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StandWithUs Applauds Defeat of Discriminatory BDS Legislation in Cambridge, MA

(Cambridge, MA – May 25, 2021) – StandWithUs applauds the Cambridge City Council (CCC) for rejecting pro-BDS legislation on May 25, 2021. This legislation, titled Policy Order #109, called for cutting ties with Hewlett Packard (HP), despite the fact that the City of Cambridge has not purchased anything from HP in seven years. A majority of council members recognized that its real purpose was to promote the discriminatory Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. As such, the original version was replaced with a much more balanced substitute, which passed with a vote of 5 in favor, 2 against, and 2 abstaining. Amendments to reintroduce pro-BDS language failed with a vote of 3 in favor and 6 against. “At a time when Jewish communities around the world are being attacked by pro-Hamas racists, it is especially important that a majority of Cambridge City Councilmembers said no to this campaign of hate. Just this week, BDS-supporting ‘protestors’ have assaulted Jews in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and elsewhere. We applaud Council members who recognized that BDS would harm their community and only fuel more conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, ” said Avi Posnick, StandWithUs Northeast and New England Regional Director. POR #109 was explicitly promoted as part of the global BDS movement, which seeks to isolate and pressure Israel until it ceases to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. This followed a failed attempt by CCC members to pass similar legislation in 2018. Just like in 2018, there was an outpouring of opposition from residents of Cambridge. Over 150 people made comments in opposition to POR #109 at a CCC meeting on May 24th, and another 250 residents signed a letter against it. Senior New England Campus Coordinator Eliza Kanner and New England High School Coordinator Stephanie Margolis spoke at the meeting, sharing stories about how BDS promotes hate and would harm students locally. At the CCC meeting on May 25th, a substitute policy order replacing the original POR #109 was introduced and adopted. This substitute order recognizes Israel's right to exist and defend itself, and criticizes Hamas alongside the Israeli government. The original author of POR #109 attempted to pass an amendment removing the condemnation of Hamas and recognition of Israel's right to exist, but this was voted down. The substitute policy order was ultimately passed unanimously, after pro-BDS council members gave up on trying to push this agenda through the CCC. The substitute policy order also calls for the City Manager to review the government's business relationships with companies that engage in discrimination or human rights violations anywhere in the world, without singling out Israel. As such, StandWithUs will remain engaged to ensure this process is not used to further promote discrimination against Israel. StandWithUs congratulates all members of the Cambridge community stood up to hate and spoke out against POR #109. We will continue to work with IAC, AJC, JCRC of Boston, CJP, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and all of our partners to educate about Israel and fight antisemitism in New England and beyond.

About StandWithUs

StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.

Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs on 5 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa and Brazil.

For the last 8 years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).


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