Those of us who care about creating conditions in Israel/Palestine for people to live together in equality, justice and dignity need to speak up now to preserve our right to use non-violent, economic tools of struggle, such as boycott and divestment. We need to let our representatives know that we expect them to stand up for our civil liberties!
Those of us who care about meeting the needs of California's underserved populations need to speak up against this appalling waste of taxpayer money! (The Appropriations Committee Analysis cites potential annual staffing costs to the Attorney General Office at $635,000 and potential increases in contract costs to the Dept. of General Services at $140 million.)
Tell Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ricardo Lara, 916-651-4033, to keep this bill in "Suspense," a holding area for large ticket items, where it was referred on August 1st. Senator Lara can decide to keep it there and let it die a quiet death!
Then contact these senators and tell them to vote “NO” on 2844!
- Email all seven members of the Appropriations Committee stating the reasons you oppose AB 2844 (Copy and paste these addresses into one email.)
Senator.Lara@senate.ca.gov; Senator.Bates@senate.ca.gov; Senator.Beall@senate.ca.gov; Senator.Hill@senate.ca.gov; Senator.McGuire@senate.ca.gov; Senator.Mendoza@senate.ca.gov; Senator.Nielsen@senate.ca.gov
And cc their staffs:
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org; Alexander.Khan@sen.ca.gov;email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;Brittany.Petitt@sen.ca.gov; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call your own senator, urging a “No” vote on 2844:
The South Bay has two senators on the Sen. Appropriations Committee: Senator Jim Beall - 916-651-4015 and Senator Jerry Hill - 916-651-4013.
Live in another senatorial district? 2844 will go to the full Senate floor quickly if it passes out of Appropriations Committee. Find YOUR senator at: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov
"I'm against AB 2844, because it uses the cover of language from CA’s existing anti-discrimination laws to single out and chill the speech of those who criticize Israel.
AB 2844 is a costly and unconstitutional waste of California’s resources that will drain the Attorney General Office’s time and money investigating unfounded complaints and dramatically increase state contract costs.”
August 11 will be a day of decision for AB 2844, the anti-boycott bill that has morphed several times as it's made its way through the state Legislature. Once overtly banning the state from contracting with boycotters of Israel, the bill's author, Assembly Member Richard Bloom, presented the latest version at the August 1st Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, saying that this bill would provide a vehicle to stop "discriminatory actions taken against individuals of the Jewish faith under the 'pretext' of a constitutionally protected boycott or protest of the State of Israel."
In reality, Bloom is misusing the important anti-discrimination protections provided by the Unruh Act and Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) as "pretexts" to single out and stigmatize those who choose not to do business with Israel. It's one more way to directly or indirectly repress BDS campaigns.
The bill presumes anti-Semitic intent on the part of those who advocate for and use non-violent strategies like boycotts and divestments to uphold the human rights of Palestinians. Prospective contractors with the state already need to affirm they don't discriminate against classes of people protected by the Unruh Act and FEHA. Under 2844, both for-profit companies, and educational, religious, labor and community non-profits that bid for state contracts or grants, would have to certify under penalty of felony perjury, that they have not used a policy against a sovereign nation…"including but not limited to, the nation and people of Israel”, as a “pretext” for unlawful discrimination. It then empowers private organizations and individuals to file complaints with the Attorney General's Office to investigate "suspect" companies, at great cost to the state.
There is no doubt the same Israel-aligned organizations that have for years deluged universities, legislatures and government agencies with unfounded complaints about advocates for Palestinians rights, would do the same under the provisions of AB 2844. Only now, the harassment would carry a threat of criminal investigations, wasting untold millions in public funds.