Calling on Senator Murphy to Oppose Senate #170

by Stanley Heller

Update: See the names of the 200 people from CT who signed the letter and hopefully add your name

reprinted for Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter 3/17

Imagine if your business or group supported Cesar Chavez' grape boycott, your state government put you on a blacklist, and you would be forbidden all state contracts and any pension fund investment. Or maybe state authorities punish you because you refused to buy Nestle products in the '70's when it was dressing up saleswomen as nurses and pushing baby formula on women in the poorest countries in defiance of all good health sense. Imagine if when Macy's and Woolworths boycotted Nazi German goods in the '30's they would be sanctioned. What if the states did something similar to groups demanding action against Sudan because of what its government did in Darfur?

Senate bill #170 proposes just that in regard to one boycott, the BDS effort to reign in Israel's abuses of Palestinians. It was proposed by Florida Senator Rubio and has 28 co-sponsors including CT Senator Blumenthal. It goes beyond boycotts. It punishes an "entity" that advocates "sanctions" so it could be triggered if a group called for a cut off of cluster bombs to Israel. If passed SB #170 would be an outrageous violation of free speech and a very bad precedent for trade unions who use the weapon of boycott to support striking workers. An effort is being made to persuade CT Senator Chris Murphy to oppose the bill. Labor lawyer John Fussell wrote a terrific letter to Murphy about #170 and 194 CT residents signed on to a similar letter opposing #170 that was hand delivered to him at his town meeting in West Hartford. Email him through his website or better call his office in DC at (202) 224-4041

For Fussell's letter click here.

Far from punishing people for advocating BDS state governments should support it. A few years ago Connecticut's Treasurer reported that the state had $32 million invested in State of Israel Bonds or stocks in Israeli companies.

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