20 European Officials Denied Entry to israel for Boycott Support #BDS

20 European Officials Denied Entry to Israel for Boycott Support

14 Nov  9:22 AM

Israel announced, on Monday, that it plans to deny entry to a European delegation, using the recently approved legislation which bars visits by anti-Israel boycott activists.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that the 20-member delegation, which was set to arrive in Israel next week, was to include European parliament members and French mayors.

According to Interior Minister Arye Dery and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the purpose of their visit was to meet with Marwan Barghouti at Hadarim Prison “as part of their support for Barghouti and Palestinian prisoners.”

Erdan added that these are “senior politicians who consistently support the boycott against Israel and promote it.” He added that “we will not permit entry to those who actively call to harm the state of Israel, especially in light of their request to meet and offer support to the arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti.”

According to Dery, the delegation consists of senior Europeans who are coming to act against Israel.

Over the past year, at the instruction of Dery and Erdan, Israel has blocked entry to a number people known to support the BDS movement.

Search IMEMC: “boycott”

11/12/17 Israel Mobilizing to Stop European Aid to Palestine


“The enemy within” Dual citizens driving US laws against Palestinians, #BDS, etc

Dual citizens driving US laws against Palestinians, BDS, etc

Dual citizens driving US laws against Palestinians, BDS, etc

Israeli American Council’s “Celebrate Israel Festival” in Miami, Florida. Such festivals were organized across the U.S.

The Israeli American Council is a ten-year-old organization of dual US-Israeli citizens. A year ago it launched a lobbying arm, the Israeli American Coalition for Action, which has been the driving force and partial architect of anti-BDS laws passed in Nevada, California and Texas and is currently advancing similar legislation in Massachusetts.  It also helped promote the “Taylor Force Act” and other bills for Israel.

New York Jewish Week and Moment magazine describe the actions of the Israeli-American Council  (IAC) and its new lobbying arm, Israeli-American Coalition for Action (IAC for Action).

A recent article in New York Jewish Week by Orly Santo reports that ten years ago “in a feat of organizational prowess (and hubris?) — and fueled with tens of millions of dollars from megadonors — the Israeli-American Council (IAC) shaped the scattering of 500,000-to-700,000 Israeli expats into a coherent entity.”

The goal of the organization is to “strengthen Israeli-Americans, American Jews and Israel.” It now claims 250,000 participants with an annual budget of $17.5 million. The group gets the bullk of its money from Las Vegas casino billionaire and major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson. 

In February 2016 IAC launched a 501(c)(4) lobbying arm called the “Israeli American Coalition for Action” (IAC For Action). The excerpt below from Jewish Week describes how IAC Action has helped to craft legislation against boycotting Israel, against alleged “antisemitism,” and against Palestinians.

Below that article is a report from Moment magazine that describes the specifics of how IAC obtained legislation against BDS. (Photos and videos of IAC have been added to the articles.)

US Senator Chuck Schumer (who says he is a “guardian for Israel”) and others speak at the IAC conference.

Excerpted from “Israeli-Americans Now Have A Voice — Are They All On Key?”

by Orly Santo, New York Jewish Week

In the 21 months of its existence, the Israeli American Coalition for Action has weighed in on a range of state and federal issues, with varying degrees of success. It has advanced mom-and-apple-pie resolutions, such as pushing a House resolution honoring Israeli-American heritage and an initiative to teach Hebrew in public schools.

But it has also tackled trickier legislation. For instance, IAC for Action was the driving force and partial architect of the anti-BDS laws passed in Nevada, California and Texas. It’s currently advancing similar legislation in Massachusetts, and working alongside these state governments on creating watchdog organizations that would help enforce anti-BDS laws. (Some of the anti-BDS laws around the country are now being challenged on free speech grounds.)

The group has advocated for a House bill that would combat European anti-Semitism [for information on this go here] and supports the Israeli Anti-Boycott Act, legislation that recently lost its bipartisan support in the House and Senate after the ACLU denounced it as a First Amendment infringement.

Taylor Force Act

Arguably, IAC for Action’s most significant legislative push has been on the high-profile Taylor Force Act bill, named for the 28-year-old American who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Jaffa in March 2016; it was among the first pro-Israel lobbies to aggressively campaign for the legislation.

Considered one of the most important pro-Israel initiatives of the early Trump administration, the bill would condition the majority of U.S. financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) on the PA shutting down its “Martyr’s Fund,” a program that pays stipends to convicted terrorists [sic] and their families. Introduced by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Dan Coates of Indiana and Roy Blount of Missouri, the bill initially lacked necessary bipartisan credentials; some Democrats believed the bill was drawn too broadly and that other kinds of American aid to the PA, such as money for humanitarian programs, would be cut off as a result. Out of concern for Israel’s security or out of partisan concerns, AIPAC and the major Jewish advocacy groups steered clear [initially].

