Hundreds of academics call on State Dept to revise its definition of anti-Semitism, respect criticism of Israel as protected speech

US Politics

The following press release was issued by Jewish Voice for Peace: 

May 18, 2015–An open letter signed by over 250 members of the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council asks the U.S. State Department to revise its definition of anti-Semitism in order to prevent the charge of anti-Semitism from being misused to silence critics of Israel.

In light of recent high-profile stories that have conflated the debates over Israel politics on campus with reports of rising anti-Semitism, the letter asserts the crucial need to distinguish criticism of the state of Israel from real anti-Semitism.

In particular, the letter takes issue with provisions in the U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism that refer to “demonizing,” “delegitimizing,” and “applying a double-standard to the state of Israel.” As Simona Sharoni, an Israeli-American professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, noted “Such prohibitions that are so vague that they could be, and have been, construed to silence any criticism of Israeli policies.” According to Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, which documents attempts to silence activists for Palestinian rights, 60 such incidents have taken place on U.S. campuses in the first four months of 2015.

Currently, legislation that may pass through the California State Legislature this week also aims to codify the problematic State Department definition into law. Anti-Palestinian activists intend this law to be used to silence supporters of the movement to hold Israel accountable for its treatment of Palestinians.

Notable academics who signed the letter include: Rabab Abdulhadi (San Francisco State University), Joel Beinin (Stanford University, Former President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America), Karen Brodkin (UCLA), Judith Butler (UC Berkeley), Lisa Duggan (NYU, President of the American Studies Association), Richard Falk (Princeton University, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Rights), Katherine Franke (Columbia University), Neve Gordon (Ben Gurion University), Amy Kaplan (University of Pennsylvania), Zachary Lockman (NYU), Ian Lustick (University of Pennsylvania), John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago), Chandra Talpade Mohanty (Syracuse University), Joan Nestle, James Schamus (Columbia University), Sarah Schulman (City University of New York), and Joan Scott (Princeton University).

A petition signed by over 15,800 Jewish Voice for Peace supporters also circulated in support of the letter.

Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org) is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has 200,000 online supporters, over 65 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.

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The following is the text of the letter, and a full list of signatories is available on request.

Dear U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ira Forman, and Ambassador at Large for the Office of International Religious Freedom David Saperstein,

As academics committed to addressing anti-Semitism and other forms of oppression, we oppose ongoing efforts to silence legitimate criticism of the state of Israel by codifying its inclusion in the definition of anti-Semitism.

Several resolutions at the state (1) and campus (2) levels in California do just that by using a problematic State Department definition of anti-Semitism.

The so-called “State Department definition” includes clauses about “demonizing,” “delegitimizing,” and “applying a double-standard to the state of Israel,” prohibitions that are so vague that they could be, and have been, construed to silence any criticism of Israeli policies.

These clauses were taken from the “Working European Union Monitoring Centre definition” which has been widely criticized and was removed (3) as a working definition by the European body in 2013. This definition has limited legal authority (4) in the US because, if implemented, would unconstitutionally restrict freedom of speech. Further, this overbroad definition diminishes the ability to identify and address incidents of true anti-Semitism when they do occur.

As Jews and allies, we ask that the US State Department revise its definition of anti-Semitism to reflect its commitment to opposing hate and discrimination without curtailing constitutionally protected freedom of speech.

Signed by over 250 members of the

Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council

References:

1) Text of Sacramento legislation.
2) UCLA resolution, Jewish Voice for Peace statement.
3) Times of Israel, EU drops its working definition of anti-Semitism.
4) Palestine Legal FAQ on State Department Definition of Anti-Semitism.

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24 Responses

  1. Donald
    May 18, 2015, 2:07 pm

    Maybe we should support the State Dept. definition. Look at the double standards of people who support Israel when it does things they’d condemn if someone else did them. Soft bigotry of low expectations.

    • just
      May 18, 2015, 2:23 pm

      You have a point, Donald.

      I’m interested to know who in the State Department is charged with making sure that nobody is running around “demonizing,” “delegitimizing,” and “applying a double-standard to the”
      Palestinian people.

      Perhaps “John Kerry, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ira Forman, and Ambassador at Large for the Office of International Religious Freedom David Saperstein” could let us know.

