Challenging racist laws that restrict free speech

Challenging racist laws that restrict free speech

Challenging racist laws that restrict free speech

By Ray Hanania

Opinion columnist راى حنانيا. Ray Hanania headshot

Opinion columnist راى حنانيا.
Ray Hanania

Letter I wrote to Illinois Representative David Harris of Arlington Heights (Republican) who introduced a bill last year to expand the existing anti-BDS law that prohibits Americans from criticizing a specific foreign country, Israel.

I criticize Israel’s government and will continue to criticize Israel’s government and I am looking for a good lawyer to file a lawsuit against Representative Harris and other legislators who deny my right to criticize Israel’s government.

Dear Mr. Harris.

My name is Ray Hanania and I am an American and Christian Palestinians whose family lands have been taken by Israel and whose family members have been denied their rights to live freely inside Israel. I also served active duty during the Vietnam War 1972-1975 and 12 years with the Illinois Air National Guard.



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I am appalled by your sponsorship of legislation that prohibits me from doing business with the State of Illinois because I support the boycott of Israel’s government policies and against Israel’s governments racist Jewish-only illegal settlements which are built on lands taken from Christians and Muslim and I am urging you to with your support for HB 4015 which you introduced in March 2017 … the bill is stuck in the Rules Committee but your support of that bill indicates a lack of knowledge about the truth of what Israel is doing to Christian and Muslim Palestinians like my family. I am Orthodox Christian (raised Lutheran in the 1960s) and my wife and son are Jewish (my son was Bar Mitzvah in 2014 and is today a high school senior.)

Israeli soldiers man checkpoints controlling the movement of Christians and Muslims in the occupied territories of the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. Photo courtesy Maria Khoury

I urge you to support peace based on two-states, recognizing Israel as a State and Recognizing Palestine as a state. Legislation like yours only helps to perpetuate the conflict and result in continued violence by both sides. Also please refrain from denying any American the right of free speech which I fought o protect and which my father and uncle, George and Moses, fought to protect when the served active duty in the US 5th Army OSS (father) and on a battle ship in the North Atlantic (uncle) enlisting immediately after the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. My father, uncles, aunts, grandfather and ancestors going back dozens of generations were born and lived in Jerusalem which is today an occupied city and in which my relatives have no rights because they are Christian.

Just because Palestinian Arab Americans like myself as a community have not done a good job of presenting their side of the story does not mean you should take sides, wrongly, to deny our rights both here and in Israeli occupied Palestine and Israeli Occupied Jerusalem. As a military person, you should be standing up for our rights as Americans and defending our right to challenge the racist policies of a foreign country, especially when those policies impact Christians and other religions.

Thank you for your time

Ray Hanania

The bill is in the Rules Committee where it could be killed, but the point is why is an American denying other American’s the right to free speech especially in criticizing the Government of a FOREIGN COUNTRY? Rep. Harris did not seek re-election this year, but that doesn’t matter. His bill remains in the Rules Committee and can be activated at anytime by another sponsor.

3/21/2017 House Referred to Rules Committee
Statutes Amended In Order of Appearance
30 ILCS 500/50-36.5 new

Synopsis As Introduced (By Representative David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, Illinois):

Amends the Illinois Procurement Code. Provides that on and after the effective date of the amendatory Act, no State agency shall enter into or renew a contract with a business under this Code unless the contract declares that the business is not boycotting any jurisdiction with which the State of Illinois is not prohibited by law from doing business with or investing in, including Israel, and will not do so during the term of the contract. Effective immediately.

The question we need to ask is why haven’t these racist laws been challenged legally as unconstitutional? Because the mainstream news media defends these laws, puts pressure on any mainstream politician who dares to speak out against them, and suppresses the voices against this kind of outright racism!!!!

Click here for an overview of states proposing and passing lawsthat prevent Americans from criticizing the FOREIGN GOVERNMENT of Israel which engages in Apartheid racist practices int he face of much silence from man other Americans who think that morality is a political party they can embrace or reject!

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter, and currently a syndicated Palestinian American columnist writing on mainstream and Middle East politics, His website is His email is


Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Click Here to LISTEN to Hanania's live radio show on 2nd Friday every month 7 AM CST. Click here to listen to Ray's Podcasts. 

His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at

Suburban Chicagoland

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