Editorial roundup

The Columbus Dispatch, May 14

Boycotts have long been recognized as a legitimate means to pursue political change. Participation is entirely voluntary and peaceful, often based on deep convictions held by those taking part.

So why are some Ohio lawmakers seeking to punish Ohio residents and others who take part in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, also known as BDS, that seeks to change Israel’s policies in the Palestinian territories it occupies?

House Bill 476, which enjoys bipartisan support, would bar state agencies from entering into contracts with companies that boycott or disinvest in Israel …

Much of the argument over H.B. 476 has revolved around the question of whether the BDS movement is anti-Semitic. As the passionate debate on Tuesday showed, some believe it is, and some believe it isn’t. It is possible that some supporters of the movement are bigots, but many people – including many Jews – who object to Israeli policy are not anti-Semites …

It is profoundly un-American for state government to punish Americans for their political beliefs, which is precisely what this bill would do. It is disappointing to see how many Ohio lawmakers, including some from each party, stand ready to do this.