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Total number of comments: 7223 (since 2010-04-19 03:21:04)

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  • Episcopal Church rejects BDS resolutions citing fears divestment would hamper church in Jerusalem
  • Oren's memoir reveals Israel's elite is hyper-sensitive to U.S. criticism
    • I read it. I'm just going by what I read in the book. Oren claims to have spoken to Simon for over an hour and a half. It's basic common sense that it was about more than Oren's call to Jeff Fager, and also common sense that Oren was far from the first person to complain in advance about a story; I'm sure that even you don't believe that one. He also says that he recommended to CBS that they disguise the identities of the Palestinians in the West Bank that were interviewed in order to ensure that they didn't face reprisals so that they could ensure accuracy, which strikes me as completely reasonable for interviews conducted inside of a dictatorship like the Palestinian Authority.

      Lara Logan did eventually cover the ethnic cleansing of Christians by IS for 60 Minutes, albeit after it was essentially completed. One wonders whether more could have been done had Bob Simon done so in 2012. And no, Donald, I don't think most Americans understand what has happened to Christians in the Middle East. I frankly don't think they have a clue. They're far too comfortable here to comprehend it. And regrettably, you guys on the hard left have not raised your voices at all because you're afraid it will endanger your alliances with Muslim Arabs on issues like Israel-Palestine, and because countries that oppose the United States internationally couldn't care less.

      And also, Donald, Palestinians in Israel criticize Israel in the foreign press ALL THE TIME, that is, when they're not doing so from the floor of the Knesset. That's what is possible when you live in a liberal democracy with civil liberties protection.

      And I'm not Oren's biggest fan, though I would note that he's plenty critical in the book of Israel's failure to advance the two state solution, even as he admits that the conditions are difficult. He's no rightist.

    • Lol. And there are probably many people here who believe that, Yonah.

    • As usual, you're being disingenuous. Oren writes that Simon's claim that he had never before had someone call before a story aired was nonsense, and that Simon edited out the entire content of what Oren said. Of course, you've left that out.

      You also don't deal with the central problems with Simon's story, which is that in a time when Christians were being ethnically cleansed from Iraq, Simon decided to do (yet another) story about Israel, and failed to include Christians living in Israel proper, who were likely to say positive things about Israel, or Christians in Gaza, who are oppressed by Hamas. He focused on West Bank Christians known to be critical of Israel, and likely to toe the party line because their identities were not shielded. He also refused to allow a full Israeli response, and then disingenuously edited what Oren said.

  • New report details UK complicity in Israeli human rights abuses, calls for arms embargo
  • 'We are you and you are us' -- Netanyahu has tons of American friends
  • In effort to thwart BDS, some Israel supporters urge partial settlement freeze
    • "center-right Israeli politician Yair Lapid. "

      Lapid is not center-right. He's center-left.

      "A hardline American supporter of Israel, Abe Foxman"

      Abe Foxman is not "hardline." He's also center-left. Stop distorting the truth to cast everybody who supports Israel as a rightist. It's completely dishonest and disingenuous.

  • 'Jewish cow' is udderly superior to all other cows in the world, Netanyahu says
  • When will justice's 'thunderbolt' come for Palestine?
    • For those of you who work on behalf of human rights and equality, I say, consider the Jewish cause. Israel has built a liberal democracy in a region where such forms of government are unknown. Its democracy has expanded in the last half century, not contracted. People of all races and religions sit in its government, attend its universities, and participate in its society. Its people are a good and kind people, targeted by many, loved by few. People of conscience belong in their corner.

  • Foreign direct investment in Israel dropped by 50% in 2014 and expert says it's due to the Gaza war and BDS (Updated)
    • "Israel is a bad investment"

      That was your point? Well, there are no empirical facts to back that up. I think maybe you mean that BDS means to make Israel a bad investment, because right now, it's one of the better investments around.

    • "As an investor, it’s merely a matter of common sense not attaching your business to a potential minefield of liability."

      And yet, it doesn't seem to have stopped major companies like Apple and Intel from investing.

      In reality, almost every indicator is positive. There is a global slowdown and there are multiple conflict going on; FDI around the world dropped 16%, and Israel was coming off historic highs to begin it. Israel is considered a cyber superpower by the UN WIR. It also is the recipient of rising investment in its private funds, which totally cuts against the thesis that institutional investors are scared off by BDS.

      It's easy to misread Roni Matos because she mentions both BDS and Protective Edge (and she represents one person's opinion), but Protective Edge is a far, far large contributor to the drop than BDS is.

  • Irish activists hit hard against 1st Irish dance competition in Israel
    • "The first point is about the timing. The Israeli colonialists are wiping out the Palestinians NOW, and Hopmi is saying that objections like BDS should take place AFTER the fact, which is why “these people” should run a BDS campaign in Australia."

      So the key to avoiding BDS is to finish the job. Gotcha. Nobody is wiping Palestinians out, Kris. There are 2 million Palestinians in the West Bank and 1.5 million in Gaza. The populations are growing. There are also many aboriginals in Australia. It's about basic consistency. And no, it's not an accident that there is no BDS campaign against Australia. Australia isn't surrounded by two dozen dictatorships that hate it and that are willing to bankroll a campaign against it, and it's basically a Christian country, which heretofore, no European Christian country has ever boycotted.

    • "Irish dance style grew directly out of British oppressive occupation"

      Which is why these people will doubtless be running the same campaign against CLRG's program in Australia, where the British colonial empire wiped out the indigenous population. Bueller? Bueller?

      Oh well, I guess people aren't united against it when most of the population is Christian.

  • Israeli President Reuven Rivlin calls for removal of Israeli flag
    • Don't talk to me about loyalty, Mooser. You don't understand it or the America you purport to defend as the demagogue that you are.

    • In this world, targeting the Israeli flag, especially given what else has happened in the Middle East and widespread antisemitism in Europe, also represents something. Start somewhere else if you want to break down people's symbols. There are almost 5 dozen Muslim countries. The vast majority of them have a religious symbol on their flag, and in some countries, that's synonymous with persecution of minorities. To be silent on that, and to talk obsessively about Israel, is ridiculous.

    • "Why hophmi? Is the USA in the Middle East?"

      Um, yeah. They are. All over the place. Fifth Fleet and all that. Iraq War.

      "Are you really so stupid you actually believe your what-aboutery will make the grade here?"

      Are you really so stupid to think that this flag argument passes the laugh test?

    • Try the same thought experiment with the American flag, which is doubtless painful for many people to look at. Or any number of flags around the world where this silly thought would apply, since a flag might make some people unhappy.

  • 'Six Jews sitting in the White House discussing the Palestinian state'
    • "Isn’t the large number of Jewish Americans having influential administration positions on I/P issues similarly problematical?"

      I'm not sure exactly how Oren draws that conclusion (although, once again, when it serves your purposes, you're willing to agree with everything your adversaries say). Susan Rice is not Jewish. Neither is Ben Rhodes. Neither is Obama. Neither is Biden. Neither was Gates. Neither was either Secretary of State. Neither is Ash Carter. So it seems to me that there are many non-Jews decision-makers involved in US-Israeli-Palestinian policymaking.

  • 'Obama coffee' is black and weak -- racist tweet from wife of Israel's vice premier
    • I guess the answer is no.

    • "Just look at that picture, btw, a whole subtext there."

      Only the one you're creating. Israelis have a blunt way of speaking, and they're not schooled in the ways of American political correctness. So the more clueless ones might repeat stuff white Americans routinely say in private. There's no subtext here, other than a lot of hypocrites in a country where some states fly a Confederate Army battle flag and where some whites gun down Black people in churches calling the Israelis racist because some lady retweeted an offensive joke.

    • "This dispels one meme: Zionists lack sense of humor"

      Yes Piotr, one woman tweeting a racist joke means Zionists lack a sense of humor. I mean, you can make grand conclusions about an entire country of people because one lady tweeted out something stupid. I mean, gee, I wonder if any of you would ever generalize like this about Palestinians. I mean, way more than one Palestinian has tweeted out antisemitic pro-terrorist nonsense or support for ISIS, so they must ALL support both, right?

    • "In the 1950’s, Israelis called Holocaust survivors ‘weak, white’ ‘Jewish Soap’.
      ‘Weak black coffee’, with its plantation-slave overtones, is probably an unconscious repetition of that."

      Oh yeah, that must be it. Or she just repeated some dumb joke she saw on Twitter from someone in the United States. So which Israelis called Holocaust survivors "Jewish soap?" Was it all of them? Some of them? A few of them? One of them?

    • Page: 72
    • Let's now listen to people from a country where a KKK member just murdered nine Black people in a church tell us how racist the Israelis are because some clueless lady with a history of saying stupid things made a racist joke on twitter about President Obama that you could hear any day of the week in conservative circles in the United States.

    • Have you been to Israel, Cliff?

  • Israeli diplomats 'are not allowed to speak' on US campuses, but North Korean diplomats are, Israeli official says
    • "But he’s right on one count, there is McCarthyism at play, and it’s pro-Israel McCarthyism. "

      This is projection. You can't argue on the one hand that being pro-Israel on campus is unpopular and on the other that there is pro-Israel McCarthyism on campus. Pro-Palestinians speakers aren't being shouted down or being subjected to boycott campaigns. Pro-Israel students are. In the real world, it's the BDS movement that's seen as McCarthyist, not the pro-Israel movement.

