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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

United States’ Episcopal Church Rejects Boycott of Israeli Goods from Judea and Samaria

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

SALT LAKE – The General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States met in Salt Lake City yesterday, Thursday, July 2 and rejected in a voice vote the proposal to divest from businesses that have operations in Judea and Samaria and to boycott products from the region.

At the Church’s 78th General Convention, the House of Bishops, led by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, overwhelmingly defeated the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions resolution. The Episcopal Church has around 1.8 million members across the United States.

Commenting on the text of the resolution, Bishop Ed Little of Northern Indiana said that it was “clearly and unmistakably advocates boycott and divestment, and we must reject it,” according to a news report by the Episcopal News Service. “As Anglicans, we have the gift and ability to reach out to people on both sides in the conflict. That is what the Episcopal Church is doing in the Middle East. Our current leadership under the presiding bishop is allowing us to be peacemakers.”

Another bishop, Leo Frade of Southeast Florida said in the Episcopal News Service report that his experience of embargoes and blocking, in particular the embargo of Cuba, backfire. “It hurts the same people we think we are helping. Palestinian jobs depend on investment, not on divestment.”

In addition, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA in Kansas City, Missouri, decided to delay a vote on divestment from Israel until their next assembly in 2017. Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) hailed the decision by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church to reject themotion endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“We wholeheartedly thank the Episcopal Church convention for lending its support to Israel on this issue, and for taking a moral stand. We sincerely hope that other major church denominations in America will follow this example and stop the BDS movement in its tracks.”

Earlier this week, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC) voted in favor of divestment from Israel.

“Endorsing BDS does nothing to improve the plight of the Palestinians, in particular not of those employed by Israeli companies in the West Bank. Endorsing BDS also doesn’t contribute to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All it does is to sow division and hatred,” added Lauder.

The WJC president said the real motive of the BDS movement was “to put into question the existence of Israel as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people.”

“The BDS movement won’t bring peace and justice to the Middle East; that will only come once the Palestinians and their supporters choose cooperation over confrontation.”

This week, Malachi Rosenfeld, 26, of Kochav Hashahar in the Binyamin region, was killed in a terror attack on Monday when Palestinian terrorists fired upon him and other passengers while they were driving back from a basketball game.

US Mennonite Church Group Postpones BDS Vote

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

A third U.S. church group that was set to vote this week on a motion to divest from companies doing business with Israel has decided to table the resolution for two years.

The Mennonite Church USA had planned to vote on whether to sell off stock in firms “known to be profiting from the ‘Occupation’ and from ‘destruction of life and property’ in Judea and Samaria.

At its national meeting Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri, however, delegates voted 418-336, with 28 abstentions, to table the resolution until the next assembly convenes – two years from now, according to a church spokesperson.

The vote to divest would have been the third this week by a U.S. church group; two others (the Episcopal Church and the Cleveland synod of the United Church of Christ, both held in Salt Lake City) passed a motion to support the BDS (boycott, divest and sanctions) campaign against the State of Israel.

The churches voted to sever ties with companies that do business with firms that have any connection with Judea and Samaria, many of which employ Arabs from the Palestinian Authority who would lose their jobs as a result.

Obama Won’t Enforce Anti-BDS Provision Language in Trade Bill he just Signed

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

This week the United States officially put on notice its trade partners that it will not countenance boycotts or other economic warfare against Israel.

After signing the relevant trade legislation into law, however, the White House signaled to all its trade partners that they are still free to boycott goods made in the disputed territories, despite the clear language of the legislation the president signed.

This week the Trade Promotion Authority bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The TPA is primarily focused on international trade between the U.S. and Europe. It also included a section which addresses trade between the U.S. and Israel.

That part of the legislation, the U.S.-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act, bans boycotts and other means of economic warfare against Israel or the “Israeli-controlled territories.” This amendment, introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill-6) with bi-partisan co-sponsorship, was unanimously adopted into the PTA in April.

