Oren calls on Congress to blacklist boycotters, because they’re ‘bigoted’ against Jews

Israel/Palestine
on 53 Comments
Oren, right

Oren, right

More evidence of the incredible impact of the academics’ vote earlier this week to boycott Israel: Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., writes at Politico that Congress should take action to make boycott decisions like the one by the American Studies Association illegal–because they’re”bigoted,” i.e., anti-Semitic.

What’s needed is a way to fight back, and Congress can do it.

A successful precedent for that fight already exists in the defeat of the Arab economic boycott of Israel…. In 1977, Congress passed a series of laws making it illegal for U.S. companies to cooperate with any boycott of Israel and imposing stiff penalties on those that did. The boycott, Congress concluded, was not only racist against Israelis but all Jews.

Laws could be passed withholding federal or state funding from any academic program that knowingly blacklisted Israeli scholars or institutions or cooperated with associations that did. While an organization like ASA might prefer punishing Israel to receiving government funds, other academic bodies—including universities—most likely will not. At the very least, lawmakers on the local and national level can go on record expressing their unequivocal opposition to such boycotts.

Then Oren seems to go beyond sanctions against such bodies to legislation against Palestinian solidarity activists who heckle Israeli speakers:

As Israel’s ambassador to the United States and as an historian who believes in free academic exchange, I often spoke before college audiences and welcomed even those questions critical of Israel. But at the University of California at Irvine in February 2010, protesters tried to disrupt my talk and deprive all those present—students and faculty—of the right to discourse. No other visiting lecturer was singled out, only the Israeli. But 11 of those demonstrators were arrested, tried and found guilty of disrupting free speech. Academic boycotts of Israel aim at the same objective and they, too, can be legally stopped.

Max Blumenthal’s take on Oren’s remarks:

Also this:

About Philip Weiss

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

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53 Responses

  1. just
    December 21, 2013, 11:02 am

    Again with the threats and marked & palpable desperation!

    So I’ll say again:
    “It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.”

    (Macbeth)

  2. Krauss
    December 21, 2013, 11:05 am

    Oren is implicitly admitting that outside of Congress, the lobby is losing altitude; fast.

    Since political elites are by their nature reactionary and serving the established status quo, it renders them defenseless against the grassroots. This is why hasbara will always fail. You cannot fool thousands of academics. Oren is falling back on the only game he and other lobbyists know: fear and intimidation.

    Also, what happened to all that fluff about “engaing”? When it comes down to it, the lobby is not opposed to boycotts – as long as they are directed towards human rights NGOs and liberal academics.

    • Edward Q
      December 21, 2013, 12:38 pm

      “the lobby is not opposed to boycotts …”

      Not only that, but what is the blockade on Gaza, threatening famine, but a super-boycott.

      • Krauss
        December 21, 2013, 2:45 pm

        Great point. I wish someone had brought that up during the brouhaha.

      • Donald
        December 21, 2013, 4:38 pm

        I actually have a tactical objection to the boycott–it gives a lot of liberals and pseudo-liberals an excuse to break out the smelling salts and swoon in horror about the attack on academic freedom. In fact, there’s a sort of two-step attack–on the one hand, the boycott critics will say that there are other human rights violators that are worse and therefore it’s wrong to single out Israel (nevermind that the US government singles out Israel for praise and enables their crimes) and on the other, it’s terribly unfair to collectively punish Israeli academics for what the Israeli government does.

        Notice the ingenuity here. The boycotters are criticized because there are worse atrocities than the occupation, and then the boycott is criticized because it hurts Israelis, though in an utterly trivial way. So one should be outraged about anything and everything, injustices great and small, except how Israel treats the Palestinians. Setting aside morality, you have to admire the mental gymnastics.

      • Edward Q
        December 22, 2013, 11:23 am

        I don’t think any tactic is going to be perfect. On the whole, though, I think the boycott has the net effect of making people pay attention to Palestinian human rights. It creates a dynamic where the denial around Palestinian rights starts to break down. I think the argument that Israel is being singled out can be used against any tactic you use.

      • Citizen
        December 22, 2013, 6:22 pm

        The mental gymnastics are logically very weak, the power of a biased media echo, very strong. I see nothing to admire, or are you talking about getting ahead in career and cash in America?

      • Citizen
        December 22, 2013, 6:19 pm

        @ Krauss
        I’m sure some Iranians brought it up but nobody here listened.

