New Orleans City Council Passes Measure Pushed By BDS Activists
“What we’re doing on the local level does have an impact on what happens on the national and international levels.”“Even though it doesn’t have all the teeth,” said Tabitha Mustafa, the passage of the resolution “proves the city recognizes what is happening in Israel.” “This is important because getting the first bill passed, at least, the city is willing to say, ‘This is something we don’t want to contribute to,’” Mustafa said. “What we’re doing on the local level does have an impact on what happens on the national and international levels.” The language in the resolution is purposefully broad and inclusive, explained Max Geller, a Palestinian Solidarity Committee organizer, because the group’s strategy was to encapsulate “joint struggle,” despite the effort being led by a group with a focus on BDS. That broad language allowed the activists to find some common ground between issues faced by Palestinians and residents of New Orleans. For instance, one of the groups on the boycott list for pro-Palestinian activists is Caterpillar, which makes large construction machines including those used by the Israeli military to demolish Palestinians’ homes. “I think that Caterpillar is particularly of interest to New Orleans, given the sort of optics of home demolition and the experience so many in New Orleans have with displacement following Katrina,” Geller said. “The city itself is really ready to act on the basic tenet of ‘people should be able to stay in their homes’ and ‘displacement is bad.’”
Members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation in Washington decried the impending move when informed of it on Wednesday. “I think it’s nuts,” said Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy when asked by The Intercept about his thoughts on New Orleans pursuing a BDS resolution. “I want to know more details just because it sounds kind of like, What’s gotten into their heads?” Cassidy said. “I mean, you’re sending a signal to your city. I want to know exactly what it does, but just on the face of it, it sounds crazy.” Cassidy was among the co-sponsors of the controversial Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which was introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., in March to target the BDS movement. After objections by the ACLU that the bill criminalized free speech — it said violations “would be subject to a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison” — Cardin expressed a willingness to amend the legislation. The post New Orleans City Council Passes Measure Pushed By BDS Activists appeared first on The Intercept.
#BDSWIN! The New Orleans City Council just voted unanimously for a resolution screening out – from investments and city contracts – companies that profit from abuses of human rights, civil rights, labor rights, and other violations. Congratulations to @NOPSC! #BDSNOLA pic.twitter.com/qYzSrN3LhL— Palestinian Rights (@US_Campaign) January 11, 2018
Originally posted from The Intercept which can be read here.