    • "So, there were protestors at an event?"

      No, there were people shouting him down so that he couldn't speak and had to end his speech early, and it was bad enough that the university had to apologize to him. Here's a homework assignment: learn to read. It's fundamental.

    • " The absence of invitations to Israeli diplomats might reflect a soft form of BDS, in which institutions boycott Israel without saying they’re doing so. "

      You're misunderstanding what Akiva Tor said. He didn't say that Israeli diplomats weren't receiving invitations. He said that they weren't being allowed to speak. There's a difference. He's speaking from his personal experience as Consul-General in San Francisco, where he was invited to speak on several campuses, and then shouted down when he tried to speak. Universities and students are not shying away from inviting Israeli diplomats. Small groups of fanatical students, some of them antisemites, are proactively working to suppress the speech of the Jewish community and those that they bring to campus, often while bringing speakers of their own who have a history of making anti-Jewish statements. As we know from what happened to Rachel Beyda at UCLA, some of these campuses have discriminated against Jewish students.

      And by the way, Finkelstein's wrong. It's not unpopular to be pro-Israel on "campus." It's unpopular on some very liberal campuses in the Northeast and West, particularly if there aren't many Jews on campus, or if there is a large Arab population, like in Chicago and Michigan. But it is hardly an issue elsewhere. There are a couple thousand college campuses in the United States.

  • Michael Oren misrepresents the truth, 'Forward' and 'NYT' editor assert
    • "CNN subsequently dropped Oren as an “analyst” because of these efforts to distort the truth"

      Sorry, but even your own piece on this issue provides no evidence to support his claim. Your own piece says that CNN felt that it was inappropriate to label him analyst when he was in fact an ambassador.

  • Does Israel have a toxic personality? Ask Michael Oren
    • Or maybe Netanyahu doesn't smile with his teeth. Come to think of it, I haven't seen a picture of you smiling with your teeth either; you must be a joyless person. C'mon, Phil, this is stupider than body language nonsense Bill O'Reilly puts on TV.

  • Israeli leader turns on US Jewish journalists Friedman, Wieseltier, Remnick and Silvers for disloyalty and anti-semitism!
    • "An important polarization will take place. Zionism will be seen by everyone to be what it has worked out to be, a segregationist ideology, and important liberal Zionists led by Peter Beinart will with sadness and sagacity renounce it."

      Beinart will not renounce Zionism, because Beinart is not a self-hating bigot who would deny to his own people what everyone else enjoys. There is zero social science data to support this prognostication. Overwhelming majorities of Americans, including American Jews, support Israel's right to exist and have little sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

  • Obscure Netanyahu minister emerges as unsung international hero in latest 'NYT' report
    • " The foreign desk might have sent Jodi Rudoren to Gaza to ask the families of the four slaughtered boys on the beach what they thought of the Israeli government report "

      Why, exactly? Why would the families of the boys know anything about how they were killed? Of course, if your point is that the New York Times should be more like Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, it makes perfect sense.

  • Dershowitz spills the beans: Supreme Court's Jerusalem case impact on Iran deal
    • "He’s wrong but it’s interesting for what it revealed about the intentions of the parties pushing the case."

      I love it how, when it serves your purpose, you believe everything Dershowitz says.

  • BDS could cost Israel $4.7 billion a year
    • "Grass-roots organizations in Palestine have endorsed BDS as the nonviolent way to bring justice to Israel/Palestine. They live there, and they suffer oppression every day. I defer to their judgment."

      Except, again, this is not a situation where nonviolence has popular support, which was basically true in South Africa, where the Black majority directed comparatively little violence toward whites. The judgment of the Palestinians has been to honor those who kill Jews, elect Hamas, and reject leaders who condemn violence like Abbas. BDS may be your chosen tactic, but for Palestinians, it is clearly just another tactic among many, including violence. You cannot impute your motives to them.

    • "BDS has been used in the South African anti-apartheid struggle, by Gandhi in the campaign for Indian independence, by Caesar Chavez in the grape boycott, and by Martin Luther King in the Montgomery Bus Boycott."

      In all three cases, the leaders were non-violent, and non-violence was the chosen popular strategy, and these leaders were the undisputed leaders of their respective movements. That is just not true with the Palestinians, who voted in a terrorist group, have killed thousands with suicide bombing, honor those who kill Jews, and adopt as leaders those who endorse violence, like Marwan Barghouti, and eschew those who do not endorse violence, like Mahmoud Abbas. Just because a group of Palestinian civil society organizations endorsed a strategy, it doesn't mean that Palestinians have chosen non-violence.

    • "I spent years in apartheid southern Africa and wrote a book against it. In your comment, you could just replace the word “Palestinians” with “black South Africans” and the alleged “deleterious” effect on them of sanctions and you would sound just like defenders of the old South African regime.

      Nelson Mandela and the South African national liberation movement called for sanctions, just like grass-roots organizations in Israel/Palestine call for BDS.

      As you should know, BDS is a nonviolent movement for justice in Israel/Palestine. It takes no position on 1- or 2-states."

      Yes, I figured that you'd reply by making a South Africa comparison. It's very tempting. The arguments on both sides are certainly similar, even if the facts on the ground are completely different; Jews make up a majority between the River and the Sea, Israel is not actually an apartheid state, at least within the 1967 borders, Black South Africans did not kill thousands of white South Africans with suicide terrorism, Israel's population is made up of the descendants of Holocaust survivors and the descendants of refugees from elsewhere in the Middle East, etc.

      Of course, there are couple of problems with your argument. First of all, there is embedded in your premise that boycotting is ultimately what ended the apartheid government in South Africa. That's a debatable point. And the opponents of divestment were not limited to the regime. They included Chief Buthelezi. And today, Black South Africans continue to experience endemic poverty, and the country is sliding into racial strife and has experienced xenophobic violence. So when I hear Western activists go on and on about South Africa, without addressing the fact that after apartheid ended, the same activists did little, and certainly nothing comparable, to actually ensure a better life for Black South Africans, I'm reminded that, so often, Western activism is more about Western activists than about the people on the ground, which is why Western activists can be so callous about those people, ignore their problems, and focus on their own activist achievements. This is exactly why I dislike the one-staters. They will not be around if and when the one-state solution results in a lot of dead Jews. They're callous or ignorant about the consequences of the policies that they advocate.

      But let's put all of that aside. First of all, you're not making much progress with BDS, at least not in the United States. The campus South Africa divestment movement in the United States achieved the Michigan and Columbia divestments within a year, and within a decade, Congress had passed anti-apartheid legislation. That will not happen here, James, and you know that. Despite a good five years of intense activism here, the BDS movement has achieved a few student government votes at very liberal campuses in a country with about 2000 colleges, with no prospect of any college actually divesting; not even Hampshire has divested. BDS in the United States is a failure by every measure except those of the BDS activists. It's purely symbolic. Israel's economy is far too big for a few billion dollars to make a difference. You're going to rely on this report; rely on it honestly. The best approach for everyone is a negotiated two state solution. If you're not supporting that, you're not supporting peace or justice. You're supporting a utopia of some kind.

      Though BDS activists continue to stick to these fallacies that BDS is a Palestinian-led movement (it's produced and driven by Western activists) and that it's agnostic on the 1ss versus the 2ss, most BDS activists are for a 1ss, or simply support the outlines of a 1ss (full RoR to Israel proper) without actually saying it; they certainly do not support a negotiated accord, and I do not think you can cognizably argue that they do.

    • "Actually, the most important line is this: 'BDS could cost Israel $4.7 billion a year.'”

      Is the point of BDS to cost Israel money? $4.7 billion a year is under 3% of Israeli GDP, which is close to $300 billion. About a third of that total is due to the "Instability and Uncertainty" BDS causes. Seems like that's a claim worth exploring, considering that when Orange's CEO tried to play that game, it didn't work out so well. Israel is not South Africa. It's far more integrated into the world economy. What happens in Israel affects other actors. That's why Orange's CEO isn't pulling out of Israel so fast. Turns out other capital actors aren't fond of BDS.

      Of course, that doesn't mean Israel shouldn't fight BDS; $4.7 billion dollars is $4.7 billion dollars, and spending a few million dollars isn't a major cost for Israel. The best argument against fighting BDS is that fighting BDS gives BDS free publicity, a view with which I somewhat agree.

      But let's focus on the cost to Palestinians. The BDS movement is projected to cost the Palestinians more than $2.38 billion by 2024. (126) That may not seem like a lot, but of course, when your GDP is $10 billion a year, it's a far bigger hit than anything Israel will experience. So one takeaway from the RAND report is that BDS hurts the Palestinians at several times the rate it hurts the Israelis.

      If the Palestinians want to cost Israel money, it would seem from this report that the far more lucrative answer is violence, which is estimated to cost Israel $45 billion a year by 2024, not $15 billion (130). Of course, it would cost the Palestinians more than $9 billion a year by 2024, which is the vast majority of Palestinian GDP (130). So violence doesn't work.

