Condemning and even barring people who support, or refuse to oppose, boycotting, divesting from, or sanctioning Israel from being employees or contractors of state or local government entities has been the rage in American state legislatures over the last few years. Kentucky has become one of the latest states to impose one of these anti-boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) laws, with Governor Matt Blevin having signed such legislation last week.
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that calls for treating people and businesses who have interacted financially with the National Rifle Association (NRA) much as states with anti-BDS laws treat people with particular ideas related to Israel. The resolution terms the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization” and declares that “the City and County of San Francisco should take every reasonable step to assess the financial and contractual relationships our vendors and contractors have with this domestic terrorist organization” and “should take every reasonable step to limit those entities who do business with the City and County of San Francisco from doing business with this domestic terrorist organization.”
The anti-NRA resolution in San Francisco is similar to the anti-BDS legislation in many states in that it seeks to punish people for their views on contentious issues.
In another way the two laws are nearly opposite. The states’ anti-BDS laws target for punishment refusing to engage in, or supporting the termination of, some acts of commerce. In contrast, San Francisco’s anti-NRA resolution targets for punishment engaging in commerce. In short, the San Francisco resolution is pushing for a boycott of and divestment from the NRA.
Many people and businesses who have no opinion in regard to the NRA’s goals, or even disagree with the organization’s goals, but have done business in some manner with the NRA could be affected by San Francisco’s new resolution. It is not just an individual or company that has paid a membership fee or made a financial contribution to the NRA who is affected. The net extends much wider, set to entangle many more people and businesses, including, for example, any hotel where the NRA held a meeting, any company that has provided internet communication services to the NRA, and any company that has printed NRA material. The resolution could even apply to a plumber who repairs a leaking sink in the bathroom of an NRA office or a cleaning company that mops floors and takes out trash from an NRA office along with other offices in a building. The scope is vast.
Yet, while San Francisco’s resolution calls for imposing punishment on many people and companies, it appears to rest on a faulty foundation. Michael Tennant, over at The New American, pokes holes in some of the shoddy arguments used in the resolution to support terming the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization” and taking action against people and businesses that have had a financial or contractual interaction with the NRA.
As with the anti-BDS laws, anti-NRA laws soon could proliferate across the country. Indeed, the San Francisco government seems committed to helping ensure this happens, stating in its new resolution that “the City and County of San Francisco should encourage all other jurisdictions, including other cities, states, and the federal government, to adopt similar positions.”