[GVCP] Oppose bills that threaten our First Amendment rights about supporting BDS

February 12, 2016
Dear GVCP Members,

Tell Congress to oppose S.2531 and H.R.4514.

These bills seek to authorize state and local governments to divest from entities that support the Palestinian civil society-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.

These bills are clearly an indirect threat to Palestinian people, but they are rules that are an attempt to take away our Constitutional freedoms here in the U.S.  If they weren’t actual, proposed legislation, I would say that this is a bizarre joke.

We have a First Amendment right to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel if that’s what we choose to do.  We have a First Amendment right to urge others to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel if that’s what we choose to do.

Even if you’re not particularly interested in the Palestinian struggle, you should voice your opposition to any legislation that attempts to limit our constitutional rights.

Here’s the link.  (It’s user-friendly.)



Arnie Matlin for GVCP

[Adapted from US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation]

More information if you’re interested

While these Members of Congress believe they can authorize state and local governments to penalize nonprofit organizations and corporations which support BDS, there’s one major flaw in their legislation: what they’re “authorizing” is unconstitutional!

The Supreme Court has ruled that boycotts and related activities to bring about political, social, and economic change are political speech, occupying “the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.”

Congress can’t “authorize” state and local governments to shred our Constitutionally-protected right to political speech.

Contact your Members of Congress today to demand they uphold the First Amendment and not cosponsor the Combating BDS Act.  Here’s the link:


This legislation is part of a concerted campaign to try to quash the BDS movement through heavy-handed, McCarthy-style blacklisting in state legislatures throughout the country. Together with member groups in states such as New York, Virginia, and Indiana, we’re pushing back against this blatantly unconstitutional legislation.

BDS has become mainstream in the United States. Israel and its supporters can’t defeat the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality on its merits, so they are resorting to what they do best: engaging in top-down attempts to try to silence those who oppose Israel’s apartheid rule.

Even if they succeed in getting anti-BDS legislation passed, we want to remind everyone loudly and clearly: no legislature can take away our First Amendment-protected right to engage in BDS campaigns.

Rahul Saksena of member group Palestine Legal stated it best in Salon: “The best way to fight these bills is to organize more BDS campaigns and use these bills as an opportunity to raise public support for Palestinian freedom.”

And also to tell our Members of Congress that they cannot pass laws to “authorize” state and local governments to penalize entities for exercising their First Amendment right to political speech.

Thanks for taking action.



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