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Annapolis should stay out of the Israel BDS fight

Lawmakers in Annapolis are considering legislation that would punish companies that take part in a boycott of Israel. (Michael Dresser, Baltimore Sun video)

The article "Bill brings Middle East boycott conflict to Annapolis" (Feb. 9) describes attempts by state lawmakers to punish companies that take part in a boycott of Israel. The Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement is a worldwide, non-violent resistance to Israel's 50-year brutal occupation and oppression of the Palestinians, an occupation that includes land and water theft, home demolitions, targeted assassinations, hundreds of humiliating road blocks and check points, near daily Jewish settler violence against Palestinians and their property, and a strangulation blockade on the civilian population of Gaza. In 2014, Israel invented an excuse to invade Gaza, killing 2,200 Palestinians, three quarters of whom were civilians, including over 500 children. Many peace groups have accused Israel of committing "crimes of war" in these attacks.

Jewish Del. Jimmy Tarlau is correct when he states, "I feel that companies boycotting Israel in order to change their policy is a legitimate way to protest. This is not the right issue for the Maryland legislature to get involved in." Susan Kerin, a member of the Catholic peace group Pax Christi, stated "We want to use non violence to promote peace, and we think the settlements are thwarting peace. We're trying to accomplish an end to settlements and put leverage on Israel to come back to the negotiating table."

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Finally, many say that this legislation is a clear violation of First Amendment rights and will be found unconstitutional by the courts.

Ray Gordon, Bel Air

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Ray Gordon, Bel Air

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