Support resolution affirming our right to boycott for Palestinian rights

August 02, 2019
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On July 16, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced H.Res.496, reaffirming that people in the United States “have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

As of the August congressional recess, 15 additional Representatives have cosponsored the resolution.

ASK: During the August recess, attend town hall meetings and schedule in-district meetings with your Representative. Thank them if they have already cosponsored H.Res.496 and ask them to cosponsor it if they have not yet. 

TALKING POINTS

  • The Supreme Court has ruled that boycotts and similar tactics to promote political, social, and economic change are protected speech under the First Amendment.
     
  • Representatives should reaffirm our constitutional right to boycott because some state legislatures and Members of Congress have proposed and, in some cases, passed legislation to condemn, penalize, and even criminalize boycotts for Palestinian rights.
     
  • Federal district judges in Kansas, Arizona, and Texas have ruled that laws which prohibit states from contracting with people, organizations, and businesses boycotting for Palestinian rights are unconstitutional violations of our freedom of speech.
     
  • On July 23, the House of Representatives passed H.Res.246, condemning people who boycott for Palestinian rights. This resolution unfairly maligns people who boycott to advance Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality. H.Res.496 is a necessary corrective to this ill-advised resolution.
     
  • Since 1948, Israel has oppressed the Palestinian people. Israel refuses to allow Palestinian refugees their right of return home. Palestinian citizens of Israel are discriminated against through dozens of laws and societal racism. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have lived under a brutal Israeli military occupation for more than 50 years. Boycotting to advance Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality is a nonviolent way to end this oppression.
     
  • The Palestinian civil society-led movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) organizes within an anti-racist framework. People of conscience of all religions, nationalities, and ethnicities have responded to this call to action, including Jewish Israeli organizations and Jewish organizations in the United States.