  3. justicewillprevail
    December 21, 2013, 11:12 am

    Well perhaps Oren and his ilk, instead of shooting the messenger, would care to argue for the case against the boycott, which would involve him having to explain why universal human rights in Israel are only available to citizens based on their social and cultural grouping, and exclude the indigenous people of the region. Or perhaps he is unable to make such a case, and has to smear the people who highlight the very unAmerican lack of universal suffrage and democracy in this tinpot country with no agreed borders. Israel and its supporters like Oren don’t seem very keen on free speech when it comes to Israel, but merely the obsequious acquiescence to a rabid right wing demagogic government, behaving more and more like fascists, who share very little values with the US or Europe. The bluster and hysteria speak volumes about him and his values, and where his allegiance lies.

    • Citizen
      December 22, 2013, 6:29 pm

      Wiki says Oren experienced anti-semitism growing up in a heavily Catholic area in USA. No footnote support is provided. link to en.wikipedia.org
      Anybody know any more about how he became a raving Zionist in his teens while getting huge benefits from growing up in America?

  4. Shuki
    December 21, 2013, 11:32 am

    If you weren’t so blinded by your self-loathing, you’d realize that they are bigoted.

    As a self-proclaimed “journalist”, you seem to have a hard time reporting the truth; Oren never called for criminal prosecutions of the boycott supporters.

    • just
      December 21, 2013, 11:45 am

      What’s this then:

      “But 11 of those demonstrators were arrested, tried and found guilty of disrupting free speech. Academic boycotts of Israel aim at the same objective and they, too, can be legally stopped.”

      A veiled threat? A timid suggestion? Only you seem to have trouble with the “truth” here, Shuki.

      (PS– I’ve never known Mr. Weiss to be “self- loathing”, and he is a journalist/reporter/writer with very impressive talent.)

    • justicewillprevail
      December 21, 2013, 12:30 pm

      Are you still peddling the stale old ‘self-loathing’ meme? Au contraire, loathing seems to be a speciality of the zionists and their bots.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 21, 2013, 3:09 pm

        jwp, ad hominem is still the most powerful weapon wielded by the pro apartheid/anti palestine crowd. whereas we have truth on our side they have insult crutches and strawmen. it’s so pathetic.

        but that’s because they have no strategy options because they’re limited by the fact their leaders, no mater what, won’t change the policies! it’s like the permanent no go. so their reduced to these immature accusatory whinefests. boring.

        just look at the main theme countering the ASA resolution, ‘they don’t want us to exist!’. yawn, as if ethnic cleansing was their justifiable necessity. as if making palestinians not exist, exiling them, blockading them, oppressing them, hasn’t been their main strategy for making a jewish state for decades.

        so blinded by your self-loathing,

        what a farce. like a broken record.

      • MHughes976
        December 21, 2013, 3:23 pm

        Hear, hear! But it’s odd how powerful this strange rhetorical weapon ‘You hate yourself!’ (when you pretty obviously don’t) seems to be for some audiences.

      • Citizen
        December 22, 2013, 6:38 pm

        @MHuges976
        Remember when Jews use to be known for their intellectual diversity, whenever you had two Jews you had two different and strong opinions? This was always praised, the implicit comparison being two Goy sheeple. Now, look how that’s changed. Zionism has made many Jews dim and obtuse. It’s really working well in Israel, gaining traction by the day.

      • Bumblebye
        December 22, 2013, 8:59 am

        Uh oh. Israel has a new verbal weapon in its arse nal!
        “Israelophobia”!
        Apparently coined by someone from the French org CRIF, and expanded on here:

        link to gatestoneinstitute.org

        The most appalling essay – bucket necessary, gag reflex will be in overdrive!

      • piotr
        December 22, 2013, 3:58 pm

        Some “bots” seems to have very high self-esteem indeed. In particular, they measure they worth in “how Jewish” they are, and here Phil either hates himself for being so feebly Jewish, or he SHOULD.

    • Krauss
      December 21, 2013, 1:14 pm

      Shuki is demanding loyalty based on race instead of committment to liberal values. That is the underpinning logic of an ethnocracy.

    • talknic
      December 21, 2013, 3:50 pm

      @Shuki “If you weren’t so blinded by your self-loathing, you’d realize that they are bigoted.”

      Keep digging that smelly olde Hasbara hole. There’s nothing bigoted in demanding a state live up to its legal obligation and; failing that state to live up to its legal obligations boycotting it.

