Hezbollah MP: Steven Spielberg Proud of Supporting ‘Israel’, Some Lebanese Ashamed of Sacrificing for Sake of Lebanon

 January 23, 2018

Head of Loyalty to Resistance Parliamentary bloc, MP Mohammad Raad

Head of Hezbollah “Loyalty to Resistance” parliamentary bloc, Hajj Mohammad Raad, stressed on Tuesday that it is unjustifiable for anyone to underestimate the seriousness of normalizing ties with the Zionist entity which represents the main threat against Lebanon.

Delivering his speech during a political conference held by various national parties in Beirut, Hajj Raad said that all the films directed by Steven Spielberg serve the Zionist interests, stressing that he is proud of supporting ‘Israel’ while some Lebanese feel ashamed of sacrificing for the sake of their country.

The event was held to reject the government’s approval of “The Post”, a movie directed by Steven Spielberg who is well-known for supporting the Zionist entity as he donated $1 million to ‘Israel’ in 2006 during its war on Lebanon.

Resistance against normalizing ties with the Zionist entity does not contradict with the freedom of expression, according to Hajj Raad wo called on all the Lebanese to prepare themselves for the upcoming confrontation with the Zionist entity.

Source: Al-Manar Website

Steven Spielberg: «Israel’s» Man

Designed By: Nour Fakih

Infographic on Steven Spielberg

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المقاطعة خجلاً من الأوروبيين على الأقلّ

 

ناصر قنديل

يناير 20, 2018

في خطوة أراد عبرها تظهير صورة غير نمطية قرّر وزير الداخلية السير بعكس توصية الجهات الرقابية في الأمن العام اللبناني التي أوصت وفقاً لالتزام لبنان بأحكام مكتب مقاطعة «إسرائيل»، بمنع عرض فيلم

ستيفن سبيلبرغ «ذا بوست»، وبرّر الوزير قراره بكون الفيلم لا يروّج للتطبيع ولا يتحدّث أصلاً عن الصراع مع «إسرائيل»، بل يتصدّى لملفات الحرب الأميركية في فيتنام.

Lebanese Interior Minister Nouhad Al-Machnouk

ومبرّرات الوزير هنا هي فعلاً من نوع ذرّ الرماد في العيون لتسخيف منطلقات التوصية بالمنع وتصوير مَن يقف وراءها كجاهل أو غبي ينسب للفيلم ما ليس فيه. وكانت الشجاعة الأدبية تقتضي من الوزير القول إنه يعلم أنّ التوصية بالمنع ناتجة عن أحكام المقاطعة التي تطال المخرج ولا علاقة لها بمضمون الفيلم بل بسيرة المخرج النافرة في العداء للبنان والتضامن مع «إسرائيل»، ولكنه قرّر تعليق الالتزام بأحكام المقاطعة لأنه يراها بلا جدوى، أو حرماناً للوسط الثقافي من مواكبة الإبداع العالمي، أو ما يشاء من الأسباب، وإنْ وجد أنّ الأمر يستدعي قراراً أعلى من مستوى توقيع الوزير. وهذا هو واقع الحال، يكتب لمجلس الوزراء طالباً تعليق العمل بالتزام لبنان أحكام المقاطعة، وإلا ارتكب الوزير مخالفة دستورية، وهذا ما حصل، وروّج لأحد رموز الصهيونية المشمولين بأحكام المقاطعة. وهذا جرم جنائي يفترض أنّ مهمة معالي الوزير ملاحقة مرتكبيه.

-لا حاجة لإلقاء المواعظ حول معنى المقاطعة وجدواها، ومن حق أيّ لبناني أو عربي ساعة يشاء أن يبدأ نقاشاً من هذا النوع، وأن يكشف عدم قناعته بفعالية سلاح يظنّه بالياً ينتمي لثقافة لم تعد موجودة برأيه، ولغة خشبية تخطتها البشرية، لكن لا يحق لأيّ كان تعليق الأثر القانوني لأحكام المقاطعة من موقع مسؤوليته الإجرائية وزيراً أم مديراً إلا بسلوك الطرق القانونية، التي تبدأ بالتطبيق الحرفي للمقاطعة والتقدّم بمقترح معلل وفق الأصول للأسباب والمندرجات والمقترحات، هذا أولاً. أما ثانياً، ولأنّ الرائج هو ما يروّج له أصحاب القدرة، فهل فعلاً لغة المقاطعة لغة بالية، وهل هي لغة خشبية لا تنتمي لزمن راهن، والمعيار هو حكماً ما يقوله الغرب وما يقبله العقل الغربي، ولأنه العقل الوحيد الذي يمكن الاستناد إلى رجاحته، فلنحتكم إليه إذن.

