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Leading American Jewish group announces plan to ramp up campaign against BDS movement

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on 51 Comments
Malcolm Hoenlein, a top official with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, announced a new anti-BDS campaign last week. (Photo via

A representative of a major Jewish American group told Haaretz last week that the campaign against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is about to ramp up.

Malcolm Hoenlein, a top official with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told journalist Judy Maltz that his organization plans to launch a counter-attack to BDS on campuses in August. “It will be a major Internet and social media campaign, in which we hope to reach every single college student in America. The goal is to educate in creative ways and win the public back,” Hoenlein said in the interview published earlier this week. Hoenlein was in Israel visiting Jerusalem for Israeli President Shimon Peres’ birthday party and conference.

The comments are the latest sign that the Jewish establishment has thrown its full weight behind combatting BDS.

Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of an organization that serves as a coordinating body for 51 Jewish American groups, also told Haaretz that Jewish communities worldwide have not done enough to combat BDS, and criticized Stephen Hawking’s recent decision to boycott the Israeli conference celebrating Peres.

At the same time he disclosed the new campaign to combat BDS groups, Hoenlein sought to dismiss the movement’s impact. “It is still a very limited group of people. They get resonance and they get publicity because attacking Israel makes news. Supporting Israel does not make news. But the fact is that most campuses have rejected the BDS movement,” he said to Haaretz.

The messages don’t exactly jibe. Why would a major Jewish organization devote resources to an insignificant group? A campaign launched by the premier Jewish American organization in the country will likely draw more attention to the burgeoning BDS movement.

More important than those contradictions, though, is what the new campaign points towards: the movement’s slow but steady impact and the Israel lobby’s growing focus on BDS, particularly on college campuses. The recent wave of student government divestment resolutions on California campuses—three of which were successful–has clearly reached the offices of people like Hoenlein.

It’s true that the BDS movement hasn’t yet made significant headway towards imposing heavy costs on the state for its violations of international law. Still, prominent boycotts of Israel from cultural figures and decisions to divest, like the recent moves by the United Methodists, show that BDS continues to be on the march.

The recent boycott by Hawking that Hoenlein was so exercised about was a warning to Israel, as +972 Magazine’s Noam Sheizaf wrote, that “the occupation has a price.” The Hawking boycott also prompted some soul-searching on the part of Israel’s advocates, who have come around to the idea that the BDS movement is a threat that has to be taken seriously–and now, before it’s too late.

+972’s Larry Derfner recently rounded up what he calls the “consensus wisdom” from opponents of BDS that the movement is working. He points to Thomas Friedman’s admission that the movement is “creating a powerful surge of international opinion, particularly in Europe and on college campuses, that Israel is a pariah state because of its West Bank occupation.” Derfner also points to a recent Haaretz piece reporting on what a group of leading Israeli business people told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “If we don’t make progress toward a two-state solution, there will be negative developments for the Israeli economy,” they told the prime minister. “Foreign investments will not come to such a state. No one will buy goods from such a state.”

The growing worry about BDS among the Israeli and Jewish American establishments has now sparked a reinvigorated push against the movement. The new Conference of Presidents campaign will join the multi-million dollar anti-BDS effort from the Israel Action Network, which is the Jewish establishment’s number one vehicle for battling BDS.

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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51 Responses

  1. mikopeled
    June 26, 2013, 7:22 am

    If they want to win the public back, they should support BDS.

    • Xpat
      June 26, 2013, 7:42 am

      Miko, spot on!
      The fact is that Malcolm Hoenlein’s “major” outfit never had “the public”‘s support he so craves. The so-called leaders of the Jewish community are unelected. The unelected elect. They are true representatives only of a cozy consensus among the super-rich “major” Jewish establishment. These power people have the gall to turn around and package their fear-mongering to “the public” as Judaism.
      As we said back in the shtetl when we heard of something not very nice at all: Feh!

      • William Burns
        William Burns
        June 26, 2013, 9:53 am

        Christopher Hitchens, before he turned to the dark side, referred to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as “the most pompously titled organization in American life.”

    • Eva Smagacz
      Eva Smagacz
      June 26, 2013, 7:49 am

      McDonald Israel just refused to allow a franchise to be opened in Ariel – behind the green line. Arutz Sheva is most indignant.

    • Kathleen
      June 26, 2013, 11:09 am

      Bingo Miko. No going back. Folks should do their part in countering the effort to shut down fact based discussions information being spread on U.S. college campuses and elsewhere. Contact BDS, or If Americans Knew and share their fact based pamphlets etc everywhere you go.

      While “leading American Jewish groups” will more than likely have complete access to spreading their propoganda via the MSM we can counter these efforts by spreading access to fact based information. No going back.

  2. Talkback
    June 26, 2013, 8:19 am

    Excellent, Hasbara simply doesn’t know when to keep silent. This is going to backfire and boost BDS.

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      June 26, 2013, 9:05 am

      This is going to backfire

      I agree. this is going to wind up engaging people on an issue who otherwise might have stayed on the sidelines. and it’s not complicated, really. the facts speak for themselves, and don’t favor the Zionists.

      also, if the conference of presidents of major American . . . *yawn* is so hot and bothered over BDS, with special criticism of interference in that great bastion of intellectualism and objectivity, academia, why aren’t they speaking out against the Israelis’ serial interference with the intellectual and educational pursuits of Palestinians? The Israelis just cocked up a Palestinian-brit educational exchange for no good reason, stopping Mazen Salahuddin at the WB-Jordan border. Where were those frauds whining on about the injustice of the boycott of educational institutions when that happened?

