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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

NY Daily News: BDS DOA at DNC

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The feisty tabloid that gave the world the immortal 1976 headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead” has done it again on Tuesday, with the headline “BDS is DOA at the DNC,” which continued, “Staving off challenges from Bernie Sanders’ delegates, Democrats under Hillary Clinton’s leadership do right by Israel.”

The grownups have prevailed, apparently, at the 2016 democratic platform committee, according to the Daily News report, drafting a platform that would “stop the party from destructively setting benchmarks for negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians by calling for ‘an end to occupation and illegal settlements.” Not on Hillary’s watch, Mr. Sanders.

The draft platform reportedly suggests that “a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel’s identity.” Folks on the right may not like it, but the current, subdued version, beats whatever crazy talk had been suggested by Bernie Sanders’ five proxies on the platform committee— Keith Ellison, Bill McKibben, Dr Cornel West, James Zogby and Deborah Parker—including a call to “end Israel’s illegal settlements and military occupation of the Palestinian territories.”

While Sanders has 5 out of the 15 spots on the Democratic party’s platform committee, presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has 6, and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has 4. That’s 10 political grownups who actually want to win in November, versus 5 sons of Abbie Hoffman, who can be immensely entertaining in a debate, but usually lead to a GOP landslide come November.

But the Clinton-Wasserman Schultz platform draft doesn’t only push back the anti-Zionist crazies, according to the Daily News, it also commits to “retaining [Israel’s] qualitative military edge” in the region, and to Democrats opposing “any effort to delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.”

Like they said it so eloquently at the start: BDS is DOA at the DNC.


The American Jewish Community has Already Embraced BDS Against “Settlements”

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Elder of Ziyon}

On Tuesday, I visited the newest university in Israel, Ariel University.

It is a beautiful campus with 15,000 students. Over a dozen buildings are being constructed right now as it expands. I was shown the robotics lab and spoke with an expert in making wine from grape varieties that have been proven to have been used in First and Second Temple times. (I plan to write about that in the future.)

Ariel University has the only free electron laser particle accelerator in the Middle East.

The campus has hundreds of Arab students.  Student groups foster dialogue between Jewish and Arab students. It also attracts students from around the world. (Most of the lectures are in English.)

It is building a hospital which will be available for all residents of the region, with the aim of building a medical school as well. Ambitious plans to add more dormitories and more research centers are bearing fruit.

It has what may be the only college-level program in the world to mainstream students on the Aspergers’ spectrum. I met one very polite young man in that program who said that he had been rejected from every school he applied to before Ariel accepted him and he is soon to graduate with a degree in Middle Eastern studies.

Ariel U is centrally located, easily accessible via Highway 5 which goes directly there from Tel Aviv. From Ariel University’s “upper campus,” on a clear day, you can see Israel’s entire coastal plain.

Ariel University is a Zionist success story, in the edge of a bustling and beautiful town of 20,000 residents.

But when American Jewish groups visit Israel, nearly all of them avoid visiting Ariel University.

Jewish Federation trips to Israel do not go to Ariel University (with very few exceptions.)

AIPAC doesn’t visit.

Even Birthright won’t visit – left-wing or right-wing trips avoid it.

Because Ariel University is across the Green Line.

American Jewish organizations, afraid of criticism from the Left, have decided that Ariel does not exist and it should not be visited. It is too controversial.

But here’s the thing. Virtually every Israeli politician from left to right considers Ariel to be non-negotiable in any peace plan,

If you visit the community you know why. It is a large town and strategically situated. It is part of Israel in every real sense. The idea of uprooting the town is unthinkable.

Amazingly, J-Street U has visited Ariel to see what it is like and what their ideological enemies are up to. Yet groups that are unabashedly Zionist do not want to visit.

Christian groups love to visit the university when they go on Israel trips. But Jewish Israel missions almost all will avoid it.

This is outrageous.

The same people who say that BDS is terrible, even when practiced against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, are effectively engaging in BDS themselves by avoiding visiting the incredible, and very Zionist, accomplishments of Ariel and Ariel University.

They cannot argue that Ariel is dangerous. (That is Birthright’s official reason.)  It isn’t. There were no incidents since the knife uprising began last September. Hamas rockets never reached Ariel. It has been far more dangerous to visit Jerusalem than Ariel over the past year.

They cannot argue that Ariel University is filled with messianic right-wing Jews. It isn’t. Some professors there are leftists, even Meretz-voters. Arab students can and do write their theses on the “Nakba.” Yarmulkas are the exception, not the rule.

At the very least, these American organizations that tell their participants that they are going to learn about both sides of the conflict are completely ignoring the biggest settlement, and only Israeli university, that is in the territories not adjacent to the Green Line.

If anyone is going to claim that they are well-educated on the conflict, shouldn’t they at least visit Ariel?

To have Jewish groups – liberal or conservative – essentially boycott Ariel sends a message that American Jews are out of sync with what most Israelis believe would be part of any peace agreement.

