Kovner the Liberal Lawyer Wants to ‘Restore First Amendment’ for Americans to Speak About Israel

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Reporting on the alternative new Israel lobby, Dan Fleshler scores two points that bear repeating.

The first one is joyful news to me, that dovish Jewish organizations "have increasingly worked in tandem on legislative initiatives with
Churches for Middle East Peace -which represents most of the mainline
Protestant denominations as well as other Christians- and Arab American
organizations, including the American Task Force on Palestine and Arab
American Institute." I pray this is true. There is only one way out of the present situation for Americans, and that is to deploy our hard-won lessons of civil rights to Israel/Palestine.

The second is from Victor Kovner, liberal NY stalwart and an adviser to the new lobby. Over breakfast, Kovner told Fleshler:

“Some Members of Congress have felt intimidated and resentful, and
have been forced to take positions against their better judgment, out
of fear of retribution….” Then this careful attorney, who does not say anything without
carefully weighing its impact, uttered something delightfully bold,
knowing full well that I would probably use it here and in my
forthcoming book: “I would like to restore the First Amendment rights
of Jewish Americans and non-Jewish Americans to speak their minds on
Israel-Palestine issues, without being subjected to baseless, vicious

Lovely. Chuck Hagel said something like this. So did Zbig Brzezinski. So did Barack Obama. Oh wait–not yet.

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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