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      June 26, 2013, 5:29 pm

      Agreed, and I have two words for Mr Hoenlein, Bring It.

      Also I am really fed up with the way hasbarists co-op language and use words to mean things that they don’t. For example, here is the definition of delegitimization: to withdraw legitimate status or authority from someone or something.

      Now, how does this apply to Israel? What person(s) or entity can withdraw their status? And what “status” as we talking about? Are they implying that the UN can say “sorry, Israel, you can no longer call yourself a country.” Seriously, how would that happen?

      No, what they are really trying to do is stop people from questioning the founding fictions of modern Zionism. They want the right to say and do whatever they want without ANY interference from the world. Too many people feel that after the Holocaust the Jews are owed this license. No, they are not. No one is. That kind of power in the hands of fallible human beings cannot stand.

      Also how is saying things like “there is no such thing as a Palestinian” not delegitimization?

    • Dutch
      June 27, 2013, 5:55 pm

      Consensus wisdom: The boycott of Israel is working

      O.T. This Hoenlein looks like Cheney.

  3. seafoid
    June 26, 2013, 8:21 am

    The only way to legitimise Israel is to drop the settlers.
    There is too much of a difference between how Israelis see themselves and how the world sees their actions.

    This is not a hasbara issue. This is about how humans react to cruelty.

  4. seafoid
    June 26, 2013, 8:48 am

    Leading American Jawish group announces plan to ramp up campaign against child abuse activists .

    “The goal is to educate in creative ways and win the public back”
    “People were far more tolerant in the 1960s”

    Heenloin says rape of children “is good for them”
    Many child rapists”contribute to their communities”

  5. amigo
    June 26, 2013, 8:54 am

    Let them spend their money.Better that than subsidizing illegal squats and the criminals who inhabit them.

    1S 1P 1V.

  6. annie
    June 26, 2013, 9:00 am

    “It will be a major Internet and social media campaign, in which we hope to reach every single college student in America. The goal is to educate in creative ways and win the public back,”

    i’m on the edge of my seat. how unique. an internet and social media campaign. and more from haaretz:

    Leading this effort on a pro-bono basis, he said, will be Jerry Ostrov, a former top executive at Johnson & Johnson and at Bausch & Lomb.

    so, i guess we’re just going to have to wait til august to find out what innovative/creativity they have in store for us.

    • Citizen
      June 26, 2013, 10:28 am

      @ Annie Robbins
      I hope not as much clout as Big Pharma.

      • annie
        June 28, 2013, 1:48 pm

        I hope not as much clout as Big Pharma.

        here’s the way i see it citizen. when i see little butterflies moving across my screen trying to sell me sleep medication it’s a requirement these ads are accompanied with background noise informing the listener a host of negative health issues could result w/use of the product. and a listener, such as myself, has no understanding of what these drugs really do.

        but, after decades, the occupation is not a mystery like a new drug medication. it’s not so easy to lie your heart out and put people to sleep w/butterflies. the public is starting to understand it’s apartheid. no drug company can erase the past and make all that disappear. therefore, it’s likely we’ll all be treated to more subtle forms of islamophobia demonizing palestinians. that’s my hunch.

        one thing is practically certain tho, there will be no policy change, only image and narrative change. it’s just repackaging apartheid. a turd by any other name….

  7. Hostage
    June 26, 2013, 9:05 am

    Malcolm Hoenlein, a top official with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told journalist Judy Maltz that his organization plans to launch a counter-attack to BDS on campuses in August.

    These people are nothing more than Israeli front organizations that are specifically directing support to Israel’s illegal enterprises. That makes them co-perpetrators:

    International criminal responsibility shall apply, irrespective of the motive involved, to individuals, members of organizations and institutions and representatives of the State, whether residing in the territory of the State in which the acts are perpetrated or in some other State, whenever they:

    (a) Commit, participate in, directly incite or conspire in the commission of the acts mentioned in article II of the present Convention;

    (b) Directly abet, encourage or co-operate in the commission of the crime of apartheid.

    — Article III, International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid

    The Knesset is adopting legislation to forceably transfer thousands of Bedouins off their ancestral lands and the new leader of the Likud party and its faithful right wing bedfellows are bitching about the few Bedouin communities that might finally get their claims recognized. The Knesset is also taking up the debate on a Basic Law that defines Israel as a Jewish State, despite the presence of 1.7 million non-Jewish inhabitants.

    The situation is literally apartheid on steroids. You have millions of indigenous people who are being subjugated and dominated by a criminally racist Jewish regime. Simply proposing that “Arabs” be given back a small portion of their own expropriated lands is totally unacceptable:

    Furious Debate as Arab Town gets Jewish Land — Furious debate erupts in Knesset over land transfer from Jewish town to Arab town. MK Feiglin to Arabs: You’re guests here.

    “This plan sets a dangerous precedent of using agricultural land to expand the jurisdiction of Arab municipalities while they aren’t willing to encourage other solutions. This will encourage other municipalities to take the same approach, and will deal a serious blow to agriculture,” he argued.

    He noted that officials in Jisr a-Zarka had rejected the idea of addressing the town’s housing crisis by building tall apartment buildings rather than low-level homes.

