BDS

With ACLU, MoveOn: Oppose Bills Criminalizing Free Speech Against Settlements

The ACLU has written to Congress urging opposition to pending bills that seek to criminalize advocacy of boycotts against Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The ACLU warned that proponents of the bills are "seeking additional co-sponsors," and explained that the bills would "punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs."

MoveOn has joined the ACLU's opposition to the bills. "Regardless how you feel about BDS, Congress must reject action to criminalize free speech and peaceful protest. The Democrats in House and Senate must say no to H.R. 1697/S. 720," MoveOn said. “Free speech and peaceful protest are integral to democracy."

S.720 & H.R.1697 would erase the distinction in U.S. law between Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank and make it illegal for U.S. companies to boycott or otherwise discriminate against Israeli settlements in the West Bank based on calls by the United Nations or the European Union.

Urge your Senators & Representative to join the ACLU & MoveOn in opposing these unconstitutional bills by signing our petition.

Urge your State Senator to kill "anti-BDS" bill

The Los Angeles chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace reports that on Thursday, the California Senate Appropriations Committee will vote to either send the "anti-BDS" bill AB 2844 to the Senate floor for a full vote or leave it in the suspense file, where it would expire.

Regardless of how you feel about "BDS," this bill is a terrible idea. The Los Angeles Times said passage of the proposed law would be a "mistake," calling the bill "convoluted, redundant and most likely ineffectual."

Your State Senator is on the California Senate Appropriations Committee. Call your State Senator now at http://senate.ca.gov/senators. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"I urge you to vote to kill AB 2844."

When you've made your call, please report it below.

Testify Online Against IL Anti-Boycott Bill!

On Wednesday morning, the Executive Committee of the Illinois House is scheduled to consider SB 1761, a bill that would force state pension fund administrators to blacklist companies that boycott businesses that operate in “territories under the control of Israel” — i.e., in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This legislation not only infringes on the rights of those making an ethical decision to boycott human rights abuses, it also legitimizes the Israeli annexation of the West Bank, which official US policy opposes.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about this bill in the State Capitol, which makes it even more important that your reps hear from you!

Here are two things you can do right now to stop this bill:

  1. Submit a witness slip in opposition to the bill. It’s easy and only takes a minute! When filling out the witness slip, indicate “opponent”, “record of appearance only”, and enter the organization you represent under “representation” or just enter “self”. Make sure to spell out your organization (don’t use abbreviations).
  2. Call Executive Committee Chair Dan Burke at (217) 782-1117 and say

    I am an Illinois resident and I oppose SB 1761, which would force state pension fund administrators to blacklist companies that boycott businesses that operate in "territories under the control of Israel." This bill infringes on the rights of those who choose to boycott human rights abuses and also legitimizes the Israeli annexation of the West Bank. I urge Rep. Burke to oppose this bill and stop it in committee.

Support Presbyterian Divestment from Israeli Occupation!

Next week, the Presbyterian Church (USA) is holding its biennial general assembly in Detroit where they’ll consider a resolution to divest $17 million from three companies—Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard—that participate in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Just Foreign Policy will be in Detroit for this potentially historic vote—and we want to bring your messages of support with us!

Here are two things you can do right now:

  1. Sign our statement supporting Presbyterian divestment. We’ll share your signatures with Presbyterian delegates in Detroit!
  2. Use our “Presby Divest!” profile image. If you use Twitter, Facebook, or other social media, make our “Presby Divest!” image your profile picture.

When the Presbyterians last considered divestment two years ago, the resolution failed by only two votes. The view that prevailed was that Presbyterians should support Palestinian rights via investment instead of divestment.

But Palestinian business leaders and international economic institutions like the World Bank have made clear that the Israeli occupation itself, which is strangling the Palestinian economy, is largely to blame for the dire situation of Palestinians, and investment alone can’t reverse the consequences of occupation. There must be increased pressure on the Israeli government to change its policies.

Support Presbyterian Divestment—Make Our "Presby Divest!" Image Your Profile Pic!

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is holding its biennial general assembly in Detroit where they’ll consider a resolution to divest $17 million from three companies—Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard—that participate in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Many groups that oppose pressure on the Israeli government to change its policies are demanding that the Presbyterians vote against the divestment resolution. That’s why they need to hear from supporters like you.

Making our "Presby Divest!" image your profile picture is an easy way to show your support for Presbyterian divestment. Here's what you do:

Twitter

  1. Right-click the image and select "Save Image As" to save file to your computer
  2. Go to Twitter
  3. Go to your profile
  4. Click the button "Edit Profile" on the right-hand side of the page
  5. Click on your current profile pic where it says "Change your profile picture"
  6. Click "Upload Photo"
  7. Select the image and press "Open"
  8. Click the "Save Changes" button on the right-hand side of the page

Facebook

  1. Right-click the image and select "Save Image As" to save file to your computer
  2. Go to your Facebook profile
  3. Hover over your current profile picture and click "Update Profile Picture"
  4. Select "Upload Photo"
  5. Select the image and press "Open"

You can also sign our statement in support of Presbyterian divestment.

