WFS Panel Discussion 7/22/16

Part 1 Alan Levine

Part 2: Donna Nevel

Part 3: Questions and Answers

History of BDS

  • Category: Info
  • Published: Thursday, 23 June 2016 13:50
  • Written by Super User
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Boycotts were there at the birth of our nation, symbolized by chests of tea thrown into Boston Harbor to protest colonial tyranny. Slave produced super and rum were boycotted before the Civil War as a way to end slavery.

The Twentieth Century saw many more boycotts of products, targeting racism, labor abuses, and apartheid. There was the Anti-Nazi boycott of German goods in the 1930's called by Jewish War Veterans of America. There were the bus boycotts of the Civil Rights Era, the grape and lettuce boycotts to end the toxic spraying of insecticides in the 1960's, and the boycotts targeting products from apartheid South Africa in the 1980's.

More recently, we have seen the use of boycott and divestment by New York State officials and the World Jewish Congress in 1997 to pressure Swiss banks to pay more in Holocaust reparations. This summer, Governor Cuomo declared that New York State would join the boycott of North Carolina for its discrimination against the Transgender community.

Some of these boycotts were more successful than others. But as Jewish War Veterans president Rabbi Stephen Wise said in 1933, "We must speak out, and if that is unavailing, at least we shall have spoken." Boycotting governments that practiced racism was seen as a moral imperative, regardless of the eventual outcome.

Unfortunately, our NYS Legislature and Governor are reacting to the current boycott of Israeli products in the worst way possible, by trying to pass laws and issuing executive orders criminalizing human rights campaigns for Palestinians who are suffering under the illegal Israeli occupation. Such actions are an attack on our First Amendment rights, as well as a betrayal of this country's long history of using boycotts to advocate for progressive change.

Petition: In Support of a Resolution Protecting the First Amendment in the Town of Woodstock, NY

 Sign the Petition >>
We the People, of the Town of Woodstock, Ulster County, New York, are in support of a resolution protecting the First Amendment Rights of the citizens of the Town of Woodstock as it is presented here:
WHEREAS, free speech is enshrined in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as well as Article 1, Section 8, of the New York State Constitution; and
WHEREAS, political free speech and advocacy are guaranteed by the First Amendment and Article 1, Section 8, of the New York State Constitution; and
WHEREAS, boycotts have long been recognized as behavior constituting political free speech and advocacy; and
WHEREAS, boycotts  have historically been used by citizens of the United States to protect and fight for their freedoms and the freedom of others; nationally – as with the boycotts of slave-produced sugar in 1792 to the Montgomery bus boycott in the 1950's, and internationally – as in the boycott of South Africa in the 1970's and 1980’s to the boycott of Israel in the 2000’s and 2010’s, boycotts have been used to give non-violent expression to political and moral disagreements with the established order; and
WHEREAS, Governor Cuomo, in violation of the civil rights of citizens of the state of New York, has signed executive order #157 directing state agencies and authorities to divest public funds from entities supporting The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel; and
WHEREAS, anti-boycott legislation has been introduced into the New York State Assembly and Senate that would impose penalties on individuals, corporations, nonprofits and anyone else receiving funding from New York State, including local governments; and
WHEREAS, Governor Cuomo’s executive order #157 and some of the legislation that has been introduced calls for the establishment of a public listing of all who boycott in disregard of this legislation, much like the blacklisting of suspected communists during the 1950’s McCarthy era; and
WHEREAS, the Town of Woodstock desires to support and protect its citizens against any and all abridgments of the civil liberties of its citizens; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Board of Woodstock hereby affirms that boycotts are constitutionally protected political speech, and, as such, are part of its citizens’ rights as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 8 of the New York State Constitution; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Town Board of Woodstock stands in opposition to any executive order and/or any legislation in the New York State Assembly and Senate that seeks to limit those rights; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Town Board of Woodstock expresses its opposition by transmitting a copy of this resolution to the  President of the United States, the Governor of New York State, the New York State Congressional Delegation, the New York State Legislative Delegation, and the Ulster County Legislative Delegation.
                                          *              *               *
We encourage non-Woodstock residents to sign the petition in support of our inalienable rights.
Sign the Petition >>

About WFS

  • Category: Info
  • Published: Wednesday, 22 June 2016 06:31
  • Written by Super User
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Woodstock Free Speech is a group of concerned citizens in the Town of Woodstock, NY who are working to educate others about their inalienable right to self-determination and all of the freedoms, liberties, rights and responsibilities that are espoused in the Bill of Rights and successive amendments to the Constitution.