If you are planning a mission to Israel for your Jewish group, ask yourself why you shouldn’t visit a miraculous, modern and liberal campus that could teach most so-called “pro-peace, pro-Israel” groups a lot about real co-existence and peace.

Elder of Ziyon

The Walter Bingham File – A Diverse Week In Israel Humiliated By Turkey? [audio]

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

This week saw a significant contrast between the view of large sections of the Israel public and the government in their evaluation of the agreement with Turkey. It is perceived by many as a defeat, but by our government as a victory. This program discusses this in great detail.

We have also welcomed in recent days celebrities from the entertainment world to receive awards here, as well as diplomats and politicians who came to give us unsolicited advice – and lecture us on how to live with our Palestinian Arab neighbors. Walter disputes their views and rejects their help.

Also hear why the program detects a change in how European governments act towards NGOs that promote BDS against Israel.

And more.

Walter Bingham File 03Jul – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

The Tamar Yonah Show – Sundays Off In Israel: Agree or Disagree? [audio]

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

There’s a debate in Israel whether to extend the weekends to include Sundays being off (Sunday is a work-day in Israel). Some argue that it will hurt the economy, while others say it will let Israelis ‘chill’ and return refreshed to a new work-week. Who’s right? Tamar gives her strong opinion on it!

Paul Miller from www.salomoncenter.org joins Tamar and talks about Trump, Brexit, BDS and Abbas.

The program also features an exclusive interview by new INTR hostess Heather Dean, who speaks with a mother in Israel who got ‘The Phone Call’ from her son. What was THAT all about? Watch the video here: https://vid.me/37uv

Tamar Yonah Show 27Jun – PODCAST

For all of the latest editions of The Tamar Yonah Show, click HERE, or listen LIVE on Sundays at 9am ET/4pm Israel and on Mondays and Tuesdays at 1pm ET/8pm Israel!

Israel News Talk Radio

California Congressman Wants to Kill Contracts for Companies Aiding BDS

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Ca) testified at a hearing of the State Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss AB 2844, legislation authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, that would prevent the state’s public entities from entering into contracts with companies that participate in discriminatory practices as part of a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions policy against Israel.

“This is both a civil rights bill and a foreign policy bill. It is important that the state do all it can to combat discriminatory BDS practices. If adopted, this state law would be in full accord with a 40 year policy of the United States to prohibit the boycott of Israel, and it would help combat a new effort to unfairly demonize an ally of the United States by denying it the opportunity to conduct legitimate commerce, trade and investment with the US and international firms,” said Congressman Sherman.

Congressman Sherman is the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia. He has a 100% rating from the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), as well as from the Humane Society which has awarded him the “Humane Champion” award for five consecutive years. In 2007 Sherman introduced the “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act,” with regard to large financial entities.

Sherman’s legislative record received a 100% rating from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2011, a 100% rating from the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 2007-2008, a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign in 2009-2010, and a 98% rating from the NAACP in 2009-2010. Sherman has earned a 100% rating from NARAL Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, and the League of Conservation Voters.

Sherman has been a strong supporter and advocate of the US-Israel relationship, consistently supporting aid to Israel. In 2004, Sherman first introduced the US-Israel Energy Cooperation Act providing grant money to joint ventures between American and Israeli academics and private sector companies that conduct research and develop energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies.

On July 9, 2014, Sherman appeared as a guest commentator on the Al-Jazeera America’s network, where he went after the Qatari rulers who are the owners of Al-Jazeera, criticizing them for funding Hamas. Sherman said, “Every one of those rockets [fired by Hamas into Israeli cities] is a war crime… Of course it’s a war crime committed by Hamas. And of course the owners of this TV network help fund Hamas.”

Sherman and his wife have been members of Valley Beth Shalom, a conservative synagogue in Encino, California, for many years.

David Israel

Combating BDS by Legislation: Different Approaches, Same Goal

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently issued an executive order directing state entities to divest all public funds from companies supporting the Boycott Divestment Sanctions campaign (“BDS”) against Israel, and to refrain in the future from doing business with such entities.

In so doing, New York joined several other states that have taken some form of counter-boycott measure against BDS, in addition to more that are currently considering legislation to that effect. While these measures have each targeted the anti-Israel BDS movement, there exist some notable differences in their language and form.

Before examining these legal differences, I should state the obvious: governors and legislatures are morally and politically right to counter-boycott BDS. The so-called BDS movement is part of a broader campaign to delegitimize, demonize and discriminate against the nation state of the Jewish people, and to undermine any reasonable prospect of a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
The claim of BDS advocates that their bigoted boycott is really about promoting international respect for human rights is demonstrably false. If BDS were concerned with human rights, it would target first the worst human rights offenders and those regimes that permit no dissent or access to justice.

But the so-called BDS movement does not target Iran, China, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, Cuba or other such offenders (indeed many BDS advocates seek to increase ties with Iran, Cuba, and China despite their horrid record on human rights). Instead BDS targets only one nation: the democratic nation state of Israel, which, despite being subjected to terrorist attacks virtually on a daily basis, has a free press and an independent judiciary. No country faced with comparable threats has had a better record on human rights, of compliance with the rule of law, and of efforts to reduce civilian casualties in armed conflicts.

