For Immediate Release
Tell Congress to Support Free Speech, Oppose Anti-BDS Resolution Denouncing Right to Boycott
WASHINGTON - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today urged all Americans who support the First Amendment to contact their members of Congress and ask them to oppose an anti-BDS resolution, co-introduced by Rep. John Lewis, coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives this week, and instead support a resolution reaffirming the right to boycott.
On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution condemning the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which advocates using peaceful economic boycotts of Israeli goods to promote Palestinian human rights and oppose Israel’s government policies and illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.
SEE: Despite objections from progressives, US House to vote on anti-BDS measure
SEE: Text of House Resolution 246
In response to the anti-BDS legislation, Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN), John Lewis (D-GA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) introduced a resolution affirming the First Amendment rights of all Americans to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad.
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SEE: Omar introduces resolution affirming 'right to participate in boycotts' ahead of possible vote on anti-BDS bill
SEE: Text of House Resolution 496
“The United States Congress should not be in the business of condemning American citizens’ First Amendment right to participate in peaceful boycotts aimed at promoting human rights for all. This resolution goes against the principles and values upon which this nation was founded,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw. “Courts across the country have struck down anti-BDS laws, proving that they are in contradiction to the Constitution.”
McCaw also urged Representatives to cosponsor H.Res. 496 and affirm their commitment to the First Amendment.
In April, CAIR won a landmark victory against an anti-BDS law in Texas on behalf of a speech pathologist who was fired for refusing to sign a statement certifying that she does not, and will not, boycott Israel or Israeli settlements. The Court held that the Texas Anti-BDS Act “threatens to suppress unpopular ideas” and “manipulate the public debate” on Israel and Palestine “through coercion rather than persuasion.” The Court concluded: “This the First Amendment does not allow.”
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CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.