    His comment angered MK Hanin Zoabi of the Arab nationalist Balad party, who replied, “Do they build tall buildings in Beit Hananya? Show me where they build tall buildings, and then you can say that in Jirs a-Zarka they should build tall buildings!”

    MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) voiced strong opposition. “When a guest is in my home, I give him respect. As long as they understand who is the host, and who is the guest, everything is fine.”

    “This debate is about national rights, not individual rights,” he continued. “We have to speak the truth: this is our land, not yours. You are guests. The minute that you are guests, you deserve every individual right. But when it becomes a national struggle – you do not deserve anything.”

    Feiglin clarified his stance further, “If this were about transferring Jewish land to a Jewish village, I would agree, but if it were an Arab village, I would not. It’s a nationalist thing.”

    The notion that Israel will become an apartheid state one day is bullshit. It has already been one since the day it was established.

    • Citizen
      June 26, 2013, 10:35 am

      Even Truman refused to recognize a Jewish state, so he crossed out that adjective in the letter of recognition the Zionists had so conveniently given him to sign. He substituted “the state of Israel.” His immediate benefit was $2M given to him by the Zionists for his whistle stop tour. At that time, he had virtually no campaign money as nearly everybody figured he had no chance at all to remain POTUS.

    • piotr
      June 26, 2013, 2:09 pm

      One can quibble if supremacism which is clearly at play here is equivalent to apartheid, but this is clearly counting angels in a pinhead. By the way, quite good article in Arutz Sheva, with no added commentary and a picture of MK Moshe Feiglin that looks truly sinister. But the readers’ comment complete the picture: every single one is fascistic/supremacist.

      • Hostage
        June 26, 2013, 4:54 pm

        One can quibble if supremacism which is clearly at play here is equivalent to apartheid, but this is clearly counting angels in a pinhead.

        Please do quibble then. The UN organs that promulgated the criteria for the international crime of apartheid always included the denial nationality to the indigenous people and the “Bantustan policy”, consisting of the creation of reserved areas for certain ethnic groups, i.e. See for example the Human Rights Commission, Study Concerning the Question of Apartheid from the Point of View of International Penal Law, E/CN.4/1075, 15th February 1972, pp. 51 – 52

        That’s exactly what the government of Israel has been doing on both sides of the Green Line for sixty years. The responsible treaty monitoring body has repeatedly pointed out that practice and the existence of separate Jewish and Arab sectors are obvious violations of the prohibition of apartheid contained in Article 3 of the ICERD convention.

        FYI, your claim the other day that third parties can’t incur criminal responsibility or liability for rendering material support is nonsense. Article III of the International Convention for the Prevention and Suppression of the Crime of Apartheid has long-since entered into force, and it’s signatories have specifically agreed to hold third parties criminally liable – and this is a crime that is subject to universal jurisdiction according to the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

      • Citizen
        June 26, 2013, 5:57 pm

        @ Hostage
        Not exactly related to your comment, but on a macro level, related to the subject here of campaign against BDS. Did you ever read Gabriel Latner’s Cambridge debate argument blessing Israel as a “rogue” state?

        Most of the stuff I googled on it come out praising Latner for his argument. But I found it juvenile, as it ignores so much morality, ethics, hard won international law, paid for by two world wars, etc., rather deflecting by spinning off the etomological definition of “rogue.” Rogue meaning simply not usual or expected.

      • piotr
        June 26, 2013, 6:25 pm

        Your link is to conventions about war crimes, and according to standards implicit from trials in American courts, e.g. concerning Agent Orange, it is very simple to avoid liability. As far as I understand, private companies have the right to defer to the expertise of the government, so if the government does not say that something is used for genocide or apartheid, they are allowed to believe that. And the government has the immunity.

        From its inception, even if Agent Orange was not contaminated with a chemical that was not intended and which turned to be incredibly toxic, the concept of destroying the environment for tactical advantage is deeply disturbing. The concept of destroying rural economy over large areas for tactical advantage is deeply disturbing. The fact that those crimes were futile provides some faint hope that at some point in the future the government will consider the option of conducting wars (and foreign policy) ethically.

      • Hostage
        June 27, 2013, 5:41 am

        Your link is to conventions about war crimes, and according to standards implicit from trials in American courts, e.g. concerning Agent Orange, it is very simple to avoid liability.

        You falsely assume that the US Courts can prevent other states from holding Americans responsible or that other countries don’t know how to apply economic sanctions or request Interpol red notices. The fact is that the ICC has been one of the responses to the lack of accountability on the part of the Great Powers. That’s why the USA was frantic about coercing or blackmailing other countries into signing Article 98 agreements.

        Officials in a number of countries have stated their willingness to arrest Clinton, Bush, or Obama administration officials for trial on charges related to unprovoked military attacks, abductions, and torture. It isn’t just old Nazis who have to worry and look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives.

      • Hostage
        June 27, 2013, 7:25 am

        But I found it juvenile

        I found it completely unpersuasive. It’s just a bunch of juvenile whataboutism. For example, the notion that no US government official would be allowed to debate Guantanamo is nonsense. The former prosecutor has a petition calling on Obama to close it down. He’s years behind members of the military defense teams who called on Bush to do the same. Even if no officials here or elsewhere were protesting against the treatment of those prisoners, that wouldn’t make Israel’s similar abuses any more respectable, acceptable, or legal.

