web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Countering Illegal Boycotts of Israel

Left wing Israeli activists supporting the boycotts on products from the "wrong" side of the 1967 border.

Left wing Israeli activists supporting the boycotts on products from the "wrong" side of the 1967 border.
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / Flash90

Originally published at The Washington Times.

Educational, corporate and political organizations have stepped up efforts to isolate Israel through academic discrimination and economic blacklisting. Wrongly, organizations funded either directly or indirectly by U.S. taxpayers are advocating these boycotts.

The American Studies Association announced a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, following boycotts announced by the Association for Asian American Studies and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. At their recent conference in Chicago, the Modern Language Association debated the issue of boycotting Israel, reportedly narrowly defeating a resolution calling for a boycott, but adopting a resolution condemning Israel. A panel on Jan. 9 consisted of four panelists and a moderator all supportive of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against the state of Israel. One of the panel’s “experts,” Omar Barghouti, is a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and currently studies at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Mr. Barghouti once infamously wrote in the Electronic Intifada on Jan. 6, 2004, “We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it . I, for one, support euthanasia.”

Boycott methodology was instituted immediately after the 1948 establishment of Israel in hopes of starving the nation of economic sustenance and her legitimate right to exist and to grow as a nation-state of the world.

Previously, Congress enacted two pieces of legislation to discourage U.S. entities from participating in illegal boycotts against Israel or other countries. A 1977 amendment to the Export Administration Act of 1969 instituted criminal and civil penalties for such participation, and an amendment to the Tax Reform Act of 1976 instituted tax penalties for participation in illegal boycotts. Both were partially successful, and congressional intervention is needed now.

Outrageously, the federal government essentially subsidizes these academic boycotts by granting tax-exempt status for many organizations endorsing and encouraging the boycotts. For example, American Studies Association membership includes 2,200 colleges, universities, museums, foundations, societies and other institutions — many of which are tax-exempt — and their revenues often come from tax-deductible contributions. Actions should be taken to highlight — and preclude — charitable organizations from using tax-supported dollars or contributions to engage in illegal conduct.

Economic boycotts of Israel by U.S. companies are also ongoing. In July 2010, a food cooperative with two locations in Olympia, Wash., voted to become the first grocery store in the United States to ban all Israeli-made items from its shelves. Just last month, the office-supply store Staples reportedly announced plans to cease sales of the popular new SodaStream products because the company’s manufacturing facility is located in Israel’s ancient Judea-Samaria area.

An important Supreme Court case shows how Congress should address this issue. In 1970, the Internal Revenue Service informed Bob Jones University, a private religious university, that its tax-exempt status would be revoked owing to its racially discriminatory policies. The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment’s religious-liberty guarantee does not prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from revoking the tax-exempt status of an educational institution with practices contrary to a compelling state interest. Congress can instruct the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of institutions endorsing any Israeli boycott. Although some may argue such action would violate First Amendment “free-speech” rights, Supreme Court precedent clearly shows the First Amendment does not preclude the United States government from taking away tax-exempt status if a “compelling state interest” exists in so doing. Because academic boycotts are contrary to U.S. foreign-policy interests and, in effect, promote hatred and racism, a compelling state interest exists in acting to stop these anti-Israel boycotts by denying tax-exempt status to boycott proponents.

In addition, Congress should create a private cause of action under the Export Administration Act for businesses directly impacted by an unsanctioned boycott. The federal government possesses the power to levy monetary damages in the form of fines against companies that comply with demands by boycott proponents, and the government should do so. The Export Administration Act should be amended to allow private parties harmed by boycotts to pursue punitive and compensatory damages in U.S. courts against the responsible party.

It’s time to put a stop to taxpayer subsidization of boycott advocates, and it’s time to allow victims of these boycotts to pursue justice in a court of law. Illegal boycotts cannot be countenanced and must be stopped, and the offending companies and organizations must be held legally accountable.

About the Author: Richard D. Heideman serves as Senior Counsel of the Washington,DC law firm Heideman Nudelman & Kalik, PC, representing victims of terrorism and international human rights violations and is the author of The Hague Odyssey: Israel’s Struggle for Security on the Front Lines of Terrorism and Her Battle for Justice at the United Nations (Bartleby Press, 2013; see thehagueodyssey.com).


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Countering Illegal Boycotts of Israel”

  1. Anonymous says:

    As soon as I can confirm that Staples is boycotting Sodastream, then I will arrange for my company to cease purchases from Staples. As a corporate officer I signed agreements as a government subcontractor to not partake in anti-Israel boycotts. I want to make sure my employer complies with the law. Does anyone have a list of BDS organizations so we can boycott the boycotters?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Sydney has banned the  Chabad menorah from being lit this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.
Sydney Darkens Hanukkah by Banning Chabad Menorah Lighting
Latest Indepth Stories

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

Joseph Berger 
(Photo: James Estrin)

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

Israel and the strengthening of the Jewish people in faith and numbers has brought a growing light

“Can you hear what the dead are whispering? Leave Galut, escape to Eretz Israel-Lech lecha!”

3 main messages emerged from this conference: Communications, Community, and Collaboration.

In his short time with the shul, he has managed to activate a Hebrew school with now over 50 children and five teachers.

Recent headlines show escalation of the same attitudes and actions as existed during the Holocaust

The Mid-East conflict is a unidirectional campaign of Arabs murdering Jews, not the inverse.

More Articles from Richard D. Heideman
Left wing Israeli activists supporting the boycotts on products from the "wrong" side of the 1967 border.

Boycotts were instituted immediately after the 1948 establishment of Israel in hopes of starving it.

Police operation with teargas and dogs in the township of Soweto near Johannesburg,

The term “apartheid” is often used by advocates determined to achieve their own goals for their own purposes.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/countering-illegal-boycotts-of-israel/2014/01/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: