BDS and Senate Shenanigans

Well, that didn’t take long. Wisconsin’s Senator Ron Johnson barely renewed his oath of office before violating it.

RJ.jpg“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; …”

Unfortunately, the very first bill to be considered by the United States Senate was not intended to deal with an American problem, such as the deficit, border security, or re-opening the government. It was legislation to defend the government of Israel from economic pressure to end its policies of apartheid, repression, racial discrimination, and violations of international law. The type of economic pressure which helped end apartheid in South Africa. A bill which encourages states to adopt the very same anti-boycott laws that two federal courts blocked on First Amendment grounds. Now the message to Americans is that they will be penalized if the dare to disagree with Israel.

Not every senator agreed with the bill. Senator Rand Paul, the lone Republican who voted against the bill, said the right to boycott is an essential part of free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution. “It is a fundamental aspect to freedom; to be able to dissent, to protest, even when everybody thinks you’re wrong.”  Senate Bill 1 passed and goes on to the House of Representatives.

“The Senate chose politics over the Constitution and trampled on the First Amendment rights of all Americans.” American Civil Liberties Union

U.S. citizens expect to be able to peacefully express their political opinions without being punished by their government and the United States used to provide a good example for other countries.

The right to organize boycotts, to marshal economic pressure to effect political change, is protected under the First Amendment,” explains the National Lawyers Guild.


Human Rights Watch reports that fifty years after Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, “it controls those areas BDS.jpgthrough repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights.” A growing number of faith communities support BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) because our government will not put pressure on  the government of Israel to end its violations of human rights and international law.

"With ecumenical colleagues, we raise our voices in defense of those rights, refusing to be intimidated by those who would criminalize or penalize those policies and practices." Rev. James Moos, a United Church of Christ national officer.


Support for the rogue state of Israel—but not for our Constitution? Is the Constitution only referred to on ceremonial occasions? Where is the outrage? Where are the news outlets? We have to do some digging to even find any mention in the “News” of the vote by the Senate to override the Constitution.

The Preamble of the Platform of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin affirms, “As Libertarians, we defend each person's right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest and we welcome the diversity that freedom brings. We seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals control their own lives and are never forced to compromise their values or sacrifice their property. We believe that no conflict exists between civil order and individual rights and that individuals, groups, or governments should not initiate force against other individuals, groups, or governments.”

Opinion of,
James Maas, Former Chair
Libertarian Party of Wisconsin

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