In the face of both rising justice movements and a rising right wing, defending our right to boycott for justice is vital. It was Israel’s ban on boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) for justice for the Palestinian people that banned Rep. Rashida Tlaib from returning home. And she and Rep. Ilhan Omar had only two weeks earlier cast principled dissenting votes against H. Res. 246, the repressive legislation that condemned BDS and demonized the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, justice, and equality.
After the vote on H. Res. 246, Reps. Omar and Tlaib teamed up with Rep. John Lewis—who knows intimately the power boycotts yield—and challenged Congress to stand up for their values. Together, they introduced H. Res. 496, which defends boycotts as a means of dismantling systems of injustice, a history that we honor and extend into the present by boycotting in protest of gun violence, transphobic laws, exploitative labor practices, and racism—and of course for justice for the Palestinian people.
With more progressives than ever before connecting with the movement for Palestinian rights, we took action, helping lead the charge with a letter to Congress with 40+ cross-movement partners leading bold justice work on these boycotts and beyond. All this followed work we led earlier this year to bring together another letter with hundreds of movement leaders, scholars, organizations, and supporters of justice to call on Congress to uphold our right to boycott for justice in Palestine.
Learn about legislation threatening our right to boycott for justice, download our talking points for lobbying your members of Congress, and take action!
A pending resolution in both the House and Senate (H. Res. 246 / S. Res. 120) condemns the grassroots movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions that aims to hold Israel accountable so that Palestinians can gain freedom, justice, and equality. The resolution lends legitimacy to attacks on First Amendment-protected free speech for social justice, gives the right-wing Israeli government the green light to continue attacks on Palestinians, and undermines work towards peace and justice for all people. Take action!
S. 852 is a pending bill in the Senate, misleadingly titled the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act. We agree with Jewish Voice for Peace that the bill would be more accurately titled the “Silencing Students Act.” S. 852 bill adds no new protections for Jewish students. Instead, it undermines real and necessary efforts to combat antisemitism and silences First Amendment-protected speech for Palestinian rights on college campuses. Take action!
H.R. 336 is a pending bill in the House that would encourage states to punish people for boycotting for Palestinian rights. H.R. 336 is the companion bill to S. 1, which the Senate passed 77-23 on February 5 (you can respond to their votes here). Both bills incorporate language from the Combating BDS Act, an unconstitutional bill that was defeated in the last Congress. The Combating BDS Act would punish individuals who boycott for Palestinian rights by encouraging states to deny them government contracts. Take action!