(Miami, FL, 2/14/2018) – The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida), the nation’s largest civil rights and advocacy organization, today thanked State Senator Victor Torres for his unshakable fight to protect civil liberties for all by opposing unconstitutional “anti-BDS” legislation and urges his peers in the Florida Senate to mirror his stance and oppose the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act.”
CAIR-Florida and other civil rights organizations state that proposed legislation would violate the constitutionally-guaranteed free speech rights of American business owners and individuals who participate in the international boycott of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine territories. Boycotts such as the Montgomery Bus boycott against segregation or the boycott of companies enabling South African Apartheid were employed successfully in support of civil and human rights and as an integral part of our political process.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (SB 780) was introduced at a time when Palestinian human rights activists in the United States and elsewhere embraced boycotts as a strong, peaceful, and effective tool to pressure the Israeli government to respect the human rights of Palestinians and to influence the American public to join them and do the same.
“We call on our state senators to defend the rights of all Floridians to express their political beliefs without fear of government retaliation or retribution,” said CAIR-Florida’s Orlando Regional Director Rasha Mubarak.
SB 780 is a threat to the free speech of all Americans and is clearly unconstitutional. The act would charge those American business owners and individuals who participate in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement with criminal penalties. CAIR-Florida believes that American involvement in foreign boycotts started with dumping tea into Boston Harbor. It is un-American and illegal for the U.S. Government to deny U.S. businesses and individuals the right to work to change the illegal and discriminatory actions of a foreign government.
CAIR-Florida is the state’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties of all people, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR-Florida es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, fomentar el diÃ¡logo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.