        Like most of Israel’s lawyers, he only wants to argue the law outside the courthouse :

        “It would be so easy to twist the meaning and significance of international law to make Israel look like a criminal state. But that’s been done to death.

        In fact, on the few occasions when Israel has been taken to the international court over its disrespect for the opinions of mankind and its failure to comply with its own treaty obligations, it has ignored the rulings and continued to behave exactly like a criminal state. Even its allies have demonstrated their knowledge of its connection to serious crimes. They have intervened on its behalf, conditioning their offers to recognize the State of Palestine on the provision of assurances that it wouldn’t pursue prosecution of Israeli officials in the ICC.

      • Citizen
        June 27, 2013, 9:16 am

        @ Hostage
        OK. I found the sophist’s debate was discussed on MW:

        Before I knew this, I read an article just shredding Phil Weiss as a dim bulb who was overwhelmed by the brightness of the 19-yr old Cambridge debater when they exchanged friendly emails; and the article also skewered a number of regular commenters here when they posted under the linked MW article. Lots of cherry picking involved. The gist was MW is just a tiny bubble of medicore Israel haters.

  8. justicewillprevail
    June 26, 2013, 9:07 am

    The more they push back, the more BDS enters the public consciousness. They have tried to shut down and silence debate, smear supporters and all the rest, with little success. Perhaps they should try addressing the issues of Israeli apartheid, rather than shoot the messengers. If he wants debate bring it on, however that is unlikely; he more likely wants more moronic propaganda and the usual arm-twisting pressure on authorities to do the dirty work for him.

  9. eljay
    June 26, 2013, 9:17 am

    >> Malcolm Hoenlein … told journalist Judy Maltz that his organization plans to launch a counter-attack to BDS on campuses in August. “It will be a major Internet and social media campaign, in which we hope to reach every single college student in America. The goal is to educate in creative ways and win the public back,” Hoenlein said …

    Mr. Hoenlein should be less concerned with popularity contests and more concerned with justice, morality, equality and accountability.

    If he wants to “win the public back” to Israel’s side, he should consider urging the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” to:
    – immediately and completely halt its occupation;
    – withdraw to within its / Partition borders;
    – honour its obligations with respect to refugees (i.e., return or payment in lieu);
    – offer to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace; and
    – work toward transforming itself from an oppressive and supremacist “Jewish State” into a secular, democratic and egalitarian Israeli state of and for all of its citizens, equally.

  10. amigo
    June 26, 2013, 10:24 am

    OT but some good news.Julia Gillard ,Israel,s lapdog in Australia is out.Rudd is back in charge.He is opposed to BDS but is not as bad as Gillard , who tried but due to fellow party members pressure was not allowed to vote against the Palestinian UN membership bid.

    • Djinn
      June 27, 2013, 6:53 am

      Rudd is every bit as bad. Gillard never felt the need to have photo ops at Max Brenner and she never smeared BDS activists as boycotting *Jewish* businesses. Rudd, and anyone elected to PM knows fine well that when the question is Israel/Palestine, the answer is always whatever the US says.

  11. Citizen
    June 26, 2013, 10:40 am

    “Bring it on!”
    This issue will not go away. Amazing they think if they just get more creative in their hasbara, America’s college kids will mostly buy in. They might, if the new campaign includes a promise to divert the billions we give to Israel to help America’s students with their college education debt.

  12. Sycamores
    June 26, 2013, 10:42 am

    this year has seen the BDS blossoming into a force to be reckon with. from the Brooklyn college BDS panel to Stephen Hawking decision has gain the BDS movement global recognition. this is a peaceful non-violent protest by the Palestinians that western media and israel said it didn’t exist for years.

    as israeli Maj. General Amos Gilad, said, ‘we don’t do Gandhi very well’.

    reading Larry Derfner ‘Consensus wisdom: The boycott of Israel is working’
    he recites what Itamar Rabinovich told the ‘Forward’.

    [Rabinovich … called the academic boycott movement “an incremental process” that has been “gathering volume.” He noted that Hawking’s withdrawal and the attention it drew should be seen as “jumping to a new level” in the attempts to isolate Israeli academic work. …

    Rabinovich characterized Hawking’s decision as only a boost to the BDS movement, not a game changer. The impact of anti-Israeli sentiments in the academic world is already noticeable, he said, and could increase in the future. In humanities and social studies, he said, “if you want to get invited to an important conference or to spend a sabbatical in a leading university, you better be politically correct on issues relating to Israel, or else you won’t have a chance.”

    In the scientific field, Rabinovich said, such pressure is not yet noticed but could emerge in coming years, making it more difficult for Israeli scientists to receive research grants or to find colleagues who will work together on projects supported by binational funds.]

    the last paragraph i find the most interesting Rabinovich seems to fear the most is the BDS growing in the scientific field where israeli scientists will lose grants and support on projects supported by binational funds. i’m sure israel is thanking Rabinowich for pointing the BDS in that direction.

    American Jewish Organizations counter attack on the BDS movement is not necessary all that bad, some awkwards questions will be brought up that they will have to answer. maybe it might even lead to lively debates which will help to bring the Palestinian narrative to a larger US audience.
    considering of late each zionist counter attack on the BDS has backfire (eg: the Brooklyn college debacle and Hawkings anti-occupation stance) i wouldn’t be to worry of what’s coming.