[Read the specifics of the Taylor Force Act and of its context here.]

According to Shawn Evenhaim, IAC for Action’s chairman, Graham’s office approached the group for help in breaking the gridlock; in response, the lobby pulled together IAC’s two original megadonors — Adelson and billionaire businessman and Democrat Haim Saban — to campaign for the bill. (Saban eventually broke with IAC, reportedly due to sensitivities surrounding the U.S. presidential election, in which Saban supported Hillary Clinton and Adelson backed Donald Trump.)

(L-R): Republican billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson, IAC National Chairman Shawn Evenhaim, and Democratic billionaire donorHaim Saban at the Israeli American Council in Washington DC. Nov. 10, 2014.

It’s unclear how effective the campaign was; Graham’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment, and Noah Pollak, a political consultant considered one of the bill’s primary drivers, told The Jewish Week he was unaware of IAC’s role. Still, in reference to their campaign, Nicolet asserted that “we were critical to getting the bipartisan conversation [on the bill] going. … There is a chasm within the Jewish-American community (regarding Israel). That’s exactly where Israeli-Americans can step in and become a living bridge.”

Eventually, the bill was amended to take into consideration the aid questions that had been raised earlier, and the Taylor Force Act now seems poised for passage next month in the full Senate.

“We have the ability to speak for Israel as Americans, but from an Israeli point of view,” Evenhaim said. “This is something new that we are bringing to the pro-Israel camp, something that has always been missing.”

Anti-BDS legislation

California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom, Anat Berko, and Dillon Hosier discuss anti-BDS legislation at the Israeli American Council’s 2016 conference.

That unique perspective is IAC’s ace in the hole, particularly when it comes to combating BDS, its officials say. “[The BDS movement’s] biggest success is in dehumanizing Israelis,” Dillon Hosier, IAC for Action’s national director of state and local government affairs, told The Jewish Week. Bringing in Israeli-Americans, fellow state residents who are directly impacted by BDS, “restored the human face to that community. … Adding that Israeli-American element was really what turned the tide.”

California’s recently passed anti-BDS law, AB2844, is a case study in IAC for Action’s efforts. The law prohibits the state from contracting with firms that boycott or comply with boycotting Israeli companies, asserting that that would constitute an act of discrimination against Jews and Californians of Israeli descent and their businesses.

According to the bill’s author, Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), the Israeli-American voice was key to its passing. “Dillon and the IAC worked very closely with me and my legislative team to assure passage and the governor’s signature on AB2844 … [rallying] IAC members to email, call and provide other advocacy on behalf of the Israeli-American community,” Bloom told The Jewish Week in an email. “Frankly, and quite logically, many legislators do not understand BDS and why it is such an important issue for Israel and Israel’s supporters. The IAC … was singular in its ability to bridge that gap.”

Read full article

Getting Political: The Third Israeli-American Council Conference

By George E. Johnson, Moment, Oct 10, 2016

Facebook image of 2016 IAC national conference.

Reporting from last year’s Israeli-American Council conference, I noted that the Israeli-American Council defied the conventional wisdom that young Jewish adults are not joining Jewish organizations. The more than 1,000 Israeli-Americans at last year’s conference suggested that the in-your face, raw, brash energy of Israelis was being brought into the American Jewish organizational mainstream for the first time. With a mission of better integrating the now more than 500,000 Israeli-Americans into the American Jewish community, the IAC presented itself as a kind of communal “self-help” organization. It focused, for example, on how to keep the children of Israeli-Americans—many of whom are secular—Jewish. With the power and wealth of billionaire Las Vegas mogul Sheldon Adelson solidly behind it, it became clear that the IAC was also trying to act as a human bridge between Israel and American Jews—a kind of “reverse Birthright” mission—strengthening the state of Israel in the process.

But something new was on display this year: the rapidly maturing face of a new grassroots, AIPAC-like, Israeli-American Coalition for Action, an activist IAC political arm that parlays Israeli technological and political savvy into support of pro-Israel politics at the state and local levels. While still addressing the integration of Israeli-Americans into American Jewish life and deepening American Jews’ connection with Israel, this year’s conference, held in Washington, DC on September 24-26, and attended by over 2,000, gave center stage to the Coalition for Action’s step-by-step construction of alliances with local political and religious groups and use of social media to build support for pro-Israel actions—with a particular focus on opposing the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

IAC brought in Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren to moderate a panel of former Israeli ambassadors to the U.S.

