Virginia Waters Down Anti-BDS Bill-Thanks to You!
Last month, we alerted you to a resolution in the Virginia House of Delegates condemning the Palestinian civil society-led campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) as a way to achieve Palestinians’ long-denied rights to freedom, justice and equality.
We've also been watching a bill which would have forced contractors to give up their First Amendment-protected right to engage in boycotts of Israel or Israeli settlement goods in order to do business with the commonwealth.
Thanks to people like you, we generated more than 900 letters and phone calls to Virginia legislators opposing anti-BDS, anti-free speech pieces of legislation.
And although we lost the vote in the House on the resolution, 11 Delegates either voted ‘no’, abstained, or didn’t vote thanks in large part to your mobilization.
If you’re on Twitter, please take a second to Tweet your thanks to these Delegates!
Here’s some more positive news: thanks to your pressure and the opposition of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, a House committee significantly watered down the anti-BDS bill. The bill no longer penalizes contractors who boycott Israel!
This is a big victory for us, but our fight is far from over.
The bill still would require the commonwealth to report to the legislature on our constitutionally-protected rights to engage in BDS campaigns, a heavy-handed, McCarthyite governmental intrusion into civil society.
And the Senate has not yet voted on the anti-BDS resolution passed by the House.
So please take a moment to write and call your Senator and Delegate to oppose the passage of both of these anti-BDS initiatives.
Thanks for taking action—it’s working!
PS: A new group we’re partnering with on this effort—Freedom2Boycott in Virginia—is considering organizing a lobby day later this month in Richmond. Please let them know if you’d be interested in participating and lobbying in person to stop this anti-BDS, anti-Palestinian legislation.