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Announcement :: Human Rights
'Right to Boycott' State House Public Hearing - Beacon Hill - 18 July 2017 11 am
13 Jul 2017
Modified: 02:57:37 PM
A New Day for Israel/Palestine
ACT TODAY before the July 18 hearing!
Make Your Voice Heard at the State House;
Defend the Right to Boycott for Justice in Israel-Palestine!
Our friends at the State House report they are being inundated by emails supporting the deceptively-named “Act Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts” (S.1689/ H.1685) https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S1689 -- in reality an anti-boycott bill backed by the Israel lobby and disguised as an anti-discrimination measure. They tell us that they are not hearing much from opponents of the bill.
It is essential to act immediately to voice your opposition! (And please pass on this alert to your lists.)
Use this link to email the members of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, which is holding the hearing on July 18. It will only take a moment. http://org.salsalabs.com/o/161/c/3952/p/dia/action4/common/public/?actio
Then, email your own House and Senate members by clicking this link. http://org.salsalabs.com/o/161/c/3952/p/dia/action4/common/public/?actio
The proposed legislation would penalize supporters of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to pressure Israel to live up to its obligations under international law and human rights. This is a dangerous attempt to restrict our right to use boycotts – a long-standing nonviolent civil rights tactic -- to advocate for justice in Israel-Palestine. One hundred organizations in Massachusetts have signed on to the Freedom to Boycott coalition to oppose this legislation.
Because of the intense lobbying on both sides, the hearing has been moved from a regular hearing room to the 600-seat GARDNER AUDITORIUM. Opponents of this attack on free speech to turn out in force! The hearing, before the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, is expected to begin at 11am (not 10am as previously announced).
On TUESDAY, JULY 18:
SHOW UP FOR THE HEARING! The hearing is expected to begin at 11am and may go all day. Allow plenty of time! When you arrive, you will have to go through security. Plan for a long line at security. Do not bring posters or signs of any kind. We will provide stickers that say “Freedom to Boycott.” To get to Gardner Auditorium: Approach the General Hooker entrance from Beacon Street. Proceed through the entrance; Pass through the security checkpoint; Take a right down the hallway; Take the elevator on the left down to Floor GA. Exit the elevator. Gardner Auditorium is directly ahead of you. Map here
FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE LEGISLATION.
Because this bill is intentionally confusing, it is important to understand it. It seems innocuous but it’s not. Click here for a presentation that explains the bill, its intent, legal problems, and dangers. Click here for 10 reasons to oppose the bill. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2DjYsu2IhkKWFFRSTRCUWtvWjQ/view
On the day of the hearing -- Tuesday, July 18 -- there will be several important actions.
Testimony: We encourage you all to provide testimony. Testimony can be submitted orally, in writing, or both. Oral testimony does NOT go into the record unless accompanied by written testimony. For this reason, we ask that everyone who wishes to testify provide written testimony whether or not you plan to testify in person. Click here for instructions and a template for writing and submitting testimony. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1D5E1lcLx5QEKIm7f9xVUPINMBQ2-oFiRpCOb
If you plan to testify at the hearing, it is critical to arrive at the hearing room by 9:00am to sign up! Depending on how many people sign up, you may not get called to testify until late in the day, so be prepared for a long day!
Large turnout: We expect major pro-Israel organizations (JCRC, AJC, ADL, etc.) to mount huge pressure in support of this legislation so showing up to the hearing on Tuesday, July 18th is critical. We hope to pack the hearing room with opponents of the legislation. Please RSVP to the Facebook event, and share it with your networks! https://www.facebook.com/events/800863570081546/
Lobbying: We will provide packets of information for you to deliver (along with your own written testimony) to your own legislators at the State House that day. Lobbying your own legislators will make an even bigger impact than testifying to the committee because you have the most influence over the elected official who is counting on your vote.
In addition to the actions on July 18th itself, contacting members of the committee right away is vital. Use this link to email the members of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.
And calling and/or writing to your own legislators is more important than ever. Click here to email your state legislators. http://org.salsalabs.com/o/161/c/3952/p/dia/action4/common/public/?actio
You can also call Committee Chairs Rep. Peter Kocot (617-722-2140) and Sen. Walter Timilty (617-722-1643) to ask them to OPPOSE a favorable report for “An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts” (S.1689 /H.1685).
For Massachusetts Peace Action and its NEW DAY for Israel and Palestine organizing project,
Convener, MAPA Palestine/Israel Working Group
This work is in the public domain