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AIPAC-backed legislation targeting BDS movement advances in Congress

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From the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 to the anti-Apartheid campaigns in the 90s, Senator Ben Cardin has spent his life supporting boycotts as a tool for achieving racial, social and economic justice. That all apparently changed when Palestinian civil society decided to adopt boycotts as a tactic to challenge Israel’s brutal military occupation.

This past Tuesday Senator Cardin introduced an AIPAC-backed amendment to a trade bill that seeks to thwart the growing boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Although it’s not yet publicly available, the text of Senator Cardin’s amendment is reportedly similar to an amendment that was passed by the House Committee on Ways and Means on Thursday.

Senator Ben Cardin

Senator Ben Cardin

The amendment in the House, which was introduced by Representative Peter Roskam, was attached to this year’s Trade Promotion Authority bill. The amendment sets as a principle negotiating objective “to discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel and seek the elimination of politically motivated non-tariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce imposed on the State of Israel.”

The amendment is designed to pressure the European Union (EU), which is currently negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the United States, to reverse course on the steps it has taken in recent years to oppose Israeli settlements. These include new guidelines preventing entities operating from Israeli-occupied territory from receiving EU funding and a recent push to label settlement products entering the EU.

As written, the legislation also conflates Israel with the Occupied Palestinian Territories and directly contravenes decades of official U.S. policy. The language proposed by Representative Roskam reads in part, “the term ‘actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel’ means actions by states, non-member states of the United Nations, international organizations, or affiliated agencies of international organizations that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or person doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories.” The reference to “Israeli-controlled territories” is a clear nod to Israel’s settlements.

Senator Cardin’s amendment represents an about-face on the use of boycotts at a time when lawmakers like himself have proven unwilling to hold Israel accountable for its routine violations of U.S. and international law. During Senator Cardin’s opening remarks during the mark-up, he seemed to contradict the spirit and intent of his own amendment, saying, “I think it’s critically important that the provisions that are included in here for good governance and respect for international human rights need to be a principle trade objective.”

In the end Senator Cardin’s amendment passed in committee by a vote of 26 to 0. A day later, the house passed Rep. Roskam’s amendment in the House Ways and Means Committee after an at times testy debate.

Questionable Process Raises Protest

In addition, the Senate Finance Committee’s own consideration of the amendments and related legislation have directly contradicted the good governance principles that many members of the committee have espoused.

For example, right before the mark-up on Wednesday, the committee moved its proceedings to a much smaller committee room in order to exclude the members of the public from attending. The text of the legislation being considered has been withheld from the public in a highly unusual move that’s arousing suspicions across the political spectrum. For more than a week, the legislation and related amendments were kept secret in ways that some insiders say is unprecedented.

Even some Members of Congress were perplexed on Thursday when Roskam’s amendment in the House was introduced without prior notice. Consideration of the amendment sparked a debate (1:24:00) among members who appeared confused about what was happening and frustrated that this particular amendment appeared to be singled out for special treatment. Representative Lloyd Doggett wondered why this was allowed in when the human trafficking amendment was excluded. Representative Jim McDermott followed up and challenged the double-standard being applied to the AIPAC-backed amendment. After some typical pro-Israel platitudes, Representative Bill Pascrell remarked, “this amendment is really ambiguous, at best. You know, we mentioned how many times…we mentioned the words delicate balance throughout the day, gotta keep that delicate balance. You proclaim this and you insert this as a requirement. What about public health? What about labor? What about food safety? Aren’t they as critical as what we’re talking about here? We couldn’t get some other things done, but we can get this done? It doesn’t make sense, where’s the delicate balance we’re talking about?”

Grassroots Opposition

Once it became clear that Senator Cardin’s amendment was being offered, a diverse range of groups organized a flood of opposition on Tuesday and Wednesday. Senate offices reported a very large volume of calls in opposition. When one constituent asked the staffer about the split, the staff member said nearly all the calls were in opposition to the amendment.

In a statement released by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Rabbi Joseph Berman, JVP’s Federal Policy Organizer noted that:

“This legislation, which actually encourages illegal settlement building while strengthening the far right in Israel, shows that BDS is an increasingly powerful means to challenge Israel’s impunity when it comes to Palestinian rights. We urge Congress to reject this legislation.”

Senator Cardin was also criticized by Yousef Munayyer, who wrote in The Baltimore Sun:

“BDS is a legitimate, non-violent way for civil society and states to press Israel to comply with international law and end its human rights abuses. Boycott, as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court, is a constitutionally protected form of free expression.”