      If, of course, the point is to find a way forward, the study reiterates a finding that many studies have shown - a peaceful resolution is the best option. "Multiple studies, including our own, clearly demonstrate that a peaceful resolution of the conflict is the best option economically for both Palestinians and Israelis" (145). In a two-state solution, Palestinians would benefit by $9.7 billion dollars and Israel $22.8 billion, but of course, that's a far, far higher rise for the Palestinians, who are starting from a GDP that is 1/30th of Israel's (145). So, as the report says, the financial incentive for the Palestinians to "reach an accord" is much greater than Israel's (145).

      So, James, are you fighting for a peaceful solution by supporting BDS, a strategy that is projected to have little effect on Israeli GDP and a large deleterious effect on the Palestinian economy, instead of advocating a two state solution, a strategy that would have a tremendously positive effect on the Palestinian economy?

      link to

    • The most important line is this:

      "Notwithstanding the movement’s triumphant tone — and Israel’s robust reaction — BDS has not been nearly as successful as its supporters claim, nor its opponents fear."

      You're a smoke and mirrors campaign.

  • How will Sheldon save Israel?
    • How will Katie Miranda memorialize the killing of Jews in Denmark, Belgium, and France? Oh, that's right, she won't, because she's too busy demonizing them.

  • 'You have dual citizenship with Israel' -- NPR host hits Sanders with internet canard
    • She didn't ask him anything. She stated it as if it were fact. There are regular commentators on this site that trade in this antisemitic nonsense.

      Diane Rehm should be fired immediately. She's a dupe.

  • The Peter Beinart Double Standard: Why is this boycott different from all other boycotts?
    • The discussion elides Beinart's argument, which is that boycotting Israel for discriminatory legislation inside the Green Line is highly problematic from a moral point of view, both because there are far greater and more significant examples of countries with discriminatory internal legislation, and because, at least inside the Green Line, Israel hardly operates an apartheid system; Palestinian-Israelis vote, hold office, sit in the judiciary, attend universities with other Israelis (and benefit from affirmative action programs in Israel). Beinart's point has also been made by Norman Finkelstein; the plight of Palestinian-Israelis pales in comparison to, say, Indian dalits, a huge group which faces more dire discrimination and poverty, problem which surely could be remedied by a boycott of India, a boycott unlikely to happen, just as a boycott of Saudi Arabia, a totalitarian dictatorship. And no one believes Yosef Munayyer when he suggests that all Beinart need do is start such a movement, and he would support it. No one in the BDS community that I know of has ever talked about boycotting Saudi Arabia, a state that indirectly (and perhaps directly) funds the boycott movement through the funding of campus organizations and Muslim communal organizations that promote it.

      It is also problematic from a moral point of view because Israel is a country of refugees established in the aftermath of the greatest genocide in human history. It is thirdly problematic because the state the Palestinians vie for is an Arab Islamic state based on sharia law, one that would almost certainly result in much greater societal discrimination toward minorities. At the end of the day, BDS is not a human rights movement. It is a part of the Palestinian nationalist movement. And the reason, in the end, why the Europeans might go as far as labeling settlement products (a policy that relates to its long non-recognition of Israeli claims over the territories), but no further, is because everyone accepts the idea that this is ultimately a land conflict between two nations, and not a conflict over human rights.

  • Schumer says Jewish and American interests on Iran deal differ but he has 'to do what's right for U.S.'
    • So, worrying about Israeli deaths makes me dually loyal, but worrying about Iranian deaths makes you pro-American, is that it?

    • "Jewish and non-Jewish Americans are Americans – they should care about America. "

      And your evidence that they don't is what, exactly? Is Israel the sum total of Jews in America? And why can't Jews advance the position that support of Israel is in America's best interest without facing antisemitic dual loyalty charges.

    • "How about white people for starters?"

      White people are the majority. I'm speaking of minority groups; I should have mentioned that. But since we're on the topic, yes, voluminous sociological data and voting pattern would suggest that white people too worry about the interests of white people.

      Would you dare say that African-Americans who say "Black Lives Matter" are more loyal to themselves than to the country? Would you dare say that Muslims who complain that the United States is responsible for too many Muslim deaths abroad are more loyal to Islam than they are to America? All Schumer is saying here is that Jewish lives matter and that Jewish lives are under threat. Jews who agree with him should not have to contend with antisemitic dual loyalty charges.

    • So if Jews care about the survival of their number (in the same way EVERY OTHER RACIAL AND ETHNIC GROUP cares similarly), it's an example of dual loyalty. Got it.

  • Israel can handle any threat in the Middle East, but it will go down without young American Jews -- Shavit
    • What does it matter whether Palestinians are smart or dumb? ISIS is ISIS. And the Palestinians certainly have not avoided Islamic radicals in the past.

      Why does Gaza need to be part of the state? Because your goal is to achieve a Muslim majority.

    • You've reviewed Shavit's position enough. I'd like to hear your take on your fellow one-stater Glick's, most specifically her assessment that a Palestinian state would become a magnet for ISIS-like forces because Mahmoud Abbas has no real power base and because ISIS is just on the other side of the Golan Heights. Putting aside the rest of her vision for the moment, this seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable critique of your position and Shavit's, which is that you (and others like Yosef Munayyer) can talk about a utopian one-state democratic solution (or a two-state solution) until you're blue in the face, but you can't expect to have much credibility when there is little reason to believe that your vision can come to pass, and certainly little reason to believe that moderate Muslims and non-Muslims would be safe in such a scenario.

      I think Shavit is wrong on several accounts; it is true that Israel's rightwing shift is causing it to lose the support of some younger American Jewish progressives. But it's easy to overstate the problem. First of all, there is a lot of nuance to the position of young American Jewish progressives. Some are J Streeters, and dead set against BDS. A few are JVPers, but probably not more than 10 or 15 percent, if that, and the reason JVPers seem like a larger group is because they're often found on campuses where the vast majority of the Jewish community is not politically active. On campuses where the Jewish community is politically active, it's a different story. There is no shortage of young pro-Israel Jews at Columbia, for instance.

      The other problem with Shavit's analysis is that while some young American progressive Jews may be abandoning Israel (and to a large extent, Judaism itself), they are simply more than outweighed by an exploding population of young, orthodox Jews who are generally very supportive. For two-staters like me who agree with Shavit that Israel needs a two-state vision (and no, your analogy to the Zionists and the British is not apropos, because the Zionists were far further along in the state-building process in the 1930's and 1940's than the Palestinians are now, and the quality of the Palestinian state has a direct effect on Israeli security), this is a worrying and somewhat depressing trend, but referring to young American Jews as if they were a monolithic group is silly. The end result may be what you're seeing, which is that Israel will recognize that this relatively small group of young progressives are not worth cultivating in the first place, because they're not likely to play a big role in the future anyway, not as supporters of Israel and not as Jews.

  • Is BDS practicing a double standard with respect to Arab countries?
    • Beinart destroys Munayyer here, and exposes the hypocrisy of the BDS movement, which seeks Israel's destruction as a Jewish state.

      In fact, I don't believe Munayyer; there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that the BDS movement would sign on to a boycott of Arab Muslim ethnocratic dictatorships, because they would condemn such an effort as Islamophobic (particularly if someone like Beinart started it), or because they receive funding from some of these states.

  • Obama's disgust for Netanyahu's 'stink' signals coming era of Jewish persecution in the U.S., says 'Tablet'
    • Cohen is certainly not a serious intellectual. But since this site has a long history of denying or apologizing for every act of antisemitism that does happen, its view on the seriousness of the challenges that Jews face, particularly in Europe, where antisemitism is now, without question, a widespread problem, is just not very credible.

  • Supreme Court slam dunks the Israel lobby on Jerusalem, 6-3 (and Rubio, Oren, and Engel are angry)
    • "There is nothing “silly” about the genocide of the Polish people."

      Don't play that game with me. I never said that there was anything silly about the Polish experience during WWII. The argument that the experience was comparable to what Polish Jews experienced, sometimes at the hands of their Christian Polish brethren, is belied by history.

    • "They are soliciting pointless reports from Students and Professors regarding “anti-Israeli incidents on your college or university campus” without bothering to explain that neither DOE nor the Courts will be interested if its JVP or a Muslim Student association complaining about Israeli policies on the grounds of their religious beliefs. It makes for great propaganda that gets used to drum up support for symbolic anti-boycott legislation."

      It is likewise great propaganda to refer to BDS as a religious movement. You should keep doing it. Make sure to remind the kids that if boycotting governments that are accused of human rights violations is now a religious requirement, they have a lot of boycotting to do.

    • "All totally worth it for the privilege of congratulating you on your seemingly infinite wisdom, patience, generosity and the TKO!"

      Too bad judges have to be impartial. That disqualifies you, Just.

      "congratulating you on your seemingly infinite wisdom, patience, generosity... I’ll concede up front that you are the biggest prick I’ve ever encountered at MW.” –

      Yeah, that's patience and generosity, calling the people who don't agree with you "big pricks" in a room full of your fellow travelers. As I said, there is no shortage of people who will shine sun up Hostage's behind, no matter how silly his arguments.

