Anti-BDS Bills -Talking Points

HB 16-1284

Talking points
  • Boycotts are a constitutionally protected form of free speech and have a long tradition of successfully addressing injustice. 
  • Israel is a signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention which explicitly prohibits an occupying power from transferring “parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.” (Israeli settlements in the West Bank – see map)
  • Current Israeli leaders oppose a Palestinian state. On March 16, 2015, PM Netanyahu said there will be no Palestinian state on his watch
  • The BDS movement is NOT a threat to Israel’s existence. Similar to South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, it threatens policies that discriminate against non-Jews.
  • The BDS movement is a non-violent movement that seeks equal rights by pressuring Israel to do three things: 
  1. End its occupation of Palestinian land 
  2. Recognize the rights of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality
  3. Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return
  • The BDS movement is a legitimate, nonviolent tactic to oppose Israel’s ongoing oppression of Palestinians – such movements have been used in the past to advance social justice, most notably in South Africa
  • BDS is a human rights movement with a goal to advance freedom, justice, equality and self-determination for Palestinians. From the Boston Tea Party to the Montgomery bus boycott, Americans have inspired this campaign.
  • The purpose of BDS is not to isolate Israel, but to pressure the current government to end its denial of basic civil rights to its non-Jewish residents.
  • How can the legislature use divestment to punish companies that choose to boycott or divest from Israeli companies? If boycott and divestment are legitimate tools for the state of Colorado, individuals and companies should be able to use them, as well.
  • The state has no right to tell companies who they can or cannot do business with.
  • How can the legislature block peaceful means to put pressure on Israel to end the occupation?
  • Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu supports the BDS movement: "In South Africa, we could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the apartheid regime. The same issues of inequality and injustice today motivate the divestment movement trying to end Israel's decades long occupation of Palestinian territory and the unfair and prejudicial treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli government ruling over them." (Haaretz, March 10, 2014: )
  • In 2015, Israel built 1800 new housing units in Israeli settlements
  • The bill states that the effect of the law should not interfere with the foreign policy of the U.S. – the Israeli settlements that are the target of the boycott, divestment and settlements are being built in clear violation of U.S. foreign policy, which does not recognize the Israeli settlements in the West Bank as part of Israel.
  • Israel’s “democracy” is limited for Palestinians. More than 50 Israeli laws discriminate against the 25% of Israeli citizens who are Palestinian. For example, Jewish communities are permitted by law to deny new residents based on ethnicity.
  • Israel is not a victim; its existence is not in jeopardy; Israel’s military is the strongest in the region, ranking as the eleventh strongest military in the world and has U.S. backing
  • Israel operates a separate military court system for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, denying Palestinians the same protections Israelis and Americans enjoy. Jewish residents of the West Bank are under Israel’s civilian court system.
  • It has been more than 20 years since the Oslo Accords. “Bilateral negotiations” have proven not to be a solution. Israel has used these 20 years to seize more Palestinian land, doubling the number of settlers in the West Bank.