  13. American
    June 26, 2013, 11:39 am

    So what are they going to say in their big PR push to fight BDS?
    Cant think of anything new they would use, they’ve used all the hasbara and lies already and people have seen thru it.

  14. jsinton
    June 26, 2013, 11:44 am

    It’s like free publicity for BDS. Sure to backfire.

  15. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    June 26, 2013, 12:07 pm

    Headline: Adelson goes bankrupt! Unfortunately it’s the wrong one!

  16. seafoid
    June 26, 2013, 12:15 pm

    Hoenlein is entitled to fight antisemitism but when “Judaism” as promoted by sociopaths like him has come to mean systematic human rights abuses delivered to a powerless population by “Jews” in uniform, we can’t be expected to support it.

    It doesn’t matter if the soldiers of the so called “IDF” are in the main nominally “Jewish”. They are first and foremost indoctrinated , brutalising racist bastards with very little in the way of compassion or a sense of shared humanity.

  17. seafoid
    June 26, 2013, 12:43 pm

    Zionism is a throwback to indian wars, infected blankets, colonial dispossession, amritsar, the mau mau revolt, indians being tied to cannons post 1857, the french in syria in 1922, king leopold, jim crow, apartheid, black sports leagues, the treatment of jackie robinson, the klan, child abuse and e. vil generally. The only reason it has lasted this long is DC. Hoenlein needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Putting the turd in a suggestive pink tutu and draping it all over the net is not going to fly.

  18. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    June 26, 2013, 12:46 pm

    This is not the first time that Israel and their supporters have announced a new initiative, aimed at combating the campaign by Palestinians and their supporters to criticize and boycott Israel.
    Special envoys, high-level committees, media experts, image rebranding wizards, public relations consultants, publicists, propagandists, and hasbara experts, have come from Israel to the US by the planeload.

    Nothing has really worked. How do we know that? Why else would they be launching another new initiative?

    The truth about the Palestinians and their oppression is leaking out.

    It would be useful to have a list of previous Israeli initiatives along these lines. The readership of Mondoweiss is familiar with the history, I’m sure.

  19. Krauss
    June 26, 2013, 1:20 pm

    This is what old geezers Jews are paying for? They should provide social services to old Jews instead. A lot more old Jews are poor than people know of, and not only in America or Israel. I volunteer with Jewish organizations and I see the atrocious condition some of them are in and I feel ashamed while the bigshots are spending top dollars on slick campaigns to defend apartheid while their people suffer.

    And in America, poverty among young Jewish children is increasing. Partly due to demographic shifts(haredim), but not completely. Even among seculars, there has been a shift. And where is Hoenlein on this issue? Oh, I forgot, he’s flying to Jerusalem to fuel his obsession with archeology trying to “prove” that in fact Israel’s de facto ethnic cleansing of the Arab quarters is “legitimate”. (I’m sure he’d get supported by racists like the strangely-tolerated hophmi).

    Finally, does this work? Will it work? This is pure top-down manegement. Do millenials even fall for this anymore?

    I think he underestimates their intelligence. People don’t like being forcefed propaganda.

    And how well does propaganda work anyway? It’s enough for these college kids to do a simple google search and leave the confined constraints of that email blast or that slick website and then they’ll discover a lot more racism from those who defend it in the name of Zionism.

    Does he think it’s a coincidence that the Berkeley student senate voted in favour of BDS? Does he think it’s a coincidence that the largest Asian-American Scholarship Association voted in it’s charters to support BDS? These instutions/groups are not fringe and Asians don’t have skin in the game in a direct way like a Palestinian or a Jew might have, yet even they can’t look at the apartheid and look away, in sheer disgust of their own passivity and so they acted.

    The era of mass propaganda is over.
    This is why Israel is flailing in the wind.

  20. American
    June 26, 2013, 2:50 pm

    US Campaign to End the Israel Occupation

    Big news! United Methodist annual (regional) conferences in New England, Minnesota, Pacific Northwest and Upper New York voted this month to divest [] from companies involved with Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land including Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, Hewlett Packard, and General Electric. They joined conferences in West Ohio, New York, Northern Illinois, California Nevada and California Pacific which have already taken similar action. This brings the total to nine regional bodies representing thousands of churches nationwide!


    And that’s not all! At least five other conferences — Virginia, Rocky Mountain, North Central New York, Baltimore Washington, and Detroit — have called on the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Pension and Health Benefits to divest its millions of dollars in holdings in companies that profit from the occupation. Two more conferences, Susquehanna and Eastern Pennsylvania, established official task forces to examine the issue.

    “Wait — there’s more! “In March, the Mennonite Central Committee U.S. unanimously decided that — effective immediately — it will not invest [] knowingly in companies involved in the Israeli occupation.” They adopted the investment screen [] developed by the American Friends Service Committee, which includes the aforementioned companies and more than two dozen others. And last year, Friends Fiduciary Committee, which handles investments for hundreds of Quaker institutions, divested [] from Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Veolia Environment.

    These major divestment victories are critical with Israel’s ongoing settlement expansion and ever-worsening attacks on Palestinian men, women, and children. Just yesterday, the Israeli Knesset approved the first reading of the Prawer Plan, a blueprint for displacing 40,000 Bedouins [].