During the past year, there have been numerous reports that Adelson was assembling a task force to mobilize against the BDS movement. The fruits of that mobilization were clearly on display last week. At the opening of the conference, it was announced that California governor Jerry Brown had just signed AB-2844 into law, prohibiting the state of California from doing business with agencies or businesses that participate in BDS activities.

Back story of California’s anti-BDS legislation

California Governor Jerry Brown with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Brown signed Assembly anti-BDS Bill 2844 in September 2016. The State Senate approved the bill by a vote of 34 to 1 , and the State Assembly passed it by 69 to 1 on August 30.

However, the backstory of how the IAC was able to make this happen was told not in the plenary, but in two revealing panel discussions on coalition building and innovative use of social media. In one session, attended by the author of the California bill, Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom, as well as Adelson himself, panelists, including two city mayors, explained how meeting with strategically important legislators, planning Israel trips that highlight the multicultural aspects of Israeli life, supporting the interests of politically important groups, and building “common ground” with, for example, the LGBT community in West Hollywood, could pay off in political allies and support for anti-BDS initiatives.

The second panel focused on methods and messages for countering BDS activism on college campuses, as well as in government and local communities. Here the focus was on the power of social media. One panelist showed an animation showing members of Students for Justice for Palestine disrupting a lecture at the University of Minnesota by pulling the microphone cord. Another, the founder of the startup Phone2Action, showed members of the audience how to text their home state legislators in real time to support anti-BDS legislation just by texting “Israel” and a number on their iPhones.

A separate session, which I did not attend, focused on coalition building with other ethnic groups. Rabbi Marc Schneier, head of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, discussed the release of an open letter, signed by 10 prominent American Muslim political and religious leaders, including the two Muslim members of Congress, which calls on Hamas to release the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in 2014 in Gaza.

The IAC is still a start-up, opening chapters around the country, with a base one-tenth of AIPAC, and this was only its third national conference. But it has money, a strategy and strong leadership that are helping it to punch far beyond its weight. One has the feeling that the Jewish world has yet to digest the potential impact on American Jewish life and American politics of this young and largely unstudied group.

IAC workshop on how to defeat BDS:


In big anniversary year for israel, Christian Zionists see signs of the Messiah


jews hate christ christians love israel

ED-NOTE – The abomination of Christian Zionism would have never seen the light of day if there had been no Reformation. There would have been no Reformation if the most celebrated early Church Fathers had done their homework and not incorporated the Jewish Torah, that book written by the lying pens of scribes, into the Christian scriptures. And the world would have been a much different and better place had the early Christians followed Tertullian’s insight.

We no longer have any of his books but we know of them because all the following Christian ‘thinkers’ spent their lives trying to refute his thesis, namely that the God of Jesus Christ (PBUH) was not, could never have been the same ‘God’ described in the Torah; Jesus Christ could never the son of such ‘God’; Jesus Christ could never have been part of a Trinity that included the Jewish ‘God’.

His conclusions are not extravagant at all. In fact, they coincide with what the Jews themselves have been telling us for the past 5000 years: THE DEITY THEY WORSHIP IS THEIRS AND THEIRS ALONE; THEIR ‘GOD’ IS NOT OUR GOD. And they coincide with what Jesus (PBUH) told us in the most unambiguous way: the’God’ of the Jews was not his/ours. He rejected such deity and even named it for us in black and white: Satan.

And yet, despite all of that, we refuse to hear and understand and that is something that should fill all of us with wonder and horror at the same time.

Tertullian alone heard and understood what the Jews and what Jesus said and ‘his  Scriptures’, what he considered holy, did not include the Jewish Torah. He rejected it, the whole of it, and rightly so, as a true follower of Christ.

The Jews commit all their crimes, the Jews have declared war against the Children of Adam in the name of their satanic scriptures and, yet, it is the Muslims and the Christians who are always first up in arms to defend them and their book. Why?

It is time for Christians and Muslims alike to finally listen to what our enemies have been telling us all along and go for the jugular: the ONLY source of the problem, as Tertullian had identified so early on, is Judaism (FYI: there was still no Talmud nor were there any Khazar during his time).

So when will the Christlamic world wake up and realize that the sinfulness of the Prophets should be enough reason to finally, finally, finally de-legitimize the jewish Torah? And what will it take for the Christlamic world to understand,  at last, that there is no greater nor viler blaspheme against their own religion than Judaism and the Jewish Torah? 


TIMES OF ISRAEL – Fifty years since the Six-Day War, 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, 150 years since Mark Twain first visited Palestine. This has been a year of big Israel-related anniversaries. To the Jewish state’s most diehard Christian supporters, the barrage of milestones is not mere coincidence but rather a harbinger of prophecies being fulfilled.