    • "Correction: Read the NAACP decisions again. They are targeting organizations and individual members who are specifically associating with the BDS movement in most instances as part of a formal platform for the advancement of their Jewish values, creed, and beliefs. That’s the same thing other Jewish groups do when they promote their “Jewish Traditions”."

      I'm again urging you to advance this argument with the relevant authorities. You can persist in this silliness. You won't convince anyone outside of the cult.

    • "OMG! Read Count 3 of the Nuremburg Indictment again. They were exterminated precisely because they were Poles and their “space” was needed for Germanization. So, please don’t try to tell me there was no plan to exterminate them. Before we have a contest over dick size, I’ll concede up front that you are the biggest prick I’ve ever encountered at MW."

      The numbers speak for themselves. I can agree with you that the many non-Jewish Poles were killed, and even that Poles experienced a form of a genocide. They were not, however, murdered at anything near the rate or intensity at which the Jewish community was disposed of, and in some cases, such as Jedwabne, they did the work for the Nazis. And at the end of the war, the survivors went back to their homes and country, and in some cases, denied that ability to the few Polish Jews who survived.

    • Even the Roma did not lose as high a percentage of their population during the Porajmos as the Jews did (the high estimate is that about 1 in 4 Roma died), but since I mentioned them prominently in making the point that they have been quite unable to just "pick up the pieces" and go on with their lives, and that they continue to suffer from endemic poverty and persecution in Europe today, I can hardly be accused of forgetting them.

    • "Who is being silly? I was pointing out that there are exceptions to the statutory prohibitions on employment-based discrimination on the basis of alien national origin that allow us to discriminate against any and all non-US nationals. I have only been pointing that out, by way of these and analogies, that any constitutional anti-boycott statute will similarly permit behavior or nationality based discrimination against states, their agencies, and their citizens. I already pointed out an example of that in the South Carolina statute."

      Your exception allows discrimination on the basis of citizenship, and yes, there are many examples of that, such as voting rights. But a law preventing non-citizens from voting would not support another law preventing only people of Israeli extraction from voting.

    • "I don’t have to take your word for that. The organizations involved even admit that they are targeting Jewish Voice for Peace campus chapters and the Jewishpress reports named Jewish members of the Students for Justice in Palestine as examples of groups and individuals that should be targeted by anti-boycott legislation."

      So what? They're targeting organizations that support BDS, not organizations that are Jewish. You're going to respond that if that's true, how come we can't go in the other direction and say that BDSers aren't targeting Jews; they're targeting Zionists. My answer is that, unfortunately, sometimes that leads to an antisemitic atmosphere on campus, and one reason anti-Zionist activity is more likely to do that than BDS activity is is that most of the Jewish community is not in favor of BDS, and thus, it's more likely that anti-Zionist activity will stray into antisemitic activity. With regard to Title VI, you're not going to have a successful case if all you can make out is that SJP and JVP held a few events on campus. There is more to it than that.

      As far your very silly argument that anti-Zionism is a religious creed because of the Pittsburgh Platform and the "Three Oaths" you love so much, please respond to my counterargument, which is that most political ideologies can claim some basis in religious texts, and another, which is that the vast majority of BDSers have no clue what the Pittsburgh Platform or the Three Oaths are, and to my knowledge, neither the Palestinian civil society organizations that adopted BDS as a strategy or JVP, which regards itself as supporting that call, has ever suggested that the reason was because of either one of these documents.

      Again, if you disagree, please feel free to press this claim under Title VI with the relevant agency.

    • "24 hours and counting. You still haven’t cited a single violation of any statute by the BDS movement, including that one. So why did you ever bring the subject up in the first place?"

      Are we back to straw men?

      No one suggested that the BDS movement had actually violated antidiscrimination law. The question is about academic institutions that may adopt BDS. If an academic institution adopts BDS as a policy and refuses to hire Israeli academic personnel on that basis, then it would be violating antidiscrimination law.

      "But [JCRC is] an organization and the statute applies to those, as well as corporations, partnerships, or any other combination, not just clients."

      No, FARA is not implicated simply because you have a relationship or even a working partnership with representatives of a foreign country. I explained in detail why that's not true; if it were, very many 501(c)(3)'s would be in violation, like NYU's Abu Dhabi project, Arab charities, etc. You have to actually working on their behalf (law firm-client, ad -agency-client, etc.). You have to REPRESENT the foreign government. It's not enough to say simply that JCRC supports Israeli goals or even interests; you can support Israeli interests in your function as an American organization acting on behalf of your American members, just as Mondoweiss can support Iranian interests in its capacity as a organization against sanctions policy, without the need to register as a foreign agent on behalf of Iran. Neither of these is true in the case of JCRC-NY. Again, if you disagree with this perspective, I urge you to complain to the IRS; I've provided you a link to the relevant form.

    • "No, its just perfectly legal to refuse to hire an Israeli national by explaining that we don’t want to expose the kiddies to their alien culture and outlook."

      It's perfectly legal if your policy is not to hire non-citizens. If your policy is not to hire Israelis only, then it's quite illegal. Get the difference now? Or are we going to continue to be silly?

    • "No comments like that one are. The Nazis committed genocide against the Poles and Soviet POWs too. They lost more than 20 million people and no one was offering to setup a safe haven or state for them in another part of the world."

      The Poles lost 17% of their population during the war. There was no campaign to annihilate them. 91% of Polish Jews were murdered in an annihilationist campaign. Sometimes they were persecuted by their fellow Poles. At the end of the war, the Poles went back to Poland, and many of them took over Jewish homes and property. In places like Kielce, they massacred the Jews that tried to come back. Similar facts are true about Ukraine, where in many towns, most, if not all, Jews were murdered, symbolized by Babi Yar, where more than 30,000 Jews were killed over a weekend.

      "For that matter Netanyahu has been building fences to keep refugees from coming to Israel and doesn’t seem to be convinced that everyone has the right to setup a new state somewhere else whenever a genocidal war breaks out in their country."

      Yeah, only Israel builds fences, right? In any case, my feeling is that we'd have a lot less genocide in Africa if there were more states.

      " If that’s not beneath contempt, then suggesting that Jewish war survivors should have gotten on with their lives in their countries of origin, like everyone else, is not beneath contempt either."

      I'm sorry, but yes it is. Jews were not like everyone else in Europe. They had no homes to go back to, and they were decimated in a way that no one else was. As I've said before, if you want to see what an annihilated people looks like when they have no place to go, look at the Roma. They're still in dire poverty and still widely persecuted in so-called enlightened Europe.

      "You’re just upset that I don’t accept your narrative of Jewish exceptionalism in the aftermath of a war that killed-off 40 million people."

      It matters not what you accept; I've dealt many times with this argument that others were killed, so the Jewish Holocaust somehow matters less. The argument is bad for many reasons; No ethnic group lost 6 out of every 11 members, and more than 9 out of 10 members of their largest national community, the Holocaust was the culmination of hundred and hundreds of years of religious-based persecution, etc. etc., we've been over this territory many times. What's significant is your statement that Jews just should have picked up the pieces in Europe. In light of Jewish history in Europe, I find it callous.

    • "If those organizations are taking instructions or directions from a foreign entity, then they should be registered as agents too."

      I give you points for consistency.

      "There’s no stigma attached to it"

      I take away points for this. There's obviously a stigma attached to labeling an organization as a foreign agent, rather than as an American organization working on behalf of an American constituency. If there weren't a stigma, you wouldn't be pushing the argument so hard.

      "I think your whole problem is that you don’t think its illegal to boycott or sanction Anti-Zionist Jews"

      Let's drop this whole premise that anti-boycott legislation is aimed at anti-Zionist Jews. You know that's not the case, not in word or deed; the boycott movement is not "Jewish." I can understand the First Amendment free speech argument you're making, at least to a point. The religious discrimination argument is silly, but maybe you're previewing something here for me; maybe BDS will begin pushing itself as a Jewish religious creed. That should be fun to watch. Too bad denominational Judaism is approaching a nadir.

      Neither anti-Zionism nor Zionism count as religious creeds, sorry to say; while tenets of both might find support in Jewish religious texts, political ideologies are not elevated to religious creeds by virtue of their tenets finding support in religious texts. If that were true, just about every political ideology would be a religious creed, because just about all of them find support in religious texts.

      I know you like to refer to the people BDS is targeting as "the Zionists," but you and I both know that in practice, BDS is targeting a state, and it's not making special exceptions for those inside of the state who don't identify as Zionist, not that it would likely matter a whole lot from an antidiscrimination law POV, since the outcome would still probably amount to discrimination. BDS targets people of a certain nationality because they hold that nationality. Academic institutions cannot base employment decisions on national origin. It's simply a violation of federal and state law.

      As far as your novel argument that Hillels that abide by the partnership guidelines prohibiting local Hillels from sponsoring BDS proponents are violating DHS regulations: it is really interesting to see you use Title VI in a way that you've rejected many times in the past to support your other novel argument, which is that targeting anti-Zionist organizations is a form of religious discrimination under Title VI. Once again, I urge you to test this theory by filing a complaint. Generally, as far as I know, Title VI claims based on challenges to Zionist organizations on campus really haven't succeeded. Jewish students on campus are generally worried about anti-Jewish acts on campus, whether they're bigoted statements, or swastikas, or, in more difficult cases, instances where the rhetoric of the anti-Zionist movement strays into antisemitism by suggesting that Jews are dually loyal, or that a Jewish cabal is hurting America, etc.