    PLEASE THANK THE UNITED METHODIST CONFERENCES now for saying YES to divestment! []

    Last year, hundreds of people like you around the world mobilized to support member group, United Methodist Kairos Response, in its efforts to align the church’s words with its actions by divesting. While divestment didn’t pass at General Conference, these recent votes show unequivocally that the tide is turning, church by church, conference by conference, from the ground up. Congratulations to all who have played a role in these efforts!

    Are you also part of a faith community and interested in pursuing boycott or divestment? Check out the Interfaith Boycott Coalition [] and sign the petition “Thirsty for Justice” to be connected with ongoing efforts today!


    Kathryn Johnson**
    Interim Director

  21. American
    June 26, 2013, 3:10 pm

    There have to be thousands of people, low level worker bees and higher ups, in every agency in the US that have come across all kinds of stuff about zionist activites in the US and Israel.

    IRS Deems Pro-Israel Group ‘Touch And Go’
    by Sarah Posner Jun 26, 2013 12:00 PM EDT

    Documents released Monday by Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee reveal that in August 2010, the Internal Revenue Service ordered that applicants for tax-exempt status that were engaged in “Occupied Territory Advocacy” should be sent to the TAG, or “touch and go group,” for further evaluation.

    The heavily redacted documents, spreadsheets listing the IRS’s “BOLO,” or “be on the lookout,” criteria for screening tax-exempt applicants, were released as part of a Democratic effort to clarify that the IRS scrutinized progressive as well as conservative tax-exempt applicants, and that the Obama administration did not target groups based on ideology. The “Occupied Territory Advocacy” category appeared to be one of many categories designated under BOLO, which also included varied designations such as medical marijuana and health care reform advocacy.

    Conservative groups have complained, since the IRS controversy broke, that the IRS discriminated against them based on their viewpoint and asked needlessly intrusive questions during their tax-exempt application process. But the agency is obligated under the law to inquire about an applicant’s activities. The IRS can’t infringe on free speech rights, but it must determine whether a group’s activities qualify for tax-exempt status—which amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of its activities. And, under the law, tax-exempt organizations “may not have purposes or activities that are illegal or violate fundamental public policy.”

    The TAG group was created in 2005, three years before Barack Obama was elected president. According to the agency’s Internal Revenue Manual, TAG’s purpose is to “identify cases handled by Exempt Organizations (EO) Determinations early in the process that may involve an abusive tax avoidance transaction, fraud, or terrorism.”

    Some of the BOLO lists refer to an August 6, 2010, e-mail, also identified as “alert #1,” which required agents to refer “applications that deal with disputed territories in the Middle East” to the TAG group. “Examples may be organizations named or connected with [redacted] XXXX (XXXX=particular city).” After additional redacted language, the document continued, “Applications may be inflammatory, advocate a one-sided point of view, and promotional material may signify propaganda.”

    The IRS declined to comment on what promoted the alert. A spokesperson for the agency said federal law prohibits it from “discussing or commenting on any particular taxpayer statement or case.” In a statement, the IRS said, “The investigations into why BOLO spreadsheets were created, how they were used, and why certain terms appear on them are ongoing and not yet complete.” The statement added that BOLO “is not in use today.”

    The August 6, 2010, “alert #1” occurred approximately one month after a New York Times investigation found dozens of American-based organizations sent over $200 million in tax-deductible donations to pro-settlement groups. Frequently the American groups are called “American Friends of” a settlement city or organization, such as American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, a group that seeks to expel Palestinians from their East Jerusalem homes.

    At the time, the Times piece drew criticism from settlement supporters, including from now-MK and Jewish Home party head Naftali Bennett. But immediately following the article’s publication, the liberal pro-Israel group J Street called on the Treasury Department and Congress to investigate whether American groups funding settlement activities in the West Bank violated the law.

    Z Street, a right-wing Zionist organization which claims the IRS discriminated against it in reviewing its tax-exempt application, jumped on Monday’s revelation. Its co-founder, Lori Lowenthal Marcus, called the new information the IRS’s “’smoking gun’ pointed to its own head.”

    Z Street sued the IRS in 2010, claiming viewpoint discrimination in the processing of its tax-exempt application. It alleged an IRS agent told the group the government applied an “Israel Special Policy,” subjecting groups to greater scrutiny if their views on Israel were at odds with Obama administration views. In court papers, the IRS denies both that Z Street was told that and that such a policy exists.

    Marcus said in an interview that she hadn’t heard the term “Occupied Territory Advocacy” used before Monday “but that doesn’t meant they [the IRS] don’t have” a policy that Marcus says amounts to viewpoint discrimination.

    The manager of the IRS’s TAG group, Jon Waddell, said in a sworn affidavit in the Z Street litigation that he determined that Z Street’s application should be referred to the TAG group because its application indicated it “could be providing resources to organizations within Israel or facilitating the provision of resources to organizations within the state of Israel” and that “Israel is one of many Middle Eastern countries that “have a ‘higher risk of terrorism.’”

    Waddell also said in the affidavit that a TAG referral “is appropriate whenever an application mentions providing resources to organizations in a country with a higher risk of terrorism.” He added that the referral “does not indicate that the organization supports terrorism, only that further development is necessary to ensure that the organization will put procedures in place to prevent resources from being used to support terrorism.”

    The agency’s Internal Revenue Manual requires that “specialists working on a case shall initiate a Potential Terrorist Connection check sheet” to determine if any of a number of facts are in place, including if “the organization will engage in foreign grants or activities.”

