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June 1, 2016 / 24 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

Jewish Human Rights Watch Suing 3 Councils in High Court over BDS

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) has taken Swansea, Gwyneedd and Leicester councils to the High Court in London, alleging their boycott of Israeli goods is anti-Semitic and violates the 2010 Equality Act.

The group noted on their Facebook page: “We’re in the #‎HighCourt today and tomorrow about The Labour Party’s Leicester City Council & City and County of Swansea & Gwynedd Council’s #‎Antisemitic #‎Boycott motions. We’ll keep you updated as soon as we hear anything.”

Several local councils across the UK voted to boycott Israeli goods after 2009, when Israel refused to embrace the Hamas’ need to shoot rockets at its civilian population.

In 2010, Swansea council was seeking contracts with Veolia, a company connected to a project building a light railway in eastern Jerusalem. But then a motion was put before the council stating the project “not only contravenes UN demands but is in contravention of international law,” since the UN “has demanded that Israeli settlement activities and occupation should not be supported.”

Several council members called on the council to not do business with “any company in breach of international law or UN obligations or demands, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant legislation.” The motion was approved.

Andrew Sharland, an attorney for Leicester’s council, which in 2014 approved a similar boycott of Israeli goods, said the JHRW is trying to “stifle criticisms of Israel.”

“What this challenge really concerns is criticism of the State of Israel, and the claimant’s desire to suppress it,” he said.

Following the 2014 vote, JHRW issued a statement saying, “Leicester City Council has taken steps down an anti-Semitic path under the guise of helping community relations in Leicester. Frankly this amounts to a get-of-out-town order to Leicester Jews.”

In 2014, Gwynedd council also passed a motion calling for a trade embargo against Israel, condemning the “attacks by the Israeli state on the territory of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.” Just to make sure they did not come across as anti-Semites, Gwynedd council added, “It must be made clear that the proposal condemned the Israeli state and not the Jewish religion.”

The British government earlier this year issued guidelines for public authorities which say these boycotts are “inappropriate” without formal legal sanctions or embargoes by the national government. In fact, the Cabinet Office has said these boycotts “undermine good community relations, poison and polarize debate, weaken integration and fuel anti-Semitism.”

But Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party has been ridding itself of an industrial-size stash of anti-Semitic members in recent days, criticized the government’s warning against BDS as an “attack on local democracy.”

David Israel

Enough With the Gratuitous Israel-Bashing – Some Profs are Fighting Back

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Imagine this:  an organization called the American Studies Association, which was chartered by the Congress of the United States of America, and which is based in Washington, D.C., and which is composed of American scholars at American universities teaching American students about America, decided in 2013, that it should declare that it would – and all other U.S. academic institutions should – cease to deal with any Israeli academic institutions.

Got that?  Don’t you think a boycott of Israeli academics is what professors of American history, American culture, American literature should have as their organization’s mission? No?

If not, it turns out that four distinguished members of the ASA agree with you. And so does the organisation’s actual mission statement. That’s why those four members announced today that they are suing the ASA, charging that the blatant politicization of their academic association violates District of Columbia (D.C.) law governing nonprofit organizations.

“Until a handful of zealots hijacked our learned society, the ASA was the leading organization for the study of American culture,” stated Professor Simon Bronner, one of the plaintiffs. “Yet in 2013, in marched a handful of anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists and suddenly ASA is an organization of social change pushing a narrow political agenda.”

According to the plaintiffs – all four of whom are professors who teach American Studies – the boycott adopted by ASA in December 2013 was a concerted effort by a small number of BDS activists, including founding members of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), who used their leadership positions in ASA to make anti-Israel activism the central focus of the Association.

ASA’s stated mission – obviously and literally – has nothing to do with boycotting a foreign nation and thus the suit alleges its adoption violates the law that governs nonprofit corporations. These laws prevent organizations from engaging in activity that ignores its raison d’être, according to its own incorporating documents. An example: an organization created expressly as a charity to benefit the disabled cannot, because of these laws, take its donors’ money and decide it wants to instead promote fracking or protest animal cruelty.

The Complaint was brought against the people who are, or recently were, officers of the ASA, and who have used their positions to redirect the erstwhile scholarly organization.

In the allegations filed Wednesday, April 20, the plaintiffs explain:  “The Individual Defendants’ goals have nothing to do with the promotion of scholarship and everything to do with the advancement of their own political views, and their goal in hijacking the ASA is to use it to advance those views, not to advance the study of American culture.“

When the boycott was initiated, ASA’s constitution stated that “[t]he object of the association [is] the promotion of the study of American culture through the encouragement of research, teaching, publication…about American culture in all its diversity and complexity.”

