Sunday, July 23, 2017

Testimony submitted in favor of "An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts"

[The Massachusetts State Legislature held a hearing on July 18 regarding anti-discrimination bill H.1685/S.1689, "An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts." I was prepared to testify, but had to leave before my turn came, so I instead submitted my prepared remarks to the committee members by email. This is what I submitted. - Alan Stein]

Good morning. My name is Alan Stein and I live in Natick and also have a home in Israel. To me, BDS is personal, so I'm going to explain a couple of reasons why I think you should support the anti-discrimination bill, H.1685/S.1689, "An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts."

Let me tell you about someone I know, Dani, and about the true nature of BDS.

Although we didn't know each other growing up, Dani spent a good part of his childhood not far from me in New York, and went to graduate school at Harvard and now runs a business in Israel. He ran a factory in Mishor Adumim, about 5 minutes from Jerusalem. It was an island of peace where Palestinian Arabs and Israelis, Muslims, Christians and Jews, worked together as equals, with equal pay and equal benefits.

A couple of years ago Dani arranged for some of the workers at his factory to come to a ceremony at the Israeli president's residence in Jerusalem when he was presented an award.  He was so livid when he learned his workers were scrutinized more thoroughly than he was that he actually bawled out Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, in his own home, for the way his workers were treated.

Dani is the kind of person the world needs and his company is the type of company the world needs.

Yet his company, Sodastream, is one of the companies most targeted by BDS. BDS caused hundreds of Palestinian Arabs to lose their jobs.

That's the nature of BDS. It's a hateful movement that's also anti-peace.

While those promoting BDS have a right to do what they're doing, immoral and despicable as it is, they don't have the right to discriminate without facing consequences.

This bill simply calls upon the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to do the right thing: to not reward, with state contracts, companies that unfairly discriminate against certain residents of Massachusetts based not on what they do but on who they are.

I urge you to do the right thing and support this bill.

Thank you.

Alan Stein
Natick, Massachusetts

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