AIPAC and their right-wing allies are coming for our right to boycott — and they’re trying to legitimize illegal settlements at the same time. Tell your Representative to stand for peace.
AIPAC is meeting this weekend in Washington DC, but we already know what’s at the top of their agenda: legislating away our right to organize.
Here’s how: they’re putting the full might of their organization behind a bill called “Combatting BDS.” It might sound like nothing, but this bill is a brazen attempt to silence and punish those of us who support boycotts as a way of fighting for human rights. We’re already taking on similar legislation, designed to throw a stumbling block in front of our movement, in dozens of state legislatures across the country — but now AIPAC is bringing the fight to Capitol Hill.
AIPAC is bringing in activists from across the country, and next week they’ll be flooding DC with their foot soldiers, and delivering their message of fear and militarism to Congressional offices. They’ll be going door-to-door on Capitol Hill, pretending to speak for the whole Jewish community when they attack our movement for justice.
But I’m Jewish — I’m a Rabbi — and I support BDS. So do thousands of other Jews and allies across the U.S. and around the world. That’s why we’ve hired billboard trucks to take our message right to AIPAC here in DC, and to state capitols across the country where similar legislation is coming up.
And that’s why we need to make sure that our Representatives hear our message first.
Boycotts are a time-honored component of justice movements throughout history, from the civil rights movement here in the U.S. to the global fight against South African apartheid. And the right to boycott is constitutionally protected — the U.S. Supreme Court called boycotts “the highest rung… of First Amendment values.”
So it’s no surprise that the movement to boycott Israel has been endorsed by labor unions, faith groups, students, and academics. But this legislation would punish those who speak out, and prevent them from doing business with the government, or receiving investment from state pension funds. Let me put it another way: this is a McCarthyist attack on our movement for justice.
Our opponents know that momentum is on our side. They know that the truth is on our side, too. So instead of fighting our ideas, they’re trying to silence our movement.
Join us now to protect our right to organize — email Rep. Mark Pocan today.
And that’s not all this bill would do. Hidden in the language are backdoors that could reverse decades of U.S. policy towards Israel. Our opponents are selling this bill as a way to oppose our movement — as if that wasn’t bad enough — but it also erases the distinction between Israel’s illegal settlements and Israel proper.
The facts are clear: settlements in Palestine are still illegal, and BDS is still protected political speech. That’s why we’ve partnered with our allies at the Arab American Institute to take on this federal bill. We need to take a strong stand against this legislation, and show that a broad coalition supports peace and justice and supports the right to boycott.
No to settlements. No to attacks on our right to boycott. Stand with JVP and the Arab American Institute, and make your voice heard today.
Click here to contact Rep. Mark Pocan, and tell them to oppose attacks on our free speech rights.
Thank you for taking action, and speaking up for our rights,
Rabbi Joseph Berman
Government Affairs Liaison
P.S. For more information about our national fight against anti-BDS legislation, check out righttoboycott.org.