Every half century, many Christian Zionists believe, history makes a concerted push toward its endpoint: the return of the Messiah to Jerusalem. According to this pattern, something momentous should happen to Israel before the end of 2017.

“Reading Israel’s modern history, there seems to be something unusual in 50-year cycles,” said David Parsons, the vice president of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. “It means we should expect something incredible to happen this year to further propel Jerusalem and Israel into its prophetic destiny.”

Christian Zionists, most of whom are part of the world’s 700 million-strong evangelical community, view themselves as the Jews’ partners in God’s plan. Like many Orthodox Jews, they believe that after a world war, the Messiah will take the throne of a Jewish kingdom in Jerusalem and lead the world to peace and prosperity.

As Christians, they of course expect the Messiah to be Jesus, whereas Jews are still looking for their redeemer. But Christian Zionists like to joke, “Let’s bring the Messiah, and then maybe somebody can ask him whether this is his first or second visit.”

When Israel captured eastern Jerusalem and its holy sites from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War, some Christians saw proof that the messianic era was nigh. They began scouring history for signs they may have missed.

Many such signs were identified, from “blood moons” to stock market crashes. What most inspired Christian Zionists were the half-century cycles that seemed to lead up to the Six-Day War. The proponents of this theory — including Jonathan Cahn, who discussed it in “The Harbinger,” his best-selling Christian novel from 2012 — tied it to the biblical “jubilee year,” which involves the reversion of land to its original owners.

So what happened 50 years before 1967?

In 1917, the British defeated the Ottoman Empire and took control of Palestine. On Nov. 2, they issued the Balfour Declaration pledging to support the establishment of a Jewish “national home” in the territory. Zionists eventually drove the British out of Palestine and, in 1948, founded the State of Israel.

A half century earlier, in 1867, two visitors to Ottoman Palestine separately contributed to the narrative that Palestine had gone to pot since the Jews left. British archaeologist Charles Warren conducted the first major excavations of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem and found what he thought were relics of the biblical city of King David. And the American writer Twain visited the Holy Land and recorded his observations in a hugely popular travel memoir titled “The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims’ Progress.”

Twain capped many pages of unflattering observations with this line: “Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince.”

Looking back even further, Christian Zionists singled out 1517, the year the Ottomans conquered Jerusalem. It is also when Martin Luther is said to have posted his protest manifesto against the Catholic Church, launching the Protestant Reformation.

Although Christian Zionists are apologetic about Luther’s anti-Semitism, they believe that by popularizing individual Bible study as the means of relating to God, he made it possible for Christians to see the falsehood of replacement theology. According to this doctrine, which was long a core tenant of the Catholic Church and remains influential, God took the title of the chosen people from the Jews and gave it to the Christians.

Christian Zionists have had decades to speculate about what historic change would happen in 2017, a half century after the Six-Day War. At a conference for Christian Zionists in Jerusalem on Thursday titled “Balfour to Nikki Haley: A Century of Christian Zionist Diplomacy,” a popular guess among the 100 or so evangelical and Jewish participants was that President Donald Trump would fulfill his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. But with a only two months left in the year, time is running out.

Bob O’Dell, an American speaker at the conference and the co-founder of Root Source, a platform that allows Israeli Jews to teach Bible online to Christians, argued that the big event of 2017 may already be happening in the hearts of his fellow evangelicals. He said he has seen a surge interest in the community’s interest in Israel.

“Everyone has a theory, but my view is that what’s happening at this jubilee is a growing realization that Christians are leading the nations in their support of Israel,” he said. “I think this is going to be the most important change of them all.”

Donna Jollay, the director of Christian relations for Israel 365, a fast-growing Jewish-run media company that targets evangelicals with biblically themed news and content, listed dozens of signs that Christians were shepherding Israel toward the messianic era, along with relevant Bible passages.

She pointed to Trump’s Jewish grandchildren, America’s withdrawal from UNESCO over alleged anti-Israel bias (U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is a convert to Christianity) and growing Christian investment in the Jewish state. Evangelicals from the United States alone bring about $500 million a year into Israeli tourism and charity, and support its current right-wing government.

“It’s pretty much everything,” she said.

American Jews, especially the majority who are non-Orthodox and politically liberal, have traditionally been wary of evangelical support for Israel. But Josh Reinstein, the founder of the 19-member Christian Allies Caucus, which seeks to promote Christian advocacy on behalf of Israel, said he has also seen a growing willingness among Jews to accept Christian help.

“We’ve seen the results,” he said, citing the anti-BDS laws in the United States and increased cooperation between Israel and African and Asian countries. “We know these are people who stand with Israel based on faith, and they’ll stick around in the long run, regardless of political or economic considerations.”


