Jewish Voice for Peace Statement on Pro-Settlement Legislation Pending in Congress
WASHINGTON - Jewish Voice for Peace strongly opposes proposed trade legislation intended to institutionalize support for the Israeli occupation and attempt to criminalize non-violent human rights boycotts of Israel. Yesterday the Senate Finance Committee approved amended language to S.995, while a related bill (HR. 825) is pending in the House. This added language regarding boycotts of Israel, backed by AIPAC, comes in response to growing grassroots support in the United States and across the globe for using boycotts, divestment and sanctions tactics as tools to further justice, equality, and human rights for Palestinians.
If passed, the legislation would reverse the long standing US policy of opposing the illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories by de facto recognizing all settlements as part of a “greater Israel.” The proposed legislation would also mandate US government actions to track and penalize commercial boycotts, a violation of constitutionally protected political speech.
From South Africa to the grape boycott to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) tactics have been essential tools used to create a more just society. Rabbi Joseph Berman, JVP’s Federal Policy Organizer noted that, “This legislation, which actually encourages illegal settlement building while strengthening the far right in Israel, shows that BDS is an increasingly powerful means to challenge Israel's impunity when it comes to Palestinian rights. We urge Congress to reject this legislation."
Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.
JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.