With the Israeli apartheid in Palestine continuing, New Jersey’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on Jersey lawmakers to oppose a set of bills currently in state legislature that would violate the constitutionally-guranteed free speech rights of companies and institutions–including schools–that participate in the international boycott of Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a global campaign to apply economic and political pressure on Israel in order to protest their human rights violations, international law violations, and illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
New Jersey’s state bill A925 was introduced on January 27th of this year by Assemblywoman Valerie V. Huttle of District 37, and Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer of District 36. The Senate version was introduced March 10th, and just passed in the Senate on May 9th. Another problematic bill, state bill A2940 was introduced on February 16, 2016 by Assemblyman Mike Carroll of District 25 and was referred to the Assembly Budget Committee.
State bill A925 would prohibit state pension and annuity funds to be invested in any companies that support BDS campaigns, while A9240 would stop any state funds being expended by ay entity who expresses policies that boycott Israel, including state colleges and universities.
These bills are effectively designed to counter and undermine the BDS effort, ultimately amounting to state-sanctioned support for Israeli apartheid.
Implementing these two bills would alienate a large number of businesses, investors, and university student governments who have called for a boycott of Israel in order to take rightfully punitive economic measures against companies and institutions who are complicit in Israel’s current–and lengthy history–of human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
Historically, boycotts supporting civil and human rights movements have been an accepted and encouraged part of our political process, and a way to participate in American democracy.
James Sues, CAIR-NJ’s executive director has said these bills are violation of our rights to engage in free speech.
“The proposed bills violate our right to engage in free speech. It would be un-American to deny constituents the right to exercise these freedoms,” he said.
Contact NJ Lawmakers
Learn more about the BDS movement
Check out a list of companies and products to boycott