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Michigan Senator Gary Peters uses the same lie about BDS that the Israeli government does

March 28, 2019

In 2017, Michigan Senator Gary Peters co-sponsored a bill that would essentially criminalize the BDS movement in the US. 

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) was introduced a few months ago and was drafted with input from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). 

The ACLU has sent a letter to the Senators who co-sponsored this legislation stating, “We urge  you  to refrain  from co-sponsoring the legislation because it would  punish  individuals  for no reason other than  their political  beliefs.” 

I sent a message to Senator Peters recently, asking him to vote no on the anti-BDS legislation. Here is part of his response:

On February 5, 2019, the Senate passed the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act. This bill is a combination of several key U.S. foreign policy initiatives, including authorizing security assistance to Israel, imposing new sanctions on Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and extending the United States’ existing security partnership with Jordan. Although I had concerns about certain provisions in this bill, I voted in support of it because it will help advance several critical national security priorities. We must make it clear the United States stands with its allies in the Middle East that are confronting violent extremist groups throughout the region. 

     The bill clarifies U.S. law with regards to the ability of state and local governments to divest from or limit contracting with entities engaged in boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) campaigns targeting Israel. The underlying purpose of BDS activities is to delegitimize Israel’s sovereign right to exist as a country. I do not support these campaigns, which single out Israel and in effect undermine the prospect of direct peace negotiations to solve territorial disputes.

What Senator Peters says about BDS is the exact same thing that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says and it is a lie.

According to the BDS movement site, their goal is as follows: 

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

Israel is occupying and colonizing Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Eleven years since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.

The fact that Senator Peters voted for the anti-BDS legislation is not surprising, since he , like most of the US Senate receive substantial funding from the Israel Lobby, according to Open Secrets

In fact, US support for Israel has been a bi-partisan affair since the US began providing billions of dollars in aid to Israel in the mid 1970s.

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