Even J Street chimed in to oppose the proposal also saying that the legislation defends Israeli settlement building. The J Street statement reads in part:

J Street is adamantly opposed to the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. We’ve worked consistently, particularly on college campuses, to oppose BDS efforts that are often thinly-veiled attempts to delegitimize Israel.

We view the Roskam-Vargas “U.S.-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act” (H.R.825) as not simply unhelpful to the effort to combat Global BDS, but contrary to longstanding US policy opposing settlement of the territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

In particular, the bill perpetuates and validates one of the BDS movement’s most harmful fallacies: that Israel and the territory it occupies in the West Bank should be treated as one and the same. . .

The current stalemate in diplomatic progress toward a two-state solution has led some groups to pursue more limited boycotts or divestment initiatives in opposition to only the occupation and not Israel itself. These “targeted” efforts do not call for a boycott of Israel itself or Israeli goods, but of settlement products, unlike the all-encompassing boycott of Israel promoted by the global BDS Movement.

While J Street does not participate in such targeted boycott or divestment initiatives, we do not believe it is productive or appropriate for the United States government to spend time and resources preventing or reporting on such efforts. In fact, this legislation would actually put the US in the awkward position of making it easier—by reducing potential liabilities— for companies to conduct commercial or related activity in occupied territory that is expanding and deepening the very settlement enterprise that the US opposes.

What Comes Next

Although Senator Cardin and Representative Roskam’s efforts received widespread support from the respective committees, these misguided proposals could backfire and or be stripped from the bill later on in the legislative process. Many may remember the stunning defeat of anti-boycott legislation in a number of different states following the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israeli institutions complicit in the occupation. In that case, groups in states from New York to Illinois roundly defeated state-based legislative initiatives aimed at curbing free speech on campuses.

As lawmakers negotiate how the measures will be considered before the full House and Senate, the special treatment these amendments received could prove to be their undoing. If the legislation does in fact pass in its current form, it would set a dangerous precedent for free speech and solidify the United States’ role as the chief enabler of Israel’s occupation.

Mike Coogan

Mike Coogan is the Legislative Coordinator for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

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77 Responses

  1. Blownaway on April 25, 2015, 10:52 am

    It should also always be pointed out that Cardin is a top beneficiary of pro Israel PACs receiving almost 240,000 dollars for his soul

    • pabelmont on April 25, 2015, 10:59 am

      Most “pols” have long ago made peace with the devil (political money). It’s not just Israel, but selling-out to PROMOTE human-rights abuse is pretty low. OTOH, why would monied people pay to promote virtue?

      • Blownaway on April 25, 2015, 11:33 am

        I know but I do differentiate between selling your soul on behalf of Americans and of a foreign government to the detriment of Americans

    • Kay24 on April 25, 2015, 1:37 pm

      That always explains why they embarrass themselves so much for Israel. Those who dance to zionist tunes always get the most dollars according to this list:

    • Citizen on April 25, 2015, 5:14 pm

      Bruce Jenner has a female soul, and Cardin’s ilk have no soul at all. […]

  2. a blah chick on April 25, 2015, 10:59 am

    “I think it’s critically important that the provisions that are included in here for good governance and respect for international human rights need to be a principle trade objective.”

    Do these people even listen to themselves?

    • Citizen on April 25, 2015, 5:15 pm

      No, they listen to the Zioinist dollars going into their campaign coffers.

      • Krauss on April 26, 2015, 3:44 am

        In Cardin’s case it isn’t just dollars but also personal ideology. That is important to remember. Money helps but he’s an Israel Firster at heart.

  3. Walid on April 25, 2015, 11:04 am

    Looks like a race between Canada and the US on which of the 2 will pass its anti-BDS legislation first. Canada is set for the 3rd and final reading of the law so it looks like it is about to be beat the US.

    ABC was just asking what has become of this US law a couple of days back. She has her answer here.

    • a blah chick on April 25, 2015, 2:11 pm

      I certainly do.

      I do find it interesting that with all Zionism had going for it, the billionaires, the super power support, the EU, the elite media, their supporters still feel the need to pull stunts like this. What are they afraid of? Justice, they know their on the wrong side of history.

      • Citizen on April 25, 2015, 5:17 pm

        NO. They don’t think about history, just about how to get or keep elected office, from which they can dole out taxpayer money to the special interests who fund their campaign ads.

  4. Kathleen on April 25, 2015, 11:47 am

    Too bad Cardin’s civil and human rights stances against racism and oppression here in the states and South Africa do not apply to the Palestinians. However most of us know many alleged human rights advocates who are weak in the spine when it comes to the Palestinians having those same human rights.

    Keep calling your Reps letting them know how you stand against this legislation. The movement is growing.

