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URGENT ACTION ALERT: Senate to Vote on Anti-BDS Bill on Tuesday!

by Josh Ruebner, Policy Director & Anna Baltzer, National Organizer
May 11th, 2015

TODAY: Call Your Senators to Oppose Anti-BDS Legislation

It is clearer than ever just how much of an impact the global movement for boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) is having in challenging Israel's occupation and apartheid policies--so much that Israel’s supporters are mobilizing top-down U.S. legislation about it!

As early as tomorrow, the Senate may debate and vote on fast-track trade legislation, which includes an anti-BDS provision. This legislation would make it a “principal trade negotiating objective of the United States” to “discourage politically motivated actions” that “limit commercial relations” with Israel and Israeli businesses, including those operating in illegal Israeli colonies in Occupied Palestinian Territory.

We need you to pick up the phone today and call your Senators to oppose this anti-BDS legislation.

Here’s how you can in three easy steps:

Click here to get talking points and contact info for your Senators
Call each of your Senators
Tell us how your calls went

This provision is designed to pressure the European Union (EU) -- which is currently negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States -- to reverse course on recent steps to oppose Israeli settlements. These include new guidelines preventing entities operating from Israeli-occupied territory from receiving EU funding and a push to label settlement products entering the EU.

The Senate may also vote this week on another trade-related bill that has more extensive anti-BDS provisions which would require the President to submit a report to Congress on BDS campaigns and urge states to blacklist companies that support BDS. 

These anti-BDS legislative efforts are significant, but we want to emphasize loudly and clearly that nothing in these bills makes it illegal, or even restricts us in any way, from pursuing BDS campaigns. It has been and remains our First Amendment right to advocate for and organize BDS campaigns against Israel and corporations that profit from its human rights abuses of Palestinians. 

These anti-BDS legislative efforts show just how strong and effective the BDS movement is becoming both at home and abroad, as was evidenced just last week after Grammy Award-winning singer Lauryn Hill canceled her upcoming performance in Israel

Not only are Israel and its supporters on Capitol Hill so worried about BDS that they’re engaging in these top-down efforts to stifle it, but they’re also fearful about having an open debate on this legislation. Instead of trying to advance these bills on their own, their proponents tried to sneak them in to unrelated bills and keep the texts secret in the hopes we wouldn’t notice

But we did notice and we’re not going to stand idly by. Please pick up the phone today to call your Senators and make it clear to them that we oppose anti-BDS legislative efforts and that we’re going to continue to push for BDS to support Palestinians in their quest for freedom, justice and equality. 

Thank you for taking action.


Josh Ruebner
Policy Director

Anna Baltzer

National Organizer

PS: There are lots of good reasons to oppose fast-track trade authority for the President above and beyond this anti-BDS provision. Fast-track authority will make it easier for the White House to cut secretive trade deals, such as TTIP, which harm workers and the environment without Congress having the chance to amend them.  When you make your calls, feel free to add in these talking points as additional reasons why you oppose the bill.