MINNEAPOLIS (March 3, 2017) — A coalition of community groups from the Twin Cities and Outstate Minnesota including, faith-based, peace and Palestinian rights organizations strongly disapprove of the passage of Senate File 247 by the Minnesota State Senate.
A rally at 10 a.m., Monday, March 6, will be held at the State Capitol Building in St. Paul. The event sponsors include BDS Community, Jewish Voice for Peace and Women Against Military Madness Middle East Committee.
The SF 247 bill, which is similar to bills passed in other states, attempts to suppress the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement. It prohibits state agencies, as well as institutions like colleges and universities from doing business with vendors that choose to use BDS as means of making a political statement against Israel because of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.
Senate File 247 threatens the right of Minnesotans to engage in boycotts against entities that violate human rights and international law. We urge the Minnesota Senate to reject SF 247 when it come to the floor vote.
The authors of this bill have presented it as an anti-discrimination measure. However, it is aimed at deterring constitutionally protected speech by targeting those who by targeting those who protest the Israeli government. Only Israel is mentioned in this bill.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that boycott is a protected First Amendment speech and receipt of governmental contracts cannot be conditioned on the revocation of Constitutional rights,” said Sylvia Schwarz, Minnesota BDS Community.
The Minnesota Senate and Governor Dayton should not join with elected officials who have been willing to trade away First Amendment rights of Americans in order to protect Israel’s discriminatory behavior and human rights violations.
The increase in Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism in our country make it even more important to advocate for the freedom and self-determination of all.
Senate File 247 is another example of an attempt to legislate protection of the State of Israel and its illegal actions by denying Americans their First Amendment right to protest and boycott.