Israel has also offered to end the occupation – as it did in Gaza – on numerous occasions in exchange for peace based on a two-state solution, but those offers have not been accepted by the Palestinian leadership, or by hardliners like Omar Barghouti, one of the leaders of BDS, who declared “I am completely and categorically against bi-nationalism because it assumes there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.”
Israel like every country including our own is far from perfect – and I and other supporters of Israel have been critical of its flaws – but it has internal mechanisms for addressing its imperfections. There is no legitimate reason for singling it out for the kind of external discrimination represented by BDS.

One of BDS’s core components – the Academic and Cultural Boycott (“PACBI”) – encourages participants to disassociate from Israeli cultural, artistic and scientific institutions, and to blacklist individuals deemed too supportive of Israel. I recently learned that I too feature on this blacklist when Omar Barghouti refused to debate me in front of the Oxford Union. The PACBI guidelines endorse boycotting individuals who cross the BDS “picket lines” by cooperating with Israeli academic institutions or blacklisted individuals. They also encourage the boycott of all cultural and academic institutions or artists that promote “Brand Israel,” including for example the singer Matisyahu.

Even more egregiously, PACBI calls for the boycott of institutions that promote “normalization projects” which do not sufficiently emphasize the injustice of the occupation, even if those projects aim for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and reconciliation. The BDS movement also implicitly opposes a twostate solution by explicitly endorsing the so-called Palestinian right of return, which would in effect unwind nearly 40 years of negotiations, and destroy Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

In short, governors and state legislatures are right to combat BDS as a matter of public policy – BDS is immoral, discriminatory, and undermines US interests abroad. Thus far, however, states have adopted different models in this effort. Most have adopted laws that make specific reference to Israel. Florida, for example, now requires the State Board of Administration to “identify all companies that are boycotting Israel,” to divest all public funds from those entities, and further prohibits “a state agency or local governmental entity from contracting services” from those companies. Other states have embraced more general provisions. California, for example, is considering legislation that forbids the state from doing business with companies that discriminate on the basis of nationality or national origin. Similarly, Alabama has passed a bill divesting from companies that boycott US allies, or nations enjoy “normal trade” with the United States.

There are merits to both approaches. On the one hand, the obvious target of these laws is the anti-Israel BDS movement. After all, there is no significant boycott movement against another US ally. Including reference to Israel in the text of the bill helps cement the purpose of the legislation, and prevents state resources from being wasted identifying and combating small-scale boycott movements. On the other hand, legislation with non-specific language may have some benefits as well, namely that it more directly reflects the legal principle at the heart of anti-BDS measures – that it is generally wrong to discriminate on the basis of nationality or national origin. Such language also mirrors federal anti-boycott laws, which penalize companies and individuals that participate in boycotts based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality.

Regardless, recent claims by the pro-BDS punditry that any anti-BDS regulations are McCarthyite is both misleading, and insulting to the victims of real McCarthyism who were punished for their ideas, speeches and associations, not for their actions in refusing to do business based on national origin. Yes, anti-BDS regulations often results in lists of companies that discriminate against Israel, just as there are lists today of store and building owners who refuse to do business with, for example, African-Americans, LGBTQ, or Muslims. Proof is required that a business engaged in a discriminatory boycott by singling out Israeli entities, or individuals based on their national origin, or political convictions, and there is a process for challenging inclusion on any list. The only McCarthyist blacklist is that which has been complied by BDS enforcers – a list I am proud to be on – of supporters of Israel and of those who seek to “normalize” relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

To be clear: anti-BDS regulations should go no further than the counterboycott of companies that actually engage in discriminatory actions. No one, not even the most rabid BDS-activist, should face legal recriminations for expressing an opinion that is supportive of BDS, or for encouraging others to support BDS. Political speech – even bigoted, misguided political speech – is clearly protected by the constitution. The wording of Governor Cuomo’s executive order in this regard raises some red flags: if regulators target institutions for “promot[ing] others to engage in any [BDS] activity” by means of speech rather than economic pressure, the courts should strike down that provision, while upholding the remainder of the order. Similarly, the bill currently under consideration in the Kansas legislature that would defund academic institutions for funding student associations supportive of BDS impacts speech and association rights of pro-Palestinian students and faculty members. It should be revised to avoid any constitutional challenges.

That said, most anti-BDS measures are clearly directed at discriminatory business activities, and not at speech or advocacy.

So applied, such counter-boycott regulations will promote political, artistic and cultural freedoms by imposing economic sanctions on those BDS bigots who are seeking to suppress such freedoms by discriminating against Israeli, and pro-Israeli advocates, artists, cultural figures and businesses.


{Portions of this op-ed were first published in The Daily Beast under the title “New York is Right to Counterboycott Anti-Israel Boycotters.”}

Alan M. Dershowitz

Israel Defending Europe

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Amazing new video from The Hallelu Foundation

Video of the Day

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-defending-europe/2016/06/15/

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