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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

On Eve of Trump Presidency, Obama Administration Still Views BDS Militancy as ‘Free Speech’

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

An exchange on Tuesday between State Dept. Press Office Director Elizabeth Trudeau and a reporter during her daily press briefing, served as a reminder of the vast difference between the ways Obama and Trump officials view sovereignty and a state’s right to defend itself against political enemies from afar.

On Monday, the Knesset plenum passed in a preliminary reading by a vote of 42 to 15 with 7 abstaining an amendment to the Entry into Israel Act banning entry non-Israelis who are members of organizations that promote boycotting the State of Israel.

A reporter, who mentioned that even former Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni called the bill “McCarthyism,” asked Trudeau to comment on the legislation, and the State Dept. senior official said: “We’re aware of the various reactions to the proposed bill to bar pro-BDS activists from entering Israel. We understand. I’d also note that the legislation requires several more steps before becoming law (a committee debate and two more Knesset plenum votes).”

Trudeau continued: “The United States’ strong opposition to boycott and sanctions of the state of Israel is well-known. However, as a general principle, we value freedom of expression even in cases where we do not agree with the views espoused.”

Of course, the US as well as several American states do not view the BDS movement’s activities in the realm of freedom of expression, but rather as driving a hostile attack on the vital interests of a friendly country. Only this past Monday, Reps. Pete Roskam (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA) introduced a bipartisan bill imposing criminal penalties on US companies complying with the BDS movement, including the boycott of communities in Judea and Samaria.

There’s no doubt that a broad consensus of American politicians would strongly disagree with Trudeau when she states, as she did Tuesday: “While every country has a right to control its borders, we certainly support the freedom of expression even when we don’t agree with the policy.”

Not really. The US happens to be one of the toughest countries to get into if one is associated with a large number of groups and organizations or is on record as authoring material that is repugnant to the American public — as it well should be. Why should the US, or Israel, or any country for that matter, play gracious host to individuals who wish to see it dead?

Oh, how we’re looking forward to the first State Dept. press briefing in late January, 2017…

David Israel

#BDSFail in Michigan

Monday, November 14th, 2016

A BDS goon went into a store in Michigan and tried to convince him to remove his pro-Israel sign from the window, or else.

Only she didn’t expect that the store-owner she was threatening with a boycott was an Israeli.

Watch what happens next…

The store is called Champion’s Liquor Ann Arbor. If you’re in Michigan, show him your love.

champions-liquor-ann-arbor

Jewish Press News Briefs

PA Governor Signs Anti-BDS Bill

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, (the good PA, not the bad PA) signed a bill on Friday prohibiting the State from contracting with businesses that boycott Israel or are connected to the BDS movement.

The bill, HB 2107, sponsored by Representative Matt Baker, prohibits the Pennsylvanian commonwealth from contracting with any company or organization that engages in an economic boycott against Israel.

Governor Tom Wolf said:

“We must make clear that we are in favor of a peaceful, negotiated solution to this conflict and that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States, stand behind our friends and allies, and will not encourage economic punishment in place of peaceful solutions to challenging conflicts,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “We, as a Commonwealth, must make sure that Pennsylvania is not contributing to a cause that is antithetical to our country’s position on the world’s stage.”

Representative Matt Baker said:

“I would like to commend and extend my appreciation to the General Assembly and Governor for supporting and signing this important and historic legislation into law,” said Representative Matt Baker. “This legislation makes it very clear that companies can either perform a BDS action or they can do business with Pennsylvania. However, they cannot do both.”

This law will prohibit contracting with BDS businesses, states that a purchasing agency may not contract with a company unless the company certifies that it is not currently engaged in a boycott of an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction not prohibited by Congressional statute from engaging in trade or commerce. Also, the entity must certify that it will not engage in such boycotting during the duration of the contract.

Jewish Press News Briefs

American Express Boycotts Roger Waters over BDS Campaign

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

Roger Waters, 75, who has been planning his most spectacular tour to date, is deeply frustrated these days over the backlash he’s been facing from his big-name sponsors, most notably American Express, over his rabid hatred for Israel and his avid dedication to the BDS movement, Emily Smith reported for Page Six.

According to Smith, American Express will not spend the $4 million the aging Pink Floyd singer is demanding for sponsoring his 2017 US and North America tour. This month, the credit card without which one apparently can’t leave home  sponsored the Desert Trip festival “Oldchella,” with the elders of Rock N’ Roll Waters, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. During the concert, Waters entertained the crowd with praise for the Palestinians and urged them to support the BDS Movement, saying, “I encourage the government in Israel to end the occupation.”