    Bet Melissa Harris Perry might cover this issue if we all pile on over at her facebook page

    • Krauss on April 26, 2015, 3:46 am

      MHP isn’t going to do anything. She has been loyal to Obama like a footsoldier. Obama wants TTIP to happen. If he has to throw U.S. sovereignty under the bus to do that, and outsourse U.S.-E.U relations to AIPAC then he’ll do it.

      • Kathleen on April 26, 2015, 6:29 pm

        MHP has stepped out of the box on Iran, the Israeli Palestinian conflict when she has had Hillary Mann Leverett on at least 5 times since last summer. Watch the programs with Leverett on those Iran/middle east panels and you will hear for yourself how MHP has indeed stepped out of line a bit on coverage of these issues and the information people have access too.

      • ziusudra on April 27, 2015, 2:07 am

        Greetings Krauss,
        Even if BDS remains strong against Israel, could they be pressing for their export products to be included in the TTIP agreements which the US is trying to sell such as Chlor Chicks & miraculously poisoned Monsanto products to Europe?
        Germans want no TTIP trade with the US!
        Germans are especially incensed by the clause, if the US can’t sell its products, they can take any Euro Country to court & penalize them for refusal to purchase!!??

  5. ivri on April 25, 2015, 12:03 pm

    A key element here, even in the considerations in Europe in regard to boycott actions vis-a-vis Israel, is the generally shrinking power in the world of what is collectively known as “The West”. Until a century or so ago European countries ruled the world, later joined by an even bigger power, the US, but now gradually this global dominance is slipping form their hands. The newcomers to power are explicitly or tacitly hostile to “The West”, both as an entity and as a concept, and have many partners in that, in the many countries that harbor resentment to “The West” due to past negative experiences under it (or its influence).
    In such conditions “The West” cannot afford anymore to be too choosy and any entity that operates within the general confines of what The West” stands for must be protected. Hatchets need to be buried (as is mainly the case with Europe) in the name of the common cause – the very survival of “The West” and what it stands for. It is also clear to all that there will be little and short-lasting gratitude to “The West” for the abandonment of Israel – the US know that all too well and understands it much better since it got involved intensely in the Mid-East and came closer to realities there.

    • Citizen on April 25, 2015, 5:21 pm

      @ ivri
      Not sure I understand your long extended last sentence? What are you trying to say? Who is the “all” in that sentence? What does the US “know all too well”?

      • Mooser on April 25, 2015, 7:58 pm

        Basically, “”ivri” is admitting that Israel has been a failure as a civilized state, but he is offering their services as mercenaries or hired killers. Almost be a good offer if they could be trusted. But there is way too much left-wing activism in Israel for Israel to be entirely trustworthy. What if democracy or even a one-state solution broke out? When “ivri” can guarantee that any danger of Israel returning from intransigence is nil, he can talk about “the very survival of “The West and what it stands for.”

        Yeah, “ivri”, Israel is just what we need. With fiends like them, who needs enemas.

      • DaBakr on April 26, 2015, 5:14 pm

        The definition of a failed state being:

        a) just recently ranked 11th in ‘most happy’ nation (out of dozens) including results from all ethnic groups in Israel. Ranked after Switz, Denmark, and the US much lower down the list. fail.

        b) another poll conducted by an Arab research firm on a yearly basis has for the first time published results that claim Arabs under 30 no longer see the I/P conflict as the most important in region. That many young Arabs admire much about Israel while still supporting Palestinian rights (tho-many would say this is impossible) IS, lack of free speech and joblessness rank more important then i/p
        c) another sure sign of failure is a robust economy with growth in all sectors and especially sectors contributing to the way humanity will be changing over the coming years.
        [The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey,- conducted annually for the past 7 years, polls 3,500 Arabs aged 18 to 24 from 16 Arab countries in face-to-face interviews. One of the standard questions is “What do you believe is the biggest obstacle facing the Middle East?”]
        This year, defying a long tradition of blaming Arabtroubles on Israel, only 23 percent of respondents cited the I/P conflict as the region’s main obstacle. The conflict came in fourth, trailing ISIS (37 percent), terrorism (32 percent) and unemployment (29 percent). Given that respondents were evidently allowed to choose more than one of the 15 options (the total actually adds up to 235 percent rather than 100). Even more noteworthy that only 23 percent thought the conflict worth mentioning.

        d) many if not a majority of Israeli-Arabs prefer to stay in this ‘failed’ state rather then a state governed by the Palestinian PA, PLO or Hamas.

        more definitions of failure are ridiculously easy to come by. Israels byline should be
        “Israel: Failing its way to success ” …

