Slipped into budget
“Proponents of the anti-boycott legislation failed to secure passage of the unconstitutional attack on academic freedom, so they have used the tried and true method of getting positions to be approved by the legislature by including their language in the state budget bill,” the ASA explains in a statement.
The ASA says:
The anti-boycott language was inserted into the House version of the budget bill as an amendment (which no one voted on since it was accepted as “friendly”), along with other amendments not in the version of the budget passed by the Senate. The two versions of the budget bills, including the various amendments, now must go to a conference committee. That committee is charged with deciding on the final language of the budget bill, which will then be voted on by both the Senate and the House with no further changes allowed.
All of this must happen before the Maryland General Assembly ends at midnight on Monday, April 7th, one week from today. We do not know when the conference committee will meet and that is why our immediate action is needed.
The amendment condemns the ASA boycott, affirms the State of Maryland’s commitment to cooperation with Israel and alleges that “anti-Semitism is an intolerable and ugly form of bigotry, prejudice, and hostility directed toward individuals of the Jewish faith and the State of Israel, often based on ethnic, cultural, or religious identity.”
The ASA urges its members and the public to “call the members of the budget bill conference committee today,” and provides their contact information.
“Our message is clear: they should remove the offensive anti-boycott language in the House version of the budget bill. Attacks on academic freedom and charges of anti-Semitism should not be in any bill our legislature passes.”
However, the ASA notes, “there was never a public hearing on this language.”
Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois condemned a resolution before the state senate calling on Illinois college and university presidents to publicly condemn academic boycotts.
The ACLU said that “boycott is an important and powerful form of protected expressive association protected by the First Amendment.”
The resolution was scheduled to be discussed at hearing of the Judiciary Committee today.
The Jewish United Fund (JUF), a major pro-Israel organization in the Chicago area, has urged the public to support the resolution by contacting key members of the Illinois legislature.
The JUF claims that “a vigorous campaign has been unleashed against the resolution and its supporters by those promoting boycotts of Israel and [who] misrepresent the resolution as itself an attack on academic freedom.”