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Bill seeking to suppress BDS rejected in Virginia state legislature

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The following press release was issued by the The Freedom2Boycott in Virginia Coalition:

Freedom2Boycott in Virginia Thanks Senators for Tabling Bill Seeking to Suppress Boycotts Related to Israeli Human Rights Abuses; Urges Them to Reject Resolution Condemning BDS

March 1, 2016

The Freedom2Boycott in Virginia Coalition welcomes Monday’s unanimous decision of the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee to delay consideration of HB1282 until the 2017 legislative session, if at all.  The bill would have wasted taxpayers money by requiring the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to spend valuable time and resources compiling information on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns for Palestinian freedom and rights, and could have led to the development of an “enemies list” of potential government contractors to be blacklisted. Such a use of taxpayer funds serves no legitimate purpose for the people of the Commonwealth and is intended to have a chilling effect on Virginians who support Palestinian rights and BDS.

Saba Shami, Co-Chair of the Freedom2Boycott VA Coalition said, “We want to thank Senators from both parties for their bipartisan effort to protect our civil liberties and the right to engage in boycotts and other economic acts of conscience. Their vote is in the best tradition of our Commonwealth.”

BDS is a grassroots, Palestinian-led human rights movement for freedom, justice, and equality, based on universal principles and inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights and South African anti-apartheid movements. It seeks to attain Palestinians’ long-denied rights to freedom from Israel’s nearly 50-year-old military occupation, justice for Palestinian refugees dispossessed by Israel, and equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel who suffer from systemic discrimination in virtually every aspect of life.

HB1282 passed the House of Delegates with surprisingly strong opposition after Delegates heard from thousands of Virginians who are fed up with the status quo of unconditional US support for Israel and its violations of Palestinian rights, and support BDS as a peaceful tool for Palestinians seeking their freedom. That opposition grew when the bill came to the Senate resulting in the unanimous committee vote to drop consideration in this legislative session.

Now that HB1282 has been defeated for this year, the Freedom2Boycott VA Coalition will focus on defeating HJ177, a resolution that unfairly condemns BDS. We urge Senators to do the right thing once again and defeat HJ177.

For more information, see this op-ed written by Coalition members that was recently published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Freedom2Boycott-VA is a broad coalition of 12 organizations and thousands of Virginians who support BDS as the most effective way to protect Palestinian human rights and bring peace to Israel and Palestine. We are pro-peace, pro- equal rights and committed to work for a solution that ensures freedom and self-determination for all peoples of the region.

Mondoweiss Editors

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11 Responses

  1. Emory Riddle on March 1, 2016, 11:18 am

    Wow. Finally a win.

    The Trump effect? The rats seem to sense a change in the air and are scurrying away from a sinking ship. We see Christie and Sessions now backing Trump and I suspect we will see quite a few more in the next few days after Trump wins in nearly all the states voting today.

    The neocons who have been imbedded in the GOP for so long are scrambling away to back Hillary.

    If Trump goes on to win the election this fall God knows what will happen but there is a good chance the Israel Lobby will be truly exposed and thus will lose a lot of power.

    Or maybe that is wishful thinking.

    It is certain that Hillary is completely in their back pocket — for now. She too is a strumpet who will do what she feels is best for her and if the winds start changing direction she too will dump them in a NY minute.

    Bernie is a true believer and that’s a shame. He is good on so many issues but is more of the same on the military industrial complex and neocon foreign policy (not just the ME but Ukraine and Russia too).

    Rubio is a creation of The Lobby and Cruz — who knows. He is so creepy that it shows on his face and I got to think the voting public sees that.

    • Kay24 on March 2, 2016, 12:30 am

      Christie is a huge embarrassment for NJ. I cannot believe anyone from a blue state endorsing such a clown like Don Drumpf. Drumpf has shown he is a bigot, a huge liar, a divisive man, who has been sued for dodgy business practices, and overall has pretty low standards for a future President, and yet Christie has unashamedly endorsed him. Maybe he is hoping to be Drumpfs Vice President (having failed miserably to win big), and this is the way for him to go.
      He has cast aside any principles he may have had just by endorsing this circus barker.
      Drumpf has been endorsed by David Duke, one major reason anyone should not be supporting him.

      This will be the rudest/crudest duo in the history of US Presidential contenders.

      • echinococcus on March 2, 2016, 3:38 am

        Yeah, Kay, Trump is everything you say and more –in fact a fascistoid, populist, Know-Nothing demagogue.
        But for anyone who finds “Lesser Evil” voting even justifiable, Trump is definitely the lesser evil compared to the Evil Empress or Senator Sanders, if support to Palestinian resistance is nonnegotiable.