      While someone like me suggests that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism, there are two reasons, and neither is an assertion that anti-Zionists are per se antisemitic by virtue of being anti-Zionists. The first is that anti-Zionists often say antisemitic things, such as suggesting that Jews are dually loyal, that Jews have too much financial and political power in society, and they blame Jews for the Iraq War because some of the President's advisors were Jewish; all this is consider antisemitism by most people outside of the anti-Zionist community because it hold Jews collectively responsible for what individual Jews do. The second is a structural argument; the notion that with all of the problems in the world, particularly in Islamic countries and communities, that Israel will be the center of attention for the human rights community and that we will, seventy years after the Holocaust, now launch a boycott of the state that was formed by Jewish refugees, and that we will do this mostly at the behest of European activists who hail from countries that were directly responsible for the Holocaust, and who delight in comparing Jews to their former oppressors, strikes me as a form of antisemitism.

    • Lol! No, it is illegal for a 501(c)3 to be organized in order to do that. It is illegal so long as it is more than an insubstantial part of the organizations activities, not just the “main thing” that it does. Hell some of them have full-time personnel with duty titles like “Director of Legislative Affairs”. See Measuring Lobbying: Substantial Part Test link to"

      It is not, and as I've pointed out, 501(c)(3)'s do it all the time. If, of course, you wish to complain to the IRS about this issue, the avenue is there for you to do so. link to

      Register a complaint if you think JCRC is violation of the policy, and let me know what the IRS says. That would be a good way to settle this question, although I think you know the answer since you seem reasonably intelligent. Since JCRC-NY has been around for quite a long time, and since they have lawyers who, among many other things, deal with issues like this, my guess is they know exactly what the law is, and that they haven't violated it. Major Jewish organizations like JCRC know and understand FARA quite well.

      You've provided a link on the "Substantial Part Test," apparently, again, assuming that people here won't read it. The Test makes clear that it is applied on a case by case basis: "Whether an organization’s attempts to influence legislation, i.e., lobbying, constitute a substantial part of its overall activities is determined on the basis of all the pertinent facts and circumstances in each case. The IRS considers a variety of factors, including the time devoted (by both compensated and volunteer workers) and the expenditures devoted by the organization to the activity, when determining whether the lobbying activity is substantial."

      It's unlikely you could meet your burden with regard to JCRC.

      "As usual, Hophmi is engaging in flim flammery."

      No Hostage, you're the one engaging in flim flammery, because you can't tell the difference between a truthy demagogic political argument and a legal one.

      "There is no loophole in the Foreign Agents Registration Act that permits a law firm or other organization to avoid registration because it derives the bulk of its income from other clients or sources or agrees to do the work pro bono."

      Not the point; JCRC isn't a law firm representing the government of Israel as a client. They are the recipient of a grant. Law firms have to register with FARA when they take on foreign governments as clients; no one suggested that it had anything to do with what percentage of their income foreign government represented.

      "The statute requires anyone taking instructions or directions from a foreign entity to register, even if they are working for free. The Federations and their JCRCs work openly with the government of Israel and they are fixtures at one another’s annual conferences where they develop their joint strategies to combat BDS."

      That is not the same thing as representing Israel as client. As I've pointed out, many, many organizations receive donations from foreign governments. They may even coordinate campaigns with them from time to time; JCRC certainly does this, principally as the organizer of the Celebrate Israel Parade. But they do it in their capacity as the representative of the Jewish community in New York, and not because they have a fiduciary responsibility to the State of Israel or because they work for the Israeli government; for the same reason, NIAC, which fosters better relations between the Iranians and the United States, and often promotes what can be characterized as Iranian interests, does not have to register because they do not work for the Iranian government. Neither do much larger 501(c)(3)'s, like, for instance, the NYU Abu Dhabi campus, which is a joint project with the Emirate, or the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, which takes money from many Islamic and Arab governments.

      I get it Hostage. People are forever using FARA as a sort of cudgel to attack protagonists of a foreign policy position they don't like; this sort of demagoguery is not limited to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's a really easy game to play on unsuspecting people in your base. I really do encourage you to get off of your backside in Kansas (you clearly have the time) to petition for your desired outcome, because you know, and I know, that you have a losing position here.

    • " I mean the “Jewish”, “Zionist”, and “Israel” member associations who have a number of confederations with interlocking boards of directors that are self-styled and publicized as “major organizations” working with the government of the State of Israel itself. They don’t just write those foreign libel and anti-boycott lawsuit judgments that I mentioned. They would most certainly be using existing agreements to have those enforced here in the USA.

      FYI, I wasn’t born yesterday, like you seem to have been. I grew-up in a house with a country lawyer who worked in the Political Department of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and he was a past expert in the art of Zionist “Lawfare”, long before anyone coined the term."

      Ah, so you're like an ex-smoker.

      You're simply incorrect on this point, perhaps because you inevitably lapse into politics when you're making legal arguments. I'm not aware of how Jewish organization write "judgments" in these cases.

    • "Contrary to your hasbara talking points, the Jews were expected to pick-up the pieces of their shattered lives like everyone else under the Marshall Plan, and rebuild their former communities after WWII."

      Comments like this are really beneath contempt. The Polish Jewish community went from three million to three hundred thousand.

      After the war, when Jews did try to return to their communities, things like this happened:

      link to

      So I don't give a good goddamn what Jews were expected to do under the Marshall Plan, and I thank G-d that today, Jews don't have to worry about the expectations of people like George Marshall.

    • Hostage writes:

      "It simply isn’t true that there is a statute that makes it “illegal” to discriminate on the basis of nationality or national origin."

      You're right. There isn't such a statute. There are dozens of such statutes, most importantly, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act: "It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer -

      (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin[.]"

      link to

      Similar legislation exists in other countries, such as the UK. It is one reason why, here in the US, law firms have advised university to distance themselves from academic organizations that endorse boycotting Israeli academia in order to avoid employment discrimination lawsuits:

      link to

      "For example, even though those are federally protected characteristics, it is not a violation of the federal employment statutes to discriminate on that basis in certain situations. It wasn’t all that long ago that the US Supreme Court held that:

      A New York statute forbidding permanent certification as a public school teacher of any person who is not a United States citizen unless that person has manifested an intention to apply for citizenship, does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
      (a) As a general principle some state functions are so bound up with the operation of the State as a governmental entity as to permit exclusion from those functions of all persons who have not become part of the process of self-government.

      — See AMBACH v. NORWICK, 441 U.S. 68 (1979) link to"

      You must be kidding. A law that requires teachers to be either citizens or to have the intent to acquire citizenship is not remotely the same thing as a law or policy that singles out those from a specific country.

    • A number of other issues with Hostage's claims:

      1. "I also pointed out at the time, that the Zionist groups pushing for the legislation were flaunting the prohibitions against a IRS 501(c)(3) organizations working directly with legislators on drafting the bill’s provisions and that they were receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies from the Consulate of the State of Israel to boot without registering as foreign agent"

      Hostage is referring to JCRC of NY's involvement. He makes two claims: first, that JCRC was violating its 501(c)(3) status by lobbying NY state legislators, and second, that JCRC should have registered as a foreign agent because it received donations from the Israeli consulate in NY.

      Both claims are nonsense. 501(c)(3)'s are permitted to lobby, as long as lobbying is not "a substantial part of its activities." link to Moreover: "Organizations may [] involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying. For example, organizations may conduct educational meetings, prepare and distribute educational materials, or otherwise consider public policy issues in an educational manner without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status."

      The JCRC rarely lobbies. link to

      Of course, 501(c)(3)'s often work with legislators on issues of interest as part of a broad array of activities, and Hostage knows this well. It's perfectly legal, as long as that's not the main thing that they do. The National Iranian-American Council is one example. link to

      As far as the Israeli consulate goes: Hostage does the usual two-step and claims that because JCRC receives grants from the Israeli Consulate in NY, they must be acting on their behalf when they advocate anti-boycott legislation, and thus, they should be registered as foreign agents. This is the usual FARA demagoguery. Just to take an example, in 2012, the grant was about $300,000, out of about $4 million in donations. JCRC's principal mission is to represent the Jews of New York to government officials. The vast majority of the Jews in New York oppose BDS. So it's doing no more than acting on behalf of their American constituency, and regardless, advocating against a boycott, or even advocating for pro-Israel policy, is not the same thing as representing Israel as a client, which is what FARA is generally for. If we extended FARA to organizations that receive grants from foreign countries as a small percentage of their donation base, lots of organizations, like, for instance, the United Palestinian Appeal, to which the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia is a major donor, link to, or the Clinton Foundation, which has taken money from several governments, would have to so register.