      (is there a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, too?)

  2. JeffB
    May 18, 2015, 5:06 pm

    Funny that BDSers are pretty much willing to admit that without “demonizing,” “delegitimizing,” and “applying a double-standard to the state of Israel,” they can’t say anything against Israel. It is easy to avoid those points:

    a) Hold Israel only to those law you would apply equally to all
    b) Avoid being deliberately misleading. Try and present facts both pro and con.
    c) Be charitable and fair in your interpretation of the evidence

    And that’s it. That’s not a high bar for normal people.

    • Walker
      May 18, 2015, 10:29 pm

      Actually, supporters of Israel can only defend the country by applying a double standard. What other nation has been allowed to go so long in blatant defiance of UN Security Council resolutions?

      So Jeff, I believe that countries should be expected to respect UN Security Council resolutions. including the many that have pointed out that Israel’s settlement of occupied territories (including Jerusalem) is illegal. These resolutions point out that Israel is in violation of the Geneva Convention, law that should certainly “apply equally to all”.

      That’s not a high bar for normal people. I’m happy we are in agreement here, Jeff. Who would have imagined?

      • JeffB
        May 19, 2015, 12:05 am

        @Walker

        Applying a double standard would be flip out when other countries violate the UN security council and being unconcerned when Israel does it. It is not a double standard to be semi-indifferent or somewhat hostile to the UN across the board, which is what the vast majority of Israel’s supporters are.

        You are confusing double standard with you disagreeing with people who reject in full or in part the grandiose claims common on MW regarding the UN. Of course where you do see a double standard is this UN absolutism doesn’t apply to say war with Iran over their violations.

        . What other nation has been allowed to go so long in blatant defiance of UN Security Council resolutions?

        India and Pakistan. UN Resolution 38 called on them to stop messing with Kashmir. Also North Korea. I’m sure I could come up with more examples if I go down the list.

        Also if we are going I’m not sure if the very earliest UN resolutions prohibiting the UK from having troops in Greece were repealed in which case they have been in violation pretty much the entire history of the UN.

        Israel’s settlement of occupied territories (including Jerusalem) is illegal.

        That’s BDS not the UN Security Council. The UN Security council for example in 476 and 478 said that actions taken by Israel have no legal validity which is a substantially weaker claim then the acts being illegal. If you are going to be a sticker for the UN Security council then at least quote the council and not BDS fabrications.

        Now if you are going to take the Geneva Convention seriously then one of the 4 grave breaches of the Geneva convention is taking civilian hostages. A matter of policy for Hamas. I don’t see the MW crowd caring. That BTW is an example of a double standard.

    • RobertHenryEller
      May 19, 2015, 9:12 am

      “Try and present facts both pro and con.” Because this is something Zionists do?

      “Be charitable and fair in your interpretation of the evidence.” Because this is something Zionists do?

      • JeffB
        May 19, 2015, 10:57 am

        @RobertHenryEller

        “Try and present facts both pro and con.” Because this is something Zionists do?
        “Be charitable and fair in your interpretation of the evidence.” Because this is something Zionists do?

        Well first off the “the Zionist do it” claim is pretty questionable. If you want to argue that gross immorality is perfectly acceptable in acts of revenge i.e. you are entitled to do anything the other side does then that’s fine. But then let’s hear no more of things like your morality being guided by international law or objective standards.

        Second. Yes I think in general, though there are exceptions Zionists do try and present both fair, charitable and accurate presentations of the facts. Certainly there are exceptions where the Zionist side has failed to do so. I think the best way to test this is to look at the respective propaganda from the 1950s. If you look at say Exodus very little in that is refuted today. You have the interplay of the Haganah and Zionist terrorists organizations openly acknowledged. You have Jewish labor and what that means Palestinians being worse than what exists within the Green line today. You have the ties between the Palestinian nationalists and the Nazis being perhaps exaggerated but and the ties between Palestinian nationalism and Syria downplayed, so you could perhaps fault it there.