The lawsuit charges that a boycott of another country is outside the scope of ASA’s charter and is the antithesis of promoting knowledge. ASA’s constitution goes on to say that ASA’s goal is “the strengthening of relations among persons and institutions in this country and abroad devoted to such studies.” According to the Complaint, the boycott does the exact opposite:  it affirmatively excludes an entire country and its academics.

In addition, as a tax-exempt nonprofit, ASA reports annually to the Internal Revenue Service. In its IRS documents, the Association continues to describe its mission as “the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history,” with its “exempt purpose – advancing the Study of American Culture.”  Plaintiffs allege that the academic boycott of Israel is clearly outside of this stated mission and purpose. Sounds right, doesn’t it?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Why the BDS Movement is Destroying a Future Palestinian State

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

From the moment Israel declared its independence, one of the main Arab tactics has been to exploit the Jews’ Achilles heel – their highly developed culture, which respects and values life, and their support for human rights.

Of Arab origin, I have long known about the Arab stereotype of the West and Israel — that they are weak because they care about the lives of their own people and they are eager to respect the human rights of their enemies. Golda Meir is reported to have said, “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.”

Until now, Israel has conformed to that Arab stereotype — such as with “knocks on the roof” in Gaza to warn residents to leave buildings being used for military purposes before they are targeted — but in conversations with Zionists, it seems that this attitude is changing. While Jews will always value life, their determination to minimize enemy casualties and to respect their human rights at almost all costs might be unraveling, and it is the Palestinians who are likely to pay the price.

During the War of Independence, the Arab side ensured that not a single Jew was left on the Arab side of the 1949 armistice lines, but a large number of Arabs were allowed by Jews to remain on the Israeli side. Today those Arabs constitute 20% of the Israeli population.

Israel’s respect for the human rights of Arabs living in Israel has been used by Arabs against Israel. The idea of any Jews on the Arab side is demonized and any “normalization” with Jews is aggressively discouraged

By contrast, Arabs living in Israel have consistently elected Arab parliamentarians, even anti-Zionist ones who openly support Palestinian terrorists. If Israel expels those politicians from the Knesset — as there is a proposed law to do — it is accused by the West of being undemocratic, but if it does not expel them it is seen by Arabs as weak.

During the Six-Day War of June 1967 — a defensive war in which Israel repelled attacking Arab armies that included Jordan and Egypt — Israel moved into large swaths of Arab land, including the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank and Gaza. Israel immediately offered to give land back in exchange for recognition and peace. Less than three months later, on September 1, 1967, the answer came back in the form of the famous “Three Nos” of the Khartoum Conference: No peace with Israel, no recognition no negotiations.

Israel could have played by Arab rules and deported all Arabs in the land it occupied, but it did not. Precisely because Israel respected the human rights of Arabs, and despite its own self-interest, Israel gave the Palestinians a platform from which to seek the destruction of Israel.

Today’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement continues to apply the same hypocritical double standards in a transparent effort to make Israel extinct. Its leaders have stated in no uncertain terms that they are not interested in a two-state solution. They want a single Arab state to replace Israel. They are counting on the assumption that sooner or later, Israel will be forced to annex the West Bank and give Israeli citizenship to all its residents. After this, the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state would be just a matter of time.

The dominant sentiment on the Zionist side today is that the solution most Jews since the 1940s have accepted as ethical — the two-state solution — is simply not working. The vast majority of Zionists blame this on the unrelenting Arab refusal to accept such a solution and on the fact that when, in what negotiations have taken place, the Palestinians never suggested so much as a reasonable counter-offer. Even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, supposedly the most moderate leader of the Palestinians, has never accepted a two-state solution unless it included a Palestinian “right of return,” which would result in a fully Arab state next to a majority Arab state — yet another way of making the Jewish state extinct.

With Israel’s back to the wall, it will sooner or later have to choose between giving up the Jewish state and lowering its human rights standards for the Palestinians. It seems increasingly clear that Israelis will not choose the first. In their place, I wouldn’t either. One sign is a proposed law that would deport the families of terrorists. Another is a proposed law that would expel Knesset members who openly support terrorists.

American human rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz has repeatedly warned that the BDS movement is destroying the prospect for a negotiated two-state solution, by making Palestinian leaders believe that they do not need to make any compromises. Dershowitz has not ventured what would happen if the BDS movement continues on its current track. He has just made the general and obvious prediction that it would lead to “more wars, more death and more suffering.”

If this Arab-BDS tactic continues, Israel may well move to the right of its current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and elect a government for which respect of Palestinian human rights is a lower priority. Such a government would be far less reluctant than Netanyahu in expanding settlements across the West Bank and in responding with overwhelming force to terrorist attacks, thereby making the lives of Palestinians much more difficult and seriously harming dreams of Palestinian statehood.