Dickinson Texas Partially Rescinds ‘No-Israel-Boycott’ Demands

[ Ed. note – A small victory against the anti-BDS juggernaut that is sweeping the country…the city of Dickinson, Texas–obviously responding to widespread criticism–has partially reversed its policy on extracting pledges not to boycott Israel from victims of Hurricane Harvey. The Dickinson City Council has voted to absolve individual homeowners from signing contracts stating they do not support a boycott. However, according to the report below, business owners seeking relief assistance are still required to adhere to the condition. ]

Jesse Rubin | Mondoweiss

The city of Dickinson, Texas, will no longer require private citizens affected by Hurricane Harvey to sign a pledge guaranteeing they do not and will not boycott Israel as a condition to receiving help.

After a closed meeting with city attorney David Olson, the city council passed a motion to remove a clause that conditions disaster relief aid on an applicant’s political views.

While a clear victory for residents of Dickinson — if perhaps bittersweet because the storm-struck are simply back to where the application process should have begun — the amendment only applies to private homeowners.

“The council voted to strike the language related to the pledge not to boycott Israel for residential applicants for the grants,” city management assistant Bryan Milward told Mondoweiss. However, Milward confirmed, “the language is still in for businesses.”

City businesses damaged by the storm are still prohibited from engaging in any boycott of Israel if they are to receive relief funding. According to the city police department, the hurricane seriously damaged 88 businesses, ten of which are closing down indefinitely.

Councilman Walter Wilson, who brought the issue up for a vote after reconvening, noted that the move “really doesn’t change the application itself…we’ll remove that clause when we’re entering into that agreement with an individual homeowner.”

But when it comes to businesses– boycotting Israel is verboten.

“Whenever [the city] is dealing with companies,” Wilson said, which he noted are more broadly defined, “we will continue to maintain [the no-Israel-boycott pledge] until we receive guidance from a higher court or a state agency issuing an opinion.”

Continued here

Pandering to israel Has Got to Stop



Most Americans have no idea of just how powerful Israeli and Jewish interests are. Two recent stories out of Kansas and Texas illustrate exactly how supporters of Israel in the United States are ready, willing and able to subvert the existing constitutional and legal protections that uphold the right to fair and impartial treatment for all American citizens.

The friends of Israel appear to believe that anyone who is unwilling to do business with Israel or even with the territories that it has illegally occupied should not be allowed to do business in any capacity with federal, state or even local governments. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of association for every American are apparently not valid if one particular highly favored foreign country is involved.

Maryland became the most recent state to jump on the Israel bandwagon last week. Currently twenty-two state legislatures have passed various laws confronting boycotts of Israel because of its human rights abuses, in many cases initiating economic penalties on those organizations and individuals or denying state funds to colleges and universities that allow boycott advocates to operate freely on campus.

When governor of South Carolina, current United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, an ardent supporter of Israel, signed the first state law attacking those who support boycotting or sanctioning the Israeli government, the country’s state institutions and its businesses. Haley, who is supposed to be defending American interests, has also stated her priority focus will be opposing “the UN’s…bias against our close ally Israel.”

Both the recent cases in Kansas and Texas involve state mandates regarding Israel. Both states are, one might note, part of the Bible belt. The anti-boycott legislation was sponsored by powerful Christian Zionist constituencies and passed through the respective legislatures with little debate. In Kansas, Esther Koontz, a Mennonite curriculum coach was fired by the State Department of Education as a teacher trainer because she would not certify in writing that she does not boycott Israel. Koontz’s church had passed a resolution in July seeking peace in the Middle East which specifically opposed purchasing products associated with Israel’s “military occupation” of Palestine. With the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Koontz is contesting the Kansas government position.

In Dickinson, Texas, in a case which actually made national news, if only briefly, the city is requiring anyone who applies for disaster relief to sign a document that reads “Verification not to Boycott Israel: By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.” Dickinson was half destroyed by hurricane Harvey last month and urgently needs assistance, but, in the opinion of Texas lawmakers and local officials, deference to Israel comes first. The ACLU is also contesting the Texas legislation.

The Texas law was signed earlier this year and took effect on September 1st. In January 2016, Governor Greg Abbott met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who urged Texas to push through the legislation. Abbott responded, and, when signing the bill, commented that “any anti-Israel policy is an ‘anti-Texas policy.’” Abbot is reportedly also considering Israeli endorsed legislation that would ban all business dealings on the part of Texas companies with Iran.

