State Senate to Consider Anti-Boycott Amendment

UPDATE, 5:45 pm: The amendment has been withdrawn.  Thank you for contacting your Senators!

Boston, July 14 – The Massachusetts State Senate today is considering an amendment by Senator Cynthia Creem that seeks to infringe the freedom of speech of Massachusetts citizens and businesses, punishing them for engaging in a non-violent economic boycott.

The amendment, number 133 on the jobs bill (Senate Bill S2423), is to be voted on by the Senate this afternoon,
 
“Senator Creem’s amendment is not about stopping discrimination,” said Cole Harrison, executive director of Massachusetts Peace Action.  “It’s about impeding our constitutionally-protected right to engage in boycotts as a form of speech. Massachusetts Peace Action is one of over 60 organizations that have signed onto the Massachusetts Freedom to Boycott Coalition to oppose this type of bill,  and we call on our state senators to do everything in their power to stop amendment 133.”
 
“This amendment is part of a national strategy to silence Palestinians and those who favor an even-handed approach to the Israel-Palestine problem, and support one-sidedly pro-Israeli policies by limiting our first amendment right to protest.  Other justice movements may also suffer consequences.  Political boycotts are a form of free speech, protected by the First Amendment, as reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in an NAACP case in 1982 (http://www.nytimes.com/1982/07/03/us/justices-decide-for-naacp-in-boycott-case.html),” Harrison continued.
 
Ten state senators took an all-expenses paid trip to Israel in December, paid for by the Jewish Community Relations Council, a pro-Israel lobby group.  Massachusetts Peace Action filed a complaint with the state ethics commission: http://masspeaceaction.org/9321