Walker Order and GOP Bills on BDS Serve Big Donor

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, November 14, 2017

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has prohibited the state from doing business with anyone who participates in a boycott against Israel, a move guaranteed to please a Las Vegas casino billionaire who has contributed more than $900,000 to Walker and the state GOP.

On Oct. 27, Walker issue Executive Order 261, calling the boycott “discriminatory” and saying it “serves to inflame conflict.”

In addition to the governor’s executive order, two legislative proposals, Senate Bill 450 and Assembly Bill 553, would also prohibit state and local governments from adopting rules to boycott doing business with Israel. The measures also prohibit state and local governments from doing business with anyone involved in the so-called Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that has surfaced in recent years on some college campuses.  The movement is designed to pressure Israel to stop oppressing the Palestinian people.

One of the bills’ authors, Republican Sen. Leah Vukmir, of Wauwatosa, penned a column last year that called BDS “economic terrorism” against the Jewish State. Vukmir, who is on the board and a former chair of a bill-mill called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate to run against incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in 2018. Vukmir wrote her column for ALEC’s website.

The campaign contributor, Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson, has been a generous benefactor for conservative and GOP candidates in federal and state races across the country. Adelson has also been involved in recent years in efforts against BDS. He and his wife, Miriam, directly contributed $270,000 to Walker’s 2012 recall and 2014 reelection campaigns. In addition, Adelson contributed another $650,000 in 2014 to the state Republican Party, which turned around days later and contributed $600,000 to Walker’s campaign.

ALEC, which was created in the 1970s, unites powerful business interests with conservative state legislators around the country. They meet to come up with “model legislation” that state policymakers can tweak and introduce in their home states. The legislation developed by ALEC hits a range of issues, like privatizing government services and programs, environmental deregulation, voter ID, and the Castle Doctrine.

About four dozen legislators from Wisconsin have been involved in ALEC during the past several years, and ALEC-generated legislation has shown up in Wisconsin, especially since 2010 when Republicans took control of the governor’s office and the legislature.

Protect the right to boycott Israel in Wisconsin

Barbara Olson and Tsela Barr, Wisconsin State Journal, November 11, 2017

Barbara OlsonTsela Barr
Gov. Scott Walker just issued an executive order prohibiting current or future state contracts with any “business entity” that engages in the constitutionally protected right to boycott Israel for its human rights violations.

Republicans are pushing two similar bills in the state Legislature that would compel individuals as well as companies to support Israel if they want to do business with local or state government agencies. The provisions against boycotts, divestment and sanctions (often referred to as BDS) are to be written into contracts, and long-standing low-bidder requirements are to be superseded.

Our state politicians are not alone in singling out Israel — including the Palestinian territories it illegally occupies by military force — for this special status. In Congress, the proposed “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” would make it a felony to choose not to engage in commerce with companies doing business in Israel and its illegal settlements. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, violations would be punishable by a civil penalty that could reach $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

Such laws, resolutions and executive orders have been sprouting like mushrooms after the rain. Twenty-four U.S. states now have them on the books. Nationally, Republicans and some Democrats have gotten on board thanks to well-funded efforts by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bipartisanship may be dead when it comes to things the American people really need, but not when it comes to government overreach on behalf of the foreign state of Israel.

The absurd and dangerous consequences are becoming increasingly clear. Last month, people in a Houston suburb were required to sign an anti-BDS pledge to receive hurricane relief. (Individuals, but not companies, were eventually freed from this requirement after protests.)

And a Kansas math teacher who refused to sign an anti-BDS pledge was de-selected from a position in a state-funded teacher training program. A Mennonite, she follows her church policy to avoid purchasing goods and services from Israeli companies and those doing business with Israeli settlements. (Apparently, religious freedom exempts you from the law to provide women’s reproductive health services, but not from the duty to support Israel.) She is now suing the state of Kansas.

This “Palestine exception” to the First Amendment is of obvious concern to the millions of people who support the global BDS campaign called by Palestinian civil society to get Israel to comply with international law and basic standards of human rights.

But it should alarm anyone who values their freedom to engage in collective economic action to right wrongs and build a better society. How long before others — such as those in the burgeoning movement to divest from fossil fuels — will have their own “exceptions” written into law? Contact your state legislators and ask them to oppose these bills and Gov. Walker’s executive order.

Olson is a member of the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project. Barr is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison.

November 19, 2017
Orchard Ridge Fair Trade Fair

Featuring beautiful and unusual holiday gifts and items from around the world. All proceeds go to the organizations and their artisans to help them become self-sustaining. MRSCP and Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison will be selling our Palestinian embroidery, ceramics, earrings, kuffiyehs, olive oil and olive oil soap. Free admission and parking. For more information on the sale call 608-271-7212.

2017 Fair Trade Sale_ORUCC

November 9 – Global Day of Action: A World without Walls

Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall)

From Israel’s apartheid Wall on Palestinian land to the US Wall of Shame on indigenous land at the border with Mexico – Walls are monuments of expulsion, exclusion, oppression, discrimination and exploitation. As people affected by these walls and as movements that pose justice, freedom and equality as our tools to resolve the problems of this planet, we join the call for the 9th of November as a Global Day of Action for a World without Walls.

 

Read and endorse the Call for Action below. 


Follow us on facebook to keep updated about the global mobilisation.

Click here to endorse the Global Call for Action. 


