Yet Another Senator from Israel: Cory Booker shines at AIPAC

Yet Another Senator from Israel: Cory Booker shines at AIPAC

No holds barred: Cory Booker gushes that there is no “greater moral vandalism” than dividing the US and Israel; he would cut off his right hand before abandoning Israel
Giraldi sums up presidential hopeful Cory Booker: “a complete sell-out to Israel and its Jewish supporters” who tries to be “more Israeli than the Israelis.” Booker claims that there is “no greater moral vandalism than abandoning Israel,” and swears to give Israel even more money.

by Philip Giraldi, the Unz Review

How do you take a typical progressive and turn him or her into a fascist? One possible way is to send the poor bastard off on an all expenses paid trip to Israel where a meticulously crafted and sophisticated brainwashing program will make one believe almost anything regarding the noble and God-chosen Israelis versus the satanic Arab terrorists. Add into that the fact that being pro-Israel is a plus in many career fields and it is easy to understand why a monster like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gets favorable press and commentary in the United States even as he is reviled in most of the rest of the world.

The liberal to fascist metamorphosis is most evident among Democratic Party politicians, who have been successfully targeted by the Israel Lobby and its deep pocketed supporters for many years. It is all part of a massive public relations campaign, which some might instead refer to as disinformation, planned and executed by the Israeli foreign ministry and its diaspora supporters to advance Israeli interests in spite of the fact that the government of Netanyahu has implemented and executed fundamentally anti-democratic programs while at the same time committing war crimes and violating a whole series of United Nations resolutions.

Israel works hard to influence the United States at all levels. Its tentacles dig deep, now extending to local and state government levels where candidates for office can expect to be grilled by Jewish constituents regarding their views on the Middle East. The constituents often insist that the responses be provided in writing. The candidates being grilled understand perfectly well that their answers will determine what kind of press coverage and level of donations they will receive in return.

One-way trip

One of the most blatant propaganda programs is the sponsorship of free “educational” trips to Israel for all newly elected congressmen and spouses. The trips are normally led by Israel boosters in Congress like Democratic House Speaker Steny Hoyer, who recently boasted at an AIPAC gathering how he has done 15 trips to Israel and is now preparing to do another with 30 Democratic congressmen, including nearly all of those who are newly elected.

The congressional trips are carefully coordinated with the Israeli government and are both organized and paid for by an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee called the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). Other trips sponsored by AIEF as well as by other Jewish organizations include politicians at state and even local levels as well as journalists who write about foreign policy.

As noted above, all the trips to Israel are carefully choreographed to present a polished, completely Israel-slanted point of view on contentious issues. Visits to Palestinian areas are arranged selectively to avoid any contact with actual Arabs. Everyone is expected to return and sing the praises of the wonderful little democracy in the Middle East, which is of course a completely false description as Israel is a militarized ethno-theocratic kleptocracy headed by a group of corrupt right-wing fanatics who also happen to be racists.

Even progressive politicians who are aware that the Israeli message is bogus and also resent the heavy handedness of the Israelis and their diaspora friends often decide that it is better to go along for the ride rather than resist. But some embrace it enthusiastically, like Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a liberal Democrat running for his party’s nomination for president, who has, by his own admission, visited Israel many times. Israel and its friends are, of course, both courting and promoting him assiduously.

Booker inevitably reminds one of ex-President Barack Obama because he is black but the similarity goes beyond that as he is also presentable, well-spoken and slick in his policy pronouncements. One suspects that like Obama he would say one thing to get elected while doing something else afterwards, but we Americans have become accustomed to that in our presidents.

More to the point, Booker was and is a complete sell-out to Israel and its Jewish supporters during his not completely successful career in New Jersey as mayor of Newark as well as in his bid for the presidential nomination. Booker is a close friend of the controversial “America’s rabbi” Shmuley Boteach and has taught himself enough Hebrew to pop out sentences from Torah with Jewish audiences.

In his own words

Last week the Intercept published a secret recording of Booker meeting with a group of Jews from New Jersey at the recently concluded AIPAC summit in Washington, which Booker, unlike a number of other Democratic presidential hopefuls, attended enthusiastically. Booker pandered so assiduously that it is hard to believe that he actually knows what he is saying in an effort to be more Israeli than the Israelis. He described an Israel that deserves total commitment from Washington and stated clearly that he wants to create a “unified front” against the nonviolent boycott movement (BDS). He said that there is “no greater moral vandalism than abandoning Israel.”

Phil Weiss on Mondoweiss sums up the high points of what Booker said and did not say in the meeting: “Donald Trump is endangering Israel’s security in Syria; there is no ‘greater moral vandalism’ than dividing the U.S. and Israel; Booker would cut off his right hand before abandoning Israel; he lobbied black congresspeople not to boycott Netanyahu’s 2015 speech because we need to show a ‘united front’ with Israel; AIPAC is an ‘incredible… great’ organization whose mission is urgent now because of rising anti-Semitism; he ‘text messages back and forth like teenagers’ with AIPAC’s president Mort Fridman; and he swears to uphold bipartisan support in the Congress for Israel and give it even more money.

And Booker says not one word about Palestinian human rights or Israel’s persecution of Palestinians. That’s right. A progressive senator who invokes Martin Luther King Jr. over and over again has not one word to say about the Jim Crow status of Palestinians while describing Israel as a ‘country that I love so deeply, that changed my life from the day I went there as a 24 year old.’”

“If I forget thee, O Israel”

Booker elaborated in his own words: “Israel is not political to me. It’s not political. I was a supporter of Israel well before I was a United States Senator. I was coming to AIPAC conferences well before I knew that one day I would be a federal officer. If I forget thee, o Israel, may I cut off my right hand.”

Booker described how he is appalled by the rise of alleged anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. and worldwide. Rather than using that possible development as leverage to get Israel to behave more humanely, he instead prefers to punish all Americans with new legislation intended to strip all everyone of their First Amendment rights. Per Booker “We must take acts on a local stage against vicious acts that target Israel. That’s why I’m cosponsor of Senate Bill 720. Israel anti-Boycott Act.”

