(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/5/19) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, today condemned the U.S. Senate’s adoption of the misleadingly titled “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act” (Senate Bill 1), an anti-BDS bill that would provide federal protection to states that pass laws penalizing Americans who participate in political boycotts aimed at Israel and its illegal settlements in occupied territories. It passed 77 to 23.
[NOTE: BDS refers to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in support of Palestinian human rights.]
Video: Sen. Rand Paul Says Right to Boycott is a Fundamental Aspect of Freedom
“It is a shame that the U.S. Senate would pass such an unconstitutional bill that violates the First Amendment right of all Americans to challenge the illegal and discriminatory actions of a foreign government and goes against the principles of free speech on which our country was founded,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw. “CAIR urges all members of the House who support free speech to oppose and remove the anti-BDS provisions of Senate Bill 1.”
McCaw noted that the bill would make Israel the only country in the world, including the United States itself, that it is illegal to boycott.
Senate Bill 1, which includes an anti-BDS law, would provide federal protection to states that pass laws penalizing Americans who participate in political boycotts aimed at Israel and its illegal settlements in occupied territories. It also confirms $38 billion in military assistance to Israel over the next 10 years and extends the U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act.
CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION, URGE YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS TO OPPOSE ANTI-BDS LEGISLATION:
There are currently 26 states with anti-BDS laws already on the books. The two federal courts that have ruled on these laws in Arizona and Kansas have both declared them unconstitutional and in violation of the First Amendment.
In December, CAIR filed a motion on behalf of a Texas speech pathologist who was fired for refusing to sign a statement certifying that she does not, and will not, boycott Israel or Israeli settlements.
SEE: CAIR Files Motion to Enjoin Texas Anti-BDS Act as Unconstitutional
In January, CAIR filed a motion to challenge Maryland’s “No Boycott of Israel” or “anti-BDS” law (Executive Order 01.01.2017.25) enacted in October 2017.CAIR’s lawsuit, on behalf of former Maryland lawmaker Syed Saqib Ali, says the Maryland order is a violation of the First and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Department Director Robert S. McCaw, 202-742-6448, email@example.com; National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org