Washington Jewish Week has reported that several Maryland General Assembly legislators (Senator Bobby Zirkin along with Delegates Ben Kramer, Shelly Hettleman and Sandy Rosenberg) will be introducing legislation to financially penalize organizations that endorse the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) movement. While the bill has not yet been introduced, we understand that it will create a blacklist of companies that Maryland won't do business with.
This is the third year that the Maryland General Assembly has attempted to use their power to punish political expression. While this new initiative is, of course, disturbing these legislations actually have helped our BDS community grow. For example:
- Nobel Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, wrote an open letter about the anti-BDS legislation. His letter was in response to Maryland activists and he specifically called out the Maryland General Assembly for their rhetoric.
- Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore and the Catholic Conference of Major Superior Men) became the first Catholic entities to join BDS. Both are headquartered in Maryland.
- Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation and Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition sent the following letter to all the legislators regarding the civil liberties implications of these bills.
- The Lutherans became the 9th denomination to join BDS last August.
And lastly, it has made us more committed to defend non-violence in general and the BDS movement in particular. If you are a resident of Maryland who is also committed, please join us by following the instructions here!