The advocates of BDS seem to rely on the belief that Israel would never do that, but they are wrong for several reasons:

  • The Jews of Israel will not willingly commit suicide. So far, every time they refused to adopt anti-human-rights approaches, those decisions were not fatal to Israel. A one-state solution with equal rights for all would however be fatal to Israel, and most Jews of Israel will not go along with it.
  • Israel can see how the rest of the Middle East has engaged with impunity in ethnic cleansing, from the ethnic cleansing of Jews to the ethnic cleansing of the Christians, and all the other groups in between. They also see that the West takes no serious action against it.
  • Israelis know that the Arabs have been mistreating the Palestinians for almost 70 years, so Arab states will not risk losing further wars against Israel for the sake of Palestinians, whom they anyway despise (assuming that the divided Arabs could even manage to form a viable coalition against Israel).
  • One of the factors currently holding back Israel’s right wing is the risk of losing Western support. However, with the growing BDS movement, Israel may well feel that it has lost the support of the West anyway and that there is nothing left to lose.

For almost 70 years, the Arabs have played a very dangerous game, counting on Jewish scruples to turn every defeat into a partial victory. Whereas throughout history those who lose wars — especially wars they themselves started — are forced to live by the rules of the winner, the Arabs have refused to live by Israel’s rules and they even consistently rejected middle-of-the-road two-state solutions that would have been reasonable for both sides. One can only hope that they, like Egypt and Jordan, will soon decide to live in peace with a neighbor which turned out to be far better in the way it treats Palestinians than the Palestinians’ own “Arab brothers” — not all that bad, after all. One can only hope that Palestinian leaders will start promoting a culture of peace rather than a culture of hate.

Fred Maroun

Dani Dayan to be Israeli Consul General in New York, Not Ambassador to Brazil

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Former Yesha Council head Dani Dayan is being promoted after months of resistance from the government of Brazil, which has avoided accepting his appointment as Israel’s new ambassador.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday instead that he has appointed Dayan, 59, as Israel’s new Consul General in New York – an appointment that Dayan preferred as first choice.

Dayan’s knowledge of Spanish will be extremely helpful in his new position; New York is home to a huge Spanish-speaking population. Born in Argentina, he is a businessman with an MBA in finance.

Dayan will replace Ido Aharoni, a long-time Foreign Ministry official, this summer. Dayan was called the settlers’ “foreign minister” for his ability to present the views of Jewish residents living in Judea and Samaria to those with no knowledge of the area. He lives in Ma’ale Shomron, a community about nine miles from Kfar Saba.

“Those who don’t want me in Brazilia, will get me in the capital of the world and to me that is a victory,” Dayan said on Monday at the Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth anti-BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) conference.

Last August, Brazil’s President Dilma Roussett had passed a message to Israel that she was uncomfortable with Dayan’s appointment due to his ties with the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Roussett was being pressured by the BDS movement via 40 prominent organizations in Brazil, who signed a petition calling on her to decline the appointment. The petition – and protests joined by several Brazilian lawmakers – claimed Dayan’s appointment as ambassador was a violation of international legitimacy and a challenge to the sovereignty of Brazil.

Israel has worked hard to improve and maintain good relations with Brazil. Since the country is the largest in South America, it was important to find a diplomatic solution to the dilemma, but not to cave to the BDS pressure while preserving Dayan’s status.

“I believe I can revolutionize Israeli public relations in the US, whose beating heart is in New York,” Dayan said.

Hana Levi Julian

Rutgers Professor Insists Israel ‘Harvests’ Terrorist Organs

Monday, March 21st, 2016

A Rutgers University associate professor of women’s and gender studies claims Israel is stealing organs from the bodies of Arab terrorists — and she’s threatening to sue anyone who publishes a recording of the lecture at Vassar College in which she made the claim.

Professor Jasbir Puar’s February 3 lecture “was taped without my permission or that of the people who had invited me,” she said. Nevertheless, she slammed a “current Zionist strategy” of what she called “silencing and intimidation tactics” aimed at stifling the “exercise of free speech and academic freedom.”

Moreover, Puar recently canceled a scheduled lecture at Fordham University on the “biopolitics of debility in Gaza” – because the administration insisted on recording the talk and making it publicly available, according to The Tower.

For some odd reason she appears unwilling to see that her unwillingness to share her words with the rest of the world is if anything, a much greater self-censorship – one that raises deep suspicions about the legality of what she said.

In a column written in Jadaliyya, (produced by the Arab Studies Institute, ASI) Puar writes about her Feb. 3 lecture, which she said was delivered to a “welcoming and enthusiastic audience.” ASI has received funding from the Social Science Research Council, and the Open Society Institute, supported by George Soros.