A source inside American Express told Page Six the company “pulled out because it did not want to be part of his anti-Israel rhetoric.”

A spokeswoman for the company said, “We never committed to sponsoring Roger Waters’ upcoming tour. When we were approached with the options, we passed on making a bid.”

Waters said this year, “I have been accused of being a Nazi and an anti-Semite for the past 10 years. My industry has been particularly recalcitrant in even raising a voice [against Israel] . . . I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they are scared [expletive]. If they say something in public, they will no longer have a career. They will be destroyed.”

Or at least they won’t get the big money they were hoping for. Except that Citi has now decided to put its money in the new Waters venture. If you own a Citi card, now would be the time to call them up and tell them you’d like it with a little less Waters.

JNi.Media

Pro-Israel Students Penned-in “like Warsaw Ghetto” on UK Campus

Friday, October 28th, 2016

An Israeli speaker’s talk at a London college campus scheduled for this week was canceled on Wednesday. Why? Because, according to the cancelation notice sent by the student union, “there had been controversy” when he spoke at the campus two years prior, and the hosting organization failed to disclose that when the room was booked for the talk.

After cries of suppression of speech and vehement protests, the university stepped in and “un”canceled the talk. Hen Mazzig’s talk at University College, London, was reinstated. It would take place, as scheduled, on Thursday evening, Oct. 27.

The response by the anti-Israel mob was swift and the attack was vicious. A protest was called. Outside the room where Mazzig was scheduled to speak, livid demonstrators screamed for murder and the end of Israel. “Intifada, Intifada!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” They barred the entrance to the talk while pummeling the doors and windows, leering malevolently. Two thugs yanked open a window, hurling themselves into the room, launching several students inside into panic attacks. A woman inside kept repeating: “This is like the Warsaw Ghetto!”

UK protesters barreling through the window at Hen Mazzig event

UK protesters barreling through the window at Hen Mazzig event

Anti-Israel students yelling and banging on windows at Hen Mazzig UCL event. Oct. 27, 2016

Anti-Israel students yelling and banging on windows at Hen Mazzig UCL event. Oct. 27, 2016

The prelude and the coda of this minuet reveals volumes about the campus wars being waged against anything Israel these days.

Let’s start at the beginning: Hen (pronounced Khen, with the throat-scraping sound most non-Israelis find unpronounceable) Mazzig is a 27 year old Israeli who completed his army service four years ago. Since that time Mazzig has been speaking to audiences, especially on U.S. college campuses, about Israel. Mazzig is an educator who wants non-Israelis to understand his tiny country and his fellow countrymen. He is soft-spoken with a recognizable, but comprehensible, Israeli accent.

When Mazzig first started speaking to college students back in 2013, he was shocked by the vitriol directed against Israel by some American college students, professors and community members. Even Jewish ones.

In 2013, Mazzig wrote an epic cri de coeur, calling on American Jews to “Wake Up!” He was horrified to learn that Israel’s enemies are not just the hostile Arab nations surrounding his tiny country. “It is also here in America, where a battle must be waged against prejudice and lies. I implore American Jews to do more.”

This time around Mazzig is more sanguine about the atmosphere on U.S. campuses. He told the JewishPress.com that he is “happy that I was able to bring my voice into the conversation, to help raise  awareness.”

There is now ample funding to fight the scourge he urged Jewish leadership to recognize a few years back, the movement known as BDS, Mazzig told the JewisPress.com.  But the recognition of BDS as a symptom of the underlying illness is still too attenuated, including by Jewish leadership. “BDS is only a symptom of the disease which is the same old hatred – anti-Semitism.”

That hatred of Jews and, by extension the Jewish state, is what fuels BDS and other symptoms is made clear by the response to Mazzig in London last night.

The original effort to shut down Thursday night’s speech was based on a “controversy” surrounding a talk he gave in 2014 at Kings College, London. But that controversy was one created solely by anti-Israel protesters, not by Mazzig. In fact, the video and public statement posted by the protesters reveal that disrupting Mazzig’s talk and the walkout were planned in advance. The protest was not about anything Mazzig said — it was about the fact that any former IDF soldier was allowed to speak on campus at all.

Again at Thursday night’s event the protest was fueled simply by anti-Israel animus. Pro-Israel female students were assaulted on their way to the event. Many who sought entrance to the speech were barred by the protesters, those who gained admittance were prevented from leaving without a choreographed police escort.

