Universities may suppress criticism of Israel or support for Palestinian rights

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has added that: 

“If this Bill becomes law, political speech critical of Israel will likely be censored… colleges and universities may suppress a wide variety of speech critical of Israel or in support of Palestinian rights in an effort to avoid investigations by the Department [of Education] and the potential loss of funding.

“If the Bill is dangerous and even unnecessary, then why was it introduced? Reading the ‘fact sheet’ attached to the legislation revealed the Bill’s sinister political intent — and that is, silencing campus student movements and activities that are critical of Israel, in particular the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement (BDS).

“All of this is wrong on so many levels. It has the government unfairly influencing a debate that is taking place on college campuses weighing in to support one side, while threatening the other side if they cross an undefined and arbitrary line. These efforts tell Palestinian and progressive Jewish students that their speech will be policed and that they may be subject to penalties.

  • If students were to call Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “a monster” or accuse him and the Israeli military of “a barbaric assault on Gaza” — would they be accused of ‘demonising’?
  • Or what if students spoke about Israel’s 1948 ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Palestinians or focused their political work on criticising Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, but said nothing about (or maybe didn’t even care to know about) Turkey’s occupation in Cyprus or Russia’s in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine — could they be charged with delegitimising Israel or applying a ‘double standard’?”

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