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Take Action: Tell Your Rep. Not to Legislate against BDS

Take Action: Tell Your Rep. Not to Legislate against BDS

Dear readers

Good news, bad news. First the bad news: last month the Senate passed two trade bills—commonly known as “fast track” and the “customs bill”—which contain amendments that were snuck in to try to thwart the Palestinian civil society-led campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and corporations that profit from its oppression of Palestinians. 
These bills make it a “principle negotiating objective” of the United States to discourage BDS campaigns in trade talks with the European Union and to encourage states to blacklist companies that support BDS, as the Illinois legislature did last month.
The good news: thanks in part to your advocacy, the Senate stripped out even worse proposed language that would have required the president to submit a report to Congress about BDS.
The House is expected to debate and vote on these trade bills this month and we need you, Mohammed, to take action today.
Today we’re taking part in a national day of action with more than 100 organizations opposed to “fast track”, formally called Trade Promotion Authority. 
This bill faces significant civil society opposition from labor, environmental and civil rights groups because it would allow the president to cut secretive trade deals that benefit corporate interests without allowing Congress the opportunity to amend them.
Learn more here about the many reasons why these organizations oppose “fast track”. 
There is a lot of complicated, behind-the-scene legislative maneuvering going on with these bills. We think that the Senate versions of these bills will be voted on in the House this month. 
However, there’s a chance that the House will vote on its own versions of these bills. 
Of all four versions of these trade bills, the House version of the “customs bill” contains the most offensive anti-BDS language. It would require the president to report to Congress on BDS decisions made by foreign persons and require a foreign company operating in the United States to report on foreign individuals and institutions boycotting or divesting from the company.
Even though both the Senate and House versions of these bills contain troubling anti-BDS language, we want to reassure you that NOTHING in these bills curtails our 1st Amendment-protected right to advocate for and organize BDS campaigns if they become laws. 
Thank you for participating in today’s day of action and for writing and calling your Representative to oppose these anti-BDS measures.

Josh Ruebner
Policy Director

PS: The anti-BDS provisions passed by the Senate can be found in Sec. 102, clause 20 of HR1314, Trade Act of 2015 and Sec. 914 of HR644, Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.

PPS: The anti-BDS provisions in the House versions of the trade bills, which may or may not come up for a vote, are found in Sec. 2, clause 19 of HR1890, Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 and Sec. 608 of HR1907, Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015
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