!