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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Tess Waggoner

twaggoner@aaiusa.org

(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

BACKGROUND/CONTEXT:

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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Countdown Vol. 17 No. 13: Misrepresented Realities

Posted on February 02, 2018 in Countdown

DREAMers Countdown: It’s been 150 days since President Trump moved to end DACA, and Congress has yet to save it.

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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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BDS Battle Heats Up

Last week, we told you about the ACLU’s letter urging members of Congress to refrain from cosponsoring the so-called “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” because American citizens have a constitutional right to boycott Israel if they want to (duh!). Subsequently, Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) responded to the ACLU, insisting that they were blowing things out of proportion when they said what we've been saying for years now, and claiming the bill “does [not] punish individuals or companies from [sic] refusing to do business with Israel based on their own political beliefs.” That’s...


Urge the New York State Assembly to Protect Free Speech

Posted by Arab American Institute on March 09, 2017 in Blog

On March 8, 2017 the New York state Senate fast-tracked & passed three outrageous anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction) bills. These bills are an unconstitutional attack on our First Amendment freedom of speech and will have damaging effects on our efforts to organize around justice for Palestine both in our communities and on college campuses.

The Supreme Court has ruled that participating in a boycott is political speech and is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Historically, boycotts have played a major role in U.S. history and the Supreme Court has defended that constitutional right.

Now that these three...

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