MGP Statement of Opposition to HB 949 / SB 739

The Maryland Green Party opposes SB 739 / HB 949, the purpose of which is to attempt to squelch dissent and uphold Israel’s apartheid policies. It would stifle free speech by penalizing companies, organizations, and individuals who boycott Israel in support of Palestinian human rights. The proposed legislation would violate the First Amendment, which includes boycott as a form of protected speech (NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co.).

The call of Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) was first issued in 2005. Its stated purpose is:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

BDS was affirmed by the Green Party of the United States the same year it was issued. As a state affiliate of the Green Party, the MGP stands in solidarity with Palestinians and Marylanders engaging in BDS tactics. These tactics call for peaceful opposition to the Israeli government’s apartheid policies. It takes no issue with the Jewish people. Just as comparably, we are opposed to the politics of sharia, but stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim brothers and sisters in the face of discrimination and persecution.

We call on our nearly 10,000 members and 90,000 2016 voters to oppose SB 739 / HB 949 in support of free speech.

Please take a moment today to contact your State Legislators.