        -OR-I suppose the cockamamie reasoning here would go something like:

        “Israel: Succeeding its way to failure”

        *particularly like ol gz presentation of Israeli contribution to the worlds of science, tech, agro, pharma, med, etc as “over hyped” and then proceeds to claim there is only ‘one drug’ and maybe one other thing (and these stole US jobs, no less!) I guess OGZ thinks all the 1000s of reports, press releases and international coverage, conventions and shared research that Israeli accomplishments are all part of the ‘big conspiracy’. right.

        anti-Zionists still hate this (admittedly) annoying and arrogant admonition against bds but it is still as true as it was years ago- if your using a cell phone your using something with Israeli components and/or patents. Same goes for quite a few other everyday essentials but whose counting..

      • Walid on April 26, 2015, 11:42 pm

        “… another poll conducted by an Arab research firm …”

        A Young & Rubicam-owned survey organization is not very Arab. Your survey is bogus, DaBakr; half the countries surveyed are in a state of turmoil with Israel being far from their priorities and the other half are beholden in one way or another to Saudi Arabia, which should tell you how the wind is blowing in these countries and the whole excercise goes around in circles to establish that Arab youth in general are not into boycotting Israel, since it’s a foregone conclusion that there are no ongoing boycotts in Arab countries other than those against Israel. Syria was omitted from the survey because of its civil war but not Bahrain where 80% of the population is against the ruling class, which should give you an idea of which group of youths was interviewed in that country as well as in others.

      • DaBakr on April 27, 2015, 6:53 pm


        if what your saying is a left-wing polling organization should have hand selected the people to poll as being already trending towards one view then I suppose-yes-its not an instructive poll of left-wing Arab youths. So much for the opinions of all the Arab youths that were selected for this poll even though there is absolutely no evidence any of the responders were hand-picked for their political views. Other then that -I don’t think the poll is any more all-encompassing then you. It just a poll but it represents a trend that can’t be totally denied.

        I also am not sure what a “young and Rubicam owned” organization is. I know what young is and I know what the rubicam is. If by this it is meant i.e.: conservative-I don’t see what the problem with that is.

      • Walid on April 27, 2015, 11:04 pm

        “… I also am not sure what a “young and Rubicam owned” organization is. ” (DaBakr)

        Y & R is a huge NYC PR/advertising agency with a worldwide staff of about 6000. Burson-Marsteller that does the “Arab Youth Poll” is wholly owned by Y & R.

        A poll wasn’t necessary to establish that Arab youths don’t fret that much about Israel, which by extension implies that they don’t give a hoot about boycotting Israel. Polling Arab youths on that issue is flogging a dead horse as there are no meaningful boycotts of Israel in Arab countries as much as there are in Europe and the US. I’m guessing the results of this poll were aimed at non-Arabs.

    • Mooser on April 25, 2015, 8:12 pm

      Shorter “ivri”:

      “There’s so much dust I can hardly breath! Don’t you ever vacuum under the bed?”

    • Kris on April 25, 2015, 11:08 pm

      @ivri: “Hatchets need to be buried (as is mainly the case with Europe) in the name of the common cause – the very survival of “The West” and what it stands for.”

      What do you imagine that “The West” “stands for”? “The West’s” ongoing history of environmental destruction, racism, rapacious capitalism, economic and social injustice, and aggression is on track to destroy life on this planet. Our grandchildren and their children can look forward to famines, water shortages, increasingly violent storms, and social devolution. “The West” is driving the human race to complete destruction and dystopia as fast as possible.

      The “realities” in the Middle East are that “The West” covets the land and resources that belong to darker-skinned people, and “The West” has no inhibitions against stealing from the native peoples.

      Ivri, you are full of it.

      • socialconscience on April 26, 2015, 9:11 am

        Well said kris, depressing but it is unfortunately the truth

      • just on April 28, 2015, 12:53 pm

        Thank you, Kris.

    • oldgeezer on April 26, 2015, 12:16 am


      Shrinking power of the west? Name a few countries that could withstand a NATO assault. There actually are who could respond in kind, China and Russia. They always could. Eventually India. Who else? Middle Eastern states? Iran? Put down the pipe. Even a nuclear armed Iran could not withstand forces of “The West”. We don’t need to defeat them as we can eliminate them.

      We don’t need Israel. It offers nothing. It has no boots on the ground or planes in the air for the battles we wage. Battles I disagree with for the record but battles nonetheless. Israel has nothing to offer us in the common cause. In fact it’s not common at all as Israel sits them out. Even if I was a warhawk right winger I would view Israel as inconsequential as that’s exactly what it is.