-ماذا يسمّى في اللغة العلمية تحريم نشر المواد التي تصنّف تحت بند العداء للسامية، ويقرّر منع تداول مؤلفات ومنشورات أصحابها؟ وهل منع منشورات فيلسوف بمكانة روجيه غارودي بتهمة أنه يصيب العقيدة الصهيونية في بنيتها الثقافية، مقاطعة أم إلزام بالمقاطعة تشترك في تطبيقه حكومات الغرب جميعها، بلا خجل ولا حرج ولا أن يرفّ لها جفن، ومن بين مؤلفات غارودي الممنوعة بالمناسبة قصائد غزل؟ وفي المقابل هل وصل إلى مسامع بعض المعترضين على المقاطعة ما تقوم به جماعات أكاديمية أوروبية، خصوصاً بريطانية وجنوب أفريقية تحت عنوان فعل الضمير الإنساني، بأن تصرخ بوجه أكاديميين «إسرائيليين»، عبر المقاطعة، بلغة النزاهة العملية، كيف ترضون لأنفسكم أن تكونوا جزءاً من مؤسسة عنصرية، ومثلها نخجل نحن من أن نتهم باللاحضارية إذا قاطعنا منتجات المخرج ستيفن سبيلبرغ لنقول له، افحص ضميرك يا شريك القتلة، لن يغيّر لون وجهك وأنت تدفع مليون دولار لدعم قتل أطفالنا، في حرب تموز 2006، أن تكشف حقائق حرب فيتنام مدّعياً الحرص على الضمير الإنساني؟

-المقاطعة فعل فردي ضميري وإنساني يقوم به مثقف شجاع برفض الإغراء الذي يقدّمه عمل إبداعي لمن يختبئ وراء الإبداع ليخفي وجه القاتل، ولو لم يكن ثمة إغراء أو ثمة إبداع أو ثمة شجاعة لما كان لزوم للمقاطعة، فكيف عندما تصبح قراراً سياسياً لدولة تنحصر مهمة الأفراد بتطبيقه لا التلاعب به.

-التراجع عن الخطأ فضيلة يا معالي الوزير، فكيف في زمن انفعالات القدس والمشاعر الساخنة للتضامن مع عهد التميمي وأخوتها وأخواتها.

Stop The Press, “JVP Now Feels the Pain of Exclusion.”

January 08, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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On Sunday Israel identified 20 activist groups from around the world whose members will be banned from entering the country because of their calls to boycott the Jewish state.

Believe it or not, this is a positive development. For the first time in its history, Israel has transcended its racist makeup and proved that it hates everyone: equally and globally.

But JVP is not happy. “JVP is banned from Israel” announced the headline of today’s JVP’s newsletter signed by Rebecca Vilkomerson.

“I’m equal parts furious and sad, Vilkomerson wrote, “the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry put Jewish Voice for Peace on the list of organizations now officially banned from entering the state of Israel.”

I wonder why the JVPs are outraged. Did they expect to be excluded from Israel’s blanket ban just for being Jews? Is vilkomerson furious because she accepts that the Jewish State is her state?  Is this the kind of ‘solidarity’ the peace loving Jews are promoting?

For the first time in their history, the JVPs have put themselves in Palestinian shoes or as Vilkomerson expressed it in own words “we at JVP are now feeling the pain of exclusion.”

Better later than never…

If they want to burn it, you want to read it …

Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto, 

Amazon.co.uk  ,  Amazon.com  and   here  (gilad.co.uk). 

