Boycotts are a form of free speech
By Nigel Parry, Engage Minnesota
“Boycotts are a form of free political expression and free speech. They are a peaceful way of making your voice heard in a situation where no one is listening.”
Dear Representatives Bud Nornes and Chris Swedzinski,
The HF 400 Israel Boycott Bill you have introduced is a bizarre piece of legislation, actually forcing Minnesotans to support a state that routinely and grossly defies international humanitarian law, and which is conducting the longest military occupation in history.
I lived in the Palestinian West Bank for 4 years before I came to America in 1998, and let me tell you it is a shameful thing to live in a country in which you regularly get to see children gunned down (always outside of stone throwing range, i.e. no self-defence excuse is valid), massive bombardments and displacements of already battered civilian populations, and straight-up racist land theft.
Israel’s parliament most recently voted to legalize the confiscation of Palestinian homes to give them to Israeli Jews. This level of naked racism is the opposite of what America stands for.
Trump’s current Muslim ban affects 213 million people in the seven listed countries. That’s without counting the people from those countries who live amongst us, now scared to leave the country in case they can’t return.
The Statue of Liberty is weeping as you turn away people trying to flee from war. You don’t target entire races or religions or ethno-nationalist populations to fight terror. That is obviously going to have the opposite effect.
The United States itself boycotts several regimes, and not only boycotts, but actually has sanctions against other countries, e.g Iran. The only reason that Apartheid was banished from South Africa was because of boycotts. That’s why the US itself boycotts and sanctions countries—because it works.
Boycotts are a form of free political expression and free speech. They are a peaceful way of making your voice heard in a situation where no one is listening. What you are proposing is nothing less than Minnesotan state control of Minnesotan people’s consciences. This is the opposite of what any state or federal body should be doing. It is utterly contrary to the First Amendment.
Instead of writing laws to pander to a foreign regime that cares nothing about international law or human life, perhaps you could instead remind the Israel lobbyists that urged you to pass this absolutely shameful and embarrassing piece of legislation to actually make peace with the Palestinians.
Of course, you must be aware that Israel has all the power in this situation, with the fifth most powerful army in the world, an army utterly free of moral constraint, and merrily funded to the tune of $3.2 billion a year of US taxpayers’ dollars, about to increase to $3.8 billion annually. It’s a first world country folks, it doesn’t need any charity, let alone that giant military basket of death it regularly dips into. Israel isn’t threatened. It is the threat. You have this entirely backwards.
All you do when you silence people, with measures like this, is encourage them to stop talking and start fighting. Blessed are the peacemakers, not the war mongers, nor those who pander to oppressive regimes.
Your responsibility is to the people of Minnesota first. Stop pandering to Israel, remove this Constitution-defying legislation from the table, and act to reign in the Frankenstein monster we have done so much to create.
Nigel Parry can be reached via https://www.linkedin.com/in/nigelparrydesign
There is a hearing on criminalizing BDS. Contact your Representatives:
Date: Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. Tuesday,
Place: Senate Building, 95 University AVE W, 55155
Senate File 247: “Israel Boycott”
This is the Senate Committee on State Government Finance and Policy and Elections.
Committee Chair Mary Kiffmeyer, R, District #30, representing Big Lake, Elk River, Otsego.
Mark Koran, R, #32, Cambridge, Isanti, Lindstrom, Rush City
Jim Carlson, DFL, #51, Eagan
John Jasinski, R, #24, Faribault, Owatonna
Susan Kent, DFL, Woodbury, southern Maplewood
Carolyn Laine, DFL, #41, Columbia Heights, Fridley, St. Anthony
Carla Nelson, R, #26, Rochester
Scott Newman, R, #18, Hutchinson, Glencoe, Litchfield
Ann Rest, DFL, #45, New Hope, Cyrstal, Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, Plymouth
Torrey Westrom, R, #12, Morris, Sauk Centre, Gleenwood, Breckenridge
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