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Legislation Introduced Calling for Criminal, Civil Penalties on U.S. Participants in Arab Boycotts

Legislation was introduced today in the House of Representatives that would impose criminal and civil penalties on American participants in the Arab boycotts or those who initiate them. The legislation was presented by Rep. Peter W, Rodino (D.NJ), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY).

Rodino said that the legislation is “intended to preserve the constitutional right of all Americans to be free of racial and religious discrimination.” He said that his committee would hold hearings “to explore all the ramifications of the question this legislation addresses.” Rep. Holtzman said that “recent revelations of Arab-inspired economic boycotts against American Jews are extremely disturbing, Oil blackmail can pose an insidious threat to the liberty of all Americans.”

The legislation would make liable a company for up to $1 million in fines and company officials would be subject to imprisonment and fines up to $100,000 for any company effort to organize an illegal boycott, Any company that cooperated with or participated in an illegal boycott would be liable to $500,000 in fines and its officials liable to fines of up to $50,000,

In addition, any person or company hurt by an illegal boycott could bring federal court action for treble damages against the company instigating the boycott. Also, in the event the firm initiating the boycott is not present in the United States, the Attorney General could seek a civil penalty against it, and after a court ruling, could seize its assets in the United States, including any funds owed to the firm by an American company.

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