        Conversely if you look at anti-Zionist Soviet propaganda, which is present in BDS as well is that the natural and objective assimilation process of Jews is growing around the world. The reality is that in most countries Jews lived in there were being expelled. That wasn’t acknowledged. And frankly BDSers still to this day don’t acknowledge or even address the failure of Jewish assimilation in most countries that their whole moral critique hinges on. A second aspect was that of the 4 main goals of Zionism anti-Communism and anti-Sovietism were two of them. I think most anti-Zionists would say that Zionism objectively acted as an apologetic for communism showing a good example of democratic communism for decades. And that anti-Sovietism was clearly a reaction to Soviet hostility.

        Now like any people Zionists tend to see themselves reacting to a situation while their opponents showing their true nature. So no, I think the dishonestly is mostly coming from your side. In point of fact just count how often the MWers fill their posts with hate and vitriol rather than trying to engage on matters of fact and practical discussions in any thread. Reality annoys them.

    • eljay
      May 19, 2015, 10:18 am

      || JeffB: Funny that BDSers are pretty much willing to admit that without “demonizing,” “delegitimizing,” and “applying a double-standard to the state of Israel,” they can’t say anything against Israel. ||

      The problem is not that BDSers have no legitimate criticisms of Israel – the problem is that the State Department seems to want to criminalize those legitimate criticisms. But you knew that.

      || It is easy to avoid those points: a) Hold Israel only to those law you would apply equally to all ||

      Agreed. And that’s a good lesson for Zio-supremacists, too.

      || b) Avoid being deliberately misleading. ||

      Agreed. And that’s a good lesson for Zio-supremacists, too.

      || Try and present facts both pro and con. ||

      Present the facts that are relevant to your criticisms. To sugar-coat Israel’s past and on-going (war) crimes is to be deliberately misleading and that, as we have agreed, is a no-no.

      || c) Be charitable and fair in your interpretation of the evidence ||

      No, be accurate in your evidence. To “charitably interpret” evidence is to be deliberately misleading.

      || And that’s it. That’s not a high bar for normal people. ||

      The bar’s not very high, but Zio-supremacists prefer to limbo beneath it than strive to surmount it.

    • Donald
      May 19, 2015, 10:46 am

      Human Rights Watch does all that and ends up accusing Israel of war crimes. B’Tselem does that, Amnesty International does that, and so on. They also write reports criticizing Israel’s enemies. It’s the Israel defenders who react vehemently when the human rights groups hold Israel to the common standard.

      • JeffB
        May 19, 2015, 11:20 am

        @Donald

        Human Rights Watch does all that and ends up accusing Israel of war crimes.

        I agree. I may not disagree with some of HRW’s analysis, but I disagree with HRW’s analysis on many topics. They are not unfair to Israel in a way they aren’t to other countries. I think they can be guilty of excessive focus and singling out. But I don’t have a huge problem with citing HRW as a positive example of a strong critique that meets most criteria for fairness.

        So I’m not saying I agree with HRW. I particularly disagree with their analysis. But I don’t think they are anti-Semites.

        Amnesty International does that

        No they don’t. Now Amnesty does deliberately lie and falsify about Israel. First of all they should be dealing with political prisoners not broader objectives. Their most common problems are deliberately misrepresenting International law particularly in their definition of: collective punishment, occupying power and disproportionate. They don’t present proper counter cases and they most certainly don’t hold Israel to the same standards as other. They have deliberately willingly and knowingly hired deeply partisan anti-Israeli activists in violation of their neutrality standards so as to pass off lies as truth. Moreover when caught in lies they have refused to retract. They are an example of precisely the opposite of what I’m talking about.

        B’Tselem I don’t read enough on issues on which I already know the facts from other sources to have an opinion.

        Now onto you. I also find your list a bit odd. Your choice of groups fall under the failure of balanced. If you want to look at those sorts of analysis it should also include for balance groups like Stratfor and Jane’s that are more likely to see the world from a government’s perspective and not just a civilian’s perspective. That’s balance.

      • Donald
        May 19, 2015, 1:20 pm

        I’ve not noticed any significant difference between human rights groups and what they say about Israel. They all (including HRW and the Israeli groups) are attacked by people who claim they are biased against Israel, but this is true of virtually every group they criticize. Reality has a well-known bias against governments that violate human rights, including Israel.

