Backlash in New Orleans: vote to rescind BDS resolution set for Thursday


Dear Friend,

Last Thursday, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed a historic human rights resolution!

The resolution, developed by the New Orleans Palestinian Solidarity Committee (NOPSC), calls on the city to avoid contracting with or investing in corporations that consistently violate human, civil, or labor rights— including Israel.

Now Jewish establishment groups are crying foul, saying the resolution unfairly targets Israel, and pushing feverishly for the council to revoke its original vote.

And it looks like the entire council is caving.

Click here to tell the New Orleans City Council they had it right the first time. Say yes to human rights here, in Palestine, and everywhere, and yes to the Human Rights Investment Screening Resolution (R-18-5).

Before last week’s vote, Council President Jason Williams said the resolution “specifically recognizes the city’s social and ethical obligations to take steps to avoid contracting with or investing in certain corporations, namely those that consistently violate human rights, civil rights, or labor rights.”

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Israel Publishes BDS Blacklist:
20 Groups Will Be Denied Entry

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry had for months refused to divulge the list

    Blacklisted American organizations:
    ■ American Friends Service Committee
    ■ American Muslims for Palestine
    ■ CodePINK
    ■ Jewish Voice for Peace
    ■ National Students for Justice in Palestine
    ■ US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) Executive Director Yousef Munayyer said, “We wear this designation as a badge of honor. When Israel, which aims to portray itself to the world as liberal and democratic, blacklists activists dedicated to nonviolent organizing and dissent, it only further exposes itself as a fraud.

Join CodePINK in calling on Senators Chuck Schumer and Ben Cardin to denounce this outrageous ban and tell Israel to lift it immediately. These senators should stand up for the right of US citizens to criticize repressive Israeli policies, especially since Israel gets over $3 billion of our tax dollars every year.

A pro-Palestinian BDS protest in Paris, France August 13, 2015A pro-Palestinian BDS protest in Paris, France August 13, 2015 (AFP)

Noa Landau, Haaretz, Jan 07, 2018

Code Pink Update: Calling for a 16-year-old to be raped?

#FreeAhed

No one should have to live under the rule of an occupying army. No one should have to pass through checkpoints on their way to school, watch their family members be shot, or have their homes invaded in the middle of the night. Two weeks ago, 16-year-old Palestinian girl, Ahed Tamimi, couldn’t take it anymore. This time when soldiers came to enter her home, she stood up and pushed back. She screamed and slapped the soldiers.

For the damage Ahed caused to their sense of masculinity, Israel is exacting revenge. Ahed has spent the past week and a half in various Israeli prisons. Most of her time has been in a freezing cold isolation cell with a camera monitoring her every move. Tomorrow as she appears in court, we are demanding of Netanyahu that she be released immediately.

Israeli leaders want extreme punishments for Ahed. Israeli Education Minister Neftali Bennett has said she and her family “should spend the rest of their lives in prison.” Israeli journalist Ben Caspit called for her to be sexually assaulted, saying, “we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras.” Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman said she and her family must “get what they deserve.”

The ill-treatment of Palestinian women prisoners, including various forms of sexual violence, is well documented. Now, leaders of Israeli society are publicly declaring that a 16-year-old girl should be raped! Netanyahu must release Ahed Tamimi immediately!

Twice so far, Israel has refused to release Ahed. Tomorrow she appears in court again. This time she must be set free. Please share your outrage on Twitter and Facebook and let the world know we will not tolerate such horrific abuse of power.

In solidarity,
Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Haley, Jodie, Katie, Mariana, Mark, Mary, Medea, Nancy, Paki, Robin, Sarah, Taylor, and Tighe

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Israel and the US are trying to prevent publication of a ‘blacklist’ of companies doing business in the West Bank

Israel West BankBusiness Insider/Julie Bort

Josef Federman, Josh Lederman, Jamey Keaten, Business Insider, November 27, 2017

  • Israel and the Trump Administration are working “feverishly” to prevent a database of companies that operate in Israel’s West Bank settlements from being published.
  • Dozens of major names are expected to appear on the list, including 100 local companies and 50 international companies, mostly from the US and Europe.
  • The UN’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council, ordered the compilation of the database in March 2016.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Weeks ahead of the expected completion of a U.N. database of companies that operate in Israel’s West Bank settlements, Israel and the Trump Administration are working feverishly to prevent its publication.

While Israel is usually quick to brush off U.N. criticism, officials say they are taking the so-called “blacklist” seriously, fearing its publication could have devastating consequences by driving companies away, deterring others from coming and prompting investors to dump shares of Israeli firms. Dozens of major Israeli companies, as well as multinationals that do business in Israel, are expected to appear on the list.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day,” Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, told The Associated Press.

The U.N.’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council, ordered the compilation of the database in March 2016, calling on U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein to “investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on Palestinians.”

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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.

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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.)

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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!

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    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.

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    State shouldn’t punish boycott movement — Joel Garb

    Wisconsin State Journal, 11/3/17

    Many Jews, including myself, as well as many others have been inspired by the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement in dealing with Israel. Israel’s current occupation of the Palestinian people on their traditional land is part of the reason for my discontent.

    Last Friday, Wisconsin’s governor signed Executive Order 261, alleging “a robust trading relationship” with Israel. The order said the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement against Israel is discriminatory and “serves to inflame conflict.” State agencies will not be allowed to do business with entities that engage in a boycott of Israel.

    By far the greatest inflammation of conflict runs from Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. This is similar to the boycott of South Africa when a minority community ran the country.

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    Wisconsin 24th State to bar or condemn Israel BDS movement

    Jewish News Service, October 29, 2017

    (JNS.org) Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued an executive order last Friday to ban state agencies from engaging in businesses with ties to the anti-Israel BDS movement. 

    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Credit: Michael Vadon via Wikimedia Commons.Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Credit: Michael Vadon via Wikimedia Commons.

    “We stand firmly against discrimination in any form and we wholly support our friends in Israel,” said Walker. “I look forward to leading a trade delegation to Israel to foster new trade partnerships between Wisconsin and Israeli businesses.”

    With the passing of the order, Wisconsin became the 24th U.S. state to enact official measures condemning BDS or prohibiting government business with entities that boycott Israel. 

    “Consistent with existing Wisconsin nondiscrimination provisions and regulations governing purchases…agencies may not execute a contract with a business entity if that entity is engaging in a boycott of Israel,” the order states. “Further, agencies shall reserve the right to terminate any contract with a business entity that engages in a boycott of Israel during the term of the contract.”

    The initiative came just before Walker departed on a trip to Israel at the head of a 15-member business delegation. The delegation will be in Israel until Nov. 2.

    Also last week, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order that blocks his state from awarding contracts to companies that support BDS.

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    UN takes first step to end Israel’s impunity

    Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 28 September 2017

    A UN list of companies that do business with Israel’s illegal settlements would boost the global movement for Palestinian rights. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler/ActiveStills)

    UN officials are finally moving to hold Israel accountable for breaking international law, though they are facing fierce resistance from Israel and its allies.

    “After decades of Palestinian dispossession and Israeli military occupation and apartheid, the United Nations has taken its first concrete, practical step to secure accountability for ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights,” said Omar Barghouti, a founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. “Palestinians warmly welcome this step.”

    On Wednesday, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that the UN’s human rights office began sending letters to some 150 companies around the world warning them that they may be added to a database of firms doing business with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

    This week Nickolay Mladenov, the top UN political official in Jerusalem, told the UN Security Council that “Israel’s illegal settlement activities have continued at a high rate” in gross breach of UN resolutions.

    There is a growing legal consensus that international law requires governments to prohibit all trade with the settlements.

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