Normally progressive Booker, who has criticized the endless war in Afghanistan on the campaign trail, has hypocritically condemned Trump for not continuing war in Syria to protect Israel, saying

“This administration’s seeming willingness to pull away from Syria makes it more dangerous to us, makes it more dangerous to Israel, and this is not sound policy…. When you’re tweeting about pulling out of Syria within days, when that would create a vacuum that would not only endanger the United States of America but it would endanger our ally Israel as well.

We need a comprehensive strategy for that region because Israel’s neighborhood is getting more dangerous than less. Syria is becoming a highway for Iran to move more precision guided missiles to Hezbollah. There has got to be a strategy in this country to support Israel that is bipartisan that is wise and that frankly calls upon all the resources of this country, not just military”.

And because Israel always needs more money, Booker is ready to deliver: “Unequivocally 100 percent absolutely [yes] to the 3.3 billion [a year]. I have been on the front lines every time an MOU is up to make sure Israel gets the funding it needs. I even pushed for more funding.”

Our president?

Do we need a man like Cory Booker as President of the United States? He is articulate enough to cite “moral vandalism” but not perceptive enough to take the concept one step further and appreciate that uncritical close ties to Israel’s feckless and fascist government could easily lead to a nuclear war that would constitute something far worse. He further believes that Israel’s hand deep in the U.S. Treasury is a desirable policy, that unlimited “all resources” support of Israel is a U.S. national imperative, that ending the continued American military presence in the Middle East “would endanger our ally” Israel, and that moves to nonviolently oppose Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians must be made illegal.

One does not see an actual American interest in any of that, but perhaps special spectacles made in Israel are needed, an environment where Booker has clearly spent a great deal of time both physically and metaphorically. Or maybe it’s the Benjamins. Booker will need millions of dollars to mount his campaign and he knows where to go and what he needs to say to get it.

One struggles to see just a tiny bit of humanity in Booker vis-à-vis the Arabs who have lost their homes and livelihoods to Israeli criminality, but none of that comes through in a session in which, admittedly, the Senator from New Jersey is speaking with his Jewish donor/supporters. Booker is on record favoring an Israel-Palestine “two state solution,” which is no longer viable, though he has not objected to Israeli army snipers shooting dead children, journalists, medical personnel and unarmed protesters in Gaza.

Frankly, we already have an American leader who puts Israel first in Donald Trump and we don’t need another round of wag the dog in our next president. Cory Booker should work hard to maintain his perfect attendance record at AIPAC as he texts “like a teenager” with Mort Fridman, but maybe someday he will actually grow up and learn to think for himself. As he is a U.S. Senator that certainly is something we might all hope for.


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 councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.


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The Palestinian Political Scene is in a State of Paralysis: “The People Reject Normalization with Israel”

An Interview with Abdel Bari Atwan

Global Research, April 01, 2019

American Herald Tribune 18 March 2019

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: What is your analysis of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Gaza?

Abdel Bari Atwan: The Palestinian political scene is in a state of paralysis, which is a direct consequence of the disastrous Oslo process. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is not in good health, so the stage is now set for the post-Abu Mazen period. But nobody has a roadmap for where to go. Abu Mazen is the last of the founding fathers, and his departure will cause the Fateh movement to fragment and lose influence, as happened to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) after the death of George Habash. So chaos and confusion prevail. I wouldn’t be surprised if people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip draw inspiration from the demonstrations in Sudan and Algeria.

MA: What about the Palestinians’ right of return to their lands stolen since 1948 and the deal of the century that removes the Palestinian right of return? Has the deal of the century been abandoned or is it still valid?

ABA: The ‘Deal of the Century’ cannot be pulled off. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi consigned it to an early death, as it plunged the deal’s broker into crisis. No Palestinian could accept it anyway. The Palestinian Revolution began in the refugee camps. It was all about the right of return. To abandon it would be to abandon the Palestinian cause. That right and others cannot be bought off with promises of investment or improved economic conditions, as the deal proposes. Palestine is not Northern Ireland.

MA: How do you explain that at the moment when in Europe and in the USA, we see rising a great critical movement of Israel, like the BDS which advocate different forms of boycott, Arab countries are normalizing their relations with the Zionist and criminal entity of Israel?

ABA: These moves towards normalization are not too worrying, as they are confined to the governments and do not extend to the peoples.The peoples reject normalization with Israel, as the cases of Jordan and Egypt show. It’s the same in every other Arab country. Israel is alarmed by BDS and how it may develop in future. This explains its frenetic efforts to brand all criticism and opposition anywhere in the world as anti-Semitic: it fears to become a pariah state and the only way it can avoid that is to criminalize and close down exposure and discussion of its behavior.

MA: What is your reading of the Warsaw conference of February 13 and 14, when we saw the alliance between Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain, etc. and the Zionist and criminal entity Israel against Iran?

ABA: The Warsaw Conference was a one-man show, starring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was staged for his benefit, but I believe it was a failure. Its original purpose was to launch a new US-led alliance — a so-called ‘Arab Nato’ — that would act as the spearhead of an international coalition against Iran and include Israel as a member, probably informally at first. But the Gulf States that the US is trying to turn into allies of Israel are not representative of the Arab world as a whole. They account for less than 5% of the Arab population, and their own peoples overwhelmingly reject normalization with Israel. In recent years these states have been able to play a dominant role in the Arab world due to their oil wealth and their manipulation of political Islam. But political Islam has been changing in nature, and the importance of oil in the global energy picture has been declining, so their ‘golden age’ is drawing to a close.

MA: How did we get to the fact that some Arab countries come to betray and sell themselves to the Zionist and criminal entity of Israel?

ABA: It’s not new, and mainly it’s a matter of perceived self-preservation. Regimes see the goodwill of the US as vital, and Israel as the key to the US’ heart. They talk about a shared interest in confronting Iran but that shouldn’t be taken at face value. Israel talks up the Iranian threat as a way of trying to sideline the Palestinian cause, and the Gulf States do the same to bolster the rule of their regimes. This also entails the poisonous fuelling of Sunni-Shii sectarianism.