        I don’t care what pro-government groups would say–there are always people willing to support whatever a government does, if they support that government, and so if one is interested in the rights of innocent civilians, you will read what human rights groups have to say about what has happened and what the relevant laws happen to be. We get the pro-government point of view in the mainstream press anyway, at least in the case of the US, Israel or its other allies. The rules of war are to some degree written to favor governments in the first place, and you will find people on the left who say this actually makes the human rights groups (including AI) too easy on countries like Israel.

        And I just did a quick check to make sure my memory was correct–AI also criticized both the PA and Hamas in their latest annual report, including for not investigating possible crimes against humanity in firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel.

      • JeffB
        May 19, 2015, 1:50 pm

        @Donald

        Getting back to the point. I’ve pretty clearly shown with my comments about HRW that not all criticism of Israel fails to meet the 3D’s test. The State department definition doesn’t preclude criticism it does characterize lying.

        I don’t care what pro-government groups would say–there are always people willing to support whatever a government does, if they support that government,

        That’s not the case with either Jane’s or Stratfor. They tend to be quite critical. But I understand your point they aren’t anti-government enough for your taste. Which is fine in the context of say HRW where I can click on any country’s government on the planet and get a whole bunch of bad stuff. It isn’t fine in the context of mass educating people on a college campus by SJP where people are being told that Israel is somehow uniquely evil. That’s a lack of balance. Its dishonest.

        You wouldn’t have any problem condemning someone who went to a campus and made a list of all the rapes being committed by black students without mentioning white or asian ones as clearly being designed to be hate speech. SJP is doing precisely the same thing. That’s why they are being targeted for double-standards.

        The rules of war are to some degree written to favor governments in the first place, and you will find people on the left who say this actually makes the human rights groups (including AI) too easy on countries like Israel.

        Well most of the left has a huge problem with war in general. And while I think they are wrong that “in general” disagreement should be contextualized away from the disagreements specific to Israel.

        I’ve not noticed any significant difference between human rights groups and what they say about Israel.

        That’s because you don’t look at the details of the allegations carefully. You just put Israel in the “bad countries” category. But if you do read corresponding reports carefully AI often goes further than the evidence warrants while HRW is cautious. AI casually dismisses counter evidence while HRW tries to consider all the evidence. They aren’t the same.

        I agree that the pro-Zionist side is less nuanced than they should be in their counter narratives. When 95% of the criticism is unfair it can emotionally difficult to respond appropriately to the 5% that is based in fact. FWIW human rights groups have been subjected to false accusations from my side. The difference though is important. HRW investigates claims where they were manipulated or acted on bias and issues retractions. when the facts contradict their earlier statements. AI lets the lies stand. (SJP’s total lack of honesty is well beyond either of those two).

        Right now for example Judith Miller has reintroduced a discussion about regarding whether Cheney et al were biased in their presentation of intelligence information. To what extent were they mistaken, to what extent did they have faulty analysis and to what extent were they simply lying. Your side should not be held to any lower standard than you demand of the right. SJP is vastly more biased than anything Cheney said. AI is probably on par with Cheney. HRW is perhaps more like Rice or Powell.

        And before you say that analogy is unfair because they have more power, I’ll grant that. But there are counterpoints in other directions too. A policy of destabilizations and regime change (again I don’t think BDS could ever pull that off) in Israel has a real risk of thermonuclear war. Even if Iraq had had a nuclear weapons program they likely didn’t have a weapon and no one to the best of my knowledge ever asserted that Iraq has thermonuclear weapons. The risks of the policy you are advocating (since you do believe it is possible) is more on par with say war with France not war with Iraq.

      • Donald
        May 19, 2015, 4:16 pm

        Israel is portrayed as a wonderful democracy worthy of the support which amounts to bootlicking by our political class. Their crimes are our crimes. Your claim that Israel is singled out is true– it is singled out for praise within the U.S.

        And again, I see no important difference between AI, HRW, and the others. HRW’s depiction of Israel’s behavior is more or less in line with what most critics of Israel would say.

        Your 5 percent and 95 percent figures are ludicrous, as are your analogies involving Cheney, so I won’t waste any further time on this thread.

  3. John Douglas
    May 18, 2015, 5:48 pm

    RE: “. . . applying a double-standard to the State of Israel.”

