There are a number of serious problems with the anti-BDS bill (“An Impassioned Debate,” March 10). The bill is designed to coerce Marylanders and create fear right here in Maryland. A company or individual that cooperates with a boycott of products from “Israeli-controlled territories” — meaning settlements in the West Bank or East Jerusalem — risks a fine of $1 million!
Neither the United States nor any other country on the face of the earth considers Israeli West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements to be legal. Not a single country. Why should Maryland attempt to conduct and even undermine the foreign policy of the United States? Why should the State of Maryland become a protector of universally condemned Israeli settlement policies? Why should the State of Maryland become an enforcer of Israeli foreign policy?
Senate Bill 739/House Bill 949 creates a blacklist of companies forbidden to do business with the State of Maryland. No longer will state pension fund managers and directors follow fiduciary standards but must inquire about the behavior and even the views of businesses seeking to do business with the state. And by the way, the due diligence that the state will employ to discover these opinions is nonexistent; all that is required of a witch-hunting board is nothing more than an internet search. This is sloppy bill writing at its worst.
The bill is an assault upon the freedom of speech of every Marylander, who must think twice about even criticizing Israel. If made into law, it will throw Maryland back to the blacklisting/witch-hunting days of Sen. Joe McCarthy.