MA: I did an investigation a few years ago about the activities of the Israeli lobby in Congo. What is your reading of Israel’s strategic redeployment in Africa?

ABA: Africa is currently an arena of rivalry for influence and competing interests involving many countries – the US, China, Turkey, Israel, Russia, and others. Israel does not have much to offer Africa, other than political influence in Washington. It is eager to establish a presence and exert influence on the periphery of important Arab countries like Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt.These countries are all in a weakened state at present and preoccupied with internal problems. But they will eventually recover and their governments will awaken. Sub-Saharan Africa is their natural hinterland and they cannot be prized apart in the long term.

MA: The people of Yemen is experiencing a criminal war waged by Saudi Arabia and its allies in total silence. How do you explain this silence of the international community and the media?

Abdel Bari Atwan 1 48e65

ABA: The West turned a blind eye to the Yemen war when it was launched four years ago because of Saudi influence and interests. It gave Saudi Arabia a chance to resolve the conflict in its favor. But neither Saudi Arabia nor the West appreciated the nature of Yemen or its people into account. They should have heeded the advice of the kingdom’s founder, King Abdelaziz, who ordered his sons Faisal and Saud to withdraw when they tried to invade the country. The latest war on Yemen has had a catastrophic effect, but in military terms, it has been a failure. The international silence is now beginning to be broken, and I hope that continues.

MA: What is your reading of events happening in Venezuela? Do you think that the United States will come to a direct military intervention?

ABA: What is happening in Venezuela is a US-sponsored coup attempt and I believe it will fail.

MA: There is no longer any mention of the Khashoggi case, which showed the true face of the Saudi regime and raised a worldwide outcry. How do you explain that?

ABA: The Khashoggi case is closely linked to Trump’s fate. Trump’s opponents in the US seized on it as a stick with which to beat him, due to his close association with the current Saudi leadership. That’s why there was such an outcry over the killing, however horrific, on an individual, but no similar reaction to Saudi actions that caused thousands of deaths such as the war on Yemen (until recently) and the proxy intervention in Syria. It should not be any surprise, however, that US and Western interests ultimately prevailed over human rights concerns, in this case like so many others. The Israel Lobby has also played a part in suppressing the outcry.  But the affair will have a longer-term impact. It laid bare Saudi Arabia’s high-handedness and dominance in the region.

MA: How do you analyze the events taking place in Algeria against the fifth term of Bouteflika?

ABA: The protests were not so much against Bouteflika as against the ruling elite that was using him as a front and was too divided to agree on a replacement for him, long after he should have been allowed to retire. The powers-that-be made three mistaken assumptions: first, that the fifth term could be pushed through; second, that Algerians would rather have stability than democracy; and third, that the terrifying memory of the bloody decade of the 1990s would deter demonstrations or protests, for fear of repeating what happened in Syria or Libya. They seemed to think, perhaps based on Syria’s experience, that concessions are a slippery slope and not compromising pays off in the longer term. But now they have had to give at least the appearance of backing down due to the strength of popular feeling. The question now is what comes next: a measure of genuine but controlled reform as in Morocco or an Egyptian-style scenario where the army runs things behind a facade of pro-forma elections?

MA: Intelligence reports indicate a redeployment of Daesh to Libya. Can we end the terrorism of Daesh and Al Qaeda without really fighting the ideological matrix of these groups? Is it enough defeating these groups militarily?

ABA: Daesh is finished above ground in the Arab world. But it will continue to exist underground because the conditions that incubated still exist. In my view, the challenge is not so much to fight the ideology as to address those conditions. The ideology, or at least its adoption or acceptance in some places and by some people, is a product of these ‘failed-state’ conditions and the marginalization they cause. In many cases – Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen – they are a consequence, in whole or in part, of direct or indirect Western military intervention. Putting an end to these interventions would be a step to tackling the problem.

MA: Are we not witnessing the continuation of the Cold War between the US administration on one side and Russia and China on the other? How do you explain the need for the United States to have an enemy?

ABA: The US can’t sleep unless it has an enemy. It has become an obsession, though creating or talking up external enemies has always been a means of advancing the interests of domestic power elites.But the picture is changing. America is no longer rules the world in matters of war and peace. Its real power is not its military might but the US Dollar. Its abuse of its financial and commercial power has become so extensive that an international alliance is taking shape to deprive it of this weapon.

*

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Abdel Bari Atwan is a Palestinian journalist born in 1950 in Deir al-Balah, a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He lived in a family of 11 children. After graduating from primary school in the refugee camp, he continued his studies in Jordan. He then studied journalism at Cairo University. After working for many Arab newspapers, he ran until 2013 al-Quds al-Arabi, a newspaper he founded in London in 1989 with other Palestinian expatriates. Today, he is the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, an Arab world digital news and opinion website. He lives and works in London.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen is an independent Algerian journalist. He wrote in several Algerian newspapers such as Alger Républicain and in different sites of the alternative press.

All images in this article are from American Herald Tribune

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Serious question: What is Zionism?

April 01, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

Introduction by GA: In the following  article John Carville digs into the belly of the beast. He questions the validity of the dichotomy between the ‘J’ and the ‘Z.’  He calls to launch a critical study of different aspects of Jewish culture, politics, identity and power. In 2011 I published The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics. The book was denounced by Zionists and Jewish anti Zionists alike as it proclaimed that since Israel defines itself as the Jewish State it is Jewishness (rather than Zionism) which we must understand first.  In the book I offered a solution to some of  the questions raised by Craville. I contended that instead of asking ‘what Jews are’ or even ‘what Judaism is,’ we should study what are the set of ideologies, precepts and philosophies that people who self identify as Jews adhere to. In my work, Jews are neither a biological continuum nor they are a religious collective. In The Wandering Who Jewishness proves itself to be an elastic identitarian construct.  

We have learned to accept that we are living in a post truth era.  But here is the good news: the more is invested in suppressing the truth, the more the truth is keen to unveil itself.

Zionism.jpg

Serious question: What is Zionism?

By John Carville

If Zionism was the political movement to establish a homeland for the Jewish people in the Middle East, then surely it achieved its goal and the term ceased to have meaning in terms of defining the objectives of a political movement.

Alternatively, if Zionism then morphed into support for the continued existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East, then the only point of view what would not be Zionist would be the one that calls the Jewish state illegitimate and calls for it to be dismantled. Yet there are few political voices that call for such an approach, and governments that have referred to the Jewish state as illegitimate have been demonized for doing so. Clearly, such a view is regarded as a fringe one.

So, what is Zionism today? Is everybody who does not declare Israel to be an illegitimate state that should be dismantled and the land given back to its dispossessed people a Zionist? Would that not make nearly everyone a Zionist? And, if so, does that not deprive the term of any meaning whatsoever?

This is not just semantics. Clearly, considerable effort goes on, particularly within movements like BDS and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, to imprint the mantra into people’s minds that it is “Zionism not Judaism” that is responsible for the ongoing plight of the Palestinian people; and that, more importantly, we should not ask any questions about the role of Judaic teaching or ideology in attempting to understand what motivated and continues to motivate the supporters of what is now a genocidal apartheid state that openly defines itself as a “Jewish state” in the Middle East. If it is Zionism and not Judaism that is the problem, then clearly we need to understand what Zionism is (and, relatedly, whether it is rooted in Jewish religious teaching). And if Zionism turns out to be an empty concept, then we should be asking ask what are the ideological underpinnings of Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinians (and the lack of action on the part of the international community in that context) for more than 70 years.

Personally, I reject the “Zionism is not Judaism” approach and see that we are being fobbed off with nonsense. It seems clear that this wonderfully popular term “Zionism” is now devoid of content. Either no one is now a Zionist (because the goal of Zionism was achieved via the Catastrophe of 1948) or almost everyone is a Zionist (because there are very few people who would declare that the Jewish state should be dismantled and returned to its dispossessed owners). And,as Israel Shahak argued eloquently in his important and insightful work Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, I would suggest that we cannot begin to understand Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians without examining the roots of Judaic thinking and Jewish identity in the ethnically and religiously discriminatory doctrines of Judaic religion, which has shaped the Jewish mindset for most of its history. It seems, however, that Shahak’s writing continues to reap far less attention than it merits.

Yesterday, I attended a social evening organized by BDS Granada. Towards the end of the evening, I spoke to a couple of members, who seemed very nice people, but they instantly became uncomfortable when I made this point, namely, that we cannot understand Israel’s ongoing genocide against the Palestinians without looking at its ideological roots and justification in the Jewish religion. ‘Oh no,’ they said, ‘that is dangerously close to anti-Semitism. Zionism is not Judaism,’ etc. Then their Jewish friend popped up and, well, let’s just say things went downhill from there.

Clearly, the topic continues to be both policed and silenced within many circles. It is thus no surprise that the activities of the many nice people within the BDS movement and various PSC collectives have failed to gain any real traction over the last decades, when discussion of issues highly relevant for understanding the problem continue to be policed and rendered taboo out of fear of offending Jewish feelings. And while I agree that there is always a need to respect the feelings of others in all forms of discourse, this needs to be balanced against many other needs, including the right to free speech – especially when the matter involves attempts to resolve ongoing crimes against humanity being committed against a specific collectivity, in this case the Palestinian people. To say that we cannot understand the roots of Israel’s ongoing genocide without examining the doctrines of Judaic teaching over the centuries is not to call for violence or discrimination against people who identify as Jews (and there are various different mechanisms of identification involved here, which merit considerable academic analysis in themselves). Nor is it an attempt to say that all people who identify as Jewish are involved in or support the illegal, oppressive and discriminatory actions of the Jewish state. Attempts to suggest otherwise violate our right to and need for free and open discourse on matters of great importance. Furthermore, discourse about justifications of violence in religious texts have taken place without problem in the context of other religions such as Buddhism, Christianity and Islam (and also, “Hinduism”, though this term is something of a misnomer for the various traditions that are usually grouped together under this name).

Like Professor E Michael Jones, who has also sought to open up discourse surrounding Jewish thinking so that we might understand what is going on in our world, I have never advocated violence against any specific collectivity. And, like Gilad Atzmon, too, I reject racially or biologically based generalizations to examine questions related to the political and social influence of Jewish power and ideology in our world. I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to explain that to talk about discriminatory and supremacist teachings at the core of Judaic teaching does not mean that all individuals who identify as Jewish are as equally influenced by such doctrines. Jewish thought runs the gamut from the belief that all human beings (including non-Jews) should have the same rights and be valued and treated equally to the view that non-Jews have Satanic souls, that only Jews have a Higher Soul that comes from God, and that the non-Jew exists only to serve the Jew like a clever beast of burden, with a vast range of shades in between representing various attempts to reconcile (or not) the notion of being a “chosen people” with a private covenant with their own god (hence the commandment that ‘thou shalt not have other gods before me’) and own set of laws, on the one hand, with the Enlightenment ideals of universalizable morals and the equality of all human beings, on the other. Certainly, there are many people who identify as Jews today who would seek to distance themselves from views espoused by groups such as that of the powerful ultra-Orthodox sect Chabad that it is only Jews that have a Higher Soul, or that expressed by the chief rabbi of the Sephardic community that Gentiles exist only to serve Jews. On the other hand, in noting that, we must also recognize that such an egalitarian strand within Jewish thinking is a relatively recent phenomenon, stretching back only to the post-Enlightenment period, when many Jews sought to break free of the strict mental and social control of the rabbis that had sought to keep them segregated from the rest of humanity in ghettos for so long. And the deep traces of the ancient religious teachings can still be found, and thus merit serious examination, even within today’s secular Jews. As the joke has it, and not without some merit, many secular Jews say they don’t believe in God that but still seem to think He granted them their “promised land”.

