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November 24, 2014 10:30 AM UTC

Lamborn's Bad Idea is Kind of Ironic, Though

  • 6 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Doug Lamborn (R).
Doug Lamborn (R).

We wrote last week about a new piece of legislation to be introduced by Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, which would disallow federal contracts from being awarded to companies who engage in boycotts against any nation with which the United States maintains a free trade agreement. This would have the perhaps-unintended consequence of making it harder for some Americans to protest against bad things that happen in a number of countries around the world, like Middle Eastern monarchies that brutally put down their local Arab Spring revolts, but in his announcement Rep. Lamborn kept the focus squarely on Israel and potential boycotts in support of the Palestinians.

Which leads to, as the Colorado Independent's Susan Greene reported on Friday, an ironic twist:

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. [Pols emphasis] 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.

We've never really thought of it this way, but it's true: workplace discrimination protections in Israel include protections that Lamborn has voted against, and which many conservatives staunchly oppose as "special rights" for a "lifestyle choice" that doesn't deserve protection. Now, we're hopefully past the era of Amendment 2-style overt anti-LGBT activism in Colorado–and whether we are or not, it's a fact that things have changed since 1992. Either way, it's instructive to keep in mind that Lamborn's bill would make it harder for anyone with a vocational or even potentially family tie to a federal contract to protest policies they don't like in other countries via a boycott–in Israel, Mexico, Bahrain, or anywhere else America has a free trade treaty with.

And yes, we get that a religious conservative boycott of Israel over gay rights is not found in the Book of Revelations, and therefore rather unlikely. We are, you know, hypothesizing. And it's a point worth making.

Comments

6 thoughts on “Lamborn’s Bad Idea is Kind of Ironic, Though

  1. Can we get Lamborn to sponsor a second,somewhat related bill that prohibits granting federal contracts to companies which have either been convicted of crimes in the past X years (determined by severity of crime), or which have had to pay fines to the government for violating previous contract agreements? Said companies should also be barred from participating in federal mineral rights and land auctions.

    I'm pretty sure both of those are more immediately bad for our country.

  2. Actually the question of how Palestinians are treated is not relevant to equal rights. Palestinians living in Palestinian territories are not Israeli citizens and there is no debate whatsoever concerning equal rights where they are concerned. Really don't know what Greene is talking about there. Then there are Israeli Arabs who do hold citizenship, an entirely different situation. I suppose one could debate whether they have equality with Jewish Israeli citizens but it would be a short debate.  They don't. The only way for a Jewish state to be a Jewish state is for ethnic Jews to have superior rights. That's pretty obvious. 

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