      Reports of Israel’s medical and technological contributions are overhyped. A single patented drug and a fab plant which is capable of producing the same general level of output as North Vietnam. Way to go!! A fab plant that exists due to US taxation incentives to locate facilities in Israel at the cost of US jobs. I don’t doubt that there are many Israeli computer scientists of note but no more than anywhere else.

      Israel is a leech on the west. It contributes nothing of any significant note while riding on it’s coat tails in it’s quest to deprive millions of people of their basic human rights while stealing their land, property and resources. It (and it’s supporters) is a stain on humanity and human history. History will show them to be just that and I will venture your grandchildren will see you as that as the bill is coming due.

      You don’t any of our values.

      You share our values from over 150 years ago perhaps. Around the time that the concept of zionism was created and not surprisingly. But none of our current values. You are an anathema to our current values. That’s why our politicians are bought. The average person wouldn’t give you the time of day. We have no pride in our abuses. We are trying to find ways to apologize and rectify the abuse put upon our indigenous peoples and slaves.

      No… Not a thing in common. Israeli values are diametrically opposed to western values other than politicians selling their souls and ignoring those they represent.

      I don’t fear any Muslim. Or Jew for that matter. The west is in control. Our biggest threats don’t remotely include anything from the middle east. We’d conquer any of you in a heartbeat.

      I support the state of Israel living within it’s original borders and not a scintilla of support for the rogue state of Israel which has spent a half century of killing and stealing other people’s property.

      It’s not going to get better for Israel. You should learn to cut your losses before it’s too late. And too late is closer than you think

      • echinococcus on April 26, 2015, 12:57 am

        I support the state of Israel living within it’s original borders

        Why on earth?

      • socialconscience on April 26, 2015, 9:20 am

        Oldgeezer you make some valid points but how can you say:

        ‘I support the state of Israel living within its original borders’

        When has Israel ever had ANY legitimacy? From the ridiculous Balfour declaration near turn of the century with lord Balfour essentially bequeathing Palestine (which was not his to give) to his friend Lord Rothschild

        Fast forward to the ’47 borders and the ensuing Nakba and we see its apparent that the Zionist state of Israel has only ever been rascist, ethnocratic and sectarian to its core

        I have a really hard time getting my head around how you can be opposed to the ‘rogue state of Israel’ of the last 50 years yet support the state of Israel period…

        Please explain, I am genuinely intrigued

      • oldgeezer on April 26, 2015, 2:39 pm

        Whether Israel should have been created, or not, might make a nice academic exercise but the fact is that it was created and does exist. It has as much legitimacy as it’s neighbours which were also created. Few states merely came into being by a natural democratic process.

        Provided it stays within it’s original borders and adheres to international law and ihl then i can support it the same as any other state. That would include israel recognizing the right of return and either permitting it or negotiating compensation for those eligible.

      • echinococcus on April 26, 2015, 6:27 pm

        Legitimacy my axe, if you’ll pardon my French. Speaking of French, remember Algeria. French colonial presence was much more “legitimate” by the very same measures. It was, however, crystal clear from the get go that there was not an ounce of legitimacy to that presence, and the request by the winning Resistance, to evacuate all French who would not accept full Algerian citizenship, was saluted by most people, except the usual suspects. Not only is there absolutely no peg to hang that legitimacy on, there is also absolutely no reason why the Resistance should make any concessions on that given that there have been absolutely no concessions from the conquerors in 70 years.
        Otherwise said, if existence is enough to establish legitimacy and no concessions are forthcoming, then destruction is the solution.

      • Mooser on April 26, 2015, 7:16 pm

        “I support the state of Israel living within it’s original borders – See more at:”

        It’s that strange thing I’ve been noticing, but have only recently (when the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches ran out) been able to articulate.
        For some reason (which I don’t understand, any more than why I ate all those P&J sandwiches) everybody feels obligated to offer absolution along with a solution. I don’t know why that is.

      • Mooser on April 26, 2015, 7:28 pm

        “Provided it stays within it’s original borders”

        I am admittedly fuzzy on this, but when we go back to the “original borders” wasn’t it part of the plan that those borders also be ratified by the peoples the Zionist State was taken from? Did that ever happen?

        (Just like the rights of the existing communities were supposed to be part of the plan along with those “original borders”?)

      • eljay on April 26, 2015, 8:00 pm

        || oldgeezer: Provided it stays within it’s original borders and adheres to international law and ihl then i can support it the same as any other state. That would include israel recognizing the right of return and either permitting it or negotiating compensation for those eligible. ||

        I’m with you on that, oldgeezer. And should the citizens of a secular and democratic Israel eventually vote to unite with a secular and democratic Palestine to form a new secular and democratic state of and for all of its citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally, the right of self-determination* would validate that move.