    • "The scheming Zionist cabal behind all of the pro-Zhivitovsky amicus briefs and their Stand With Us, et al minions would have been citing the case as the controlling authority on recognition of Israeli sovereignty and they would have launched another round of lawsuits in the federal courts and at least 47 of our state courts the very next day over foreign judgments from Israeli courts on every imaginable subject relating to East Jerusalem, including property claims, libel, and boycott decisions"

      The scheming Zionist cabal? You mean the people who supported Zhivitovsky's claim by filing amicus briefs? I guess the people opposing Zhivitovsky through Amici were the Arabist cabal. Actually, that's not fair. David Boyle is clearly a whackadoodle.

      I highly doubt the veracity of your argument. The claim, especially in light of the precedent, that putting Jerusalem, Israel on passports would amount to official recognition of Israeli claims over Jerusalem is silly. As you've pointed out, the jostling over what the passports say has gone on for a long time, and no one is under the impression that winning a case like Zhivitovsky's would mean anything substantive in terms of US recognition of Israeli claims. Some Jews on the right might think that way, but none of them are lawyers of any real importance.

      As I've said, ultimately the decision serves to remind people, especially on the right, of what the US policy is. Now, we need to remind those on the left that ultimatle, the status of Jerusalem is subject to final status negotiations.

    • MRW:

      Even these German Jews understood that Jews needed a refuge from persecution, even if, in 1919, it wasn't clear yet that a state was necessary.

      But in all honesty, I'm not really sure why you see a big difference here. Whether Jews established a refuge or a state, the Arabs in the region would still have opposed any major influx of Jews.

    • It's nice to see you taking responsibility for the bigotry you promote. BDS hasn't been able to execute a discriminatory boycott in the United States, but it's certainly not for lack of trying.

      Since it is your position that boycotts of people from countries that you say commit war crimes are justified, you'll of course be boycotting the United States, which most likely committed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki too. You should leave now. In fact, since you're a vet, maybe you should turn yourself into the Hague.

    • None of which has anything to do with State and Federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of national origin.

    • I've spent enough time on this today. You're again changing the subject, now by going off on a tangent about compelling companies to disclose their trade ties.

      This is enough for me. You've not proven your First Amendment case. Bills levying financial penalties against academic institutions that boycott Israel or fund student groups that do so have little momentum, and as the Forward article makes clear, are not supported by most of the Jewish community. The only major org lobbying for this kind of bill is JCRC. ADL, AJC, and AIPAC aren't in favor.

      Your argument that domestic legislation banning state institution from doing business with companies that engage in discrimination against Israel amounts to a treaty between individual states and Israel is more nonsense.

    • Yeah Annie, as you said, the point is to discriminate against Israel. Legally, it really doesn't matter what your reason is. Discrimination on the basis of national origin is illegal.

    • Hostage writes:

      "Pardon me, but you’ve taken leave of your senses if you plan on using that argument in Court"

      I have no idea what you're talking about. You suggested that two cases which establish that State school cannot discriminate against religious groups that wish to use campus space may be applied to anti-boycott legislation. In New York, as in Illinois, proposed legislation would ban state pension funds from doing business with companies that boycott Israel. That's simply not a legally cognizable argument. This anti-boycott legislation does not single out anti-Zionist Jews or anti-Zionists.

      Dov Hikind's bill, passed by the NY State Senate and tossed out by the Rules Committee in the NY Assembly last year, was different; it proposed to suspend funding to colleges that funded groups that advocated boycotting Israel; that is obviously a First Amendment problem because it acts a speech restriction. But Hikind is the exception. The current proposal in NY is like the one in Illinois; it is not targeting any campus; it is a perfectly legal attempt to ban state pension funds from investing in companies that boycott. So if this is what you had in mind, you're behind the times, or you're purposely highlighting the one bill that makes your case (and that was not passed), and ignoring the legislation that did pass, and that presents no First Amendment problem.

      Hostage writes:

      "You [] said states and governments were different from individuals because they are prohibited from boycotting on the basis of nationality under the GATT. I suggest you tell that to the Iraqis and Iranians and the Secretary General of the UN. I simply explained that governments cannot use the commerce clause or a trade agreement to excuse war crimes or crimes against humanity, because those are subject to a blanket prohibition of “compelling” customary international law (jus cogens) as well as a preemption clause in the UN Charter and the Convention on the Law of Treaties. You’re still talking in circles."

      Your point is irrelevant. No one is using the Commerce Clause or a trade agreement to excuse any war crimes. The Congressional legislation simply makes it a goal of trade policy to encourage trading partners not to boycott. It does not force them to "excuse" anything, any more than giving China MFN status forces people to excuse Chinese human rights violations or relieving Iranian sanctions causes people to excuse Iranian war crimes.

    • BDS targets Israeli institutions and companies. The whole idea is to discriminate against Israelis for being Israeli.

    • Neither do I, but you can always find lawyers who are mystified by things that the Supreme Court does. In any event, it certainly does not mean that the case was fast tracked.

    • "I’ve quoted the following several times, but you don’t read. Leading US Jews petitioned President Wilson in March 1919 against a Zionist state. Thirty-one signed the NYT copy. More than 300 signed the copy to Wilson."

      LOL. Anyone acting with a smidgen of integrity would acknowledge that the letter was written IN SUPPORT of a Jewish homeland, even if, at that time, the signatories did not favor a state.

      "At the outset, we wish to indicate our entire sympathy with the efforts of Zionists which aim to secure for Jews at present living in lands of oppression a refuge in Palestine or elsewhere, where they may freely develop their capabilities and carry on their activities as free citizens."

      Why were they against a state?

      "This demand not only misinterprets the trend in the history of the Jews, who ceased to be a nation 2000 years ago, but involves the limitation and possible annulment of the larger claims of Jews for full citizenship and human rights in all lands in which these rights are not yet secure."

      It is exactly as I said. They were worried about their status in the Diaspora; they were worried that exercising their national rights would prejudice their rights in the countries in which they lived. In worrying about this, they basically adopted the views of today's antisemites - if the Jews have a state, all Jews will be held responsible for it.

      Additionally, the world in 1919 was different from the one that existed by 1947. In 1919, these esteemed, mostly German, Jews interpreted Zionism as a program to deal with the persecution of Russian and Romanian Jews. Emancipation was still seen as the best hope for European Jews in particular. The Holocaust changed all of this. By 1947, Zionism was obviously seen as a solution not only to those Jews, but to European Jews, six million of whom were murdered during the Holocaust, those Jews for whom Emancipation was stopped by the ultimate reactionary force, with the complicity of Christians throughout Europe. Those who signed this letter (and it's heavy on established rich German Jews like Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and Louis Stern, a founder of AJC, both of whom had a lot to lose), would have endorsed the state concept in 1947. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Sr's son, was a strong early supporter of Israel.

    • "Once again, the Zionist legislation I’m talking about violates the principles laid down in cases, like Widmar v. Vincent 454 U.S. 263 (1981) and Rosenberger v. University of Virginia 515 U.S. 819 (1995). The Supreme Court has ruled that the States may not discriminate against groups on campus or impose any financial burden on speech predicated on the basis of its viewpoint or content."

      And neither one is relevant here. Both are cases in which universities sought to apply content specific restrictions against religious organizations (in the case of Widmar, prohibiting religious organizations from using space, and in the case of Rosenberger, prohibiting funding for student religious publications). Legislation like South Carolina's, which bans state entities from doing business with companies that boycott on the basis of, among other things, national origin, do not violate the Constitution. Congressional legislation that supports discouraging trade partners from boycotting as a trade goal certainly do not offend the Constitution.

      The NAACP cases Hostage cited are also completely irrelevant. Nobody is proposing legislation to ban boycotts, or to create a tort for businesses affected by a boycott.

      As far as your interesting novel position on Reid v. Covert: Reid held that the Constitutional supercedes treaties ("No agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or on any other branch of Government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution") and held that US military personnal abroad enjoyed Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.

      Hostage makes two claims about Reid:

      1. "the Supreme Court adopted the proposition that the President and the Congress are merely creatures of the Constitution and that they have no authority whatsoever to commit any acts outside of our territorial jurisdiction if they are prohibited by that document."

      2. "the Supreme Court noted that treaties have equal standing with statutes under the plan of the Constitution and that neither statutes nor treaties are listed among the methods enumerated in Article V that can be used to amend the Constitution. Among other things, that means that, if a statute has to comply with the Constitution, then so does a treaty, including the GATT"

      Both are correct, although Hostage apparently forgets that "when a statute which is subsequent in time is inconsistent with a treaty, the statute to the extent of conflict renders the treaty null." Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1, 18 (1957).

      The rest is rhetoric, not a legal argument. Hostage, by purposely ignoring the actual content of these proposed state bills, never actually sets out how they violate the 1st Amendment. South Carolina's doesn't; it's content neutral. Illinois's bill keeps the state pension system (let us pause and say a prayer for pensioners in Illinois) from investing in companies boycotting Israel because states would be violating their human rights laws by doing business with companies that openly discriminate on the basis of national origin. But it certainly doesn't criminalize advocacy of a boycott, and it does not expose those who favor boycotts to lawsuits, which would violate the NAACP cases.

