A Public Forum on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act

 

WHEN/WHERE: August 10, 6:30–8:30pm at Albuquerque Mennonite Church, 1300 Girard Blvd NE (south of Indian School Rd.)

PURPOSE: To explain the intent of the bill under consideration by Congress, how it might violate free speech of supporters of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and how to respond to it.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, legislation introduced in the Senate by Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and in the House by Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), would make it a crime to support or even furnish information about a boycott directed at Israel or its businesses called by the United Nations, the European Union or any other “international governmental organization.” Violations would be punishable by civil and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. The Act is intended to stifle efforts to protest Israel’s settlement policies by boycotting businesses in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The bill’s target is the BDS movement.

Background: The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement was launched by 170 Palestinian organizations and civil society, inspired by the anti-apartheid movement against South Africa. Its purpose is to urge non-violent pressure on Israel to comply with international law by 1) ending the occupation of Arab lands and dismantle the separation wall, and 2) recognizing the full rights of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and 3) respecting the rights of refugees to return to their homes and properties stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

The ACLU has sent a letter to the US Congress opposing the bill. It stated it a Washington Post op-ed on 7-25-17: Whether one approves or disapproves of the BDS movement itself, people should have a right to make up their own minds about it. Americans engage in boycotts every day when they decide not to buy from companies whose practices they oppose. Students have boycotted companies that sold clothing manufactured in sweatshops abroad. Environmentalists have boycotted Nestlé for its deforestation practices. By using their power in the marketplace, consumers can act collectively to express their political points of view. There is nothing illegal about such collective action; indeed, it is constitutionally protected.

SPEAKERS: American Civil Liberties Union representative; Nancy Hollander and John Boyd, human rights lawyers; Alan Wagman, Jewish Voice for Peace; staff member from Sen. Tom Udall’s office, and possible speakers from the Friends Meeting and other faith and activist groups.

SPONSORS: Jewish Voice for Peace Albuquerque, Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (Other sponsors forthcoming)

Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
202 Harvard SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106 USA

505-268-9557

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