        (*The real kind, not the immoral and unjust kind that leads to the establishment of oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist states.)

      • echinococcus on April 26, 2015, 11:04 pm

        Are any of you guys respecting the most heinous handling under the sun, i.e. establishment of an invader state by the force of colonialist bayonets, somehow representative of the will of a majority, not under blackmail or duress, of the owners of the land, i.e. the Palestinian people, including the exiled? In that case, one might look at your proposal. Otherwise the whole thing remains totally illegitimate. As for offering nationality to the illegally immigrated or even the local born, again it is exclusively the Palestinians’ to decide.

      • oldgeezer on April 27, 2015, 1:13 am


        If I was a Parliamentarian I’d thump my desk and shout hear, hear at your comments


        I would hope you are not suggesting I am offering absolution. If you are then perhaps I am and perhaps you are right. I don’t feel I am given that I expect the right of return to be respected.

        In terms of the fuzzy part how many states in this world came about by way of the inhabitants expressing the desire. I am not saying it’s right but few states have come into existence through such means.

        For the record I don’t support the right of the state of Israel to exist. Or the right of any other state for that matter. There is no right for a state to exist.


        When you find out a way to destroy a nuclear armed state without causing more harm than good then give me a shout. Or even a non nuclear armed state. Tell me how the US is more legitimate than Israel. When were the indigineous peoples asked. How about the UK? While there has recently been a Scottish referendum the original inhabitants weren’t asked (or were in a too advanced state of decomposition to respond). How about France? Didn’t those Franks come from Germany?

        Sorry… I don’t really care that you don’t agree with me. Your level of hate is beyond my tolerance point. Have a great day and life.

      • echinococcus on April 27, 2015, 3:09 am

        Obviously I didn’t manage to make clear to you what the central point is for me. I do agree with what you say about historical states etc. ; what we have here is a situation directly within human memory where no redress was offered at all and the central point is that the directly interested, i.e. the Palestinians still haven’t had any opportunity to decide, not under duress, how much they may want to put up with.
        None of the conditions are for anyone else to decide. Certainly not me (my personal preferences are no different than yours but no one is interested in that.) Palestinians have been handed down too many compromises on their behalf by everybody and his brother –that can’t work. All I can say is that, while there is one known case of a miracle in South Africa, thanks to an unimaginable degree of maturity on both sides, things are known to have developed very differently too, as in Algeria. The way the cookie is crumbling in Palestine is not encouraging at all, as an extreme degree of war and violence looks more and more probable (in part because of the success of the Zionists in decapitating the resistance.)

      • socialconscience on April 27, 2015, 9:20 am

        thank you Old Geezer I can see your point and agree it is essential that equality is established between the peoples of Palestine with right of return a cornerstone of restoring parity.

        @Eljay your democratic solution would be great if only we hadn’t seen the people of Israel just re elect another increasingly right wing warmongering government

        and with recent surveys demonstrating the increase in racism amongst Israeli youth it is hard to see how such a democratic solution could occur

        The above being predictable in recent times does however have precedent – note Miko Peled ”the general’s son” who describes his father Major General Matti as being isolated when he steadfastly encouraged the Israeli government of the time to make peace with the Palestinians following the 6 days war

        Israel had its chance then to make peace with the people of Palestine but has instead pursued apartheid until the present day.


        your solution of destruction cant surely be serious…its tired old rhetoric with no hint of recognition that there are 6 million jews living in Palestine….

        this is the peg of reality that any Hamas or Palestinian authority member cannot avoid hanging their hat on.

        Perhaps more importantly however, the people of Israel must recognise the non jewish inhabitants as human beings with rights

        Reconcilitation is the only way

        The United States of Israel Industrial military complex has too much money to lose to cut off this apartheid state

        An outside body that could pioneer and impose (through consultation with fair representation of all peoples of Palestine) whereby a proportional representation system of government such as D’Hondt could be utilized may be a viable alternative.

        Alas the toothless U.N. are ne’er able to achieve such a feat of facilitiation toward a lasting and politically underpinned peace not least as they are Stymied by the U.S. juggernaut who will not even permit Israel to be tried for war crimes…..

        short of having Phillip Weiss/ Max Blumenthal/ the Dalai Lama / fill in the blank running for POTUS is very difficult to see a way out of this mire…..

      • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 9:55 pm

        “I would hope you are not suggesting I am offering absolution.”