      Oren is a traitor to the US’s legal obligations. The USA recognized Israel as it asked to be recognized. ” as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947, and that a provisional government has been charged to assume the rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law.” Agent of the Provisional Government of Israel link to trumanlibrary.org

      The US also ratified the following “The contracting states definitely establish as the rule of their conduct the precise obligation not to recognize territorial acquisitions or special advantages which have been obtained by force whether this consists in the employment of arms, in threatening diplomatic representations, or in any other effective coercive measure. The territory of a state is inviolable and may not be the object of military occupation nor of other measures of force imposed by another state directly or indirectly or for any motive whatever even temporarily. ” link to cfr.org

      Israel has never legally annexed any territory it has illegally acquired by war since being declared and recognized by the US

    • RoHa
      December 21, 2013, 8:46 pm

      1. What evidence or reasoning do you have to who that they are bigoted?

      2. Why does it matter whether they are bigoted or not? The boycott seems to be morally justified, regardless of the motive of the people advocating it.

      • RoHa
        December 22, 2013, 2:16 am

        Oooops! Typo!

        That should be:

        1. What evidence or reasoning do you have to show that they are bigoted?

    • Hostage
      December 21, 2013, 9:19 pm

      Oren never called for criminal prosecutions of the boycott supporters.

      Of course he did. He said a way was needed to fight back and that Congress could provide it. He cited a series of laws with criminal penalties and said they were a successful precedent for that fight that already exists in the defeat of the Arab economic boycott of Israel.

  5. traintosiberia
    December 21, 2013, 11:49 am

    Oren can enlighten us with information if those law as were inked by Javit, Jackson. Or by someone beholden to Pearle or by some other crooks? Was it done using the language of lies and misreprentations? Was it done by Congress under duress fear of blackmail, and offer of cash?

  6. pabelmont
    December 21, 2013, 12:05 pm

    The USA, like Israel and many other countries, interferes with free speech and free interactions between people of differing viewpoints by denying ENTRY into the USA of people whose views it doesn’t like. Isn’t that WORSE than hecklers at a speech? (Who’s to say what’s worse?)

    • JeffB
      December 21, 2013, 3:19 pm

      Unpopular views is not grounds to be denied entry into the United States. Association with terrorist groups are. Plans to engage in espionage are sabotage are. The reasons mainstream people can get denied are:

      link to travel.state.gov

      (1) Health-related grounds. -
      (2) Criminal and related grounds. -
      (3) Security and related grounds. -
      (4) Public charge.-
      (5) Labor certification and qualifications for certain immigrants.-
      (6) Illegal entrants and immigration violators. -
      (7) Documentation requirements .-
      (8) Ineligible for citizenship .
      (9) ALIENS PREVIOUSLY REMOVED. -
      (10) MISCELLANEOUS. -

  7. Mndwss
    December 21, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Then maybe Oren should call on Congress to blacklist Staples?

    Yesterday, Staples Norway announced on twitter that they will no longer sell Sodastream.

    “Staples velger av flere årsaker å fase ut Sodastream fra sortiment. Vi takker @fagforbundet og @norskfolkehjelp for god dialog”

    This comes after a campaign on Facebook by Fagforbundet(a trade union) and Norwegian People’s Aid, and other organisations.

    link to facebook.com

    Staples thank @fagforbundet and @norskfolkehjelp for good dialog….

    • just
      December 21, 2013, 12:51 pm

      How very elegantly said by Norsk Staples!

      Norway rocks!

  8. amigo
    December 21, 2013, 1:01 pm

    I get it.People who oppose aggression and oppression are bigots.

    Oh well,I guess I,m a bigot then.

    Better than being a slime ball zionist apologist.

    • seafoid
      December 21, 2013, 1:33 pm

      You must be a bigot.Anyone who believes in justice hates Jews. How did that happen?

      • amigo
        December 21, 2013, 1:50 pm

        “You must be a bigot.Anyone who believes in justice hates Jews. How did that happen?”seafoid

        Some of my best friends are Jews but I have no Zionist friends.How did that happen?.

      • seafoid
        December 21, 2013, 3:55 pm

        The pity of it all for the bots.

  9. Sycamores
    December 21, 2013, 1:14 pm

    hasbarats are becoming more schizophrenic by the day.

    one moment i read ASA, NAISA and Association for Asian American Studies are all ‘small groups’ not important ‘have a left-wing, even radical bent’ and ‘needed to be put in proportion. Not one of America’s 4,000 colleges and universities have decided to boycott Israel, the official said, and only “four or five” student government bodies have called on their universities to do so.’ link to jpost.com

    basically not important forget about it, israel is alright.

    then i read ‘Oren calls on Congress to blacklist boycotters’

    for Oren to say anything just proves how serious israel views the boycotts.

    what next? forget about Iran, israel is under attack from student government bodies, serious existential threat. lol!

