Join organizations across NY state opposing legislation that creates unconstitutional blacklists. Add your organization to the growing list of co-sponsors by following the link below:
Current organizational signers include: Center for Constitutional Rights, Palestine Legal, National Lawyers Guild – NYC, United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Jewish Voice for Peace – New York City Chapter, Jewish Voice for Peace – Ithaca Chapter, Jewish Voice for Peace – Albany Chapter, Jewish Voice for Peace – Westchester Chapter, Jewish Voice for Peace – Rochester Chapter, JEWS SAY NO!, Jewish Voice for Peace – National, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, US Palestinian Community Network, American Studies Association, American Association of University Professors – NYU Chapter, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Adalah-NY: the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, Brooklyn For Peace, CODEPINK New York, Concerned Families of Westchester, WESPAC Foundation, Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism, Syracuse Peace Council
Dear Assembly Members:
We are writing to strongly oppose A.9036, currently in the Governmental Operations Committee of the NY Assembly, as well as any similar legislation that creates unconstitutional blacklists. We share deep concerns about unconstitutional attacks on boycotts, a form of protected political speech. We call on you to stop this legislation, and oppose any similar efforts.
This legislation mandates that New York State create a blacklist of individuals and entities that exercise their constitutional right to utilize boycott as a form of free speech. Under this bill, individuals and entities that boycott a country (or companies based in that country) from a selective list of “allied nations” will be ineligible to contract with the state. The legislation also calls for the state to divest its holdings from any corporation that boycotts an “allied nation*.”
The proposed legislation runs counter to the US Supreme Court decision in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., which concluded that boycotts constitute a political form of expression that “occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.”
If passed, this legislation would require that New York utilize the power of the state to:
-Punish those advocating for a boycott of Turkey because it uses U.S. weapons to commit human rights abuses against Kurds, or for advocating for a boycott of Colombia because it uses U.S. weapons to commit atrocities against its citizens.
-Bar United Methodist Churches from contracting with the state to run homeless shelters and soup kitchens because the church supports the boycott of Israeli settlement goods.
-Punish those advocating for a boycott of Israel because it uses U.S. weapons to inflict systemic human rights abuses against Palestinians. It would prevent New York from investing in corporations that have severed their complicity with Israel’s oppression of Palestinians in response to boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns.
Should it become law, the bill would put a chill on speech, and deter constitutionally protected speech by intimidating people from engaging in actions for fear of being blacklisted. This bill was passed in the NY State Senate the first week of the session with virtually no debate and it must be stopped now.
We are also concerned about A8220/S6806; a bill just as unconstitutional. This legislation blacklists and bars state funds to individuals and entities that have taken any action to boycott Israeli policies. We believe A8220 is just as dangerous as A9036. No legislation should restrict the rights of New Yorkers to engage in efforts to bring sanctions against a nation engaged in human rights violations.
We ask you to act in accordance with this state’s history of defending free speech and the rights of New Yorkers to engage in peaceful efforts to change policies.
We urge you to make sure A9036 does not pass in the Assembly. We are counting on you to defend free speech and reject this new version of McCarthyism.
*The definition of “allied nation” in this bill is: any country that is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, any country that is a signatory of the Southeast Asia Treaty of 1954, any country, other than Venezuela, that is a signatory of the Rio Treaty of 1947, Ireland, Israel, Japan, and The Republic of Korea