The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of a Kansas public school teacher who, as a condition for taking her job, was required under a new state law to declare that she would not engage in boycotts of Israel. The law is just one in a growing list of measures in recent years aiming to counter the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the United States. Political boycotts in the U.S. are meant to be stringently protected under the First Amendment. “The state should not be telling people what causes they can…Read More... | 14 Comments
The lawsuit offers the most stark example yet of how anti-BDS legislation threatens Americans' First Amendment rights. The American Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday that it had filed suit on behalf of a Kansas public school educator who was asked to disavow a boycott of Israel as a condition for payment. The case comes amid growing concerns that recent state-level legislation across the United States is chilling free speech among proponents of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. [tmwinpost] The Kansas law, which came into effect on July 1 of this year, directs the state to "require written certification from all individuals and companies with which…Read More... | 30 Comments
The world long ago made clear to the Palestinians that violence is not a legitimate path for seeking independence. Now Congress is trying to criminalize one of the few nonviolent tools left. A pair of laws currently making their way through the United States Congress would impose criminal sanctions on Americans who support an economic boycott of Israel or its illegal West Bank settlements. The bill follows in the footsteps of, and in some was surpasses the dozens of American states that have passed their own anti-boycott laws in recent years. [tmwinpost] The Senate bill, S. 720, known as the “Anti-Israel…Read More... | 10 Comments
If Israel can teach American liberals anything, it’s that they cannot afford to rest on their laurels. The case of Israel demonstrates that fear-mongering and tribalism can easily prop up an oppressive and racist regime for decades. It is not uncommon for Israeli authorities to detain, interrogate and deport tourists of Arab or Palestinian descent, and those arriving through Israel to do Palestinian solidarity work. Jewish Americans, however, especially those engaged with mainstream community institutions, rarely face the types of humiliating treatment for which Israeli airport security has become notorious. [tmwinpost] So it raised a small storm on Wednesday when…Read More... | 2 Comments
New report by Israeli and international rights groups demand more protection for the right to protest. But even as the report shines a light on the West Bank, how can you protect a right you don't have? If freedom of expression is the grievance system of democracies, the right to protest and peaceful assembly is democracy’s megaphone. It is the tool of the poor and the marginalized – those who do not have ready access to the levers of power and influence, those who need to take to the streets to make their voices heard. ('Take back the streets: Repression…Read More...
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