The need to undo anti-BDS laws
Laws are being passed in America to deny American citizens their right to criticize a foreign country, Israel. The laws are targeting BDS, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction Movement, which has organized peaceful protests against Israel’s illegal settlements and Israel’s anti-human rights policies. This article at the Middle East Monitor explores one aspect of those unconstitutional laws
By Ray Hanania
At least 26 American states have adopted anti-BDS laws that in one form or another are intended to punish Americans who seek to boycott the State of Israel. The laws are being fueled by funding and political lobbying by pro-Israel activists in the United States and contravene the right to free speech by Americans.
In my recent column at Middle East Monitor, I explore the illegality of the anti-BDS laws and why they are spreading across the United States.
You can click this link to read the column. But below are facts and figures that broaden the scope of the discussion that might be useful in understanding the illegality of these anti-BDS laws and why American politicians who put the interest of a foreign country above the rights of their own citizens.
Illinois is one of the 26 states that have adopted anti-BDS laws. It was the 3rd state to introduce a law and the first to adopt it . The law was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican. But Rauner was defeated by Democrats J.B. Pritzker, who has long been a stalwart champion of Israel. Pritzker has many Arab American leaders backing his candidacy. Now that he has won the November 2018 General Election for Illinois Governor, the question is will Pritzker act to repeal the illegal anti-BDS law that Rauner signed, or will he simply ignore his responsibility to champion the freedoms that the anti-BDS laws threaten.
Here is the press release that Rauner put out applauding the attack on BDS supporters.
Rauner applauds Board decision on Airbnb
Illinois Investment Policy Board finds company out of compliance with Illinois anti-BDS law
CHICAGO — The Illinois Investment Policy Board (IIPB) today unanimously found that Airbnb’s decision to delist Jewish-owned properties on the West Bank was not in compliance with Illinois anti-BDS law. Airbnb has until the next IIPB meeting on March 13 to respond before the IIPB takes final action.
Gov. Bruce Rauner issued the following statement applauding the IIPB action:
“In response to our request for an investigation, the Illinois Investment Policy Board has determined that Airbnb is not in compliance with Illinois law prohibiting bans, divestitures and sanctions against the state of Israel. We applaud the Board’s finding and urge Airbnb to reverse its decision. It is imperative that we hold companies accountable when they are engaged in targeted discriminatory activities. Such actions not only violate the law of Illinois, they offend the core values of equality and fairness upon which our nation is built.”
The Board’s Executive Director Monica-Kaye Gamble can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a list of the 26 American states that have approved anti-BDS legislation as of November 2018.
The first State to introduce the unconstitutional law against Americans who criticize or boycott Israel was the State of Tennessee in April 2015 and the first state to approve the anti-BDS legislation is Illinois in July 2015.
Since then, 25 more states have passed similar anti-BDS laws. Here are all of the 26 states that have approved the anti-BDS pro-Apartheid Law:
- Tennessee (April 2015)
- South Carolina (June 2015)
- Illinois (July 2015)
- Alabama (February 2016)
- Colorado (February 2016)
- Indiana (March 2016)
- Florida (March 2016)
- Virginia (March 2016)
- Arizona(March 2016)
- Georgia (April 2016)
- Iowa (May 2016)
- New York (June 2016)
- New Jersey (August 2016)
- California Sept. 2016)
- Pennsylvania (November 2016)
- Ohio (December 2016)
- Michigan (January 2017)
- Texas (May 2017)
- Minnesota (May 2017)
- Nevada (2017)
- Kansas (June 2017)
- North Carolina (July 2017)
- Maryland (October 2017)
- Wisconsin (October 2017)
- Louisiana (May 2018)
- Kentucky (November 2018)
Federal judges in two states, Arizona and Kansas have declared the laws unconstitutional, yet the 24 other states continue to enforce the law, most requiring contractors to sign a testimonial that they do not support the BDS movement, or face cancellation or disqualification from state contracts.
Click here to read more of Ray Hanania’s columns at Middle East Monitor.
Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia as the Special US Correspondent for the Arab News at www.ArabNews.com, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appeare in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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