ACTION ALERT: Anti-Boycott Resolution to be voted on today! Your voice needs to be heard!

ACTION ALERT: Anti-Boycott Resolution to be voted on today! Your voice needs to be heard!

3/25/14

After the overwhelming opposition to his Bill 3017, Illinois State Sen. Ira Silverstein introduced a resolution (instead of a bill) that will be voted on in the Judiciary Committee today, Tuesday, at 3 PM.

1) We urge you to take a moment this morning to call the members of the Judiciary Committee or the chairman to voice your opposition to this resolution.

2) We further urge you to fill out a witness slip between 2 and 3 today.  That had a tremendous impact last time and the way this has been “announced” – we have a small window.

Details on action steps are listed below.

After the overwhelming opposition to his Bill 3017, Illinois State Sen. Ira Silverstein introduced a resolution (instead of a bill) that will be voted on in the Judiciary Committee today. We urge you to take a moment this morning to call the members of the Judiciary Committee to voice your opposition to this resolution. (More details below.)

The bill originally introduced by Sen. Silverstein was designed to punish universities and academics that participate in professional associations that adopt resolutions boycotting Israel or Israeli higher education institutions. We had an important victory when that bill was not called for debate or a vote during the Judiciary Committee last week. And now it appears that bill will not be moved forward during this legislative session. If the March 28th deadline for moving a bill is not met, it means this unconstitutional assault on academic freedom and free speech will have effectively been defeated.

But now there is a resolution – SJR59 – that charges those who support the academic boycott of Israel with anti-Semitism, and encourages universities to condemn ALL academic boycotts. The resolution falsely claims that Israel has been “singled out” for a boycott on “purported human rights grounds.” It thereby undermines the important place boycotts have played in social justice and human rights struggles, and disparages the purpose behind boycotts against Israel, which target the state’s well-documented discriminatory and repressive policies toward Palestinians. This resolution does not have the force of law, but it must be seen as part of an effort throughout the country to shut down and chill academic speech activities that are critical of Israeli policies towards Palestinians. The attempts to stifle debate on a controversial issue fly in the face of academic freedom. By calling on college and university administrators to condemn the use of ALL academic boycotts, the resolution seeks to circumscribe the ways that faculty can advocate on issues of public concern, and ostracize those that choose this tactic to advocate on such issues.

The Resolution will be heard in the Judiciary Committee today, Tuesday, at 3:00PM. Just like we prevented the bill from moving forward to a full Senate vote, now it’s time to stop this resolution from doing the same.

TAKE ACTION NOW: CALL SENATORS ON THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE AND REGISTER YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE RESOLUTION.

1) MAKE A CALL NOW to state your opposition to SJR 59 (talking points below)!

If your State Senator is on the Judiciary Committee, then we need you to call your Senator. For “talking points,” see below.

You can check to see if your Senator is on the Judiciary Committee, and find the phone number for their Springfield office, here: http://www.ilga.gov/senate/committees/members.asp?CommitteeID=1248

Click on the legislator’s name to find the phone number for their Springfield office.

If you don’t know who your State Senator is, go to this link and type your address to find out: http://www.elections.il.gov/districtlocator/addressfinder.aspx

If your Senator is not on the Judiciary Committee, then we need you to call the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Kwame Raoul (D- Hyde Park). CALL (217) 782-5338. For “talking points,” see below.

If you can’t reach Senator Raoul’s office by phone (which would mean lots of folks are calling and that’s a good thing!), his email address is Raoul@sendem.state.il.us

2) Between 2pm and 3pm TODAY, SUBMIT A “WITNESS SLIP” opposing the Resolution.

At this writing, the resolution has not been “posted” yet. But by 2pm, it will be. When the resolution is “posted,” it will be possible to submit a “witness slip” against the bill. Submitting a witness slip allows you to officially record your opposition to the bill in the committee’s proceedings without appearing in person before the committee. Before the committee considers the bill, the witness slips for and against the bill will be read to the entire committee.

Between 2pm and 3pm today, please submit a witness slip so that all the committee members can hear how overwhelming the opposition is to this Resolution!  Follow these steps:

Go to the web page for the hearing:

http://my.ilga.gov/Hearing/HearingDetail/11680?SCommittees3/31/2014-page=1&SCommittees3/31/2014-orderBy=&SCommittees3/31/2014-filter=&committeeid=0&chamber=S&nodays=7&_=1395701882590

Find “SJR59” in the list of bills.

In that row, click the icon for “Create Witness Slip” all the way to the far right.

To fill out the form, follow these instructions:

–       Identification: Enter your information; fax number is not required but if you don’t include a fax number you must clear this field completely.

–       Representation: Fill in if you are representing an organization

–       Position: Click on the button next to “Opponent”

–       Testimony: If you do NOT plan to appear to testify orally, click on the box next to “Record of Appearance Only”

–       Type the Captcha Code in the box.

–       Click Next to “I Agree to the ILGA Terms of Agreement.

–       Click on “Create Slip.”

3) HELP SPREAD THE WORD:

·         Share this message as widely and as quickly as you can! Especially if your Senator is on the Judiciary Committee, we need you to help spread the word in your Senate district.

·         Try to get this information to people throughout the state – it important that this be a state-wide effort.

TALKING POINTS – TELL STATE SENATORS:

I am calling to oppose the Judiciary Committee Resolution SJR 59 that calls on all college and university presidents in Illinois to publicly condemn academic boycotts.

1)     I believe it is the right of professors and students to call for and engage in academic boycotts of institutions that are complicit in repressive policies. Advocacy for all boycotts is protected First Amendment activity.

2)     Faculty members and students, not legislatures or administrators, should be the ones determining the content and form of their own academic expression.

3)     Academic boycotts of Israel target Israeli academic institutions complicit in the well-documented human rights abuses and discriminatory policies of the Israeli government.  Suggesting that academic boycotts of Israel are anti-Semitic is as baseless as suggesting that academic and other boycotts of Apartheid South Africa were anti-white.

The Illinois Coalition to Protect Academic Freedom and Free Speech was formed in response to anti-boycott legislation introduced in the Illinois State Senate.  The coalition includes CAIR-Chicago as well as the Center for Constitutional RightsJewish Voice for Peace-ChicagoPalestine Solidarity Legal SupportAmerican Studies AssociationCommittee for a Just Peace in Israel and PalestinePalestine Solidarity Group-ChicagoArab-Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle EastCommittee Against Political RepressionFriends of Sabeel: North AmericaUnited States Palestinian Community Network, American Friends Service Committee- Chicago, Just Foreign PolicyDefending Dissent FoundationAmerican Muslims for PalestineUIC Graduate Employees Organization, IFT-AFT Local 6297the National Lawyers Guild- ChicagoCouncil of Islamic Organizations of Greater ChicagoMuslim American Society-Public Action and Civic Engagementand other individuals.

THANK YOU for taking action! Our organized response can help prevent this resolution from moving forward!