[R] SB 2430
What it does:
In January 2019, New York lawmakers again introduced a bill that would create a state-sponsored blacklist of individuals, organizations, and companies that support boycotts for Palestinian rights and deny entities on the list access to state contracts and investment of state funds.
Previous bills had addressed boycotts of “allied countries,” including Israel. The 2019 bill focuses specifically on boycotts of Israel and includes “territories controlled by the State of Israel.” While the 2016 executive order signed by the governor applies only to investments by certain state agencies, the 2019 bill would apply to state retirement fund investments and state contracts.
Read the bill:
In March 2017, with almost no notice, no public hearing, no opportunity for public input, the New York State Senate passed three anti-protest bills targeting Palestine advocacy. These bills did passed the New York State Assembly.
S.2492 would create a state-sponsored blacklist of individuals, organizations, and companies that support boycotts for Palestinian rights, and would unconstitutionally deny them state benefits. When a previous iteration of S.2492 failed to pass the New York State legislature in 2016, Governor Cuomo side-stepped the democratic process, signing a widely criticized Executive Order similar to the failed bill (the Executive Order does not blacklist individuals). New York State Assembly considered a slightly different bill A3239 that would also have created a blacklist and required divestment from companies that boycott Israel.
S.2493 aims to prohibit public funding of student organizations at pubic universities in New York if the student organization advocates for boycotts of "allied nations," including Israel. The bill also prohibits funding to such student groups that promote or permit intolerance, discrimination, or hate speech. An earlier version of S.2493 failed to pass the legislature in 2016.
Share with your lawmakers:
Albany Times Union Op-Ed: State's anti-BDS bill attacks free speech, by Rahul Saksena
Press Release: Legal organizations condemn anti-BDS bills fastracked in New York State Senate, Palestine Legal and Center for Constitutional Rights
Blog Post: Lawmakers should ferociously defend - not limit - our right to protest, by Rahul Saksena
2015-2016 Legislative Cycle
On June 5, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 157 (EO 157) Directing State Agencies And Authorities To Divest Public Funds Supporting BDS Campaign Against Israel.
Dima Khalidi: Andrew Cuomo's BDS Blacklist is a Clear Violation of the First Amendment, The Nation
Palestine Legal's Media Round-up
Andrew Cuomo’s Anti-Free Speech Move on B.D.S., New York Times
In 2016, the New York legislature considered and rejected several bills that sought to stifle the movement for Palestinian rights.
SB 8017 which sought to amend New York’s education law to defund any student group that “directly or indirectly promotes, encourage or permits” boycotts “based on race, class, gender, national origin” and other protected categories.
S6378A/A9036* and S6086/A8220A** would have: 1) created an online blacklist of individuals, non-profit organizations, companies, and other entities that support boycotts of Israel; 2) prohibited blacklisted individuals and entities from doing business with the state of New York; and 3) prohibited state pension funds from investing in companies engaged in politically motivated boycotts of Israel.
*S6378A/A9036 also apply to boycotts directed toward an "allied nation" of the U.S.
**A8220A excludes "individuals" from the blacklist it would create.
Find out more:
Take action! (updated 5/3/2016)
Share with your Legislator:
Updated: Legal analysis by Palestine Legal, Center for Constitutional Rights, and National Lawyers Guild
Updated: Legal analysis by NYCLU
Don't blacklist me, Salon
Legislation would undermine the right to boycott, Buffalo News
In 2015, the New York State Assembly passed K705, a resolution opposing boycotts for Palestinian rights
In 2014, S6438/A8392 failed to pass the New York State legislature after public outcry. The bill took aim at academic associations and entities that support BDS by threatening to withhold state funding from them. A New York Times editorial called the bill an “ill-considered response to the American Studies Association and would trample on academic freedoms and would chill free speech and dissent.”
Two New York counties and one town have passed laws to suppress boycotts for Palestinian rights:
Nassau County prohibits individuals and companies that contract with the county from boycotting Israel.
Rockland County requires individuals and companies doing business with the county to certify that they do not engage in boycott, divestment, and sanctions activities.
North Hempstead prohibits businesses that are in contract with the town from participate in any boycott activity.
These bills are the result of a campaign to suppress Palestine human rights activism in the U.S. Israel's interest in restricting this activism should not override our constitutional right to advocate for change.
The good news is that your right to engage in boycotts related to Israeli human rights abuses and to advocate for BDS is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. None of the bills and resolutions described here prohibit you from engaging in BDS activities.
Whatever your views on Israel and Palestine, these bills should be of concern because they threaten the rights of everyone in the U.S. to take collective action to address injustice. Moreover, we should all be alarmed that a foreign government, Israel, is lobbying U.S. politicians to restrict our rights.