The Jadaliyya publication combines local knowledge, scholarship and advocacy aimed at audiences primarily in the United States and the Middle East. The site currently publishes posts both in Arabic, French, English, and Turkish.

“The fraught history of organ mining practices from both IDF soldiers and Palestinian bodies during the 1990s is well documented. During the second intifada, Palestinian bodies were held at the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine for prolonged periods without explanation. Even mainstream Israeli press such as Ha’aretz have reported on the collecting of illegally obtained organs at Abu Kabir,” Puar wrote.

“In my lecture, I made clear that I was not making any empirical claims about current organ mining. Rather, I was conveying a small part of the sheer terror of life in the West Bank since the uprising began in October 2015. I can only surmise that the charges of anti-Semitism and blood libel leveled against me were intended to discredit scholarship about the deleterious effects of the occupation on Palestinian daily life.

“It is as if those engaged in trying to smear me believe that Palestinians have no right to legitimate and very human emotions of grief, anguish, and historical trauma.

“Further, the manufactured controversy surrounding my talk was no doubt intended to derail the momentum of the Vassar BDS resolution, spearheaded by Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. In the wake of this diversion, the Vassar administration threatened to withhold student activity fees from the Vassar Student Association if they voted to pass the BDS resolution—which they passed despite this threat.”

“The talk was taped without my permission or that of the people who had invited me, and the transcript was disseminated to right wing media, inciting hateful responses,” she complained.

“They are desperate to contain the popular movements of students, many of them Jewish Americans, galvanizing around BDS,” she claimed.

Hana Levi Julian

Manchester Rallies Against Terrorism in Israel

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Thousands of pro-Israel activists are expected to show up this afternoon (Sunday, March 13) at a national rally for peace organized by North West Friends of Israel (NWFOI).

Scheduled for 2 pm at the Palace Theater in south Manchester, the theme of the rally is “Say No To Terror: Say Yes to Peace.”

Poster promoting the pro-Israel, anti-terrorism rally for peace in Manchester.

Poster promoting the pro-Israel, anti-terrorism rally for peace in Manchester.

The rally has received support from grassroots groups around the UK but also from top leaders such as Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Israeli Embassy, and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself.

Speakers expected to address the attendees include Conservative Friends of Israel chairman Sir Eric Pickles, Enfield North Member of Parliament Joan Ryan, Board of Deputies senior vice-president Richard Verber, and Zionist Federation chairman Paul Charney.

Rally co-chair Anthony Dennison told the British Jewish Chronicle that upon release of the location, reservations for the event “came through thick and fast.”

The event was originally set for January 31 but organizers were forced to reschedule when the site owners of the Sheridan Suite cancelled in response to “gross intimidation” from the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Hana Levi Julian

‘Hummus Rights Violations’ Upset BDS Protesters at Brown University

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

It’s amazing, the lengths to which the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement will go in its endless “struggle” against Israel.

They’re battling in the dining halls of the college unions. They’re fighting in the dishes of the creamed garbanzos wherein lie the delectable pools of spice and olive oil.

I mean, they’re fighting over hummus, readers.

And sure enough, Brown University has caved, diplomatically adding another hummus selection to their menu to appease the insatiable appetites of those who can’t find enough garbanzos to suit them in the dining hall.

That is, the school’s Dining Services has added the Cedar firm to the hummus list in addition to the high-quality Sabra company.

Not that there is anything wrong with Cedar.

But the entire thing has become ridiculous. Sabra is an American company. However, because it is owned in part by the Israeli Strauss Group, it is targeted by the BDS movement.

Why? Because Strauss has donated food and care packages to IDF Givati and Golani Brigade units.

But when a university dining hall bows to the bark of a local student group speaking as a mouthpiece for a national pro-Palestinian Authority political entity in America, the U.S. really is in trouble.

Peter Makhlouf, graduating this year from Brown, said on behalf of ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ — a national agitator group — that the two IDF brigades were “accused many times in the past of human rights violations” and “carried out several massacres in the West Bank and Gaza.”

He is adamant about his hummus, too, is Peter.

“It is very easy to trivialize a hummus boycott,” he declared. But the Dining Services movement is “the single strategy for Palestinian rights from our perspective as students,” Makhlouf stated.

He added that SJP “didn’t want to be purchasing a product that supported those human rights violations so we pushed for a boycott and an alternative.”

We wonder what Makhlouf will do for an alternative to the Intel chip he uses in his computer, the cellphone technology he uses to communicate with his political handlers and the medical technology that he relies upon to keep him healthy when he goes to the clinic.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hummus-rights-violations-upset-bds-protesters-at-brown-university/2016/03/08/

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