Israeli Psychosis on Full Display

December 29, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

In his attack on BDS activist Justine Sachs, Ynet writer Asaf Wohl performs every tribal morbidity. Sachs is apparently a Jewish pro-Palestinian woman who helped convince New Zealand singer Lorde to cancel her performance in Israel.  Wohl accuses her of inciting ‘violence,’ ‘auto-anti-Semitsm,’ ‘siding with terrorists,’ effectively everything except child molesting.

Among my sins I am critical of some aspects of cultural BDS, but to interpret BDS as a violent act is rather over the top. If anything, BDS was designed to dilute Palestinian militant resistance. Furthermore, boycotting is a very Jewish practice, known as excommunication or herem in Hebrew. You would expect Wohl, an ardent Zionist, to be slightly more familiar with his own culture.

If you ever wonder what is the meaning of Judeo-centrism, Wohl provides the full scope. The Israeli settler really believes that he is the centre of this universe. “The difference between you and me, Justin, is that I’m an Israeli Jew and you’re a Jew. That’s it. You have no nationality. You live in a negligible, insignificant sheepfold stuck somewhere at the end of the universe (New Zealand).” For Wohl, Israel is the world’s capital and Israeliness is the ultimate embodiment of human as well as of Jewish existence.

Sachs is accused of “auto-anti-Semitism” which in Wohl’s words is a “drive towards human self-destruction.” And I wonder whether Wohl really thinks that Sachs persuading a singer not to perform in Tel Aviv points at self destructive or even suicidal inclinations?

Wohl writes that he feels “no need to take the side of a culture which hasn’t brought anything to the world apart from terror. The confidence I am given by the Israeli nationality allows me to pick the democratic, free side.” For Wohl, so it seems, Arabs and Muslims contributed nothing to the world but ‘terror’ yet Israel pretty much invented democracy and the Western ethos in general. Someone should remind this Israeli caricature that democracy is from Athens while state terror against the indigenous people of the land is actually Israel’s official policy.

Wohl seems to believe that the Jewish state is an exponent of Western values. Seemingly, Wohl doesn’t grasp that loving your neighbours is at the core of the Western civilisation’s ethos.

Look how Wohl refers to his Palestinian neighbours.

They are

“the side which hijacks planes, the side which hangs gay people on electric poles, the side which rips out girls’ throats in honor killings, the side which has failed to establish any state or society which isn’t totalitarian, chauvinist, primitive and/or murderous.”

Not a lot of Western compassion on Wohl’s part. And you may be left wondering: which side is Wohl on? The side of ardent Zionist Harvey Weinstein? Or maybe the side of people who plundered other people’s land and dropped white phosphorus on schools in Gaza?

Wohl clearly sides with the people who made that strip of land into the biggest open air prison known to man. It is easy to grasp why Justine Sachs and a few other Diaspora Jews side with the Palestinians and oppose Israel. It is far more depressing to admit that the  majority of them probably side with Wohl.

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto,

Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk).

What were the top #BDS victories of 2017?

What were the top BDS victories of 2017?

The movement for Palestinian rights continues to grow across the world. (Alisdare Hickson/Flickr)

 

It took just four days for a world famous singer to cancel her Tel Aviv show in response to her fans’ urging her to respect the international picket line.

Lorde’s decision on Christmas Eve to pull the Tel Aviv show from her world tour – remarking that booking the gig in the first place “wasn’t the right call” – completed a successful year for the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

2017 saw artists, performers, athletes, politicians, cultural workers, faith-based organizations, students, academics, unions and activists grow the movement for Palestinian rights.

Israel has been taking notice, of course.

Early on in the year, key Israel lobby groups admitted in a secret report – obtained and published in full by The Electronic Intifada – that they had failed to counter the Palestine solidarity movement, despite vastly increasing their spending.

The report outlined Israel’s failure to stem the “impressive growth” and “significant successes” of the BDS movement and set out strategies, endorsed by the Israeli government, aimed at reversing the deterioration in Israel’s position.

Similarly, in March, Israel’s top anti-BDS strategist conceded that the boycott Israel movement is winning – despite the Israeli government’s allocation of tens of millions of dollars and the formation of an entire governmental ministry whose sole focus is to combat BDS.

Speaking at an anti-BDS conference in New York, Israeli ambassador Danny Danon stated that “the BDS movement is still active and still strong. Every day, academic and religious groups, student unions and investment firms are all falling prey to boycott calls.”

