This bill infringes on the First Amendment rights companies have to protest human rights and international law violations through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.
The time is now to act to stop this bill being pushed forward.
The proponents of this bill are politicizing our pension system to penalize free expression they disagree with. If the bill gets out of committee and passes, Illinois retirement systems will have to spend valuable resources to blacklist and withdraw investments from companies that choose not to do business with Israeli companies – including those based in the Occupied Palestinian territories – because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
In the past few years, the Methodist Church has voted to boycott settlement goods. Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from companies complicit in the Occupation.
SB 1761 has now been assigned to the Executive Committee of the Illinois House, and a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday the 13th at 10:00 am.
TAKE ACTION NOW TO STOP THIS BILL WHILE IT’S STILL IN COMMITTEE BY TESTIFYING ONLINE. You can submit a witness slip in opposition to the bill here – it only takes a minute.
When filling out a witness slip, indicate “opponent,” “record of appearance only,” except for those who will present in committee to testify – they must have filled out a slip indicating opponent, oral testimony. Remember to fill out the “Representation” section with the organization you are representing or with “self” if you are only representing yourself.
Be sure to use full words with no abbreviations or punctuation.
Once you have finished, please call Executive Committee Chair Dan Burke to urge him to stand up for the First Amendment right to boycott companies/nations implicated in human rights violations and stop the politicization of the pension system stopping SB 1761 in committee! His contact information is available here and more talking points are below.
Next call the other members of the Executive Committee. Their contact information is here.
Below are more talking points for your convenience:
- SB 1761 forces state pension fund administrators to blacklist companies that boycott Israel or businesses that operate in “territories under the control of Israel.” Illinois should not be shielding Israel from boycotts protesting human rights abuses and settlements, which are illegal under international law in what is considered occupied territory by the U.S. government.
- Boycotts to address human rights issues are a First Amendment protected form of speech and association that have an important place in US history as a way for people to address injustices collectively.
- SB 1761 punishes companies that make ethical decisions to boycott Israel’s human rights abuses by requiring Illinois retirement funds to expend resources blacklisting, monitoring and withdrawing funds from such companies.
- The Illinois legislature should not further burden the beleaguered pension system with politically motivated investigations. This is being done at a time when Illinois has the lowest credit rating and worst funded pension system among the 50 states.
Thank you for your action!
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 the Center for Constitutional Rights, CAIR-Chicago, Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, Arab-Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Friends of Sabeel: North America, American Friends Service Committee- Chicago, United States Palestinian Community Network, Just Foreign Policy, American Muslims for Palestine, Chicago Area Code Pink, Muslim American Society Public Affairs and Civic Engagement – Chicago