One particular pending piece of federal legislation that is also currently making its way through the Senate would far exceed what is happening at the state level and would set a new standard for deference to Israeli interests on the part of the national government. It would criminalize any U.S. citizen “engaged in interstate or foreign commerce” who supports a boycott of Israel or who even goes about “requesting the furnishing of information” regarding it, with penalties enforced through amendments of two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Act of 1945, that include potential fines of between $250,000 and $1 million and up to 20 years in prison

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the Senate bill was drafted with the assistance of AIPAC. The legislation, which would almost certainly be overturned as unconstitutional if it ever does in fact become law, is particularly dangerous and goes well beyond any previous pro-Israeli legislation as it essentially denies free of expression when the subject is Israel.

The movement that is being particularly targeted by the bills at both the state level and also within the federal government is referred to by its acronym as BDS, which is an acronym for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. It is a non-violent reaction to the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land on the West Bank and the continued building of Jewish-only settlements. BDS has been targeted both by the Israeli government and by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The AIPAC website under its lobbying agenda includes the promotion of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act as a top priority.

The Israeli government and its American supporters particularly fear BDS because it has become quite popular, particularly on university campuses, where administrative steps have frequently been taken to suppress it. The denial of free speech on campus when it relates to Israel has sometimes been referred to as the “Palestinian exception.” Nevertheless, the message continues to resonate, due both to its non- violence its and human rights appeal. It challenges Israel’s arbitrary military rule over three million Palestinians on the West Bank who have onerous restrictions placed on nearly every aspect of their daily lives. And its underlying message is that Israel is a rogue state engaging in actions that are widely considered to be both illegal and immoral, which the Israeli government rightly sees as potentially delegitimizing.

It is disheartening to realize that a clear majority of state legislators and congressmen thinks it is perfectly acceptable to deny all Americans the right to free political expression in order to defend an internationally acknowledged illegal occupation being carried out by a foreign country. Those co-sponsoring the bills include Democrats, Republicans, progressives and conservatives. Deference to Israeli interests is bi-partisan and crosses ideological lines. Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim, writing at The Intercept, observe that “…the very mention of the word ‘Israel’ causes most members of both parties to quickly snap into line in a show of unanimity that would make the regime of North Korea blush with envy.”

Would that the anti BDS activity were the only examples of pro-Israeli legislation, but there is, unfortunately more. Another bill that might actually have been written by AIPAC is called Senate 722, Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017. The bill mandates that “Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 2 years thereafter, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of National Intelligence shall jointly develop and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a strategy for deterring conventional and asymmetric Iranian activities and threats that directly threaten the United States and key allies in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond.”

Senate bill 722 combined with recent de-certification of Iran by the White House is a formula for war and a gift to Israel. And there’s more. A bill has surfaced in the House of Representatives that will require the United States to “consult” with Israel regarding any prospective arms sales to Arab countries in the Middle East. In other words, Israel will have a say, backed up undoubtedly by Congress and the media, over what the United States does in terms of its weapons sales abroad. The sponsors of the bill, want “closer scrutiny of future military arms sales” to maintain the “qualitative military edge” that Israel currently enjoys.

And there’s still more. The most recent trade bill with Europe, signed by President Barack Obama, includes language requiring the European blocking of “politically motivated” efforts to boycott Israel as a factor in bilateral trade agreements, so U.S. business interests will become subordinated to how foreign governments regard Israel. How does all this play out in practice? A Jewish group in New Jersey is seeking to blacklist with the state pension investment fund a Danish bank that has refused to provide loans to two Israeli defense contractors. The bank has argued that it has turned down loans to many companies in many countries for sound business reasons, but that common sense argument apparently is unacceptable to the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations.

And there’s bill HR 672 Combating European Anti-Semitism Act of 2017, which was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on June 14th. Yes, “unanimously.” The bill requires the State Department to monitor what European nations and their police forces are doing about anti-Semitism and encourages them to adopt “a uniform definition of anti-Semitism.” That means that criticism of Israel must be considered anti-Semitism and will therefore be a hate crime and prosecutable, a status that is already de facto true in Britain and France. If the Europeans don’t play ball, there is the possibility of still more repercussions in trade negotiations. The bill was co-sponsored by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida and Nita Lowey of New York, both of whom are Jewish.

There is also a Senate companion bill on offer in the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2017. The bill will make the Anti-Semitism Envoy a full American Ambassador and will empower him or her with a full staff and a budget permitting meddling worldwide. There is also a Special Advisor for Holocaust Issues. There are no comparable positions at the State Department specifically monitoring anti-Christian or Muslim activity or for dealing with historic events like the Armenian genocide.

Anyone who thinks that the government in the United States at all levels does not consistently and almost obsessively defer to Israeli and Jewish interests has been asleep. The requirement to sign a document relating to one views of any foreign government to obtain a job or disaster relief is an abomination. Protecting Israel and going on a worldwide search for anti-Semitism or Holocaust deniers are not the responsibility of the American government and they are not what state legislators and congressmen are supposed to be doing to serve the public interest.