But here’s the rub: while the haters did their best to prevent him from speaking, they did so without realizing that in his message and in his essence, Mazzig is the ultimate slayer of untruths about Israel.

For one thing, Mazzig’s family hails from Tunisia and Iraq – he is one of those “brown bodies” people love to claim Israel oppresses. For another thing, Mazzig was an openly gay commander in the Israeli army, where being gay raises no eyebrows, let alone scaffolds. Next on the list: Mazzig served in the COGAT unit. COGAT works with the Palestinian Authority to coordinate activities in order to improve the lives of the Arabs living in the territories.

During his IDF service Mazzig focused on protecting everyone, “coordinating humanitarian aid, and tending to the needs of civilians” living in the territories, Jewish and Arab, he explained. Mazzig and his unit worked feverishly “in a special operation conducted in the middle of the night” to unite an Arab Gazan orphan with an uncle in Ramallah, so that the boy “would not be left alone on the streets of the Gaza Strip.”

And the title of Mazzig’s speech at UCL, back in 2014? “The Hope for Peace: Promoting Peace While in Uniform.”

When the thugs were pounding on the doors and windows and shouting that Mazzig is a “murderer,” they were, albeit unknowingly, attempting to silence a speaker who understands Israel in ways they really must prevent the world from learning about. Otherwise, anyone who is not automatically a hater will realize that the throngs of illiberal thugs attempting to block free speech are the real roadblocks to peace.

Speaking from London following the event, Mazzig told the JewishPress.com:

I was standing in the room, trying to calm the Jewish students, while the mob outside was banging on the doors, on the windows, and calling for intifada. I knew this was not normal, nobody should have to endure this.

But neither Mazzig nor his talk’s sponsor, the media watchdog group CAMERA, were deterred.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

BDS: The New Kristallnacht

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

In less than a month we’ll commemorate Kristallnacht, that terrible two-day pogrom that saw Jewish homes and schools ransacked and over 1,000 shuls and 7,000 Jewish businesses burned or destroyed.

But it was more than two days of horror. Kristallnacht was immediately followed by economic and political sanctions against European Jews, which in turn were only a prelude to the unthinkable nightmare that would follow in the years ahead.

Today’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is nothing less than a political Kristallnacht. Those who promote BDS – who try to economically strangle the Jewish people living in Israel – share the same goals as the monsters who took sledgehammers to shuls and set fire to Jewish homes. Anyone fooled by the packaging is grossly naive.

The men and women who make up legislative bodies are many things (not all of them good) but naiveté is uncommon among those clever enough to gather petitions and run for elected office. When these elected officials cast their votes publicly, or abstain from doing so, there’s a reason they’ve taken a position, and constituents are best served by knowing how their representatives voted.

Recently, the New York City Council approved a nonbinding resolution (sponsored by Councilman Andy Cohen of the Bronx) to condemn the BDS movement against Israel. The resolution, which condemns “all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the global movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the people of Israel,” passed in a 40-4 vote with six abstentions.

Good news? Yes, it’s good that 80 percent of the council, including the speaker, recognize the BDS movement for what it is. But then we have the 20 percent who voted against the resolution, or abstained. Those ten elected officials know exactly what they didn’t support… and what they would allow, if only tacitly.

How did your council member vote? You should find out. More, you should know how other elected officials stand on the BDS movement – a movement that apologists claim is “non-violent.” Those same non-violent adherents had to be removed twice from the City Council’s proceedings because they were incapable of comporting themselves in a civil manner. They are anything but non-violent when they attack Jewish students and professors on college campuses across the United States.

The good news is there are plenty of men and women of good conscience who are unwilling to stand by the political Kristallnacht of the BDS movement. My colleague Senator Jack Martins and I sponsored anti-BDS legislation that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law this past June. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently adopted anti-BDS legislation in his state, which passed both the State Senate and Assembly almost unanimously. In late August, the California State Assembly voted 60-0 to send an anti-BDS bill to the governor for approval. Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia have passed similar laws.

The United States is a great country, where good people certainly outnumber the bad. But let’s not be lulled into a sense of false security. The BDS movement – along with those who would leave Jews isolated and starved in Israel (and everywhere else, if they could) – is crouching at the door.

State Senator Simcha Felder

Fighting Anti-Israel NGOs And BDS Activists: An Interview with Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

In just a few years, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has shot to political stardom in Israel. A computer engineer turned politician, Shaked, 40, has been a member of Knesset for the Jewish Home party since 2013 and was appointed justice minister by Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2015.