Leaving all that aside for now, though, the fact that there exist individuals who identify as Jewish but who reject (consciously or otherwise) the discriminatory ideology of Judaic teaching does not mean that we cannot or should not be allowed to talk meaningfully about the role of supremacist and genocidal teachings within Jewish thought as a Jewish phenomenon as a whole, just as the fact that there are many Americans who have opposed US exceptionalism throughout history does not mean that we cannot or should not be allowed to talk meaningfully about American exceptionalism. This should be fairly obvious. Even in the recent farcical allegations of Russian collusion made against the Trump campaign, no one suggested that all Russians were colluding with Trump, or that Trump’s team was colluding with all Russians. It’s quite simple really. The fact that there are people who see themselves as Jewish who reject (to greater or lesser degree) Jewish supremacist ideology and activity does not mean that we cannot and should not be allowed to talk about supremacist and genocidal thinking within Jewish ideology and religious teaching, nor to examine how far such thought influences events in the social and political sphere. And the fact that so much effort goes into attempting to prevent us from doing so should set off red warning lamps in the minds of any true defender of freedom of speech and academic enquiry.

I thus repeat my claim from a day or two ago, that we need (but of course will not get for what should be by now obvious reasons) full academic recognition of a critical discourse on questions related to Jewish identity, Jewish thinking and Jewish power. We might perhaps call such discourse Critical Jewish Studies. And it should be understood by any legitimate scholar of integrity that Critical Jewish Studies is not anti-Semitism, and that any attempt to silence such studies or discourse on such grounds would represent a violation of principles of free enquiry that any true academic should seek to defend, as well as of the natural law right to freedom of speech.

My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

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Do You Care That israel (apartheid state) Controls US Politicians? #BDS

Do You Care That Israel Controls US Politicians?

Seriously, do you? Because if you do care about the independence of the US government from foreign control, you need to do your part to help bring the issue to light.

Israel and its powerful lobby control many US politicians. And this lobby uses very dirty tricks to shut down the opposition.

Learn more about AIPAC and the Israeli lobby and why YOU should support the #BDS movement!

French anti-semitism: Macron’s tool to silence Palestinian solidarity

Malia Bouattia is an activist, the former President of the National Union of Students, co-founder of the Students not Suspects/Educators not Informants Network and presenter/panelist on British Muslim TV’s Women Like Us.
By conflating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, Macron is attempting to shield the government from criticism over its active participation in other forms of racism
People hold up Palestinian flags at a rally in Paris on 16 May 2018 (AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron has committed himself to making anti-Zionism illegal, by making it – legally – equivalent to anti-semitism, and therefore a hate crime.

This announcement follows a verbal attack against French pro-Israeli writer Alain Finkielkraut during a Gilets Jaunes protest, where one demonstrator hurled the words “dirty Zionist”. The confrontation was described as anti-semitic by the president and numerous commentators.

A Jewish cemetery was also vandalised this month with Nazi swastikas, with around 80 graves targeted in the eastern French village of Quatzenheim, while a portrait of French Holocaust survivor Simone Veil was defaced with Nazi imagery.

Targeting political movements

The alarming rise of anti-semitism has plagued not just France, but the whole continent, with far-right groups gaining ground electorally and on the streets. In France alone, anti-Jewish attacks have risen by 74 percent over the last year.

But the problem with the French state’s response – which is not dissimilar to that of other governments, including the UK and US – is that it targets legitimate political movements, rather than dealing with a form of oppression woven into the fabric of French institutions.

It is striking that it is not the far-right and its numerous splinter groups that are being targeted by the president, nor is it the growing normalisation of racist rhetoric, including by the French leader himself.

Racism and fascism are structural forms of oppression that only manifest themselves on the streets because they have been normalised through state institutions

Instead, it is solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposition to Zionism – the ideology that justifies their dispossession – that is made to bear the responsibility.

Macron is showing us exactly what not to do in the face of rising fascism. He is effectively co-opting the rise in anti-semitism to target political dissent in the vein of pro-Palestine, anti-Zionist efforts.

Racism and fascism are structural forms of oppression that only manifest themselves on the streets because they have been legitimised, defused and normalised through state institutions.

Macron is surely aware that in World War Two, anti-semitism, and the consequent dehumanisation of entire peoples, became so widespread only because the Nazi party’s rhetoric gained influence within political institutions.

White-washing history

It is especially rich that Macron is attempting to equate anti-Zionism and anti-semitism when, just a few months ago, he came under fire for defending plans to pay tribute to Nazi collaborator Philippe Petain. Indeed, he claimed it to be legitimate because Petain was a marshal who led the French army to victory a century ago.

While heading the Vichy government, however, Petain and his administration facilitated the deportation to death camps of thousands of Jews. Much of this was later white-washed, with those involved integrated into the postwar administration of the republic.

French President Emmanuel Macron is overseeing the "normalisation of racist rhetoric" (Reuters)
French President Emmanuel Macron is overseeing the “normalisation of racist rhetoric” (Reuters)

The state’s targeting of the entire Gilets Jaunes movement over an isolated incident also discredits efforts to fight racism. The movement, which is non-hierarchical and has been described as leaderless, also includes far-right protesters – a point of much internal political debate in recent months. Anti-racist groups have expressed the need to fight for an inclusive and intersectional space, which is only likely to happen if they are part of the political events, protests and rallies.

There is a recognition at the grassroots level that in a society plagued by racism, it is only normal that even in anti-austerity efforts and among left-wing organisations, reactionary and conservative ideas exist. The difference is that there is a willingness to partake in a process of consciousness-raising, to set the direction of the movement and roll back the growing dominance of racism across French society.

The juxtaposition couldn’t be starker. Anti-racists in France are participating in a mass movement against austerity and taking on reactionary ideas, while the president, who himself has a poor track record on racism, is attempting to capitalise on it to launch a broader assault on solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Cosying up to the far-right

Communities are fearful for their safety. To provide the false illusion that Macron and his counterparts in the UK and US are legislating a fight back is despicable. They are targeting groups with a long-standing history of anti-racism, because they’re also likely to support the anti-imperialist struggle against Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

At the same time, these very same politicians are cosying up to the anti-semitic Hungarian government, the far-right, and individuals such as former White House strategist Steve Bannon. They are putting Jewish communities at risk, while instrumentalising them to justify their attacks on the left and communities of colour, and their foreign policies in the Middle East.