        Oh no! Not at all. I’m just getting a sort of handle on the solution/absolution thing and trying to sort it out.
        Sorry, I bounced my sorting this out off your comment. I’m trying to figure out the relationship between those two things.

      • ziusudra on April 28, 2015, 4:17 am

        Countries that exist, exist. Euro South Africa lasted some 300yrs. Rhodesia only 90., Singapore some 100. How long will Taiwan last?
        Same people, same religion, same language. Oh, but Capitalism is sooo attractive. One possibility on the horizon is that China along in BRICS could change the equasion to become attractive to Taiwan, where they no longer need the US.There seems to be so many reasons to divide &/or connect people?
        Israel exists, but reasons will arise that will allow or not allow it to continue. Reasons of Military power, Money or asisstance from super powers are all relative & subject to change in time. No reason can assure them of perpetual existance in Palestine. No one need take sides as it will run its course.

  6. sklein1953 on April 25, 2015, 1:43 pm

    Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has got to do something to keep Israel from being the partisan issue it has increasingly become.

    • Mooser on April 25, 2015, 8:06 pm

      “Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has got to do something to keep Israel from being the partisan issue it has increasingly become.”

      Why? Israel may very well become a partisan issue. Why shouldn’t it? Aspects of foreign policy often do become partisan issues. Why not Israel?

    • jon s on April 27, 2015, 4:13 pm

      Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, so Jews in Israel are not “invaders” or “colonialists” or anything of the sort, we are quite at home here.
      The same country is also the Palestinian’s homeland.
      Two nations sharing the same homeland – that’s the reality that both sides need to come to terms with.

      • Kris on April 27, 2015, 4:28 pm

        @jon s: “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, so Jews in Israel are not “invaders” or “colonialists” or anything of the sort, we are quite at home here.”

        Why is it that people like me, whose families farmed in Denmark for thousands of years, and who would be “quite at home” back in our homeland, are forbidden by law to go back to Denmark and kick recent immigrants off the land that we lived on for so long, and have remembered with such sincere longing? We still sing the old songs, and many of us still speak the old language and worship in the old faith. Yet we have no rights!!!!!

        I mean, there are actually Danish citizens from places like Pakistan living on the land we farmed!!!!!! Not an ethnic drop of Danish blood in their veins, and yet we Danish-Americans, no matter how genetically Danish we are, can’t just go over there and “reclaim” what was “ours”!!!!!!!

        We would be glad to “share” the homeland with these immigrants, and would use Israel as a model. They could live in open air concentration camps like Gaza and the West Bank, and we could live in luxury on our old farms. What’s wrong with that?

      • eljay on April 27, 2015, 5:08 pm

        || jon s: Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people … ||

        No, Israel is the historic homeland of Israelis – that is to say, of all non-Jewish and Jewish people from the geographic region comprising Partition-borders Israel.

        || … so Jews in Israel are not “invaders” or “colonialists” or anything of the sort … ||

        Israeli Jews and non-Jews are not “invaders” or “colonialists” as long as they remain within the (Partition) borders of their state. Non-Israeli Jews and non-Jews are not Israelis, so they could be classified as invaders and/or colonialists.

      • eljay on April 27, 2015, 5:26 pm

        || Kris @ April 27, 2015, 4:28 pm ||

        Zio-supremacism is ugly enough for claiming that the indigenous population of Palestine is less entitled to its land than are Jewish citizens of countries around the world.

        But what makes it even uglier is that those Jewish citizens don’t even have to have any tangible ties – recent or remote – to Palestine. They just have to be people who have undergone a religious conversion to Judaism or who are descended from someone who underwent a religious conversion to Judaism.

        Zionism and its “Jewish State” project are religion-based supremacism.

      • RoHa on April 27, 2015, 7:55 pm

        What do you mean by “historic homeland” ? What moral implications does it have?
        What do you mean by “the Jewish people” ?
        When you say “two nations”, what do you mean by that?

        The dictionary does not help with these terms, and we really need to get them sorted out.

      • echinococcus on April 27, 2015, 8:22 pm

        Kris has already answered enough (as have thousands of people already, only they had not been informed that your ears need washing) to this question that you dutifully have repeated for so many years.
        I don’t want to argue. Just kindly bring one individual original title for a named ancestor for each person along with ironclad certification of the entire ancestry line. Also make sure to make clear how and by what legal acrobatics such a title, if there were one, could be valid (hint: it can’t, I asked my brother-in-law and he’s a successful real estate attorney.) Then we have the rest of the story: authorization to immigrate personally, signed by the owners of the local sovereignty, or first-degree local relation admitted to Palestinian citizenship before the Zionist onslaught (sure there were some 7-8% Palestinian Arab Jews, you know, those who the Zionists kicked out first because they opposed the invasion.) Then we’ll discuss how come a real estate deed (if only it could be valid) and a refugee/immigrant/acquired citizenship status (if acquired according to Palestinian law) authorizes a minority of 2,000-year-old zombies to usurp sovereignty.
        When all that is clear, I’m sure your rights will be recognized.

