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...


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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Two Congressional Resolutions That Won’t Advance Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Posted on July 13, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

In the coming week, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will move on four bills – all of which, I believe, drive more nails in the coffin of Israeli-Palestinian peace. While two of the proposed bills are blatantly pro-Israel, it is the two more benign pieces of legislation that cause me real concern.

House Resolution 246 (HRes246) "Opposing efforts to de-legitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" is a non-binding resolution putting Congress on record in opposition to BDS. Unlike earlier versions, HRes246 does not impose penalties on BDS supporters nor does it...

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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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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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Maya Berry Participates in FMEP Panel on Palestinian Citizens of Israel

Posted by Tess Waggoner on June 12, 2019 in Blog

On June 11, 2019 AAI co-sponsored a panel discussion called, "The Deal of the Century: What About Palestinian Citizens of Israel?" with the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) and the Mossawa Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for Arab citizens and residents of Israel. AAI Executive Director Maya Berry was joined for a panel discussion by Jafar Farah, the director of the Mossawa Center, Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development and a non-resident senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, and Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street. The conversation was moderated by FMEP...

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Protecting Americans’ Right to Hear from the Leader of BDS, the Palestinian Non-Violent Campaign for Human Rights

Posted on April 13, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

I awakened early Wednesday to listen to a voicemail message from Omar Barghouti, a leading member of the Palestinian movement to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) Israel. In the message, Omar told me that he was at Ben Gurion Airport and despite holding a valid US visa and a boarding pass for his flight to Washington, D.C., the airline would not let him board the plane. He was informed that American immigration officials had notified the airline that he was being barred from entry into the US. 

We had invited Mr. Barghouti to Washington to...

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Rep. Omar Backlash: All Too Familiar to Arab Americans

Posted by Heba Mohammad on February 13, 2019 in Blog

This week, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) attempted to break the dam on a discussion that has been held back for too long: the sanctity of Israel in our U.S. Congress, and the role of powerful pro-Israel organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in maintaining a taboo around criticisms of Israel. While the dishonest backlash to Omar's tweets has largely succeeded in shifting the conversation away from U.S.-Israel policy and into a debate about anti-Semitism, it is critical to take a moment to focus on the actual positions Omar was communicating.

Watching the online debate unfold, the...

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Tell Leaders in Congress to Oppose the Covert Attempt to Unconstitutionally Suppress Advocacy for Palestinian Rights

Posted on December 05, 2018 in Action Alerts

Reports have surfaced that lawmakers plan to hide two controversial bills in large omnibus packages for passage before the next Congress is sworn in.Some pro-Israel groups have been trying to push legislation like the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and the so-called Anti-Semitism Awareness Act in Congress for years, but they failed each time because these bills violate our First Amendment by seeking to shield Israel from criticism at the expense of our free speech rights. Now, in a desperate act, some are trying to hide these acts in large, end-of-year spending bills.This is unacceptable. Tell Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate...

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