Shaked, a forceful champion of Israel’s rights both at home and abroad, is an outspoken supporter of Jewish settlements and was the driving force behind Israel’s 2016 NGO transparency law.

 

The Jewish Press: Can you describe your background and what influenced your political views and your decision to join the Jewish Home party?

Shaked: I was right wing since I was a child, after having watched a debate between Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres. I served in the army in the Golani Brigade and that also influenced my ideology, since most of the soldiers were from the Religious Zionist movement.

For a few years I was a Likud member, working with Benjamin Netanyahu after the Gaza Disengagement. I decided to leave the Likud and join the Jewish Home party because I thought that it’s very important to have a party that has secular and Orthodox working together on the basis of Religious Zionist values.

How concerned are you that the UN will try to impose a unilateral solution on Israel?

The UN is a very political and biased organization and I don’t believe in truth coming from it. It’s just a body of political interests. The fact that the UN has failed to deal with Syria while hundreds of thousands of women and children are being slaughtered there proves that it does nothing. The UN tries to hit Israel whenever it can in a very biased approach without even mentioning the ongoing incitement by the Palestinian Authority. Just the other day Mahmoud Abbas paid a condolence call to families of terrorists who tried to kill Jews.

The UN also ignores the fact that there are terror attacks conducted in the U.S. for the same reason – radical Islam against the West. In dealing with the UN, Israel should stick to its own beliefs.

Establishing a Palestinian state right now is a very dangerous thing. It’s also not realistic at all. The majority of the people in Israel, including those from the left and center, don’t think we have a partner right now. So Ban Ki-moon can talk, but it’s just wishful thinking. In reality we will do what we think is good for us.

How would you advise America to combat the scourge of Islamist terrorism that both America and Israel face?

You just need to face reality. In Europe they are already facing reality and identifying it as radical Islamic terrorism. We are not at war with Islam. In Israel, 20 percent of the population is Muslim. And we have a very good relationship with them. But we need to distinguish between Islam and radical Islamic terror, which threatens the Western world.

This is actually a war between two civilizations; between the Western world and radical Islamic terror. It’s in the U.S., in Europe, in Israel; it’s all over the Middle East. And radical Islam is mainly aimed at hurting other Muslims. There are hundreds of thousands of Muslims all over the Middle East who have been slaughtered because of this extreme ideology. We need to face this reality.

What is your position on Israel’s claim to Judea and Samaria?

After the Oslo Accords, Judea and Samaria were assigned to areas A, B, and C. Areas A and B are under the Palestinian Authority and area C is under Israeli authority. If you ask me what will be in the end, how will we finish the conflict, I believe we should annex area C. There are 425,000 Jews and 90,000 Arabs who are living there. The Arabs should be full citizens of Israel and get all the according rights. Areas A and B should be a strong autonomy or in conjunction with Jordan.

Under international law, those territories are not occupied territories; they are territories under dispute. There is a lot of land in area C that belongs to the state and we should expand building on those lands. There’s nothing we need to apologize for. It’s legally state land and we should continue to build there.

You initiated and then advanced Israel’s NGO bill through the Knesset. What do you hope it will achieve in terms of deterring agitators from working within Israel?

It’s a transparency bill. In Israel, there are a few NGOs that get the majority of their money from abroad from different countries. Those countries actually try to interfere in a diplomatic way in Israeli policy and are trying to do it through NGOs.

We are not forbidding that, but we want the public to be aware of it. That’s why we passed a transparency bill that any NGO that gets more than 50 percent of its budget from a foreign country should declare it when approaching a Knesset member and in their official publications.

What more can be done about many of these NGOs who are aligned with the BDS movement and their allies, such as the Black Lives Matter delegation that recently visited Israel and accused it of “genocide”?

There are definitely NGOs in Israel that cooperate with BDS groups, mainly in the United States. They actually lay the groundwork for the lies and they distort the facts the BDS groups end up using.

We need to determine what falls under freedom of speech, but we are fighting against the threat of delegitimization the NGOs are pursuing. This is something we are dealing with on a regular basis because it’s based on lies and it hurts Israel.

Unfortunately, many agitators against Israel in these various groups are Jewish. What would you say to them as Jews?

They are confused. I talked about it in the lecture that I gave to the JNF, in which I said there are extreme liberal Jews who just swallow the lies and the propaganda the BDS movement is selling. They are confusing liberal and human rights values with the new anti-Semitism. BDS is perpetrating a fraud and unfortunately there are people who are buying into it.

Sara Lehmann

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