      • Mooser on March 2, 2016, 11:56 am

        “Yeah, Kay, Trump is everything you say and more…”

        Donald Trump is Max Bialystock. He is playing out the plot of “The Producers” in the Presidential election.

      • rightcoaster on March 2, 2016, 9:01 pm

        echinococcus, a tapeworm, said: ” … Trump is definitely the lesser evil compared to the Evil Empress or Senator Sanders, if support to Palestinian resistance is nonnegotiable.”

        I think this demonstrates the single-minded obsession with evil Israel and the noble, lovable Palestinian Arabs, of those who inhabit this piece of intellectual intestine . It does not matter what DT stands for or if, like Christie, he stands for nothing at all, as long as he is with “us” on this issue. Did I get that right?

      • echinococcus on March 2, 2016, 11:03 pm

        My, a Zionist trying to understand. First off, Rightcoaster, the use of stupid religious terms like “evil” are only acceptable when discussing “lesser evil” voting.

        Then, I already made clear that I do not follow that theory but those who do, if they are committed enough against the Zionist invasion and genocide, and the Zionist-ordered wars of devastation, must prefer Trump. We already stipulated what he stands for (again, you don’t read) but he definitely told the Zionist lobby that he is not for sale and clearly promoted the idea of being an honest broker –way better than any of the Demolican criminals against humanity.

        It is not a question of evil “Israel” or “noble, lovable Palestinian Arabs” but simply that the Zionist entity is a spreading cancer on the world’s asscheek, totally illegally there, and must be booted out asap and the country entrusted to its rightful owners, the Palestinian people as of 1897 and heirs and assigns, if we want to continue living like civilized people.

      • Mooser on March 3, 2016, 1:44 am

        “Did I get that right?”

        As right as your very first comment in 2011: “What you mis-label “apartheid” (a lazy person’s term that avoids the need for careful thought, or any thought) seems like a rational approach to living in a really bad neighborhood. I like my Sodastream. Think I’ll go buy another. And Scarlett is terrific.” – See more at:

        Well, you’ve grown a lot since then, like an onion. And Trump has promised to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and build the Trump Temple. So maybe you should take another look at the Donald?

  2. David Doppler on March 1, 2016, 2:33 pm

    There are in Virginia deep traditions, both of racial prejudice, but also the core values embodied in our constitution, limited government, divided government, free speech and press, freedom of religion, equal rights for everyone (Jefferson and Madison being the key draft-persons). Jefferson could both own slaves, and write “nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people shall be free,” and that he “trembles” when contemplating judgment by a righteous god for their mistreatment. He put authorship of the Virginia law on separation of church and state on his short list of three achievements he wanted to be remembered by on his tomb (declaration of independence authorship and founding UVA, being the other two).

    Eric Cantor, one-time neocon A lister from the Richmond area – thinking he was on track to become Speaker – got thrown out of office unexpectedly by a novice professor who attacked him and the DC establishment, tapping into this streak that neocons don’t seem calibrated to recognize and certainly are not playing to.

    Amid corruption (their last governor is in jail), and the remains of centuries of slavery and Jim Crow, there is a noble streak in the old dominion that probably cares little about the Palestinians, but doesn’t want to be party to dismantling freedom of speech and the right to petition for redress of grievances in such a blatant way, nor care to be Israel’s tool in creating more sectarian chaos in the Middle East.

    As voters go to the polls in Virginia, Trump leads 37-22-18 over Rubio and Cruz, among Republicans. But voters can pick either primary to participate in, so Virginia will test Trump’s ability to attract Democrats, both those who like him and those who want to vote to prevent him getting the nomination.

  3. just on March 1, 2016, 11:33 pm

    “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”!!!

    After seeing the misery of tonight, I am grateful that some (sum) folks still have a brain in the US.

    ( I cannot BELIEVE the sleaze from the mediatrons and kkkandidates and stinking folks that I have witnessed tonight! Oscars~ watch out! You’ve been surpassed! aaaaaaaargh!)

  4. RockyMissouri on March 2, 2016, 8:44 am

    A beautiful thing!! My heart is rejoicing ….????????❤️????????????????

  5. zaid on March 2, 2016, 7:42 pm

    Can Americans please explain to me regarding these legislations that excludes businesses that Boycott Israel:

    Isn’t these legislation against the constitution since they discriminate between Americans because of their political views !

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