  10. DICKERSON3870
    December 21, 2013, 2:21 pm

    RE: “Oren calls on Congress to blacklist boycotters, because they’re ‘bigoted’ against Jews”

    MY COMMENT: Why should we here in the U.S. listen to the recommendations of a man who was required by Israel to give up his U.S. citizenship? Does Oren get to eat his cake and keep it too?

  11. DICKERSON3870
    December 21, 2013, 2:51 pm

    RE: “Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., writes at Politico that Congress should take action to make boycott decisions like the one by the American Studies Association illegal . . .” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: If that were possible, I’m certain the Reagan Administration would have pushed for such a law to protect apartheid South Africa from BDS.

  12. JeffB
    December 21, 2013, 3:20 pm

    @DICKERSON3870

    If that were possible, I’m certain the Reagan Administration would have pushed for such a law to protect apartheid South Africa from BDS.

    How? By the time there was a mainstream boycott movement congress was solidly on board.

  13. JeffB
    December 21, 2013, 3:25 pm

    Then Oren seems to go beyond sanctions against such bodies to legislation against Palestinian solidarity activists who heckle Israeli speakers:

    I’m not in favor of applying anti-boycott laws to BDS. But I have to admit I see no reason to tolerate campaigns of actually silencing people on either side by having large numbers of people make noise. Screaming down speakers is unethical and disruptive to the people who paid for the event. I think the people should get charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace…

    • Talkback
      December 21, 2013, 5:28 pm

      JeffB: But I have to admit I see no reason to tolerate campaigns of actually silencing people on either side by having large numbers of people make noise.

      No, let’s tolerate Israel’s Apartheid and its way of silencing Palestinians instead.

      Screaming down speakers is unethical and disruptive to the people who paid for the event. I think the people should get charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace…

      How about shooting Israeli rubber coated bullets or gas canisters into their head?

      Let’s apply Israel’s military order 101. If more than 10 people come together, for whatever reason, we disperse them and use .22 rifles allthough banished by the Israel’s Supreme kangaroo court.

      • JeffB
        December 21, 2013, 5:40 pm

        @talkback

        No, let’s tolerate Israel’s Apartheid and its way of silencing Palestinians instead.

        Palestinians in the territories (as opposed to the ones who do live here) are not my countrymen. They aren’t entitled to constitutional protections. Their protections come from the government of Israel, a government they reject and are in rebellion towards. That’s not a remotely similar situation. John Walker Lindh, which is a similar situation, doesn’t get prime speaking slots either.

        That doesn’t change at all that Americans, in America, and their guests are entitled to free speech. Even if you don’t like them.

      • Talkback
        December 22, 2013, 5:54 am

        Their protections come from the government of Israel, a government they reject and are in rebellion towards.

        Wow. They reject an rebell against an occupier which belligerently occupies them, disposseses them, destroys their livelyhood and houses an keeps them encaged in their own land to steal and colonialize this land and who terrorizes them with nearly 100% impunity instead of protecting them. The only rational explanation can be antisemitism.

        That doesn’t change at all that Americans, in America, and their guests are entitled to free speech. Even if you don’t like them.

        I get it, your right to an uninterupted speech is more important than another man’s right to self determination, living and housing. That is, if he’s not American, Jewish or both, correct?

      • just
        December 22, 2013, 9:22 am

        “Palestinians in the territories (as opposed to the ones who do live here) are not my countrymen. They aren’t entitled to constitutional protections. Their protections come from the government of Israel, a government they reject and are in rebellion towards.” by JeffB

        Kill at will– OK with you. Check.
        Imprison and terrorize folks without evidence of a crime– OK with you. Check.
        Steal other Peoples’ land and resources. OK with you. Check.
        Destroy olive trees and deny past and living history. OK with you. Check.
        Murder humanitarian relief workers. OK with you. Check.
        Support Zionist Apartheid. It’s your baby. Check.
        Blame the real victims. Check.

        But don’t mess with “free speech” in America. Check.

        (How come Ahmadinejad was not allowed to practice “free speech” here in America as a “guest”?????????)

