Deseret News
Letter to the editor

In November, three of us, all Utah residents, visited Rep. Chris Stewart's office to ask that he withdraw his co-sponsorship of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. This bill criminalizes Americans who voice support for international campaigns to boycott businesses profiting from Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestinian territories.

Boycotts have been used to promote human rights for decades, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott (which brought the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to prominence) and the boycott of businesses supporting the apartheid regime in South Africa. In 1982, the Supreme Court upheld boycotts as constitutionally protected political speech (NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware).

12 comments on this story

Almost three months after our visit and after three email reminders, Rep. Stewart has yet to respond to our concerns about his legislation’s stifling of Americans’ constitutional right to free speech. Even if he disagrees with his constituents, Rep. Stewart should respond to our legitimate concerns.

All of Utah’s congressional delegates have co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act except Sen. Lee and Rep. Curtis (to their credit). What’s up with Utah politicians? Apparently their priority is supporting Israel’s military oppression of the Palestinian people over protecting our most fundamental American value and constitutional right — freedom of speech.

Bob Brister

Salt Lake City