      Since he hasn't made out his First Amendment case, he can't make much else out either; he suggests that GATT may violate the Constitution; he doesn't say how, he suggests that the trade bill might; he still doesn't say how, and then he moves on to a jumbled, unrelated argument about how GATT is null and void because it conflicts with the UN Charter. No one accepts this idea (least of all the 162 members of the international community that are parties to the WTO), just as no one accepts the idea that anti-boycott legislation that discourages trading partners from boycotting Israel is unconstitutional.

      Hostage also conveniently forgets that this issue with boycotts is really nothing new. The Arab League executed a formal boycott on Israel for years, and in 1976-77, Congress amended the Export Administration Act and passed the Ribicoff Amendment, along with other legislation, prohibiting American companies from participating in unsanctioned boycotts, but aimed at addressing the Arab League boycott of Israel. This legislation levied huge fines on American companies that participated in the Arab League boycott. It went much further than what's on the table now. Like the current legislation, it certainly did not prohibit people from engaging in divestment campaigns. None of this legislation was ruled unconstitutional.

    • "how important is formal US recognition over the sovereignty of jerusalem? or international recognition of the lack of sovereignty. or however one cares to phrase it. not much according to you?"

      Not very, and everybody who is minimally educated on the topic understands that the US is not going to recognize Israeli claims over Jerusalem until there's a final status agreement, no matter what Congress does (whether that's passing legislation to move the Embassy or to put Israel on the passports).

      "because this alleged 'created to give individuals the right to self-identify' is a monumental sham and a lie. and everyone knows perfectly well why this case was brought before SCOTUS. "

      Yes, but my point is that outside of the right-wing echo chamber in which the Zhivitovskys may live, everybody understands that passports are not policies, and that the outcome, win or lose, was never going to change anything substantial, including and especially the moderate amici, like AJC and ADL.

    • "Some very powerful interests were willing to devote millions of dollars worth of legal resources to this issue."

      Millions of dollars of legal resources? OK. I don't think it ran into the millions, but yes, a number of organizations were amici. You have an interesting (and apparently deficient) knowledge of how cases reach the Court if you think that the case "jumped to the head of a long line of other cases"; like every other case, it went through the appellate process, and reached the Court both times on the merits. Zhivotovsky v. Clinton was about whether the case was a political question and could proceed at all, and the Court vacated the DC Circuit's ruling. The DC Circuit then ruled the statute unconstitutional, and the case returned. Nothing unusual about that. There were also significant resources spent fighting the case; the Anti-Arab Discrimination Committee and Torah True Jews (basically Neturei Karta) were amici.

    • This great pictures shows the truth - there just weren't very many people there when that vote was taken; later on, when speaker after speaker reminded a packed hall of their support for Israel, there was no booing.

    • "It was only decades later that the government of Israel claimed that Palestine was all a legal and historical fiction."

      It certainly was a legal creation. The Palestine Mandate was a "a legal and administrative instrument, not a geographical territory."

      link to

      It's certainly odd that, even after the Mandate's expiration, and after resolution 181 declared Jerusalem to be a corpus separatum, that US consular officials would continue to refer to the outdated Mandate terminology.

      "Nonetheless, the government of Israel refused to accept the official “English” passport entry “Jerusalem, Palestine” or the credentials of our US Consular staff. See the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1964–1968, Volume XVIII, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1964–67, Document 30, footnote 2. "

      As well they should have, since the terminology was outdated.

      Simply listing Jerusalem much better reflected the US policy, which was: "The U.S. believes that whatever arrangement is made should have the concurrence of Israel and Jordan, and the necessary majority of the Members of the United Nations."

    • Sure you can fool people, Hostage. You do it all the to e here by taking advantage of any discussion to throw in a trove of arguments that either have zero to do with the topic, consist of dubious legalisms, or amount of polemical rhetoric. Every time I dig, I find you lying your behind off.

      It's easy when your audience is uncritical. Congrats; you've managed to work in a reference to the so-called Transfer Agreement, an historical event that you and other here are forever distorting for your narrow political purposes, even after the author of that book came here to straighten you out.

      You don't impress me, chief, and I can see that drives you crazy.

    • "I would NOT take too kindly to any attempt on your part to establish Jewish rule over Kansas and turn it into another West Bank, Gaza, or Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. "

      That's nice. I don't think that's very likely to happen.

      "So if you think the 1st and 14th Amendment don’t mean exactly what I claimed, you had better come armed with something more than just your feeble fucking intellect and some Zionist propaganda talking points, because you do not have the right to disagree with me on that subject, and I am not alone in saying that. Bottom line, if it isn’t immoral or illegal for Americans to adopt a constitutional plan that prohibits the establishment of a Jewish state here, then it was never immoral or illegal for the Palestinian majority to exercise the same right in their country."

      Oh, are we cursing now? Am I supposed to be blown away by your intellect here? I'm not impressed by you, Hostage. I've caught you in too many lies and distortions for me to respect your intellect that much. Clearly, I've gotten under your skin by doing what no one else does here: challenging your perspective.

      You seem to be making the argument that Israel should reflect American Constitutional values, and that if the American Constitution prohibits the establishment of a religious state, it cannot be illegal for a Palestinian majority to exercise their majoritarian rights.

      The argument fails on several fronts. First, there is no rule that every country with which America has a bilateral relationship must reflect American Constitutional values. Second, there is no reason to believe that the a future Palestine, defined by its Constitution as an Arab and Islamic state that would have a legal system informed by sharia law, would in any way reflect American pluralistic values or American Constitutional values. That's not even getting into the American civil liberties tradition that it wouldn't reflect either, but that Israel certainly does.

      Having now had your hero, Elmer Berger, exposed as a Stalin-loving, full-assimilationist, historically discredited figure, you now cite a few others. It is no matter. The anti-Zionist position was always that of those who were afraid to stand up for themselves and their people, and it remains so today; overwhelmingly, anti-Zionist Jews are those who see Judaism as the problem.

      Your silly citation about suppressing the speech of groups on campus is inapposite. You've not provided the text of any of these bills, and it's obvious why; you don't want to acknowledge that, in fact, it's completely against the law for states and state institutions to discriminate on the basis of national origin. That doesn't stop any campus group from advocating any campus position that they want.

      "Re the Holocaust: In fact, mental midgets, like yourself in the Zionist movement employed the very same immature philosophy, methods, and tactics after the 1939 White Paper had set the maximum limits and boundaries of the “Jewish national home” that their Nazi business partners employed to justify their colonization and crimes against humanity in Eastern Europe after the Treaty Of Versailles set the new national limits and boundaries of the German national home.

      Both the Nazi and Zionist movements enlisted lawyers, scholars, and propagandists to concoct a lacrimose version of ancient history, drew-up fanciful maps of Greater Germany or Israel that completely omitted other modern-day countries, based upon equally doubtful ancient legends or religious mythology. They falsely complained that they alone were denied the national right of self-determination, just as everyone one else in the world was given an unqualified right. Furthermore, they declared that their historical connections to territories inhabited by other peoples and ethnic groups provided them with a superior and exclusive legal claim to exercise sovereignty therein and to colonize other countries that they targeted for aggression and refused to “recognize”."

      Godwin's Law. In any event, this is a lot of fancy rhetoric that is completely beside the point. Pre-war anti-Zionists tended to reject readings of history that Jews were unsafe in European lands as alarmist nonsense, or, in the case of religious anti-Zionists, they saw persecution as the natural lot of the Jews. They saw salvation in universalism. They could not have been more wrong, and the events in Europe today show that they continue to be wrong. You can't see the difference between Nazis invading most of Europe and refugees fighting for their independence in 1948 and to defend themselves in 1967 on a tiny piece of land in Asia, that's really your problem.

      It becomes mine when what's advanced is the utopian, discredited position of idiots like Elmer Berger. That puts all of us at risk.

    • "As a US citizen and a Anti-Zionist person of Jewish descent, I have a perfect legal and moral right to object to my own government’s attempts to assist in the establishment of a “Jewish state” and to absolutely abhor the proposition of such a thing if I feel like it. Anti-Zionist Jews were instrumental in preventing the words “Jewish State” from being utilized in the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate. Jews, like Rabbi Elmer Berger protested against the partition of Palestine and insisted on the inclusion of a minority rights plan to protect the non-Jewish inhabitants from the virulent racist doctrines of the Zionist movement."

      As a US citizen and as a Zionist Jew (rather than as an anti-Zionist "person of Jewish descent"), I have a perfect legal and moral right to disagree with all of Hostage's comment, and to note the absolute lack of context he provides. Anti-Zionist Jews who prevented the words "Jewish state" from being utilized in the Balfour Declaration were by and large either frightened and persecuted people who felt that any acknowledgement of a collective Jewish identity would disturb their place in Western society, or simply, clueless people whose views would be repudiated by the Holocaust. They included people like Berger, an extreme Reform Jew who believed assimilationism was the best path for Jews, and who loved the Soviet Union and referred to Soviet Jews, who were facing harsh persecution under Stalin, as "recently emanicipated" and as living in freedom; Soviet Jews, he wrote, had no need for a Palestine. Anti-Zionist Jews like Berger were self-haters; there isn't a better term to describe people who think that the best expression of Jewish identity is its effective negation through assimilation.

