Phil Weiss *Mondoweiss.net) writes today of the desperate attempts of Israel-firsters such as Chuck Schumer and several others in hock to one issue Jewish billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson to kneecap the BDS Movement. Money as we know still buys craven politicians like Hilary Clinton and here as well—Justin Trudeau.
As Weiss points out in the article below it is something to see the pro-Israel NYT condemn this dumb legislation given the rabid Zionist columnists like Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens the former editor of the Jerusalem Post.
In a response US Citizen points out the obvious: Boycotts are a form of speech, a classic tool of peaceful political expression. Participating in boycotts is absolutely protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and petition rights.
Congressional leaders from both parties are preparing to slip the Israel Anti-Boycott Act into the spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown later this week, in an effort to use the lame-duck Republican House to push through legislation that would impose criminal penalties on some criticisms of Israel.
Congress is acting in haste and secrecy because the next Congress won’t stomach the bill, especially with the addition of vocal supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) who are joining the Democratic caucus.
The Israel issue is openly “roiling” Democrats, with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi keeping their heads down, and numerous human rights and civil liberties groups warning of the damage the bill will create to American traditions of open debate. Bernie Sanders and Dianne Feinstein both Jews have urged the Senate not to pass the bill as a “threat to free speech.” The brave Rep. Betty McCollum of St. Paul tweets:
Congressional leaders are working to slip language into a must-pass spending bill that criminalizes politically motivated boycotts against Israel. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act violates our right to free speech. @ACLU is fighting to protect it.
Of course the action is being undertaken under the pressure of AIPAC, the leading Israel lobby group, and the ADL, whose own staff has warned that the anti-free-speech bill will end up hurting Jews.
The American Civil Liberties Union warns of totalitarian consequences: “This is a step on a road to the erosion of First Amendment rights in a way that will impact movements and viewpoints for the future.”
The New York Times warns that the federal Israel Anti-Boycott bill, pushed by AIPAC and the ADL, goes against “bedrock” American principles of political dissent as part of an aggressive Israeli push … deplores the state laws against BDS as part of an “ominous trend in which the political space for opposing Israel is shrinking.”
The Times says that the efforts to “cripple” BDS by attacking American free speech rights are “counterproductive,” and reflect the Israeli government’s own imperatives.
The aim is to cripple the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as B.D.S., which has gathered steam in recent years despite bitter opposition from the Israeli government and its supporters around the world…
After ignoring the B.D.S. movement, Israel is now aggressively pushing against it, including branding it anti-Semitic and adopting a law barring foreigners who support it from entering that country.
In yet another sign of Israel’s tanking brand, the Times says that the Israeli government is fueling BDS.
The hard-line policies of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, including expanding settlements and an obvious unwillingness to seriously pursue a peace solution that would allow Palestinians their own state, have provoked a backlash and are fuelling the boycott movement.
Our friend Dan Walsh notes the many ways that the anti-BDS legislation could prove to be an own-goal for the Israel lobby. “If it passes, the bill will: open up an endless stream of embarrassing-bad-for-the-brand lawsuits; raise the visibility of BDS big time; demonstrate to new demographics that Zionism is willing to combat BDS to the very last Constitutional right of Americans; force Congresspeople to defend the indefensible; open the doors to vast public sympathy actions such as celebrities and others volunteering to be in violation and then challenging states/Feds to prosecute; create new opportunities for Palestinians/solidarity groups to show that they support/defend Free Speech; set up critics to openly question/challenge candidates for office in 2020 elections as to where they stand.”
Thanks to Allison Deger and Adam Horowitz and Donald Johnson.