The ‘gilet jaunes’ are uniting France in a rage against Macron’s regime

Read More »

In Britain, we have witnessed the targeting of pro-Palestine efforts through counter-terrorism strategies, including Prevent. This has led to the cancellation of events, the questioning and demonisation of young activists, and threats to make the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement illegal.

In the US, there’s a continued targeting of activists and public figures by groups such as the Canary Mission. The recent swearing-in of Congress representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib was followed by a media onslaught over their support for Palestinian liberation – not to mention the Middle East security bill voted through the US Senate in order to criminalise BDS.

The need to resist

The international pattern is clear. Around the world, the rich and powerful are stoking racism to divert anger about growing inequality and injustice, including the normalisation of far-right groups, individuals and governments. In this process, anti-semitism is re-emerging, including among the very people who are close to power.

Today, the struggle against anti-Zionism is justified by a false conflation with anti-semitism

Yet, it is the left – the pro-Palestine movement and communities of colour – who are being accused by those very same governments around the world.

Today, the struggle against anti-Zionism, justified by a false conflation with anti-semitism, has a triple purpose: to weaken the left at home, shield the government from criticism over its active participation in the rise of anti-semitism and other forms of racism, and hide its geopolitical support for Israel behind a supposed protection for Jewish communities, endangering them in the process. All three aspects should be resisted ferociously.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Psy Group: Mossad Spy Tool

 

By The Newyorker

Hatem Bazian, a veteran pro-Palestinian activist in his fifties, lives with his family on a quiet street in North Berkeley, near the campus of the University of California, where he lectures. Early on the morning of May 10, 2017, as Bazian was about to drive his teen-age daughter to school, he noticed fliers on the windshields of cars parked on his block. At first, Bazian assumed that they were advertisements for a new movie or restaurant. When he looked more closely at the flier that had been left on his BMW sedan, he realized that it featured a photograph of his face, below a tagline that read, “He supports terror.” Bazian quickly folded up the flier so his daughter wouldn’t see it.

Born in Jordan to a father from the West Bank city of Nablus and a mother from al-Quds, Bazian has long been an outspoken champion of Palestinian causes. For decades, staunch supporters of ‘Israel’ have criticized Bazian’s activism. The incident with the fliers, though, was particularly unnerving, he told me. He rented his house and did not publicize the address. His opponents, he thought, must be following him. Later that day, Bazian, who describes himself as a proponent of nonviolent protest, reported what happened to the Berkeley police. He said that officers told him they could do nothing about the harassment.

Although it is unclear who left the fliers, internal documents from a private ‘Israeli’ intelligence firm called Psy-Group show that, at the time of the incident, the company, and possibly other private investigators, were targeting Bazian because of his leadership role in promoting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, known as BDS Supporters of BDS urge corporations, universities, and local governments to impose economic, academic, and cultural boycotts on ‘Israel’ to protest its treatment of the Palestinians. Opponents say that the BDS movement aims to delegitimize ‘Israel’ and hobble its economy. On its Web site, the movement states that it does not advocate for or against a resolution in which ‘Israel’ continues to exist.

Psy-Group’s intelligence and influence operations, which included a failed attempt in the summer of 2017 to sway a local election in central California, were detailed in a New Yorker investigation that I co-wrote earlier this month. Before it went out of business, last year, Psy-Group was part of a new wave of private-intelligence firms that recruited from the ranks of ‘Israel’s’ secret services and described themselves as “private Mossads.” Psy-Group initially stood out among its rivals because it didn’t just gather intelligence; its operatives used false identities, or avatars, to covertly spread messages in an attempt to influence what people believed and how they behaved. In 2016, Psy-Group held discussions with the Trump campaign and others about conducting covert “influence” operations to benefit the candidate. Psy-Group’s founder and C.E.O., Royi Burstien, a veteran ‘Israeli’ intelligence officer who established the firm in 2014, told me that his talks with the Trump campaign went nowhere. The company’s posturing, however, attracted the attention of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, who has been investigating interference in the 2016 Presidential race.

Psy-Group’s operations against BDS activists on US college campuses began in February, 2016, according to internal documents describing the campaign. The company raised money in New York from Jewish-American donors and pro-‘Israel’ groups, and assured them that their identities would be kept secret. Psy-Group told them that its goal was to make it appear as though the donors were not involved in any way.

The campaign, code-named Project Butterfly, initially targeted BDS activists on college campuses in “a single US state,” which former Psy-Group employees have told me was New York. The company said that its operatives drew up lists of individuals and organizations to target. The operatives then gathered derogatory information on them from social media and the “deep” Web, areas of the Internet that are not indexed by search engines such as Google. In some cases, Psy-Group operatives conducted on-the-ground covert human-intelligence, or HUMINT, operations against their targets. ‘Israeli’ intelligence officials insist that they do not spy on Americans, a claim that is disputed by their US counterparts. ‘Israeli’ officials said, however, that this prohibition does not apply to private companies such as Psy-Group, which use discharged ‘Israel’ Occupation Forces soldiers and former members of elite intelligence units, rather than active-duty members, in operations targeting Americans.

Project Butterfly called for Psy-Group operatives to disseminate negative information about BDS activists in ways that could not be traced back to the company or its donors. The goal, according to a Psy-Group summary of the campaign, from May, 2017, was to create “a new reality in which anti-‘Israeli’ activists are exposed and forced to confront the consequences of their actions.” The campaign’s messages were designed to convince Americans that “anti-‘Israeli’ activity” equated to “terrorism,” the company told donors. A former Psy-Group employee said these so-called name-and-shame tactics were often effective at silencing individual BDS activists. “They would disappear,” the employee told me, claiming that some activists appeared to become less engaged after derogatory information about them was publicized. If an activist claimed to be a pious Muslim, operatives would look for evidence that he had behaved in ways unacceptable to many observant Muslims, such as drinking alcohol or having an affair, a former employee said. BDS leaders, however, seemed to recruit new activists quickly. The former employee likened Psy-Group’s campaign to the war on terrorism, saying, “It’s never-ending.”