The passage of the TPA, including the anti-BDS section, should sound a death knell for the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement. It should.

However, as pro-Israel Americans and Israelis learned only a few weeks ago in the Jerusalem passport case (Zivotofsky v. Kerry), there are certain spheres of international decision making over which the president has exclusive, or at least primary and controlling, control. Obama claims that international trade is one of those areas, even though Article 1, Section 8, clause 3, expressly gives Congress the power to regulate foreign commerce.

So even though the TPA is intended to act as a strong deterrent to European and other countries to pass and enforce boycotts of Israeli products, the White House has already signaled that it will not extend its protection to any goods produced in the disputed territories.

The anti boycott of Israel language in the TPA is: “actions by states, nonmember states of the United Nations, international organizations or affiliated agencies of international organizations that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories.” [emphasis added.]

In a statement which Matt Lee of the Associated Press attributed to State Dept. spokesperson John Kirby, the administration made clear that despite signing the TPA, the position of the White House remains, as it has been, that the U.S. opposes boycotts of the State of Israel, but it also opposes the presence of Jews in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights.

In the statement the administration argues that by “conflating Israel and ‘Israeli-controlled territories’ a provision of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation runs counter to longstanding U.S. policy towards the occupied territories, including with regard to settlement activity,” and says that every U.S. administration has opposed “settlement activity.”

It goes on to point out that the “U.S. government has never defended or supported Israeli settlements and activity associated with them and, by extension, does not pursue policies or activities that would legitimize them.”

The U.S. administration announced that it will not jeopardize the holy grail of the two-state solution by enforcing the U.S. law as written and which its leader signed. In the statement it claims that “both parties have long recognized that settlement activity and efforts to change facts on the ground undermine the goal of a two-state solution to the conflict and only make it harder to negotiate a sustainable and equitable peace deal in good faith.” It is on this basis, ostensibly to promote a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, that this administration

Professor Eugene Kontorovich of the Northwestern University School of Law analyzes several other provisions of the U.S-Israel trade aspect of the TPA which have been largely overlooked. In particular, Kontorovich points out, U.S. courts cannot recognize or enforce the judgment of any foreign court “that doing business in or being based in the West Bank or Golan Heights violates international law or particular European rules.”


Orange to Pay ‘Partner’ $50 million for Studying Damage from BDS Fiasco

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The French-based Orange telecom company has agreed to pay Israeli-based Partner Communications $45 million for a study of damage caused by the fiasco two months ago caused by Orange CEO’s comments that he would like to get rid of Partner.

The agreement also allows Orange to terminate the Brand Licensing Agreement during a one-year period if Partner does not cut off ties first in the 12 months beforehand. If Partner exercises its right to end the connection, it will cost the company an additional $56 million.

The funding for the study also covers expenses Partner incurred to deal with the fallout from Orange CEO Stephane Richard’s remarks in Cairo, where he said:

Believe me I would cancel the contract tomorrow if I could… I know that it is a sensitive issue here in Egypt, but not only in Egypt … We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries.

Previous protests by the BDS movement have tried to pressure Orange to cut its ties with Israel. There always is the possibility that a company is faking reasons its pull out of Israel or Judea and Samaria. BDS charges Partner with the sin of erecting approximately 100 antennas on “Palestinian land.”

Everyone has jumped to conclusions that Richard was succumbing to BDS, and even the new agreement has been met with suspicions that Orange simply is trying to diplomatically cooperate with BDS under the cover of deal that seems to be “strictly business.”

It delights the media, left-wing and right-wing alike, to celebrate or bemoan a BDS victory, but sometimes it is poppycock.

Richard, despite his remarks that obviously pander to Arabs, has claimed there is a legitimate business reason for wanting to end the arrangement with Partner. Israel is the only country in the world where a local company uses the Orange brand but is not part of the French conglomerate. Partner reportedly simply pays Orange approximately $4 million for the right use the Orange name. It is a tiny sum for the French conglomerate.

