VOTE NO ON S1/COMBAT BDS SAYS NJ DEMOCRATIC VOTERS

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As voters who supported Senator Robert Menendez’s successful campaign for US Senate re-election in 2018, we hereby denounce his recent actions in support of S1, a package of bills which includes the Combat BDS law, a law that  would punish and potentially criminalize proponents of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign, a peaceful campaign of your voters insistence to support Palestinian rights.

While most of the Democrats in the US Senate recently voted NO on S1 twice, albeit over the procedural question that any legislation during the US Government shut down SHOULD focus on reopening the government. Robert Menendez joined 3 other Democratic Party Senators in voting YAY for the entire S1 legislative package including the extremely controversial Combat BDS law.

We see this attempt to legislate against the constitutionally protected free speech rights of American citizens, and residents as an egregious assault on our democratic rights to participate in debate and decision making in matters of US policy and government.  We fear it will provide a pretext for a broader oppressive atmosphere, one that could lead to investigations and crackdowns on people’s coalitions and movements. This could affect efforts of people from diverse backgrounds working together around many issues and also lead to expanded restrictions on our 1st amendment rights.

We hereby urge Senator Menendez to change his position, and to OPPOSE S1 including the Combating BDS Act.  Furthermore, we urge US Senator Cory Booker and the entire NJ delegation to the House of Representatives to vote down S1 and Combating BDS Act, and any related laws attempting to restrict our First Amendment rights, to punish criminally, civilly or financially citizens, residents, companies, or any other entity for making personal or organizational decisions on what they purchase or support.

Vote NO on the S1 laws and the Combat BDS Act.

According to the ACLU:

“The Combating BDS Act represents yet another covert attempt by the Senate to enact legislation that would burden fundamental free expression rights without proper consideration on the heels of a failed attempt last month to pass a different law criminalizing boycotts of Israel.  . . .

The Combating BDS Act would attempt to give legal cover to states that enact laws penalizing businesses and individuals who participate in boycott activities against Israel and Israeli-controlled territories. These state laws, dozens of which exist in many different forms, generally compel state contractors and any entity in which the state invests — for example, through a state-run pension, retirement, or endowment fund — to sign oaths promising not to boycott Israel as a requirement of maintaining their relationship with the state. However, as courts found in the McCarthy era, the government can’t fire its employees or contractors just because they refuse to sign an oath promising not to engage in disfavored expression or association. And two federal courts have already held state requirements to swear not to participate in boycotts of Israel unconstitutional.”



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