August Recess

Posted on July 25, 2019 in Advocacy

Your Member of Congress is home-- it's time to go to work!

Making Sure the 1st Amendment Isn’t Collateral Damage

Whenever Congress decides to take on Israel/Palestine, you know it’s time for some pandering that ranges from the hilarious to the infuriating. Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee took on a package of five Israel/Palestine-related bills and resolutions, and they were all approved. If you have the stomach for it, you can watch the kookiness here. If not, here’s a quick summary: Two resolutions, H.Res.138 and H.Res.326, offer Washington-standard support for a two-state solution, affirming a special relationship with Israel and only leveling criticism...

AAI Welcomes House Resolution 496

Posted by Tess Waggoner on July 17, 2019 in Blog


CONTACT: Tess Waggoner

(202) 429-9210 

July 17, 2019 

WASHINGTON- Today, AAI welcomes the introduction of H.Res.496, which affirms the First Amendment-protected right of all Americans to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad.

The right to boycott is central to the political expression envisioned by the Founders when the First Amendment was added to the Constitution. Americans have a long and proud history of boycotts, from the Boston Tea Party to opposing apartheid in South Africa, and includes the instrumental Civil Rights Era boycotts...

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Tell your Congressperson to Co-Sponsor, Support H.Res.496

Posted by Tess Waggoner on July 17, 2019 in Blog
H.Res.496 which affirms the First Amendment-protected right of all Americans to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, and that includes advocacy for Palestinian human rights.
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The Umpteenth Attack on BDS

You know the story by now: Lawmakers eager to pander to Israel pass unconstitutional bills to suppress the right of American citizens to engage in political boycotts against Israel or its illegal settlements, then the courts strike them down over violations of the First Amendment (as they did in Texas, Arizona and Kansas), and then the pandering lawmakers tweak the bills to make them harder to challenge in court. Well, here we are again, with H.Res. 246, a bill that demonizes the BDS Campaign with a variety of false accusations, but which stops short of prescribing specific...

TAKE ACTION: Tell Chairman Engel not to Advance Anti-BDS Resolution

Posted by Omar Baddar on July 10, 2019 in Blog


From the tea boycott of the American revolution to the Montgomery bus boycott of the civil rights movement, political boycotts have been a fundamental part of our country’s progress, and the right to engage in these boycotts is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

In recent years, however, there have been many unconstitutional efforts to punish U.S. citizens who protest Israel’s human rights violations by boycotting Israel or its illegal settlements. For example, a town in Texas once required those seeking Hurricane assistance to certify that they don’t boycott Israel to qualify for such assistance....

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Chicken and BDS in Texas

Posted by Ryan Suto on June 12, 2019 in Blog

Last month, Texas passed a new anti-boycott law after the 2017 version was blocked from enforcement in federal court for its unconstitutional provisions. The Arab American Institute has seen this before: in March, we testified against a revamped anti-boycott bill in Arizona after a federal court blocked the original 2016 law. Texas’s new law looks striking similar to Arizona’s new law, which still violates protected political expression.

In fact, the Center for Public Integrity recently found, as part of their

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Posted on April 11, 2019 in Press Releases


CONTACT: Tess Waggoner,, 202-429-9210 TRUMP ADMINISTRATION DENIES PROMINENT PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE ENTRANCE On Eve of U.S. Speaking Tour, BDS Co-Founder Omar Barghouti Banned from Entry

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 11, 2019) – On April 10, Omar Barghouti, a prominent Palestinian human rights activist, was denied entry into the United States at Ben Gurion Airport despite having valid travel documents. The Arab American Institute invited him to Washington to participate in a number of speaking engagements and educational programs.  

Barghouti, who is the co-founder of the Palestinian civil society led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS), was scheduled to...

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Instead of criminalising political speech, pass the NO HATE Act

Posted by Ryan Suto on January 10, 2018 in Blog

On 29 December the Jerusalem Post published an interview with the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. In that article, Friedman stated that reactions were "largely emotional" to the Trump administration's announcement of support to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

He went on to state: "We expected the reaction, although we were disappointed with some of the rhetoric, which was ugly, needlessly provocative and anti-Semitic [sic]". The anti-Semitism charge

Friedman does not elaborate how political disagreements with an international policy change constitute bigotry against Judaism as a religion or Jews as a people....

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Washington Watch: Senate Bill 720: Making It a Crime to Support Palestinian Human Rights

Posted on August 12, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby It is fascinating to watch some US senators tripping over themselves as they attempt to defend their support for or opposition to proposed legislation that would make it a federal crime to support the international campaign to Boycott, Divest, or Sanction (BDS) Israel for its continued occupation of Palestinian lands. What ties these officials up in knots are their efforts to square the circle of their "love of Israel", their opposition to BDS, their support for a "two-state solution", and their commitment to free speech.    The bill in question, S720, was introduced on...

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