    The Times piece was not the first to highlight the issue of US tax-exempt groups funding settlement activity. In March 2009, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius wrote a column questioning why, given U.S. policy against settlement expansion, American taxpayers are essentially subsidizing it through tax-exempt donations funneled through American non-profits. A few months later, filmmaker and human rights activist Ronit Avni argued that while American non-profits shouldn’t lose their tax exempt status for supporting settlement activity, perhaps the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control should step in to regulate their foreign donations.

    As part of a description of its activities provided by request to the IRS, Z Street noted, among other things, how it generated activist support for the New York Mets after the team was criticized for allowing the Hebron Fund—a group supporting the West Bank settlement discussed by both Ignatius and Avni—to host a fundraiser at Citi Field in November 2009. “[L]et’s show that we won’t be intimidated and let’s go to the event affirming our ties to and support for Hebron,” Marcus wrote to supporters. “By standing with the Hebron Fund you are standing with the Jewish Community and with Israel.” She urged activists to write a letter thanking the Mets “for rejecting the hate-monger organizations’ request to cancel” the fundraiser.

    Marcus said it was “pretty scary” that the IRS could scrutinize groups for engaging in activities such as urging supporters to write letters to the New York Mets.

    Z Street’s tax-exempt application is stalled while it litigates its case against the IRS. A hearing on the government’s motion to dismiss the complaint is scheduled for July 19 in federal court in Washington, D.C”

  22. atime forpeace
    atime forpeace
    June 26, 2013, 4:04 pm

    This might be the Samuel Untermeyer moment in New York City in Aug 1933. Force Majeure.

    Samuel Untermeyers words quoted in NewYorkTimes Monday Aug 1933
    “It is a war that must be waged unremittingly until the black clouds of bigotry, race hatred and fanaticism that have descended upon what was once Germany, but is now medieval Hitlerland, have been dispersed. If we will but enlist to a man and persist in our purpose, the bright sun of civilization will again shine upon Germany, and the world will be a safer place in which to dwell.”

    “Force Them to Learn” 

    They have flaunted and persisted in flaunting and defying world opinion. 

    We propose to and are organizing world opinion to express itself in the only way Germany can be made to understand. Hitler and his mob will not permit their people to know how they are regarded by the outside world. We shall force them to learn in the only way open to us. “

  23. Les
    June 26, 2013, 5:04 pm

    Such extremists as these are recognized for what they are in the UK.

    Two prominent US bloggers who were due to speak at a far-right rally in Woolwich on Saturday have been banned from entering the UK, the Home Office has said.

    Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who set up Stop Islamization of America, and run the website Jihad Watch, have been forbidden from entering the country on the grounds their presence would “not be conducive to the public good”.

    The far-right English Defence League was planning a march on Saturday ending in Woolwich, south-east London, where soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered last month. Geller and Spencer were both set to attend.

    A Home Office spokesman said: “We can confirm that Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are subject to an exclusion decision … We condemn all those whose behaviours and views run counter to our shared values and will not stand for extremism in any form.”

  24. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    June 26, 2013, 5:06 pm

    “It is still a very limited group of people. They get resonance and they get publicity because attacking Israel makes news. Supporting Israel does not make news. But the fact is that most campuses have rejected the BDS movement,”

    So, according to Mr. Hoenlein, he is going to wage a big publicity war against (his words) a small group of ineffectual attention getters.

    Does he realise how stupid he sounds?

  25. Misterioso
    June 26, 2013, 5:46 pm


    Jerusalem Post 06/26/2013

    Report: McDonald’s refuses to open branch in Ariel “Golden Arches” says move is consistent with its policy, worried about potential for negative international response.


    McDonald’s Israel has refused an offer to open a branch of its restaurant chain in a mall slated to be built in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, according to a report in the Calcalist newspaper.

    Tzahi Nahmias, the realtor who is marketing the mall’s commercial space, told the paper that McDonald’s refused to open a branch because Ariel is located beyond the Green Line.

    McDonald’s confirmed that it did not intend to open in Ariel and said that its refusal to operate in the West Bank “had always been the restaurant chain’s policy,” according to the report. Nahmias said that there were other companies besides McDonald’s, that he refused to name, that expressed concerns that opening in the mall would negatively impact their international business.

    Rami Levy, Israeli supermarket magnate and one of the entrepreneurs behind the Ariel mall, did not refer specifically to McDonald’s decision but he did tell the paper that businesses that refuse to open in the West Bank also harm the Arab population there. “I do not accept that companies make business decisions that are informed by political considerations.

    The mall in Ariel is expected to employ Arab and Jewish workers from the area and to provide services for these populations” Levy said. “This boycott is superfluous, and it harms the Arab population that it is supposedly trying to protect,” he added. Israeli artists as well as academics have boycotted the city because of its location beyond the Green Line.

    In March, during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel students from Ariel University were not invited to a speech that he gave in Jerusalem to Israeli university students.

  26. atime forpeace
    atime forpeace
    June 26, 2013, 5:47 pm

    These guys; the lobby, their arrogance will be their undoing. But i fear that, as in the past, people will play the association game. “what’s past is prologue”.