Maryland: Bill Defunding Universities With Ties To Israel Boycotters Dies In Committee

Maryland:
Bill Defunding Universities With Ties To Israel Boycotters Dies In Committee
Watered Down Condemnation Appears In Maryland State Budget Bill
  

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Statement from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on US anti-BDS legislation

[This statement is now posted on the website of the Maryland coalition, "Keep Free Speech in the Free State." A direct link is here. A press release is here.]

Statement from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on 2 April 2014

US EFFORTS TO CURB FREEDOM OF SPEECH ON ISRAEL AND PALESTINE, OF GRAVE CONCERN

I am writing today to express grave concern about a wave of legislative measures in the United States aimed at punishing and intimidating those who speak their conscience and challenge the human rights violations endured by the Palestinian people. In legislatures in Maryland, New York, Illinois, Florida, and even the United States Congress, bills have been proposed that would either bar funding to academic associations or seek to malign those who have taken a stand against the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.

These legislative efforts are in response to a growing international initiative, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, of which I have long been a supporter. The BDS movement emanates from a call for justice put out by the Palestinian people themselves. It is a Palestinian-led, international non-violent movement that seeks to force the Israeli government to comply with international law in respect to its treatment of the Palestinian people.

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Illinois ACLU statement against SJR 59, Illinois anti-boycott resolution

The following statement was issued by the Illinois ACLU against SJR 59, State Sen. Silverstein's resolution condemning academic boycotts.

Update: the statement is now posted on the Illinois ACLU website here.

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To: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Re: Senate Joint Resolution 59
Date: 3/25/14

The ACLU of Illinois opposes Senate Joint Resolution 59, a resolution that calls upon all Illinois college and university presidents to publicly condemn academic boycotts.

A boycott is an important and powerful form of protected expressive association protected by the First Amendment. Speech and nonviolent picketing in support of a boycott encompasses the practice of people sharing common views banding together to achieve a common end, a practice deeply embedded in the American political process. By this collective effort, individuals can make their views known when, individually, their voices would be faint or lost. In emphasizing the importance of the freedom of association in guaranteeing the right of people to make their voices heard on public issues, the U.S. Supreme Court has noted that effective advocacy of both public and private points of view, particularly controversial ones, is undeniably enhanced by group association, NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886 (1982).

There is no basis in law or policy to exempt academic institutions from boycotts. Would Illinois support a resolution guarding Bob Jones University from a boycott when, in the 1970’s because of its interpretation of Biblical principles regarding interracial dating, Bob Jones University completely excluded black applicants? We expect not.

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QR codes for Illinois, New York, Maryland petitions against anti-boycott free speech legislation

Note: this memo is primarily aimed at tech-savvy kids, not at old fogie technophobe Luddites. If you are a technophobe, move along, nothing to see here.

Background: the world has changed, right? We do online petitions now. It's more efficient on both sides of the interaction - easier to pass, easier to sign; you don't have to mess around with re-copying or trying to read people's illegible handwriting (speaking as a top offender of illegible handwriting); if you sign on your own device, you probably have your own information already saved in your browser, which makes signing go tschik-tschok, as they say in Hebrew.

OK, but we still want to pass petitions at events. Does that mean we have to go back to pen and paper?

You know how when you ride the Amtrak, and sometimes on planes, they use QR codes, so you don't need a paper ticket. You just hold up your smart phone showing your electronic ticket with the QR code on it and the conductor/airline employee uses a QR reader to capture the information from your electronic ticket's QR code.

We can use this technology for online petitions too. You generate a QR code for the website that has the petition on it, you point a smart phone (or laptop's) camera at it, and after the image is captured, the smartphone jumps to the URL of the petition site, where you can sign the petition on your smartphone.

The smartphone or laptop has to have a QR reader installed. But you can easily download QR readers for free. Just go to the app store on your device, search for "QR reader", and choose one of many free options. On my iPhone, I have installed the free QRReader app.

So, with that background concluded, here is the ask. I'm going to try to get signers on the Illinois anti-anti-boycott petition at Rabbi Brant Rosen's talk tonight at UIUC, using a QR code that Just Foreign Policy has generated for the petition's website.

Two ways you can help me test:

letter to Sonya Michel on her ASA BDS vote misrepresentation claim in the NYT

Sonya Michel

Professor of history, women’s studies and American studies
University of Maryland
College Park, Md.
 
 

Dear Ms. Michel,