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Tell Gov. Rauner You Oppose Anti-BDS Legislation

by Josh Ruebner, Policy Director
May 22nd, 2015

Take Action before Illinois Signs Anti-BDS Bill into Law

NOTE: You must be an Illinois resident to take action on this alert.

Tell Gov. Rauner you oppose Illinois attempting to deny Palestinians freedom. 

I’m proud to have been born and raised in the Land of Lincoln. But I’m shocked and quite frankly disgusted that the Illinois legislature unanimously passed earlier this week the first law in the country legislating against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. 

Sure, Tennessee and Indiana already passed resolutions declaring their opposition to BDS, but the Illinois bill actually has some teeth, requiring state retirement funds to blacklist companies that support boycott or divestment against Israel and even against Israeli settlement goods. 

Illinois’s own Abraham Lincoln once said: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” By signing this bill into law, Governor Rauner would be helping to deny Palestinians freedom by attempting to stifle a legitimate civil society movement aimed at ending Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. 

Please call and email Governor Rauner today telling him that you oppose SB1761.

We’re not under any illusions that we’re going to block the governor from signing this bill into law. He’s already declared that he “looks forward” to doing so. But it’s important nevertheless to flood his office with calls and jam up his inbox so that he knows many Illinois residents oppose this bill and will continue to support BDS. 

So please take action today because the governor could sign this bill into law at any time. 

Even though we lost this vote in Springfield, the Illinois Coalition to Protect Academic Freedom and Free Speech*, which includes many member groups and allies of the US Campaign, did an incredible job of mobilizing grassroots opposition to this terrible bill, generating hundreds of witness slips in opposition. 

Illinois legislators knew full-well that there existed a huge outpouring of opposition to this bill. The fact that they voted unanimously for this bill at the behest of the Israel lobby is not an indication of our weakness. 

In fact, just the opposite is true. It’s clear that the Israel lobby is terrified of the growing successes of the BDS movement and is trying to apply top-down pressure to stop a grassroots movement. 

Yes, the Israel lobby still has the power to corral votes in our legislatures, but it is losing the debate and we’re winning more and more BDS campaigns. 

Let’s not let this setback deter us. Pick up the phone and send an email to Gov. Rauner stating your opposition to this bill becoming law and tell him that you are redoubling your effort to engage in your First Amendment protected right to support and organize BDS campaigns against Israel until Palestinians achieve the freedom, justice and equality they deserve. 

Thank you for taking action.

Sincerely yours,


Josh Ruebner, 
Policy Director


PS: Check out this great article published in the Chicago Sun-Times by Rev. Don Wagner and Prof. Ghada Talhami opposing this bill.

* Members of the Illinois Coalition to Protect Academic Freedom and Free Speech, which was formed in response to anti-boycott legislation introduced in the Illinois State Senate, include the Center for Constitutional Rights, CAIR-Chicago, Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, Arab-Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Friends of Sabeel: North America, American Friends Service Committee-Chicago, Just Foreign Policy, United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), American Muslims for Palestine, Chicago Area Code Pink, and the Muslim American Society Public Affairs and Civic Engagement - Chicago.