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Don't prosecute critics of Israeli settlements

Congress must reject effort to criminalize protesters who seek to boycott investment in Israel.

Both the Senate and House are considering a bill that would provide criminal prosecution for individuals who support boycott, divestment or sanctions (BDS) against Israel related to the occupation of Palestine and the proliferation of Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands. Spearheaded by Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the penalties could result in prison time for the accused ("US anti-boycott laws could come into play in Qatar crisis," July 13).

Talk about mass incarceration! According to a national poll by the Brookings Institute, 60 percent of Democrats, 40 percent of independents and 31 percent of Republicans are in support of "imposing some economic sanctions or taking more serious action" against Israel in response to the settlements.

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Poised to be one of the largest dragnets in history, targets would include Alice Walker (author of "The Color Purple"), Danny Glover, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, the Patriarch of Jerusalem and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Nine Christian denominations including the Quakers and Christian Peacemaker Teams will be on the "Most Wanted" list.

Admittedly, the ACLU has been vocal about this bill being a violation of First Amendment. For me, if I do get caught up in this witch hunt, I hope I get to choose my prison cellmate. So many cool possibilities!

Susan Kerin, Rockville

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