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Defending Rights & Dissent was joined by the Center for Constitutional Rights, National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts Chapter, and Palestine Legal in opposing a Massachusetts bill that threatens the right to boycott.
The bill S.1689/H.1685, purports to be about discrimination, but its supporters have made it clear that their intent is to silence Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns for Palestinian rights, which use First Amendment protected nonviolent tactics to promote human rights.
As a civil liberties group Defending Rights & Dissent does not take a position on BDS, but BDS campaigns employ First Amendment protected speech activities. A state legislature cannot try to suppress First Amendment protected speech.
The letter outlines the First Amendment protections afforded to boycotts, why human rights based boycotts are not discrimination, and the public policy need to foster robust democratic discourse, not stifle it.