    Israel deserves to have a different standard applied to it by Americans. What other oppressor country: buys then bullies US legislators to send it huge amounts of money, to lose world status by defending its crimes at the UN, to curtail free speech to protect it against legitimate criticism, and so much more.

    Different standard? Damn right!

    • edwards
      May 18, 2015, 7:24 pm

      The state of Israel is an on-going criminal enterprise, promoted via bribery, blackmail, coercion, character assassination, absurdly ignorant propaganda, tendentious history, legal skullduggery, and no doubt other techniques which we can only imagine.

  4. Rusty Pipes
    May 18, 2015, 6:36 pm

    The EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism is based on one written and lobbied for by the AJC in 2005. Even though the committee did not have enough consensus on the wording to make it more than a Working definition, Zionist groups and pro-Israel bloggers promptly tried to get it imposed on progressive blogs, as one of many attempts over the years to shut down discussion of Israel’s crimes.

    While under the leadership of Condi Rice (who is not a neocon), the State Department did not accept the EUMC Working Definition, shortly after Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, it was adopted as US State policy. While such a move may have helped with her Zionist credentials and her relations with donors, now that she has been out of the State Department for over two years perhaps the department has more freedom to move away from this, and a few other, of her policies that were done more to burnish her credentials than to advance the best interests of average Americans.

    • Boomer
      May 19, 2015, 5:15 am

      Thanks for the information, Mr. Pipes. I was vaguely aware of some of this, but not the specifics. The State Department may have more freedom, but we have yet to see it used in a way that will help Palestinians. If the Department or Mr. Obama want to do that, they had best act now. I don’t expect that Mrs. Clinton will want to change her policy on this, as candidate or as President.

    • Landie_C
      May 19, 2015, 7:36 am

      Whoa Nelly! I instantly recognized that oddly tendentious “State Department definition” as none other than Sharansky’s 3D test of anti-Semitism:

      http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-sharansky-f04.htm

      So I naturally assumed there must have been some mistake until I read your post. It all makes sense now. Clearly Hillary had a figurative gun to her temple there, given her presidential aspirations. But my sense of the State Department tells me that many there would be glad to get rid of that definition, quietly. But if they do, I assume it will happen just as Obama heads out the door.

      Thanks, Rusty (Like your moniker, btw. No relation to Richard and Daniel, I presume? :-))

      • Rusty Pipes
        May 28, 2015, 9:41 pm

        No relation to Richard Pipes nor to his offspring.

  5. eljay
    May 18, 2015, 7:42 pm

    In particular, the letter takes issue with provisions in the U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism that refer to “demonizing,” “delegitimizing,” and “applying a double-standard to the state of Israel.”

    1. Demonizing, de-legitimizing and applying double-standards to Israel might be anti-Israeli, but it’s not anti-Semitic.

    2. Is the U.S. State Department equally concerned when other countries are demonized and de-legitimized and have double-standards applied to them? If not, why does it apply a double-standard to Israel?

    3. Israel has been in violation of international laws for almost 70 years. Does the U.S. government defend all countries that routinely, intentionally and for prolonged periods of time violate international laws? If not, why does it apply a double-standard to Israel?

  6. joer
    May 19, 2015, 2:24 pm

    I wonder where all of the Pamela Geller free speech advocates went off to? It is so telling that they only get worked up about the First Amendment when it protects their right to espouse anti-Islamic bigotry. They don’t even try to pretend that their campaign is about anything else but hating on Muslims. If they bothered to read the First Amendment before wrapping themselves in it, they would see that the State Department officially stigmatizing some speech is a much bigger threat to the First Amendment than the way the government handles two groups of crazies looking for an excuse to try to kill each other. (Although strictly speaking, the First Amendment prohibits only Congress making laws against free speech, so Ithe State Department can officially call anyone they want an anti Semite, an a–hole, or anything else).

    Also, those guidelines are self contradictory. They prohibit holding Israel to a double standard, then gives it extra protections. If questioning a government is tantamount to expressing bigotry against the majority religion of the country, then criticizing Iran is the same as hating on Islam.

  7. Walker
    May 19, 2015, 11:06 pm

    JeffB, unfortunately the limit on comment nesting prevents me from replying directly to your post.

