Doug Lamborn – who this week floated the idea of impeaching Barack Obama over the immigration executive order Lamborn derides as too far reaching – has introduced a bill with long arms of its own.
Colorado’s newly re-elected, 5th District Congressman wants to ban federal contracts to companies and educational institutions that boycott Israel. Lamborn’s proposal wouldn’t just concern corporations and schools, but also employees who personally, through economic pressure, try to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Technically, the bill bans boycotts on any country that has entered into a free-trade agreement with the U.S. But it’s specifically drafted to protect Israel – a pet cause for Lamborn whose re-election bids have been backed by the pro-Israel lobby.
Lamborn’s press release this week describes his measure as an effort to “thwart efforts by Palestinian organizations to pressure different corporations, companies and educational institutions to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel.
“Sadly, just yesterday we heard that some in the European Union are drafting new regulations with a similar aim. These attacks and the falsehoods being spread about Israel are harmful to any honest effort to bring peace to the region,” it reads.
Lamborn touts Israel as “the only true democracy in the Middle East, a place where all men and women enjoy freedom regardless of their faith or ethnicity. In fact Jewish owned factories and companies in Israel and in Judea and Samaria are among the chief employers of the Palestinian community. Palestinian workers get equal pay and equal treatment and enjoy benefits.”
The question of whether Palestinians are treated equally in Israel is a matter of much debate.
But Lamborn has it right about Israel’s broad and progressive workplace protections. That country’s 1988 equal opportunity law says an employer “shall not discriminate among his employees or among persons seeking employment on account of their sex, sexual tendencies, personal status or because of their age, race, religion, nationality, country of origin, views, party or duration of reserve service.”
Closer to home, Lamborn’s views on workplace protections are vastly less progressive. He has voted against several key worker-protection bills, including the 2007 Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.