During the period when Psy-Group mounted its anti-BDS campaign, several Web sites, including the now-defunct outlawbds.com, published information on the movement’s leaders and supporters. Definitively determining who was behind the sites is difficult because Psy-Group and other organizations involved in anti-BDS work used avatars and other tactics to disguise their involvement.

In an example of the deceptive practices employed by operatives involved in the campaign, an avatar who identified himself as “Alex Walker” sent an unsolicited e-mail on August 15, 2017, to an advertising-sales broker who represented several New York-based national Jewish publications. Walker claimed that a friend referred him to the broker and said that he was impressed with his services. When the broker asked for the friend’s name, Walker dodged the question. At that point, the broker, who asked not to be named, said he suspected that Walker wasn’t who he claimed to be. Walker said that he was upset about BDS and wanted the broker to place advertisements promoting outlawbds.com in the New York area. Walker said that his assistant would pay the eight-hundred-dollar fee via PayPal. The broker told me that he placed the ads and took the money despite his suspicions about Walker. “In my mind, I’m not doing anything wrong,” he said.

The outlawbds.com Web site featured short profiles of BDS activists, one of whom was Peter Moskowitz, a Jewish-American supporter of the movement. His profile contained misspellings, and, at one point, referred to him as “she.” But the site contained a piece of information that surprised Moskowitz: outlawbds.com had somehow uncovered his membership in a left-wing Jewish organization critical of ‘Israeli’ treatment of Palestinians, even though Moskowitz had not disclosed his involvement online or to many friends.

Project Butterfly was overseen by an advisory board composed of “senior ex-officials and experts from the government, security and legal sectors,” according to Psy-Group documents. The most senior of those ex-officials was Yaakov Amidror, who became Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national-security adviser after leading a military-intelligence analysis division within the Amidror told me that before joining the board he spoke to Daniel Reisner, one of ‘Israel’s’ most prominent lawyers, and a partner at Herzog Fox & Neeman, which was Psy-Group’s outside counsel. He said that Reisner told him Psy-Group’s operations in the US against BDS activists were legal. Amidror said that he advised Psy-Group executives to insure that their operatives didn’t breach any US laws or norms while targeting American activists. “Don’t beat them. Don’t go into their houses,” Amidror said.

Amidror said that he supported the central goal of the Psy-Group operation: to “expose” BDS leaders on American university campuses and collect intelligence about any connections they might have to Palestinian organizations and other groups. “The ‘Israeli’ government was not there, and I thought that, if private people are ready to do it, it can be helped,” Amidror said. “It should be known who is behind them. It’s not known. We don’t know where the money is coming from, how far it is connected to Ramallah or Hamas.” He defended the propriety of a private ‘Israeli’ intelligence firm collecting and disseminating information on American citizens who supported BDS “If it is in the public domain, why not? I don’t see any problem,” he told me. “If someone doesn’t want it to be leaked publicly, he shouldn’t put it” on the Internet or on social media, Amidror said.

After Amidror joined the effort, Psy-Group recruited Ram Ben-Barak, who stepped down as the deputy director of Mossad in late 2011, to help as a paid strategic adviser on Project Butterfly. He worked one day a week out of Psy-Group’s offices near Tel Aviv. Ben-Barak said he believed that supporters of ‘Israel’ had no choice but to counter BDS forces in the United States. “You need to do it,” he told me. “They’re fighting against us, so we need to fight against them.”

In 2017, Psy-Group planned to expand Project Butterfly to target up to ten college campuses and other “venues,” according to the documents. In addition, the company said that its operatives would focus on between fifteen and twenty “national level individual targets.” Donors were told that Psy-Group had “mapped anti-‘Israel’ hubs” across the entity and had “executed 5 rapid-response operations nationwide,” without explaining what those operations entailed and whom they targeted.

The names of Psy-Group’s targets weren’t included in the May, 2017, summary of Project Butterfly, which was marked “confidential.” But a few days after the incident outside Bazian’s home, Burstien, Psy-Group’s founder and C.E.O, provided a report to researchers at a Washington think tank called the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, or F.D.D., which included the names of some of the BDS activists whom the ‘Israeli’ firm had targeted or planned to target. According to the Psy-Group report, the company had prepared “dossiers” on Bazian and eight other individuals. Psy-Group told the foundation that Bazian “got our full attention,” and that his dossier included “criminal background records” and other documents “obtained via HUMINT capabilities,” using the abbreviation for human-intelligence gathering. (When asked about the report, Bazian said he wasn’t sure what “criminal background records” Psy-Group was referring to. He said that he had received speeding tickets on occasion over the years, and was arrested in San Francisco, in 1991, for helping organize a student protest.)

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Psy-Group appeared to share a particular interest in the role of a pro-BDS organization that Bazian had founded, American Muslims for Palestine, or A.M.P. At a congressional hearing in 2016, F.D.D.’s vice-president for research, Jonathan Schanzer, alleged that Bazian and others working for or on behalf of A.M.P. had ties to organizations that Schanzer said have been accused of providing money to Hamas. (Bazian said that the foundation’s accusations were part of “a smear campaign that attempts to discredit anyone that deals with Palestine.” He added, “I have no ties whatsoever to any Palestinian group, faction, or organization inside occupied Palestine.”)

Psy-Group told the foundation that it planned to investigate “organizations and companies” that sponsor A.M.P.’s conferences, and singled out a Wisconsin-based Palestinian activist named Salah Sarsour, who has been in charge of organizing the conferences since 2015, as a planned target. Psy-Group alleged that Sarsour had “involvement with Hamas.” (Sarsour said that he had no relationship with the group.) Sarsour, who moved to the US from the West Bank in 1993, told me about two incidents since the summer of 2017 that made him suspect people were spying on him—although, he acknowledged, he had no hard evidence.

An F.D.D. official confirmed that the think tank met with Psy-Group, but she said the foundation “did not end up contracting with them, and their research did little to advance our own.” Psy-Group went out of business in February, 2018, as F.B.I. agents began to investigate its work. Other counter-BDS organizations have continued to operate against activists. Bazian’s page at CanaryMission.org accuses him of spreading “classic anti-Semitism,” and features several videos, including one titled “The Most Dangerous Professor in America?” “I am concerned and do take stock of the intimidation tactics,” Bazian told me. “But I am not deterred.”