Israel is sometimes referred to as the “51st State,” but that is hardly true as it contributes nothing to the United States, collects billions of dollars a year from the U.S. Treasury and is totally unaccountable in terms of the actual damage it does to American interests. The American people are being hoodwinked by their own elected leaders and laws are being passed to make it impossible for them to even complain. Well, enough is enough. It is past time to shut the door on the Israeli influence machine and take back what remains of truly responsive and representational government.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

#BDS From HP to Ahava: The UN Blacklist of Companies Doing Business in israeli Settlements

From HP to Ahava: The UN Blacklist of Companies Doing Business in Israeli Settlements


Settlement blacklist of 25 firms published by Israeli paper includes Israel Aerospace Industries, telecom giants, international tech firms, banks, and even cafes

UN sent warning letter to 150 companies for doing business in Israeli settlements

An Israeli newspaper has revealed the names of 25 companies who could find themselves on a UN blacklist of firms doing business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

The list includes Israel Aerospace Industries, the Israeli branches of Motorola and HP, the Dead Sea cosmetics firm Ahava, as well as other firms like Israel’s Bank Leumi or gas supplier Paz.

In the past, Haaretz reported that about 150 companies in Israel and around the world had received letters from the UN human rights commission warning them that they are about to be added to the database, senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats involved in the matter told Haaretz’s Barak Ravid at the time.

The Israeli official, who requested to stay anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, noted that the letters sent by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said these firms were doing business in the “occupied Palestinian territories” and could thus find themselves on the UN blacklist for companies acting in violation of “internal law and UN decisions.”

 Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, shakes hand with delegates before the opening of the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, UN, in Geneva, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, shakes hand with delegates before the opening of the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the UnitedLaurent Gillieron/AP

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The Washington Post reported in August that among American companies that received letters were Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor and Airbnb. According to the same report, the Trump administration is trying to work with the UN Commission on Human Rights to prevent the list’s publication.

On Thursday, Yedioth Aharonoth revealed the names of some 25 of these Israeli firms, which it said is based on a partial list the paper obtained. The companies on the list range from bakeries to financial institutions to local energy suppliers and cosmetics:

1. Ahava
2. Dor Alon
3. Amisragas
4. Angel Bakeries
5. Arison Investments
6. Ashdar
7. Cafe Cafe
8. Clal Industries
9. Cellcom
10. Danya Cebus
11. Electra
12. HP
13. HOT
14. Israel Aerospace Industries
15. Matrix systems
16. Motorola
17. Nesher
18. Partner
19. Paz
20. Rami Levy
21. Remax
22. Shikun & Binui (Housing & Construction Holding Company)
23. Shufersal
24. Bank Leumi
25. Sonol

Israel’s Channel 2 reported in the past that the list includes some of the biggest companies in Israel, such as Teva, Bank Hapoalim, Bezeq, Elbit, Coca-Cola Israel, Africa-Israel, IDB, Egged, Mekorot and Netafim.

A Western diplomat, who also requested to remain anonymous, told Haaretz at the time that out of the 150 companies, some 30 were American and a number are from countries such as Germany, South Korea and Norway. The remaining half are Israeli companies.

Senior Israeli officials said the Israeli fear of divestment or scaled-down business due to the blacklist is already becoming a reality. The Economy Ministry’s Office of Strategic Affairs, they said, has already received information that a number of letter-receiving companies have responded to the human rights commissioner by saying they do not intend to renew contracts or sign new ones in Israel.

“These companies just can’t make the distinction between Israel and the settlements and are ending their operations all together,” the senior Israeli official said. “Foreign companies will not invest in something that reeks of political problems – this could snowball.”

As part of an attempt to minimize its potential damage, Israel was attempting to reach out and hold talks with the foreign companies named on the list, stressing that it is non-binding and insignificant. It is also reaching out to foreign governments saying the list is tantamount to cooperating with a boycott of Israel.

U.K. officials said Thursday that the U.K. strongly opposed this provision and considered that it went beyond the competence of the Human Rights Council. “Human rights obligations are directed at states, and not individuals or businesses, who must determine their trading relationships for themselves; as such, we have no plans to set up an equivalent database. Ultimately it is the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The British Government neither encourages nor offers support to such activity,” they said.

In March 2017, the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva voted for the resolution being pushed by the Palestinian Authority and Arab nations, according to which the commission would formulate a database of Israeli and international firms directly or indirectly doing business in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. The decision passed despite massive pressure by the U.S. to soften the resolution’s wording. Even an attempt by the U.K. and the EU to reach a deal with the Palestinians to drop the clause from the resolution stipulating the blacklist’s formulation, in return for the support of European nations for the rest of its articles, failed.

