Middle East Committee
Talking Points re: Anti-BDS Legislation Passed in Minnesota
January 15, 2018
Minnesota Statues 3.226 and 16C.053 are unconstitutional
Economic boycotts are protected speech under First Amendment
Viewpoint discrimination against BDS supporters and participants
The word “boycott” was changed in the legislation to “discrimination” and the laws are said to prohibit discrimination against Israel.
Laws meant to infringe on practice of BDS
The laws require vendors and contractors who want to boycott Israel to refrain from First Amendment-protected expression in order to get a state contract.
Vague. The laws pretend to fix the Constitutionality problem by including words that free speech is not prohibited.
Lawsuits in other states with similar laws have been successfully brought. Federal courts have ruled that the laws are unconstitutional. However, lawsuits are expensive and unnecessary.
STATEMENT REGARDING BDS & ILHAN OMAR
December 19, 2018
Women Against Military Madness stands with Ilhan Omar, the newly elected Congresswoman from the Minnesota 5th District, who publicly supports the constitutional rights of the BDS Campaign—a nonviolent resistance tactic that seeks to pressure the Israeli government to end its anti-Palestinian policies. Omar’s campaign stated that “Ilhan believes in and supports the BDS movement and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized.”
Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) acts for social justice in U.S. foreign policy. WAMM members believe it is their responsibility as U.S. citizens to oppose any government actions that use U.S. taxpayer money and diplomatic cover to occupy another entity with military force. One very effective way to educate about and interrupt such actions is through economic boycott campaigns. The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Campaign seeks to influence the government of Israel, without the use of violence, to create lasting peace and security for all people of Israel and Palestine.
Today, Israel is occupying and colonizing Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinians who are being forced from their homes up through the present day, the right to return. As Israel continues its illegal occupation, the U.S. government continues to pledge $3.8 billion every year, enabling Israel to oppress and violate the rights of Palestinians, creating a reign of terror for the occupied.
Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS Campaign urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law. The boycott is not designed to destroy companies that are complicit in the occupation but to change their behavior.
BDS is a global nonviolent movement, initiated in 2005 by 170 Palestinian civil society groups, to increase pressure on the government of Israel and corporations based within Israel to desist from the oppression and exploitation of Palestinian people who live and work in Israel and the militarily-occupied territories of West Bank. The objective of BDS is also to end the brutal eleven-year-long blockade of Gaza which has kept Palestinians confined by air, land, and sea. BDS challenges the ongoing destruction of Palestinian society perpetrated by the Israeli government and military – demolition of homes, denial of access to water, construction of illegal settlements, and a wall that divides Palestinian communities and farmlands.
Resistance to this movement for justice has emerged across the U.S. Several states, including Minnesota, have passed legislation requiring that anyone entering into a contract with the state certify that they had not discriminated and would not discriminate against Israel. This is a euphemism for refusal to do business with individuals and companies that support BDS and resist the oppression of the Palestinian people. WAMM members have opposed such legislation, which is being challenged as a violation of the Constitutional right to free speech.
BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, religious congregations, and grassroots movements across the world. Eleven years since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.
WAMM will continue to struggle for justice for Palestinians and Ilhan Omar's right to speak out in support of the international BDS Campaign. #IStandWithIlhan.
STATEMENT REGARDING SYRIA
April 10, 2017
"The Middle East Committee of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) urges individuals, as well as civic, educational, and religious organizations to join us in denouncing any and all U.S. actions against the people and government of Syria."
The Middle East Committee of WAMM educates about the role of U.S. foreign policy in the military and economic oppression throughout the Middle East and beyond.
MEC is action oriented, focused especially on challenging the unconditional political, economic and military support the U.S. provides to Israel’s decades long illegal and unjust occupation of Palestine. MEC supports and works towards an equitable solution in accordance with International law.
Meetings: 10 a.m. on the Second Monday of every month.
Location: Kensington Condominiums, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the WAMM office