  14. seafoid
    December 21, 2013, 4:02 pm

    Oren is a senior bot wizard and all he can come out with is antisemitism. Very poor and as compelling as month old croissant.

  15. seafoid
    December 21, 2013, 4:38 pm

    As a historian who believes in free academic exchange… how did he end up as a bot?

  16. pmb1414
    December 21, 2013, 9:03 pm

    No Mr. Oren, those of us boycotting Israel are not bigoted against Jews. We are boycotting Israel because of the bigotry of some Israeli Jews like yourself and some American Christians and Jews. No one gets a free pass, Mr. Oren. Hatred is hatred, wherever the source.

  17. dbroncos
    December 21, 2013, 9:23 pm

    A foreign diplomat is asking Congress to pass a law against our Constitutional Right to criticize a foreign country. Amazing. I wish I had more confidence that our reps will laugh in his face.

  18. Hostage
    December 21, 2013, 10:18 pm

    In 1977, Congress passed a series of laws making it illegal for U.S. companies to cooperate with any boycott of Israel and imposing stiff penalties on those that did. The boycott, Congress concluded, was not only racist against Israelis but all Jews.

    The Congress never concluded the Arab League boycott was racist or that it targeted all Jews. You need a trowel to spread the bullshit on that thick. But that characterizes Oren’s approach to history.

    The two laws simply discourage, and in some cases prohibit, citizens from engaging in boycotts imposed by foreign governments that are not sanctioned by the US government. Persons were nonetheless permitted to comply with any import restrictions of the boycotting states that prohibited the import of Israeli goods. See 15 CFR 760.3 – Exceptions to prohibitions. link to law.cornell.edu

    In general, any group action in restraint of trade can be viewed as illegal under the US antitrust laws. Congress has the delegated power to regulate commerce, but the Courts have carved-out 1st Amendment exceptions for political protests, e.g. NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886, 102 S.Ct. 3409, 73 L.Ed.2d 1215, held that the 1st Amendment prevented the government from prohibiting politically motivated civil rights boycotts.

    But at the University of California at Irvine in February 2010, protesters tried to disrupt my talk and deprive all those present—students and faculty—of the right to discourse. . . . But 11 of those demonstrators were arrested, tried and found guilty of disrupting free speech.

    They actually were charged with violating the provisions of a State Public Meeting Law, but it still isn’t obvious why an Israeli should be considered an ex officio member of California’s state government. King, Ghandi, Mandela, and their supporters all had quite a record of arrests and convictions too.

    It’s doubtful there is a 1st amendment right involved. In Bluman v . FEC the Supreme Court upheld that:

    “It is fundamental to the definition of our national political community that foreign citizens do not have a constitutional right to participate in, and thus may be excluded from, activities of democratic self-government.” For purposes of First Amendment analysis, the court stated the United States has a compelling interest in limiting the participation of foreign citizens in such activities, and “thereby preventing foreign influence over the U.S. political process.” The court found that political contributions and expenditures are a vital aspect of the process of American democratic self-government. The court said the ban on foreign election spending was also in line with the 2010 Supreme Court [1st Amendment] decision in Citizens United v. FEC, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010).

    link to fec.gov

  19. James Canning
    December 22, 2013, 3:30 pm

    One can argue that true friends of Israel push for the boycott etc etc.

    • Citizen
      December 22, 2013, 6:54 pm

      You mean like those friends who stage an intervention on an alcoholic or druggy pal? Ziocaine is addictive to some people. If they have tons of cash, they get to pretty much kill themselves with pleasure, and at times, anybody in their vicinity.

      • James Canning
        December 23, 2013, 5:24 pm

        @Citizen – - I was simply observing that sanctions against Israel are pushed by some who would like to see Israel crippled as badly as possible, and by others who think they are doing Israel a good service.

      • James Canning
        December 24, 2013, 7:36 pm

        @Citizen – - I’ll look for a link to those comments by G W Bush, prior to Iraq War, that he failed to see the logic of invading Iraq when Iraq had nothingto do with the “9/11″ attacks. (They are in minutes of National Security council meetings)

    • just
      December 22, 2013, 7:30 pm

      ‘Friends don’t let friends drive drunk’.

      We are complicit hypocrites. It’s past time– long past time– to sever the umbilical cord.

  20. Reds
    December 22, 2013, 8:03 pm

    It’s been just reported that Israel was also spied on by the NSA. How many U.S. politicians will now show outraged about what the NSA is doing?

    No surprise that Oren would want to limit freedom of speech for others.

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