Barak Ravid contributed background to this report

US Gets Increasingly Isolated Internationally


By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 22.10.2017

Economic sanctions are an instrument of coercion used to make one state comply with another’s wishes. The United States is by far the largest implementer of economic sanctions in the world. It is virtually the only country that imposes unilateral sanctions, certainly the only one that does so with any regularity. The US has imposed more sanctions than the other countries/entities put together. Washington sees restrictions as a low-cost method to accomplish foreign policy goals, despite the fact that the measures affect common people. The policy damages international relations and backfires exacting a high price in terms of lost jobs and trade opportunities.

The US sanctions policy came under sharp criticism in the United Nations. Addressing the UN General Assembly on October 18, United Nations Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy said “Damaging a country’s economy with sanctions usually leads to violations of the rights of ordinary people. Sanctions are disruptive for any State, and can have a particularly devastating impact on the citizens of developing countries when they impair the economy.” He expressed concern about sanctions which had an impact outside the territory being targeted. “It is well established that sanctions which apply to parties outside of the dispute are illegal, but sanctions which lead to human rights violations also create an obligation on the imposing state to take measures to repair the harm they have caused,” the expert noted.

Reporting on his visit to Russia in April, Jazairy said sanctions had not achieved the desired effect but had damaged others. “It appears that sanctions have not changed Russia’s position, but instead have caused economic losses for agricultural producers in both the EU and Russia,” he noted, adding “Serious, credible dialogue and negotiations are needed to resolve political issues, without creating additional harm for farmers.”

Jazairy urged the UN member states to adopt a Declaration on Unilateral Coercive Measures and the Rule of Law, which would set out shared principles on the use of sanctions and international law, renewing the call for a registry of sanctions, to bring greater transparency to the practice. “A registry would allow States, civil society and any other interested parties to know at all times what sanctions are in place, helping companies to conduct their businesses, and ensuring the sanctions meet human rights standards,” he said.

In his report (A/HRC/33/48) issued in September, the rapporteur urged the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly, through a solemn Declaration, to reaffirm “the right of victims to an effective remedy, including appropriate and effective financial compensation, in all situations where their human rights are affected by unilateral coercive measures.” The report also highlighted the importance of setting up a consolidated central register within the UN system of all the international sanctions in force, adding that these findings should be made public. This mechanism, which would enhance transparency and accountability, could draw on the model of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms set up in 1991.

A new research by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) suggests the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia introduced three years ago have cost European countries billions of euros. The survey, which was conducted at the request of the European Parliament, and published on October 6, showed that the EU has lost €30bn due to sanctions.

Unilateral sanctions are increasingly ineffective in a more globalized economy. The United States has imposed many different sanctions against Russia but there are many more nations ready to boost economic cooperation with Moscow. The US has got a reputation for imposing economic sanctions liberally making other nations reluctant to do business with it. European leaders and much of the rest of the world view economic sanctions as counterproductive and generally favor them only in extraordinary circumstances, such as war. In July, France’s foreign ministry said new US penalties against Iran and Russia appeared at odds with international law due to their extra-territorial reach.

From a legal point of view, only the UN Security Council has the right to impose sanctions against a state. Unilateral coercive measures violate the spirit and letter of the UN Charter, in particular its preamble and Articles 1 and 2. The organization rests on the principle of equality of all its member states. A state can resort to sanctions for self-defense purposes but Russia did not attack the United States. Thus, the United States is destroying the integrity of international organizations and agreements to which it is a party.

For instance, the policy of sanctions runs counter to the WTO fundamental principle of trade free of discrimination, which envisages respect for market principles and honest competition. Parties should maintain government restraints on the movement of goods at a minimum, and if changed, the restraints should be reduced, not increased. The conditions of trade, including the level of tariffs and other, must be discussed and agreed on within a multilateral framework.

In theory, a state complaint procedure of the UN Human Rights committee could be launched according to Article 41 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – that way the UN would have to deal with the matter. The US has recently announced its intent to drop out from the United Nations Human Rights Council. This month it left UNESCO. No surprise as the idea to leave the United Nations has been floating in the US for some time. In January, 2017, Alabama congressman Mike Rogers sponsored the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017, referred to the House, which calls to leave the United Nations. Utah state representative Don Bush, has claimed that many programs by the supranational entity have violated the US Constitution, such as the implementation of the International Court of Justice and the Law of the Sea Treaty, both of which the United States does not currently endorse. Much has been said in the United States about Russia’s international isolation. In practice, the United States, not Russia, is getting increasingly isolated internationally.

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