House Joint Memorial 4009 was introduced January 24th, 2017. It had 32 Democratic and Republican sponsors and was never heard in committee.
An earlier, identical bill, House Joint Memorial 4004 was introduced in mid January by seventeen Republican sponsors. The bill was never heard in committee.
The text of House Joint Memorial 4009 made many false and pernicious assertions about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a grassroots campaign to pressure Israel to abide by international law: end military occupation, ensure equal rights for Palestinians inside Israel, and accept the internationally-recognized Right of Return for Palestinian refugees.
The BDS campaign is directed at Israeli policies, not at Jewish people. The BDS call is modeled after the South African boycott and thus calls for broad boycotts against Israeli institutions. Nothing in the BDS call advocates for discrimination against individuals solely because of their national origin, religion, or ethnicity.
BDS does not call for the elimination of Israel, any more than the boycott movement against apartheid South Africa called for the elimination of South Africa. BDS is an inclusive, anti-racist human rights movement that is opposed on principle to all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. It is a non-violent, moral form of advocacy that works to correct ill-intentioned policies on the part of the Israeli government.
HJM 4009 repeatedly and mistakenly equates Israel with the Jewish people as a whole. Jewish people live all over the world, not just in Israel. Israel is a multi-cultural state with a majority of Jews and a large minority of Palestinians and other ethnicities. Many Jews in the US and around the world are calling on Israel to change its unjust policies.
HJM 4009 is not an anti-discrimination measure. Instead, HJM 4009 would provide special treatment and protection for the State of Israel, even though Israel has many discriminatory policies which resemble the apartheid laws of old South Africa. Millions of Palestinians under the control and occupation of the Israeli government are denied basic civil rights: they have no right to vote in Israel’s elections, no freedoms of speech or assembly or movement, they are subject to arrest and detention without warrant or trial. Even the smaller number of Palestinians inside Israel who are allowed to vote are subject to widespread and systemic discrimination.
Though pretending to stand for freedom of speech, HJM 4009 condemns the First Amendment right to boycott. It ignores the right of free speech as afforded to Palestinians and advocates of human rights on their behalf. It betrays a complete lack of concern for Palestinian rights. While it pays lip service to academic freedom, in fact HJM 4009 works to quell freedom of thought and expression on campus.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that boycotts are a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. From the boycott of British tea in 1773 to the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, boycott campaigns have a long and proud history in social justice and civil rights movements in the US. HJM 4009 is a badly conceived statement that seeks to undermine our freedom of speech and our right to take collective action against injustice.
Here is the letter our coalition sent to legislators in response to HJM 4009:
January 30, 2017
To the Honorable Representative
We are Washington residents and Washington organizations joining with Free Speech Washington because of our deep concern over the repeated attacks on our First Amendment right to boycott. To date, there have been four such attacks during this Washington State legislative session: an anti-boycott bill announced by Senator Baumgartner; House Joint Memorial 4004 and House Joint Memorial 4009 condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement; and a “Governors Against BDS” statement delivered to Governor Inslee.
Whatever your views on Israel, Palestine, or the BDS movement, we urge you not to support or vote for any anti-boycott statement that threatens our right to take collective action against injustice.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that boycotts are a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. From the boycott of British tea in 1773 to the boycott of segregated buses in 1956 and beyond, boycott campaigns have a long and proud history in social justice and civil rights movements in the U.S.
John McKay, former U.S. Attorney who served two years directing a U.S. rule of law project in the West Bank for the U.S. Department of State, has said, "If enacted, such laws would violate Constitutional rights and make the State of Washington an apologist for Israeli apartheid policies and human rights abuses in Palestine.” Many other legal experts have stated that anti-boycott bills like these are unconstitutional.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is a grassroots movement to gain equal rights for Palestinians, end Israel’s military occupation, gain the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and pressure Israel to abide by international humanitarian law. While the BDS call is modeled after the South African boycott and thus calls for broad boycotts against Israeli institutions, nothing in it calls for discrimination against individuals solely because of their national origin, religion, or ethnicity.
Attacks on BDS and our right to boycott are targeting the free speech rights of U.S. citizens in an attempt to curb criticism of Israeli policies.
We ask that you refuse to sign, sponsor, endorse or vote for any form of anti-BDS or anti-boycott legislation. Please stand firm in support of our constitutional rights and freedoms.
Washington Freedom to Boycott
American Friends Service Committee - WA
Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites
Council on American-Islamic Relations of Washington State (CAIR)
Episcopal Bishop’s Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land (Diocese of Olympia)
Evergreen Students for Justice in Palestine
Freedom Socialist Party
International Trauma Treatment Program
Jewish Voice for Peace – Seattle
Jewish Voice for Peace - Tacoma
Kairos Puget Sound Coalition
Northwest Detention Center Resistance
Northwest Regional BDS Coalition
Occupation Free Seattle
Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace
Pacific Rim Solidarity Network (PARISOL)
Palestine Solidarity Committee - Seattle
Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane
Peace Justice and Healing - Tacoma
Race & Climate Justice – Seattle
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
Rising Tide - Seattle
Seattle Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (Seattle CISPES)
Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC)
Stop Veolia – Seattle
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Antioch University – Seattle
Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights - University of Washington (SUPER-UW)
United for Peace of Pierce County
Vancouver for Peace
Veterans for Peace - Greater Seattle Chapter 92
Veterans for Peace – Rachel Corrie Chapter 109
Voices for Palestine
Washington Fair Trade Coalition
Whatcom Human Rights Task Force
Whatcom Peace and Justice Center
SPONSORS OF THESE BILLS IN 2017 WERE:
SPONSORS of HJM 4009:
Sherry Appleton (D) 23 Sherry.Appleton@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7934
Mike Chapman (D) 24 Mike.Chapman@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7916
Paul Graves (R) 5 Paul.Graves@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7876
Dan Griffey (R) 35 Dan.Griffey@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7966
Drew MacEwen (R) 35
(also sponsored HJM 4004) Drew.MacEwen@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7902
Nicole Macri (D) 43 Nicole.Macri@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7826
Joan McBride (D) 48 Joan.McBride@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7848
Bob McCaslin (R) 4
(also sponsored HJM 4004) Bob.McCaslin@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7820
Dick Muri (R) 28 Dick.Muri@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7890
Gerry Pollet (D) 46 Gerry.Pollet@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7886
Jay Rodne (R) 5 Jay.Rodne@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7852
(also sponsored HJM 4004)
Vandana Slatter (D) 48 Vandana.Slatter@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7936
Tana Senn (D) 41 Tana.Senn@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7894
Joe Schmick (R) 9
(also sponsored HJM 4004) Joe.Schmick@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7844
Matt Shea (R) 4
(also sponsored HJM 4004) Matt.Shea@leg.wa.gov (360)786-7984
Larry Springer (D) 45 Larry.Springer@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7822
Drew Stokesbary (R) 31 Drew.Stokesbary@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7846
Gael Tarleton (D) 36 Gael.Tarleton@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7860
Luanne Van Werven (R) 42 Luanne.VanWerven@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7980
(also sponsored HJM 4004)
Mike Volz (R) 6
(also sponsored HJM 4004) Mike.Volz@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7922
SPONSORS OF HJM 4004
Brad Klippert (R) 8 Brad.Klippert@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7882
Matt Manweller (R) 13 Matt.Manweller@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7808
Jesse Young (R) 26 Jesse.Young@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7964
along with Shea, Hayes, Van Werven, Harmsworth, Volz, Schmick, MacEwen, McCaslin, as noted above.