    Applying a double standard would be flip out when other countries violate the UN security council and being unconcerned when Israel does it. It is not a double standard to be semi-indifferent or somewhat hostile to the UN across the board, which is what the vast majority of Israel’s supporters are.

    What you really mean is, as former Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni put it, “I am against law – international law in particular”. You express this by attacking those institutions which embody international law, such as the UN, because time and again they have decreed that Israeli settlement of territories conquered in 1967 is illegal.

    Most of us – most people around the world, in fact – believe that international law matters and the UN should be respected. One of the saddest things about the US over the past two decades has been our slow adoption of Israel’s attitude of contempt towards international law.

    The UN Security council for example in 476 and 478 said that actions taken by Israel have no legal validity which is a substantially weaker claim then the acts being illegal. If you are going to be a sticker for the UN Security council then at least quote the council and not BDS fabrications.

    This rivals Bill Clinton’s “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”. “Illegal” and “have no legal validity” mean the same thing. The UNSC resolutions condemning the settlements (including 476 & 478) reference the Fourth Geneva Convention as the basis of the law being violated. The suggestion that this is a “BDS fabrication” is wrong. Almost every nation in the world (including the US in UNSCR 476) has voted to condemn the settlements as settlements as illegal. So has every international body that has considered the issue.

    if you are going to take the Geneva Convention seriously then one of the 4 grave breaches of the Geneva convention is taking civilian hostages. A matter of policy for Hamas.

    I’m not sure what this means. If you’re referring to so-called “human shields”, could you please provide a reference from a reputable source that establishes that Hamas used civilians as human shields? The Goldstone Report did not make that claim. It did show that Israeli forces used Palestinians as human shields. The Wikipedia entry on Human Shields” is replete with substantiated accusations of Israelis using Palestinian civilians as human shields. This seems like a classic case of projection.

    • JeffB
      May 20, 2015, 12:29 am

      @Walker

      You are conflating:
      a) whether you agree with Israel’s supporter’s reject of international law
      b) whether Israel’s supporters reject international law

      It makes no difference in terms of something being a double standard whether it is a net good or net bad. If someone loves to kill small animals for fun, they aren’t applying a double standard when they kill kittens and not not just mice.

      ____

      As far as America’s recent move away from international law. International law has always been unpopular in the USA. Remember the USA didn’t join the League of Nations. The UN was in NY to help tie the USA to it. We had problems with UN scope from the beginning for example UN ambassador Lodge’s, “The primary, the fundamental, the essential purpose of the United Nations is to keep peace. Everything it does which helps prevent World War III is good. Everything which does not further that goal, either directly or indirectly, is at best superfluous.“. Or a few decades later Richard Nixon, “I’d just say to hell with the UN. What is it anyway? It’s a damned debating society. What good does it do?” Your own link shows that support is low among the oldest not the youngest Americans. There is no change in policy. The USA has generally been hostile though specific administrations have been more or less enthusiastic about international coalitions.

      As for your point about no legal validity you are completely wrong.
      If I sign a contract to purchase the sun from my friend James that’s a contract with no legal validity. If I sign a contract for James to murder Ms. X that’s an illegal contract. They are not the same thing at all.

      Finally on Hamas and hostages. Hamas has a policy of trying to capture Israeli civilian hostages. Taking civilian hostages is one of the 4 grave breaches. Human shields is not.

      • Walker
        May 20, 2015, 2:50 am

        JeffB, thank you for the clarification. You have confirmed beyond all possible doubt that Israel and its supporters (such as yourself) have no respect whatsoever for international law, and so can’t be called hypocrites for constantly violating it. Thanks for emphasizing that.

        My link to the Pew survey shows what I said it shows – that a large majority of the American public supports the UN.

        My point about whether the settlements are illegal is not “completely wrong”. UNSCR 476 state that Israeli settlement “constitutes a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention”. You use as an example of “no legal validity” a contract to sell someone the sun. This makes no sense at all as an analogy to Israel’s concrete daily actions in the occupied territories.

        Please provide a link to support your claim that “Hamas has a policy of trying to capture Israeli civilian hostages”. From somewhere other than an Israeli propaganda site, please.

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