Monday, June 13, 2016

Write a Letter to the Editor at the Washington Post!

Can You Write a Letter to the Editor at the Washington Post?

Please consider sending a letter to the editor to the Washington Post in response to this op-ed by Governor Cuomo attacking BDS and defending his executive order creating a blacklist of entities that abide by it.

Included below are the Post’s guidelines for letter writing, including its 200 word count, and some suggested talking points to use as a reference. Letters can be submitted through an online form here.

Post guidelines for letters

We prefer letters that are fewer than 200 words and take as their starting point an article or other item appearing in The Post. They may not have been submitted to, posted to or published by any other media. They must include the writer's full name -- anonymous letters and letters written under pseudonyms will not be considered. For verification purposes, they must also include the writer's home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers. Writers should disclose any personal or financial interest in the subject matter of their letters.

Suggested talking points

  • In his op-ed, Governor Cuomo grossly misrepresented what the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights is about.

  • BDS is a diverse, inclusive grassroots Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality, inspired by the US Civil Rights and South African anti-Apartheid movements.

  • BDS is necessary because Israeli leaders have made it clear they will not end their occupation of Palestinian lands or grant Palestinians their freedom and rights without outside pressure.

  • In the absence of action on the part of our government, it is the responsibility of all people of conscience to support peaceful Palestinian efforts to achieve their freedom.

  • Governor Cuomo’s executive order and similar efforts in other states are a McCarthyite attack intended to suppress BDS campaigns, which have been growing in the US in recent years.

  • Cuomo’s order is part of a larger campaign being waged against BDS in the US by the Israeli government and its supporters. Anti-BDS bills similar to the executive order have been introduced and/or passed in Congress and about two-dozen states.

  • Wherever you stand on Israel and Palestine, you should oppose this executive order and similar efforts as a threat to all of our rights.

  • This executive order shows how out of touch Governor Cuomo and other politicians who support similar measures are with US public opinion. Growing numbers of Americans support BDS as a nonviolent tactic to achieve freedom and equality for Palestinians.

  • A poll released by the Brookings Institution in December 2015 showed that 49% of Democrats support imposing sanctions or stronger measures against Israel over settlement construction. A similar poll done a year earlier showed that 39% of all Americans agreed.

  • Mainstream Christian denominations like the United Methodists, Presbyterian Church (USA), and United Church of Christ have all taken boycott and/or divestment action in support of Palestinian rights, as have numerous labor, academic, and student groups and others.

  • These legislative efforts to suppress BDS are bound to fail. Governor Cuomo and other politicians would be wise to reconsider their positions if they want to be on the right side of history.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Tell Gov. Cuomo: We Have a #RightToBoycott!

Can you write a letter to the editor to the New York Times today in response to this article about Governor Cuomo's executive order, which will put institutions and companies that engage in BDS on a blacklist? Letters should be 175 words or less and submitted to within the next 24 hours. 

Please consider sending letters to other newspapers covering this story as well. Guidelines for writing and submission can usually be found in the newspaper's opinion section on their website.
Talking points can include: 
  • This is a McCarthyite attack on a movement for justice and human rights. 
  • Boycotts have long been a tactic to achieve social change and the movement for Palestinian freedom should not be singled out.
  • This is an anti-democratic move by the Governor to circumvent the legislative process
  • This move seeks to silence the growing numbers of Americans who support BDS/economic tactics to put pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian human rights, and is part of a larger legal campaign being waged against BDS in the US.
  • Governor Cuomo should rescind this un-democratic order immediately.

You can also tweet at Gov. Cuomo using one of these sample tweets or make your own!:
  • Don't punish free speech, @NYGovCuomo! Rescind executive order 157 today. We have a #righttoboycott!
  • Political speech is protected under the First Amendment, @NYGovCuomo. Rescind executive order 157 today! #righttoboycott
  • I want my civil liberties back, @NYGovCuomo! Rescind executive order 157 today! I have a #righttoboycott.