Action alert

Stop anti-BDS legislation in the Illinois House Executive Committee

ACTION ALERT: Testify Online Against IL Anti-Boycott Bill!

We must act now to stop this bill being pushed forward to punish companies that protest Israel’s human rights and international law violations. This bill is an attack on the growing strength of the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. 

Apologists for Israel's abuses are so desperate, they're even willing to politicize our pension system to stop the boycott. If the bill gets out of committee and passes, Illinois retirement systems will have to spend valuable resources to blacklist and withdraw investments from companies that choose not to do business with Israeli companies - including those based in the Occupied Palestinian territories - because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. 

In the past few years, the Methodist Church has voted to boycott settlement goods. Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from companies complicit in the Occupation. Does Illinois really want to be on the wrong side of history this badly? 

SB 1761 has now been assigned to the Executive Committee of the Illinois House, and a hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 13. 

TAKE ACTION1. You can testify online by submitting a Witness Slip.  

When filling out a witness slip, indicate "opponent," "record of appearance only."
Remember to fill out the "Representation" section with the organization you are representing or with "self" if you are only representing yourself.

Be sure to use full words with no abbreviations or punctuation. 

2. Once you've done that, call Executive Committee Chair Dan Burke. Tell him that boycott is protected political speech. Urge him to NOT politicize the Illinois pension systemt by stopping SB 1761.  

Contact info: Springfield office - 217.782.1117; District office - 773.471.2299.

3. Call other members of the Executive Committee.
Contact info is here

TALKING POINTS

  • SB 1761 forces state pension fund administrators to blacklist companies that boycott Israel or businesses that operate in “territories under the control of Israel." Illinois should not be shielding Israel from boycotts protesting human rights abuses and settlements, which are illegal under international law in what is considered occupied territory by the U.S. government.
  • Boycotts to address human rights issues are a First Amendment protected form of speech and association that have an important place in US history as a way for people to address injustices collectively.
  • SB 1761 punishes companies that make ethical decisions to boycott Israel's human rights abuses by requiring Illinois retirement funds to expend resources blacklisting, monitoring and withdrawing funds from such companies.
  • The Illinois legislature should not further burden the beleaguered pension system with politically motivated investigations. This is being done at a time when Illinois has the lowest credit rating and worst funded pension system among the 50 states.

The Illinois Coalition to Protect Academic Freedom and Free Speech was formed in response to anti-boycott legislation introduced in the Illinois State Senate.  The Coalition includes the Center for Constitutional Rights , CAIR-Chicago, Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support,  Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, Arab-Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Friends of Sabeel: North America, American Friends Service Committee- Chicago, United States Palestinian Community Network, , Just Foreign Policy, American Muslims for Palestine, Chicago Area Code Pink, Muslim American Society Public Affairs and Civic Engagement - Chicago.

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