Maria Cantwell, Please Reconsider Your Support of Anti-BDS Legislation

The following is an open letter from The Right Reverend Cabell Tennis, retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware, in response to Maria Cantwell’s sponsorship of Senate bills S.170 and S.720.*

The Rt. Reverend Cabell Tennis

May 22, 2017

Senator Maria Cantwell
915 Second Ave
Seattle, WA 98174

Dear Senator Cantwell,

This letter comes from a Seattle resident who greatly respects and appreciates your work as a United States senator for Washington. I am a retired Episcopal Bishop, a lifelong Democrat and progressive.

I especially salute you and your colleagues in the Washington State delegation for your steadfast alertness to the sometimes threatening proposals from the Trump administration and the Republican majority.

There is, however, one matter that seems to me to be outside of progressive and fair-minded legislation. I am referring to the present move to constrain the use of boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS). From my perspective, and I would urge you to join me, BDS is a nonviolent, peaceful means for people to support the oppressed and take a stand against violations of international law when they are occurring and our government does not act.

In this case, I am referring to the Palestinian people who have been under military occupation for more than 60 years while we have consistently supported the State of Israel by financial contributions and vetoes in the United Nations. The pattern is clearly that of apartheid as it was practiced by South Africa during the long night of oppression there.

I urge and encourage you to not support legislation that seeks to limit or suppress BDS. It is a fundamental right of the people of this country to petition their government through peaceful and nonviolent means including acts of protest.

Sincerely,

Cabell Tennis

 

* Senate bill S.170, the “Combating BDS Act of 2017,” prohibits “measures by State and local governments to divest from entities that engage in commerce-related or investment-related boycott, divestment, or sanctions activities targeting Israel.”
Senate bill S.720, the “Anti-Israel Boycott Act,” prohibits “boycotts fostered by international governmental organizations against Israel.” 

California AB2844

We received this letter from our friends at JVP Los Angeles.


September 26, 2016

Friends,

As you have likely heard, over the weekend Gov. Jerry Brown signed California anti-BDS bill AB 2844 into law. As our coalition looks at next steps, it would be good to know if any church groups here in California have chosen to boycott or divest believe they will/might be affected by this legislation which bars persons (but legally includes entities) from applying or renewing contracts for over $100,000 if they have a “policy” “against any sovereign nation or peoples recognized by the government of the United States, including, but not limited to, the nation and people of Israel.”

Thank you to all who engaged in the long and collaborative effort to block this bill from becoming law. My personal frustration with our governor’s decision does not overwhelm my gratitude to all of you and those in our broad coalition for the hours, days, weeks and months we joined together to fight this good fight.

I believe legislators should pay attention to the growing number of constituents who actively work to raise Palestinian rights as we do the rights of all oppressed people and minority groups. All who voted to support this misguided and dishonest legislation will find themselves on the wrong side of history.

Let’s stay focused and steadfast as Palestinians are. The arc of the moral universe is long.

— Estee Chandler
JVP-LA Organizer

“Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” — Cesar Chavez