On Thursday, the New Orleans City Council rescinded a human rights resolution, bowing to pressure from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. The resolution, which was backed by the New Orleans Palestine Solidarity Committee and other civil and human rights organizations, had passed the City Council with unanimous support on January 11. It encouraged the city to set up a process to review city investments in and contracts with corporations whose practices violate human rights, civil rights, and labor rights. The ADL and the Jewish Federation objected to the resolution because it covered all human rights abuses and did not include a specific exemption for Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.
Palestine Legal and 18 other civil and human rights organizations wrote to the City Council ahead of today’s vote, urging them to reject the ADL and Jewish Federation’s demands to rescind the resolution. The letter also noted that the resolution “reflects New Orleans’ obligation to protect and promote civil and human rights for all, as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and enshrined in New Orleans’ human rights law.”
The campaign to rescind the New Orleans human rights resolution is part of a larger effort to shield Israel from criticism. Israel advocacy groups routinely pressure college administrators to censor and suppress activism and scholarship supportive of Palestinian rights and lobby lawmakers and all levels of government to enact laws aimed at punishing human rights activists who utilize time honored, constitutionally-protected political boycotts as a tactic to take collective action in support of Palestinian rights.
In the past three years, twenty-four states have enacted laws aimed at countering boycotts for Palestinian rights, including through the creation of political blacklists. The U.S. Congress is currently considering legislation, backed by the ADL, that would impose severe financial and criminal penalties – including up to twenty years in prison – for supporting boycotts for Palestinian rights backed by international governmental organizations like the European Union and United Nations.
Click here to read Palestine Legal’s letter.
Letters of Support for the Resolution
- Statement of Support, by Amnesty International
- To the City of New Orleans: Palestine Cannot Be Separated from the Fight for Human Rights, by Black Solidarity with Palestine