Register here for a FOSNA livestream of two workshops November 10 and 11 from the SOA Watch Border Encuentro in Tucson.

November 10 10:00 AM Pacific | 12:00 PM Central | 1:00 PM Eastern
“From Palestine to Mexico, All the Walls Have Got to Go: BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) and Border Militarization” with Palestinian BDS National Committee, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and Friends of Sabeel North America

November 11 1:15 PM Pacific | 3:15 PM Central | 4:15 PM Eastern
“Towards a World Without Walls! Combating the Violence of Border Walls and Militarization from Palestine to the US/Mexico and Beyond” with Jamal Juma of Stop The Wall (Palestine), and Pedro Charbel of the Palestinian BDS National Committee

You can also take action on November 9 by

  • Posting on social media about the walls you resist and why, using the hashtags #WorldWithoutWalls and #MundoSinMuros
  • Reaching out to the members of your congregation to support those impacted by Trump’s immigration policies
  • Connecting with those working on immigrants rights in your community
  •  


    "There is no word for wall in our language. We've asked our elders. We have searched. There is no word for wall because there shouldn't be walls."

    Verlon M. Jose, Tohono O'odham tribal vice chairperson. The Tohono O'odham people's land is divided by the US/Mexico border.

    From Israel’s apartheid Wall on Palestinian land to the US Wall of Shame on indigenous land at the border with Mexico – almost 70 walls across all continents are today ripping through people’s lives and lands as they fortify often unilaterally defined borders or limits of state control. They cause thousands of deaths every year and destroy means of livelihoods and hope for many more. They are monuments of expulsion, exclusion, oppression, discrimination and exploitation.

    15 years ago Israel started building its up to 8-meter high and over 700km long Wall on Palestinian occupied land as an integral part of its policy to confiscate over 60% of the West Bank and imprison the Palestinian people on not more than 13% of their historical homeland. This adds to its wall surrounding and completely isolating the Palestinian Gaza Strip since 1994. Palestinians have never stopped resisting these illegal Walls and the continuous expulsion of their people from their land and in 2003 called for November 9 – the day the Berlin Wall fell – as International Day against Israel’s apartheid Wall.

    Continue reading

    Decode Hate by the Arab American Institute

    Arab American Institute
    Decode Hate examines the sprawling, deeply embedded network of monetized hate. By underscoring the deliberate misinformation and fear-mongering of featured groups, this project reveals how hate is translated into mainstream discourse and discriminatory policies.

    © Copyright Arab American Institute Foundation. 2017 All Rights Reserved.

    Protect Free Speech

    Twelve leading faith organizations pen an open letter opposing anti-BDS legislation

    Friends of Sabeel North America, November 7, 2017

    Today, 12 leading faith groups, including the Alliance of Baptists, Presbyterian Church USA, and the United Church of Christ, ran a letter in The Kansas City Star calling anti-BDS legislation in the United States what it is: a blatant infringement on First Amendment rights.

    The letter, signed by an additional nine faith organizations and endorsed by more than 28 activist organizations, states:

      “We are alarmed by legislation recently passed in a number of states penalizing participation in the nonviolent, grassroots Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, and by similar legislation that is proposed in the U.S. Congress…As faith leaders, we have long used the nonviolent instruments of boycott and divestment in our work for justice and peace.”

    There are several things you can do to oppose anti-BDS legislation to protect your First Amendment right to boycott!

  • Call or e-mail your national elected representatives (202-224-3121) to oppose proposed anti-BDS legislation as a serious attack on the right of free speech.
  • Help us spread the ad on social media by visiting us on Facebook and Twitter and sharing our posts.
  • Donate to help fund our work against anti-BDS legislation!
  • Help us show legislators that we will not tolerate attacks on free speech!

    In solidarity,
    Rochelle Watson
    National Organizer
    Friends of Sabeel, North America


    Ask Sen. Tammy Baldwin to Oppose Kenneth Marcus’s Nomination

    US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

    On October 30, Trump nominated Kenneth Marcus to be Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education.

    Marcus has a long record of filing spurious discrimination claims with the department in an effort to suppress Palestine activism on campus, and supports anti-BDS legislation.

    Marcus is yet another Trump nominee who would undermine the very protections his office is supposed to uphold.

    Contact Senators on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and tell them to oppose Marcus’s nomination.


    Who is Kenneth Marcus? Read our memorandum outlining his history of anti-Palestinian activism and why he should not be confirmed.

    Read our alerts

    November 9, 2017
    Kathy Kelly at Edgewood College

     
    Anderson Auditorium
    Predolin Center
    Edgewood College
    1000 Edgewood College Dr
    Madison, WI
    7:00 PM


    “Trillions for the Military: Will That Make Us Secure?”
    Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

    Kathy Kelly, a global activist for peace, is one of the founding members of Voices in the Wilderness, and currently a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org) Believing that “where you stand determines what you see,” Voices activists have stood alongside people in war zones and helped educate U.S. people about the terrible consequences of U.S. wars.

    As a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, she has frequently visited Kabul. Experiences there and in other war zones have led her to speak and write about the futility of U.S. militarism and the potential for nonviolent resistance to war and injustice.

    Planned by Ecumenical Peace Working Group
    Hosted by Edgewood College COR General Education Program
    For more information, contact Maureen McDonnell, OP, mowisdom at gmail.com