The new agreement and funding by Orange gives the Partner to examine how much damage, if any, was caused by the blow-up following Richard’s remarks and what would be involved in trying to come up with a brand name instead of Orange.

Richard’s comments provoked so much excitement that Richard even flew into Israel, met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, expressed his love for Israel and said he opposed boycotts.

The fact is that Orange is invested in Israel and operates a technological hothouse.

In addition, Partner told The JewishPress.com that when the Israel firm started its own innovations laboratory two years ago, Orange asked to participate. it was rejected because the Partner investment recruited people to participate but did not take any outside funding. However, the Orange’s interest spurred it to start up its own independent research lab.

Despite the plain wording of today’s press release in the new Partner-Orange arrangement, several media outlets mis-reported that “Orange, Partner Communications sign deal to end brand agreement” (Indian Times”) and that “Orange to end license deal with Partners Comms.” (CBS Marketwatch).

Unless the whole arrangement is an expensive ruse to bury BDS, which is quite fanciful, BDS can crawl back into its hole.

This is not the first time a company has moved operations due to business considerations but allegedly because of BDS.

SodaStream pulled out of Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, this year after completion of its new and more modern factory in the Negev, five minutes from the new extension of the high-speed Highway 6 (Kvish) highway that makes it a lot closer to Ben Gurion Airport.

Hillel Rabbi Proud Drexel Honored Anti-Israel, Anti-America Noam Chomsky

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania bestowed an honorary degree on one of the U.S.’s most infamous anti-Israel, anti-American public figures this month. And on her Facebook page, the Hillel rabbi at Drexel posted a picture of herself with Chomsky and Drexel’s president at the ceremony.

“A representative of the Jewish community should probably not be in a photo op with him,” said one former Hillel student. “It is a bit disturbing that a figurehead of the Jewish community would allow herself to be next to him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some students felt alienated and more hesitant to be involved in the organization after seeing such a photo.”

Drexel awarded 14 honorary degrees this year. The recipients of seven, including Chomsky, spoke at various graduation ceremonies.

Chomsky is one of the best known and most outspoken American critics of Israel. He has called the Jewish State such a consistent and extreme violator of human rights “that you hardly have to argue about it.” For that reason, he claims, U.S. military aid to Israel is in direct violation of U.S. Law. He also contends that peace proposals made by Hamas have been more “forthcoming” and sound than any proposed by Israel.

At least Chomsky rejects (sometimes) the claim that Israel is an Apartheid state. But that’s because he thinks Apartheid is too gentle a term for Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Arabs.

“To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by ‘apartheid’ you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse,” Chomsky said in an interview last year. Chomsky said that the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is totally different than that of South African whites to blacks. He said that the “South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. … The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison.”

Although he is distressed that the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement has not yet been successful, he is very supportive of it.

Perhaps that is why it was so extraordinary to see a Hillel rabbi providing what would appear to be tantamount official support for Drexel’s decision to honor Chomsky.

Isabel de Koninck is Drexel Hillel’s executive director and campus rabbi.

A 2004 graduate of Brandeis University, de Koninck was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College from which she also completed a graduate certificate in Jewish Gender and Women’s Studies. Dee Koninck is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and serves on the board of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.

At the ceremony at which Chomsky received his honorary degree, de Koninck, wearing an academic gown, posed with Chomsky and Drexel President John A. Fry. De Koninck’s official status as Hillel director and rabbi could be seen by the university as the official Jewish imprimatur for its awarding the honor to Chomsky.

De Koninck posted the picture on her Facebook page, underneath which she wrote: “That’s me with Chomsky and President Fry!”

In addition to being virulently opposed to Israel, Chomsky is also extremely harsh in his denunciations of the United States. For example, he publicly stated that the 9/11 attacks on America were not any worse than President Clinton’s use of cruise missiles against Sudan in retaliation for bombings in Nairobi.

Chomsky also denied there was proof of Osama bin Laden’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and said the U.S. attack on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan would justify a retaliation scenario in which “Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.”

