[Time-sensitive] Call Your Lawmaker NOW to Oppose Anti-BDS Bill!
Now more than ever we need your help in stopping lawmakers from stealthily passing two controversial bills this week. Time is of the essence. The 115th Congress ends this year’s session on Friday, December 21.
According to news sources, Sen. Ben Cardin and other Members of Congress are working behind-the-scenes to attach the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720/H.R.1697), and the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (S.2940/H.R.5924) to the end-of-the-year omnibus spending bill. Certain legislators are quietly arranging for these two acts to be placed in the spending bill by unanimous consent in the Senate. If there is no opposition to the acts being placed in the spending bill, they will become law if the spending bill is passed. We must stop this from happening, and we can do this with your help.
Just yesterday, The Intercept reported the story of Bahia Amawi, a Palestinian American children's speech pathologist in Texas, who lost her job after refusing to sign away her constitutional right to boycott Israel. The state law protecting Israel from any boycott passed unanimously in Texas last year, and we CANNOT allow the same to happen at the federal level. [See also today's Democracy Now! episode on this issue].
According to the ACLU, the draconian Israel Anti-Boycott Act would effectively criminalize First Amendment-protected political speech, and impose criminal financial penalties to anyone who chooses to boycott Israel.
PEN-America, another freedom of speech advocate, also warned of the dangerous consequences of passing the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act in the upcoming spending legislation. The bill would add criticism of Israel to the existing definition of anti-Semitism and allow for a civil rights investigation of and possible retaliation against pro-Palestine activists on college campuses and other institutes of learning. Critics have warned that it will have a chilling impact on legitimate criticism and political speech.
Your senators and representative can prevent these bills from passing by opposing the inclusion of the two acts in the omnibus spending bill.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Please call your two senators and representative immediately. Be sure when you contact them that you mention the bill numbers and that you are a constituent of their state or district.
Please note: If this bill fails to pass unanimously (without a roll call vote in the Senate), then it will be stalled for further debate on the Senate floor. We cannot allow this bill to pass without any discussion or debate.
TELL YOUR LAWMAKER:
1) Do not allow anti-free speech legislation to be added to the omnibus budget bill, and oppose the passing of S.720/H.R.1697 and S.2940/H.R.5924
2) The ACLU has said that the Israel Anti-Boycott Bill violates the First Amendment and warned of the risks of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which will chill constitutionally protected free speech by falsely equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism
3) Do not silence one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or sacrifice our constitutional rights for the interests of a foreign government.