“Our South Africa moment is nearing”

As Israel’s strategists and representatives panicked over their failures to stem the BDS tide, polls in the UK, Canada and the US all showed that mainstream, public support for boycott and sanctions on Israel is growing apace.

In California, the state’s Democratic Party chapter approved a resolution – without debate – that condemned Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and the denial of entry to activists who criticize the state.

It also, notably, signaled support for organizers who engage with the BDS movement and who face expanding repression on campuses and by local, state and federal legislatures.

In the UK in December, the Labour Party’s shadow development minister Kate Osamor, a strong ally of opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, tweeted her explicit approval of BDS.

Over the summer, the High Court in London ruled that the Conservative government acted unlawfully in trying to prevent local councils in the UK from divesting from firms involved in Israel’s military occupation, dealing a blow to Israel’s representatives seeking to criminalize the BDS movement.

Meanwhile, in the face of Israel’s overt attempts to silence him and crush the popularity of BDS, Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the BDS movement, urged people around the world to increase boycott campaigns as the best way to show support for him and for the Palestinian people.

Barghouti won the Gandhi Peace Award in April for his work as a human rights defender. He had been subjected by Israel to a travel ban and open threats by that state’s top ministers last year.

In March, Barghouti praised a landmark report published by the United Nations which concluded that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid, drawing praise from Palestinians and ire from Israel and its allies.

Barghouti said the UN report was a sign for Palestinians that “our South Africa moment is nearing,” adding that the report was “a stark indicator that Israel’s apartheid is destined to end, as South Africa’s did.”

He remarked that the report “may well be the very first beam of light that ushers the dawn of sanctions against Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.”

Here are some of the other victories of the BDS movement in 2017, as reported by The Electronic Intifada.

Athletes, writers, chefs and artists ditched Israel

In February, professional US football players pulled out of a propaganda tour to Israel, with Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett announcing he would “not be used” by Israel’s government to whitewash its violations of Palestinian rights.

“I want to be a ‘voice for the voiceless,’” Bennett added, “and I cannot do that by going on this kind of trip to Israel.”

Over the summer, a group of filmmakers, artists and presenters canceled their scheduled appearances at TLVFest, Israel’s premier LGBTQ film festival in Tel Aviv, following appeals by queer Palestinian activists and boycott supporters to withdraw.

The high-profile cancellations in support of the BDS campaign prompted The Jerusalem Post to admit that while the festival “has been around for more than a decade, it has never faced a campaign this successful against it.”

Later in the fall, some of the world’s top chefs pulled out of Round Tables, an Israeli government-sponsored propaganda initiative that uses international cuisine to gloss over Israel’s image.

“The Round Tables festival is taking place while the Israeli military and Israeli settlers illegally living on stolen Palestinian land attack Palestinians during their annual olive harvest,” said Zaid Shoaibi, from PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

And the literary group PEN America quietly revealed that it was no longer accepting funds from the Israeli government for its annual World Voices festival, following appeals from more than 250 high-profile writers, poets and publishers.

The group had come under heavy criticism for using funds from the Israeli government, which jails Palestinian journalists and writers in Israel and the occupied West Bank for their work.

BDS endorsed by cities, churches, political groups and unions

Norway’s largest and most influential trade union organization called for a full boycott of Israel in May, just days after the Norwegian municipality of Lillehammer passed a resolution to boycott Israeli settlement goods.

Lillehammer became the third city in Norway to call for a settlement boycott, following Trondheim and Tromsø.

The city council of Barcelona voted to uphold the right to boycott Israel in April, while condemning Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, calling for an end to the Gaza blockade and ensuring that the city’s public procurement policies exclude companies that profit from Israel’s human rights abuses.

In July, the 95,000-member strong Mennonite Church USA joined a growing number of Christian denominations that have taken action to support Palestinian human rights over the last few years.

In a resolution approved by 98 percent of delegates at its Florida convention, the church voted to condemn Israel’s military occupation and to support divestment from companies that profit from violations of Palestinian rights.

On 7 July, the World Communion of Reformed Churches called on the more than 80 million people in its member churches worldwide to examine their investments related to the situation in Palestine.