AntiSemitic Experiences of American Jewish College Students Chronicled Online

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

An organization has set up a webpage which catalogues, by university, testimony by Jewish students who have experienced antisemitism on their campuses.

The AMCHA Initiative, which monitors, investigates and fights against antisemitism at institutions of higher learning in America, set up the webpage a year and a half ago.

Called “Student Voices,” the webpage reveals experiences of Jewish students on America’s campuses who have been targeted, intimidated and/or frightened because they are Jewish.

AMCHA reports that it has collected testimonials from more than 100 students, located at 47 different schools, in 20 states.

“Campus antisemitism is widespread and it’s escalating at an alarming rate,” said AMCHA director and cofounder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin.  “Students should know they are not alone.  We hope the compilation of concerns shared by brave Jewish students over the past year-and-a-half will help university leaders and elected officials understand the breadth of the problem and take action.”


All of the personal declarations on the AMCHA webpage, “Student Voices” were stated publicly at student government meetings or quoted in news stories, and the testimonials include links to those sources.

Here are just some examples:

♦ The Jewish flag was ripped off the dorm door and the mezuzah was torn off the doorway of a Jewish student at Claremont-McKenna College in California.

♦ Swastikas were spray painted on the walls of the Jewish fraternity at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

♦ At Loyola University in Chicago, Jewish students reported being “peppered with hostile questions such as “How does it feel to be an occupier?” and “How does it feel to be guilty of ethnic cleansing?” One member is worried about attending future Hillel events for fear of being attacked.”

♦ Mock eviction notices were shoved under the dorm room doors of a predominantly Jewish dorm while students slept at New York University.

♦ A Northeastern University (Boston) professor, “demonizes Israel, delegitimizes Jewish history and infringes on his student’s free speech by shutting down any differing views.”

♦ A Jewish student at Northwestern University in Chicago described being “terrified knowing I may not be able to discuss my Judaism without taunts, or worse, violence,” and that she is “told when I try to talk about anti-Semitism in the West to “check my privilege,” or that we are part of the machine fueling inequality.”

♦ A student at San Diego State University said that as a “Jewish student on this campus, and the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I was disgusted and horrified by the anti-Semitic comments.”

♦ There are students who tuck their Star of David necklaces inside their shirts to hide that they are Jewish, according to a Jewish student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

♦ Stanford University’s Hillel staff reported hearing from Jewish students that they no longer feel safe at Stanford, that they feel ostracized and targeted, and are unable to express their identities and opinions in the dorms and around campus.

♦ Students with a clear Zionist perspective are labeled and excluded from the discussion at Swarthmore University in Pennsylvania, a Jewish student explained. “We have been told we do not belong at this school, that our voices do not belong in the dialogue. We have been accused of supporting apartheid and of being racist.”

♦ A student at UCLA said, “Jewish students are being attacked — not because they are Jewish but because the Jewish state is Jewish, and they as Jews, have somehow become extensions of the Jewish state and its policies.”

♦ About the University of California, Davis, one student said, ““It’s an absurd reality that many Jewish college students have to question: is my college safe for me?”

New York State Assembly Passes Anti-BDS Resolution

Friday, June 19th, 2015

The New York State Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution rejecting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, becoming the latest state government to do so.

The resolution, introduced by Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley (D-Brooklyn) and co-sponsored by 74 other members, rejects BDS activities that “undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution and the right of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination.”

The resolution states:

This Legislative Body is concerned that the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and its agenda are damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.

The resolution also recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and says the U.S. and Israel share “a common bond rooted in the values of freedom, democracy, and equal rights.”

The New York resolution follows anti-BDS measures in several other states, most recently in Illinois, which prohibited state pension funds from including in their portfolios companies that participate in the BDS movement. State legislatures in Indiana and Tennessee also recently passed resolutions condemning BDS, but those measures were non-binding, as opposed to the Illinois bill’s specific economic action.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/new-york-state-assembly-passes-anti-bds-resolution/2015/06/19/

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