Would Stephen Hawking be fined or jailed for boycotting Israel if he ran a business in the United States?
Over the years many prominent activists and organizations have called for and participated in a boycott on Israel.
This swelling boycott is primarily due to, among other reasons, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the overall Israeli treatment of Palestinians throughout the region.
Recently famed scientist Stephen Hawking even joined the boycott, opting to pull out of an upcoming conference set to be hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
According to Al Jazeera:
As announced by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) and subsequently covered by The Guardian, Reuters and others, world-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking has decided to heed the Palestinian call for boycott, and pull out of an Israeli conference hosted by President Shimon Peres in June.
After initial confusion, this was confirmed - Hawking is staying away on political grounds.Besides activists and prominent individuals, many have called for US businesses to join the boycott. Unfortunately, a little known law has actually criminalized boycotting Israel.
The antiboycott laws, enforced by US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security under the Export Administration Act, discourage and even outlaw "furthering or supporting" the Israeli boycott.
The Bureau is charged with administering and enforcing the Antiboycott Laws under the Export Administration Act.
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 Moslem countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott.
Compliance with such requests may be prohibited by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and may be reportable to the Bureau.The penalties for taking part in the boycott range from fines of tens of thousands of dollars to multiple years in prison.
The Export Admnistration Act (EAA) specifies penalties for violations of the Antiboycott Regulations as well as export control violations. These can include:
The penalties imposed for each "knowing" violation can be a fine of up to $50,000 or five times the value of the exports involved, whichever is greater, and imprisonment of up to five years.
During periods when the EAR are continued in effect by an Executive Order issued pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the criminal penalties for each "willful" violation can be a fine of up to $50,000 and imprisonment for up to ten years.
For each violation of the EAR any or all of the following may be imposed:
- General denial of export privileges;
- The imposition of fines of up to $11,000 per violation; and/or
Boycott agreements under the TRA involve the denial of all or part of the foreign tax benefits discussed above.
- Exclusion from practice.
When the EAA is in lapse, penalties for violation of the Antiboycott Regulations are governed by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
The IEEPA Enhancement Act provides for penalties of up to the greater of $250,000 per violation or twice the value of the transaction for administrative violations of Antiboycott Regulations, and up to $1 million and 20 years imprisonment per violation for criminal antiboycott violations. (Source)This law essentially makes supporting a boycott on Israel a federal crime. Despite the numerous atrocities committed by the Israeli regime, we're now forced to buy their imports at the barrel of a gun.
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