A month later, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) overwhelmingly voted to endorse the BDS call.

“Just as we answered the call to boycott South Africa during apartheid, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people,” the DSA deputy national director stated.

The largest democratic socialist organization in the United States with more than 25,000 members, DSA has seen its membership quadruple with the resurgence of left-wing politics in the US and Europe, particularly since the 2016 presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders.

In the UK, Jewish members of the Labour Party founded a new group – Jewish Voice for Labour – that presents a challenge to an existing Israel lobby group positioning itself as the representative of Jewish members of the party.

Jewish Voice for Labour’s founding document upholds “the right of supporters of justice for Palestinians to engage in solidarity activities, such as boycott, divestment and sanctions.”

Also in the UK, the country’s largest union for school teachers launched a boycott of HP over the technology giant’s role in the Israeli occupation.

G4S was further ostracized

The world’s largest private security company, G4S, continued to face heavy financial losses around the world as its profiteering from human rights abuses came under further scrutiny.

G4S has helped operate Israeli prisons where Palestinians are tortured and has managed juvenile prisons, detention and deportation facilities in the US and UK.

The firm has also been implicated in labor and human rights abuses from Africa to the offshore facilities where Australia detains refugees and asylum seekers.

An Ecuadorian research institute announced in February that it had dropped its contract with G4S after meeting with activists.

Following a campaign led by Jordan BDS, UN Women in Jordan dropped its G4S contract in October, becoming the fifth UN agency in Jordan to do so.

And the transportation board of Sacramento, California, moved to dump its security contract with G4S following work by campaigners to highlight the company’s role in rights abuses in Palestine and the US.

Last year, G4S announced that it was dropping a slate of controversial businesses, including its Israel subsidiary and juvenile detention services in the US.

The Financial Times described the move as an attempt by G4S to distance itself from “reputationally damaging work.”

But campaigners around the world vowed to maintain pressure on the company as long as it remains complicit in violations of Palestinian human rights.

Students fought

College students across the US continued to mobilize for Palestinian rights despite increasing repression by administrations and outside Israel lobby groups.

Divestment resolutions were passed at Tufts University in Boston, the University of Michigan, California State University – Long Beach and at De Anza Community College in California.

A resolution passed by students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison voted unanimously to back a broad-based resolution calling on the university to drop its ties to companies that profit from mass incarceration, theft of indigenous land, police violence, the US-Mexico border wall, economic injustices against people of color and Israel’s human rights abuses in Palestine.

In New York, students at Fordham University brought violations of their rights to organize and assemble to court, challenging the decision by an administrator to ban Students for Justice in Palestine.

And in the UK, the annual, global Israeli Apartheid Week – a series of events meant to raise awareness of Israel’s policies of apartheid – took place on more than 30 university campuses across the country despite a government backed campaign of repression.

Anti-BDS legislation was challenged

Two federal lawsuits were filed by the American Civil Liberties Union which challenge the basic constitutionality of state and federal anti-BDS laws.

Israel lobby groups have accelerated their promotion of legislation aimed at chilling free speech and blacklisting advocates for Palestinian rights. By December, 23 states passed anti-BDS laws.

There is also a bill pending in Congress – the Israel Anti-Boycott Act – that could impose large fines and long prison sentences on companies and their personnel if they are deemed to be complying with a boycott on Israel or its settlements called for by an international organization.

A lawsuit was filed against the state of Kansas in October on behalf of a public high school math teacher, Esther Koontz, who participates in the consumer boycott of Israeli goods.

Koontz is a member of the Mennonite Church USA, which passed a resolution in July in support of divestment from companies that profit from violations of Palestinian rights.

Another lawsuit was filed against the state of Arizona in December on behalf of an attorney who contracts with the government to provide legal advice to incarcerated persons, according to the ACLU. He participates in the boycott of Israel.

But in Oregon, three separate bills impugning the BDS movement failed to get a hearing, following sustained pressure by human rights activists and faith leaders across the state.

The bills were backed by Jewish communal groups that organize nationwide efforts to combat the movement for Palestinian rights.

Activists said that the failure of the bills should encourage campaigners fighting back against similar anti-BDS measures in state legislatures and the US Congress.

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

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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

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