Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Iowa Anti-BDS Bill Is Moving Fast! Take Action Now! Oppose Anti-BDS Legislation in Iowa Today


Today is a critical day for those of us who advocate for peace and human rights through boycott, divestment, and sanctions.



A handful of legislators are trying to ram through SF2281, which would require Iowa to blacklist companies who comply with boycotting or divesting from Israel as a non-violent means of pressuring Israel to end its almost 50 year-old occupation of the West Bank. Public pension funds would have to sell their holdings in any company that take a stance against an illegal and immoral occupation. Also, no company or organization that participates in BDS could contract with the state.  

You don’t need me to tell you that the Iowa state legislature has a lot on its plate. There are schools to improve, housing to build, and a health care system to fix.  So with so much to do, it’s shocking that legislators are spending their time trying to punish advocates for justice and equality in Israel and Palestine.  

It’s a brazen political move by politicians running scared of our growing movement for justice in Palestine and Israel. We can’t let it happen.

We need as many residents of Iowa to call your senators TODAY to urge them not to vote in favor of SF 2281!  The senate is likely to vote on this by 1pm this afternoon (Wednesday, April 27, 2016).
Two more actions to take today:
1. Call your Senator! Tell him/her to vote no on SF 2281.
Call the Senate Switchboard at 515- 281-3371 and ask to speak with the office of your senator.  
If you're not sure who your senator is, you can look him/her up here:

Talking points:
1. Vote no on SF 2281.
2. The Iowa Senate does not have to take sides in the Israel-Palestine dispute and they should not be weighing in on BDS.  
3. This bill violates First Amendments rights. The ACLU and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee have issued statements saying it is unconstitutional.
4. Such a bill requires an in-depth study with a wide range of perspectives presented. No such study has taken place.

2. Call the Senate leadership! Tell them don't bring SF 2281 to the floor.
Call the offices of Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal and Senate President Pam Jochum to tell them not to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote
They are the ones with the power to decide if it is heard and voted on in the senate.
Number: Senate Switchboard 515- 281-3371, ask for their lines.

Talking points: 
1. Do not bring SF 2281 to the senate floor.
2. The Iowa Senate does not have to take sides in the Israel-Palestine dispute and they should not be weighing in on BDS.  
3. This bill violates First Amendments rights. The ACLU and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee have issued statements saying it is unconstitutional.
4. Such a bill requires an in-depth study with a wide range of perspectives presented. No such study has taken place.


Click Here to Take Action Now. Write your State Senator and the Senate leadership today and tell them to vote no on SF2281.

It’s vital that we protect our right to boycott!  From the United Farm Workers’ grape boycott in California, to the international movement that helped bring down South African apartheid, boycotts work. They’re a time-honored, non-violent and constitutionally protected way of taking action, supported by thousands of people of all faiths across our state and many more around the world.

That’s why it’s so important that we defeat this bill. The IA state senate needs to know that their constituents are watching, and that we refuse to allow ridiculous attacks on human rights advocates to be enshrined in law.

Thank you for taking action to support free speech for human rights in Iowa!

Sincerely, 


Katie Huerter
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Middle East Peace Building Associate 
khuerter@afsc.org