  27. Misterioso
    June 26, 2013, 5:50 pm

    • On average, in the 22 tracking countries surveyed both in 2012 and 2013, 52 percent of respondents had negative views of Israel’s influence in the world, an increase of two points from last year.
    • Out of the 25 countries polled in 2013, 20 lean negative, three lean positive, and two are divided.
    • The United States is the only Western country surveyed holding favorable views of Israel, and the only country in the survey with a majority of positive ratings (51 percent, stable).
    • Views of Israel in Canada and in Australia remain entrenched in negative territory with respectively 57 and 69 percent of unfavourable views.
    • In the EU countries surveyed, views of Israeli influence are all strongly negative and have either hardened further or remained stable.
    • The United Kingdom is the most unfavorable country towards Israel in the EU with 72 percent of Britons holding negative ratings.
    • The UK is followed by Spain (70% negative) where views have deteriorated due to a loss of positive ratings, now at just 4 percent (down from 12 percent).
    • Positive views have dropped eight points in Germany over the past year, down to 8 percent in 2013 while negative inclinations have remained stable at 67 percent.
    • In France, the picture is stable with 21 percent giving positive views (vs. 63 percent negative) France is the EU country with the highest proportion of favorable ratings.
    • Newly asked countries Poland and Greece have negative pluralities of 44 and 46 percent respectively, while just 15 percent lean positively towards Israel in both countries.

  28. seafoid
    June 27, 2013, 12:38 am

    A fantasy-driven ideology such as Zionism which runs its own parallel universe of “facts”, most of which are at odds with reality, requires intensive and expensive monitoring of dissent to maintain ideological purity.

    Shin Bet in Israel can handle the odd Jew who leaves the path of eternal Zionist truth but they can’t manage larger volumes especially if the memes they use to dissuade non believers make it onto social media.

    “The Shin Bet security service has interrogated four left-wing Israelis involved in preparations for Sunday’s “fly-in.” The activists, members of Anarchists Against the Wall, said they have been questioned over the past two to three weeks.
    Two of the activists said they were questioned at Ben-Gurion International Airport upon returning from a trip abroad. Two others received a written summons to the police station on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv.
    The four were questioned by a man who called himself “Shavit” and said he was chief of the Shin Bet’s department in charge of the extreme right and extreme left.
    The activists said they refused to speak to him or answer his questions, which prompted him to tell them they were under close surveillance. He told them the Shin Bet knew many details about their private lives, not only about their activities (which they report about in full on social media).
    They said Shavit stressed the meeting was not an interrogation but a conversation. But when some of them asked if that meant they could leave, he said no.
    Two other activists received summonses by telephone and another received a written one too late for the scheduled meeting. All seven are also members of the Anarchists Against The Wall group. Some have been summoned to interviews with the Shin Bet before.
    The activists’ attorney, Gaby Lasky, said “the summons is illegal and outside the Shin Bet’s authority. Under the guise of a ‘friendly conversation’ the Shin Bet is trying to deter people from taking part in legal activity with Palestinians.””

    This stuff is really expensive and only works when the number of apostates is low and manageable.

    Hoenlein has to try to keep the lid on the kids in the US.
    It’s an uphill struggle.

    Zionists talking about “respect”. I can’t process that.

  29. Sumud
    June 27, 2013, 2:15 am

    This is good. Shoot yourselves in the foot, why don’t you ziobots!

    Sunshine remains the best disinfectant.

    Hasbara is a pack of lies and only succeeds when people do not scratch the surface. Once you do – the contradictions start to mount and soon enough the whole rickety edifice comes tumbling down. Then you get what Israel really is: a war-mongering jewish supremacist colonial apartheid state.

  30. NickJOCW
    June 27, 2013, 11:15 am

    The goal is to educate in creative ways and win the public back,

    What public do you suppose this is that started out opposed to BDS but having subsequently strayed can now to be brought back to the fold through a creative educational pitch at university students.

  31. John D
    John D
    July 1, 2013, 6:43 am

    I would like to make two points in connection with this article and the comments.
    Firstly, I have come to the conclusion that using the term Zionist is insufficient. What we are really dealing with is Revisionist Zionism (a la Jabotinsky). Netanyahu’s father worked, I believe, as a Secretary to Jabotinsky, which explains why this corrupted form of Zionism is to be seen at work in Israel today. This is why the traditional – liberal or socialist – form of Zionism has been overshadowed by the less secular, more religious form of Zionism being expressed in Israel today.
    Secondly, I have a close interest in the activities involving Ariel and Salfeet.
    What the critics of McDonalds and BDS have failed to mention is that while local Palestinians may possibly “benefit” through low paid, low skilled forms of employment in Ariel – and Barkan, too – they are not permitted to reside in Ariel. They seem impervious to just how galling it must be for Palestinians to be forced to seek work in areas and on land which they themselves were once the owners of.
    The presence of thug-like illegal settlers also makes life much more difficult for local Palestinians and serves to enhance resentment on the part of Palestinians, which is perfectly understandable. Israel should quit the West Bank.
    After all, how would Americans feel if foreigners took over their land and imposed movement restrictions, employment restrictions and residence restrictions on them? That is what has happened to the Palestinians.
    The two-state solution is no longer credible. The Revisionist Zionists have managed to engineer a situation where the idea of an exclusively Jewish state of Israel has become fatally undermined by their own stupidity. It is glaringly apparent that the only solution will be a single secular state solution, in which the Israelis will have to concede equal rights for all and right of return for all – Jews, Christians and Muslims.

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