School Employee Sues District for israel (apartheid state) Loyalty Oath in Contract

Source

Palestinian protesters walk during a rainy day during a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Gaza city on December 28, 2018.Palestinian protesters walk during a rainy day during a demonstration near the border with Israel east of Gaza city on December 28, 2018.

In a return to the bad old days of McCarthyism, Bahia Amawi, a US citizen of Palestinian descent, lost her Texas elementary school job after refusing to pledge in writing that she would not participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Earlier this month, Amawi sued the school district that fired her.

The BDS movement against Israel has become a hot button issue in the closing month of 2018. A bipartisan group of senators tried to attach the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to the unanimous spending bill that Trump almost signed to avoid the current government shutdown. Meanwhile, Donorbox, a US software company, blocked the BDS fundraising account at the behest of a pro-Israel group.

“The language of the affirmation Amawi was told she must sign reads like Orwellian – or McCarthyite – self-parody, the classic political loyalty oath that every American should instinctively shudder upon reading,” Glenn Greenwald wrote at The Intercept.

On December 12, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit on Amawi’s behalf in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas against Pflugerville Independent School District, alleging that Texas’ law requiring the oath violates the First Amendment. Amawi’s complaint says the law constitutes an impermissible attempt “to impose an ideological litmus test or compel speech related to government contractors’ political beliefs, associations, and expressions.”

Amawi had contracted with the school district for nine years to work with students with autism and developmental disabilities in Austin. This fall, for the first time, Amawi was required to sign an oath that she would not boycott Israel. When she refused to sign it, she was fired.

“The point of boycotting any product that supports Israel is to put pressure on the Israeli government to change its treatment, the inhumane treatment, of the Palestinian people,” Amawi explained. “Having grown up as a Palestinian, I know firsthand the oppression and the struggle that Palestinians face on a daily basis.”

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement

The BDS movement was launched by representatives of Palestinian civil society in 2005, calling upon “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era … [including] embargoes and sanctions against Israel.”

This call specified that “these non-violent punitive measures” should last until Israel fully complies with international law by (1) ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the barrier wall; (2) recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and (3) respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their land as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.

Even though it is a nonviolent movement, Israel sees BDS as a threat to its hegemony over the Palestinians. Israel illegally occupies Palestinian territories, maintaining effective control over Gaza’s land, airspace, seaport, electricity, water, telecommunications and population registry. Israel deprives Gazans of food, medicine, fuel and basic services, and continues to build illegal Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.

“There will not be progress toward a just peace without pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian rights,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace. “Bringing about that pressure, through a global grassroots mobilization, is exactly what BDS is about.”

After Amawi’s firing, The New York Times editorial board wrote,

It’s not just Israel’s adversaries who find the [BDS] movement appealing. Many devoted supporters of Israel, including many American Jews, oppose the occupation of the West Bank and refuse to buy products of the settlements in occupied territories. Their right to protest in this way must be vigorously defended.

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of BDS, said in an email to The New York Times, “Having lost many battles for hearts and minds at the grass-roots level, Israel has adopted since 2014 a new strategy to criminalize support for BDS from the top” in order to “shield Israel from accountability.”

Barghouti called Shurat HaDin, the group behind the Donorbox action blocking the BDS account, a “repressive organization with clear connections to the far-right Israeli government” that is “engaging in McCarthyite … tactics … in a desperate attempt to undermine our ability to challenge Israel’s regime of apartheid and oppression.”

Twenty-six US states have anti-BDS laws and 13 others are pending. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would have to be reintroduced when the new Congress convenes in January, was supported by Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) opposed the bill.

Boycotts Are Protected by the First Amendment

The law that triggered Amawi’s firing prohibits the State of Texas from entering into government contracts with companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel. It defines “boycott Israel” to include “refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict harm on, or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israeli-controlled territory.”

Boycotts are a constitutionally protected form of speech, assembly and association. They have long been used to oppose injustice and urge political change. The Supreme Court has held that “speech on public issues occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection.” The high court ruled that advocating and supporting boycotts “to bring about political, social, and economic change” – like boycotts of Israel – are indisputably protected by the First Amendment.

The National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights wrote in a legal memorandum challenging anti-BDS legislation in New York that such laws “harken back to the McCarthy era when the state sought to deny the right to earn a livelihood to those who express controversial political views.” The memo says, “The courts long ago found such McCarthy-era legislation to be at war with the First Amendment,” as they “unconstitutionally target core political speech activities and infringe on the freedom to express political beliefs.”

Even staff members at the right-wing Anti-Defamation League (ADL) opposed anti-BDS laws and admitted they are unconstitutional. Although the leadership officially favors outlawing BDS, ADL staff wrote in an internal 2016 memo that anti-BDS laws divert “community resources to an ineffective, unworkable, and unconstitutional endeavor.”

Greenwald cited the grave danger anti-BDS laws pose to freedom of speech, tweeting, “The proliferation of these laws – where US citizens are barred from work or contracts unless they vow not to boycott Israel – is the single greatest free speech threat in the US.”

Demonstrating the incongruity of allowing Amawi to boycott any entity but Israel, Greenwald noted, “In order to continue to work, Amawi would be perfectly free to engage in any political activism against her own country, participate in an economic boycott of any state or city within the US, or work against the policies of any other government in the world — except Israel.”

The US government remains Israel’s lap dog on the world stage. On December 5 the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. The United States opposed the resolution.

Meanwhile, the BDS movement continues to achieve victories. After more than 24,000 people complained to HSBC, the banking giant pulled out its investments in Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. Elbit sells military equipment, including drones, aircraft, artillery and weapon control systems to the Israeli army, US Air Force and British Royal Air Force. It also provides surveillance equipment to the US Customs and Border Protection agency.

On the legal front, the ACLU has mounted successful court challenges to anti-BDS laws in Kansas and Arizona and has filed litigation in Arkansas and Texas.

Marjorie Cohn

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

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