      "I’d like to point out here (once again) that the 1st and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution do not permit the establishment of a Jewish state anywhere within the territorial or maritime jurisdiction of this country, nor do they permit our lawmakers to adopt any law respecting the establishment of a Jewish state anywhere else. In Reid v Covert the Supreme Court adopted the proposition that the President and the Congress are merely creatures of the Constitution and that they have no authority whatsoever to commit any acts outside of our territorial jurisdiction if they are prohibited by that document."

      As far as Hostage's arguments on legislation: most of the proposed legislation is targeted at the boycott movement, and has a firm foundation in American laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of national origin. Boycotts certainly are a form of speech, and individuals are certainly welcome to advocate discriminatory boycotts against Israeli interests. But governments and state institutions are a different story. The Congressional legislation, for instance, arguing that government-sanctioned BDS violates the provisions of GATT. Other state legislation is based in law banning discrimination on the basis of national origin. None ban Hostage, or any other discriminator, from refusing to buy Israeli products or from promoting that position to others.

    • You don't read, Amigo. I've never supported a "Greater Israel." Not here or anywhere else. But it's illuminating that you apparently think all Zionists are the same.

      Since I spend a great deal of time in the Jewish community and most of you do not, I know what importance was attached to this case and what level of ignorance there is about State Department policy on these things. The answers are not much, and a lot. Right wingers need to reminded from time to time that President Bush had exactly the same policy on these things as President Obama.

      And by the way, had Zhivitovsky won, it wouldn't have meant a whole lot either.

    • Lol. You're, as usual, making a mountain out of a molehill. The decision is really not important in the overall scheme of things, except to remind right wingers what the US's actual policy is. There are enough right wingers who are simply ignorant about things like this. Bush and Obama had the same policy in the law.

  • New low: Israeli conference boos and heckles Obama's treasury sec'y when he says US looks out for Israel
    • "Hophmi, why shouldn’t Americans be disturbed by it?"

      Why should they? I'm sorry, but is America a country with a respectful debate on controversial issues like these? No. This is our political culture now.

    • "How about stating the obvious: racism against a black leader. That’s how a lot of non-Jews are reading this."

      Which ones? The community of stupid people? The people who booed Jack Lew oppose the policy of the Obama Administration. They would have reacted no differently if the President was a white man.

    • It's a right wing crowd, just like the ones that booed Congresspeople during the Town Halls on the ACA a few years ago.

      Most Jews outside this right wing fringe were horrified by it, and your Coughlin-like claim that Americans, who inhabit a country with a dysfunctional political culture, should be "disturbed" by it is beneath contempt.

  • Human rights organizations condemn Sheldon Adelson-led anti-BDS meeting
    • Yes, BDS got a reaction out of them. Their reaction (getting reactions out of people like Shmuley Boteach is like shooting fish in a barrel) proves nothing about BDS, which still has not a single meaningful victory in the Unites States, except to make life difficult for Jews on a few college campuses on the left coast.

    • "those working for freedom and equality for all peoples of the region"

      Lol. Nothing about the BDS movement supports this claim. You're working for Palestinian national aspirations. You've said less than zero on the freedom of others in the Middle East.

  • Munayyer and Beinart's historic debate on the solution to the conflict
    • So, basically, Munayyer thinks Jews have no right to self-determination, and no answer to Beinart's arguments about utopianism masquerading as progressivism.

      I don't see why I should care about someone like Munayyer if he clearly doesn't care about me. He wants something that he would deny to others.

  • Goldberg predicts 'civil war' between American and Israeli Jews as Israel is 'defined as an apartheid state'
    • "I predict that if Israel were made to adhere to International Law, its obligations as a state and as a UN Member, the astronomical costs of attempting to resettle hundreds of thousands if not millions of its citizens in actual Israeli territory and the cost of rightful reparations to the Palestinians for property, hardship, dispossession, theft of resources and territories for 67 years will send the Jewish state bankrupt.

      "Civil war will break out in non-Israeli territory between the state and hundreds of thousands of disillusioned and very angry settlers who have been willingly or un-wittingly implanted illegally in non-Israeli territory by successive Israeli Governments Israel since proclaiming its borders effective at 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time)."

      You have Israel confused with the Arab world, where civil wars break out over much less.

      But, generally, I doubt it. You're engaging in wishful thinking; this is what you hope will happen, because you are hoping Jews will kill one another.

    • "Israel was, and remains, the most liberal theocracy in “the region”."

      Israel isn't a theocracy, Piotr. You can repeat this nonsense as much as you want, but while Israel may call itself a Jewish state, its legal system is largely based on the British system, and the country is largely secular. It's not ruled by clerics or religious fanatics.

      "For example, Israel routinely uses a despotic procedure called “administrative detention”."

      And the United States regularly imprisons undocumented immigrants, in much larger numbers than the Israelis administratively detain people.

    • Hardly. Obama has admitted that he holds Israel to a higher standard than other countries because Israel is a democracy. Phil is free to disagree with Obama's policies, but he's not free to simply dismiss Obama's statements and to substitute his own reasons for Obama's viewpoint because he thinks that there is no such thing as Jewish values.

    • Like many, Phil, you are incapable of seeing anything in any other way but your own.

  • 'New York Times' cites Palestinians as 'demographic' threat
    • "People who closely follow the conflict know that the “demographic threat” argument for preserving Israel is widely considered racist."

      It's only considered racist by the BDS movement, and only because it's a nice political way for them to divert people from questioning their own privilege of living in homogeneous Western states that are not involved in land conflicts, to avoid the obvious hypocrisy of pro-Palestinian activists who complain about an argument they make all the time when the other side makes it, and to ignore the fact that the history of forcing people of two different ethnicities who dislike one another together in the same state is extremely bloody, and a disaster almost everywhere it's been tried. In reality, the Palestinians used the exact same reasoning to attempt to restrict Jews from emigrating to Palestine in the first half of the 20th century, and use it today to argue that a Palestinian state should essentially be Judenrein; we can't have all these Jews here because their very presence threatens us and keeps us from creating the ethnic Palestinian state that we want, where Muslims will essentially be more equal than others are.

      In any event, the outrage over Rudoren's story is very much manufactured, and completely fake. Anyone with basic reading skills understands that Rudoren is simply reporting the viewpoint of Israeli Jews, and not necessarily adopting their view. The reaction of political activists like Rania Khalek will not fool her or anyone else who has a modicum of integrity.

  • Israeli propaganda dominates front page of 'New York Times' today
    • I have a suggestion for you, James. Why don't you ask Larry whether he thinks that stories about Israel's desalination project should include long op-ed paragraphs about the plight of the Palestinians when they have nothing to do with the story? You're a hater.

    • There is no logic except the logic of hate to explain people who claim that any story that doesn't reflect their extreme political viewpoint is propaganda. North didn't point out a single fact of this story that was skewed or untrue. He simply complained that the story, which is about Israel's unprecedented success at desalination, didn't include his required amount of anti-Israel propaganda.

    • There is nothing about the story that is propaganda. You're just throwing a tantrum because you can't handle any story that doesn't portray Israel as a demon state as you do.

      What you practice is called hate.

  • US and Israeli pressure on Nigeria to sell out Palestine at U.N. amounted to 'national security threat'
  • 'NYT' again acts as Netanyahu's mouthpiece -- wrongly suggesting he wants talks with Palestinians
    • "I bet none of them are Palestinians"

      I bet many of them are, since every negotiation the Palestinians have been involved in with the Israelis for the last 20 years has included discussion about land swaps for the settlements blocs, including the 2008 negotiations between Olmert and Abbas. You're not fooling anyone with your rhetoric, James.

  • The crisis of the American Jewish community
    • As usual, there's a central paradox in your analysis, JVP Jews by and large are just leftists who happen to be Jewish, and they are not the future of the Jewish community. They are radical assimilationists who, as every analysis shows, will by and large not perpetuate Judaism in any meaningful way in the next generation or two. So they don't matter in the long run.

  • Kim Philby's last straw
    • The greatest ideological opposition of our times? C'mon, man. Are you really that obsessed with Israel? It's one country. There are 193 on the Earth. Zionism is the ideology of 1. It is not that important an ideology unless you believe in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

  • The grotesque injustice of Obama's speech at the Washington synagogue
    • Spoken like someone who doesn't know many Israelis.

    • I disagree. Peter Beinart wrote in The Crisis of Zionism that Obama thought like a liberal Zionist and he was right, as he usually is about things like this.

      There's really nothing hypocritical about Obama's speech, except to political extremists who tend to believe Israel is the world's most horrible place, which I can understand if Mondoweiss is your only source of news. In real life, Israel is a democracy, and the US and Israel share many liberal democratic values in common and have a strong alliance that transcends who is in the Oval Office. It is a common enough fallacy to believe that anyone who doesn't see the world your way must be a hypocrite.

    • Not worth my time to have a debate with you about whether the Occidental Observer is an antisemitic website.

    • The Occidental Observer? I see that we're STILL putting through comments from overtly anti Semitic sources.

    • I don't know, James. What do the 25% of Americans who are not Christians do on Christmas and Easter?

    • No, it does not violate the church-state separation principle when a head of state visits a house of worship.

    • Sure, Italian ex-pat, whatever you need to believe. What's the US-Saudi relationship about?

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