Letter: Defend freedom of speech

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The world is rightfully alarmed by the ethnic cleansing currently being carried out in Myanmar, where hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya are being driven from their homes, forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. Such brutality has no place in our modern world.

Another ethnic cleansing is occurring — one that receives little attention even though it has been going on in slow motion for decades. It is the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the government of Israel. This process, which began in 1948, has displaced millions and forces millions more to live under brutal subjugation, with their human rights systematically ignored.

As bad as that is, something equally insidious and closer to home is afoot: The United States Senate is currently considering a bill (S.720) that would criminalize support for BDS (Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions), which is a nonviolent international movement to protest the occupation of Palestinian land.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is on record as supporting this bill, which would attack our right as citizens to speak out against the advancing apartheid in Palestine. Tell Cantwell that our First Amendment freedom of speech is not to be sacrificed at the behest of Israel.