      • Cliff on April 27, 2015, 8:59 pm

        @Jon s

        There is no historic Jewish homeland. You are not an ancient Jew, nor do you have any relation to one.

        You are the product of conversion. Judaism is a religion, first and foremost.

        There is no Israel without a Jewish majority and there is no Jewish majority without the ethnic cleansing of the Arab majority.

      • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 10:00 pm

        “Two nations sharing the same homeland – that’s the reality that both sides need to come to terms with.”

        Yes, sir, those Zionists sure acted like they were coming home to a land and people they loved, didn’t they?

        Knock it off, “Jon s”, you’re not dealing with children. Does it ever occur to you that it is also very insulting?

      • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 10:06 pm

        “The dictionary does not help with these terms, and we really need to get them sorted out.”

        RoHa, as you can see, since “Jon s” is a history teacher, he has thought long and deeply about Zionism, and his thoughts have always been held to a high intellectual and ethical standard. And he can explain his conclusions in easily understood, factually verifiable terms.

      • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 10:17 pm

        “we are quite at home here.” “Jon s”

        So you do live in “Israel” (or one of the occupied territories) and not in the US, “Jon s”. I’m sorry, I thought you lived in the States. My mistake.

      • RoHa on April 27, 2015, 11:05 pm

        “And he can explain his conclusions in easily understood, factually verifiable terms. ”

        Then I’m sure he will. What could be more satisfying for a teacher than engaging with such eager and attentive students as we are?

      • catalan on April 27, 2015, 11:45 pm

        “You are not an ancient Jew, nor do you have any relation to one.

        You are the product of conversion. Judaism is a religion, first and foremost. ”
        And I say he is a direct descendant of Judah Maccabee. Seriously, are you in possession of his family tree? Share it or I call bs.

  7. radii on April 25, 2015, 2:17 pm

    this will backfire badly … go ahead whores in the U.S. Congress, get in deeper with the israeli lobby

    • jon s on April 28, 2015, 3:32 pm

      As to your analogy with Denmark:
      Show me any other similar narrative: a people living as a dispersed and often -persecuted minority, yearning and praying every day for a return to their historic homeland, maintaining a continuous presence in said homeland, celebrating holidays which reflect the agricultural cycle of said homeland…and I would support their right to return to thir homeland, as long as they wish to live in peace with -and not displace – the rest of the population.

      • jon s on April 28, 2015, 3:46 pm

        Israel is the Jewish historic homeland , as proven by the historical and archaeological record, and by the people’s memory. Whether or not present-day Jews are all directly, biologically, descended from the ancient Hebrews or Israelites is impossible to prove and in any case is not important in my view, since I’m not a racist and I’m not concerned with “bloodlines”. Personally, I can trace my ancestry to certain 18th century rabbis. Before that – who knows? – but that’s probably no different from other nations or ethnic groups .

      • gamal on April 28, 2015, 6:09 pm

        May I interject,

        Narrative hygiene is a most necessary and important practice, look what happened to Joel L Kraemer, late of Tel Aviv University, he studied the other historical “narratives” of his region producing the excellent volume by Tabari among others

        which is full of interesting stuff, who knows what imtihan means?

        But just look what that lead to

        It turns out that Judaism is Islam, and though I am not entirely sure I believe Hostage has conferred on me authority in these matters, anyway, Welcome home, aahlan, as we say wa sahhlan, you have no idea where you have landed nor amongst whom you have fallen.

      • Shmuel on April 28, 2015, 7:11 pm

        But just look what that lead to …

        Maimonides had some good things to say about Islam and some bad things, but he was certainly a product of Islamic culture (no surprise there). His son Avraham, on the other hand, was apparently a great admirer of Sufism (and hence loath to say a bad word about Islam), who probably incorporated Sufi practices into his Jewish observance — and he wasn’t the only one (Bahya Ibn Paquda, the “Jewish Sufi” comes to mind).

        Tangentially related anecdote: I had someone listen to a liturgical poem sung in the tradition of the Jews of Aleppo the other day, and he said “but that sounds just like the music my Muslim Syrian greengrocer has on all the time in his shop”. Surprise surprise.

      • eljay on April 28, 2015, 7:29 pm

        || jon s: Israel is the Jewish historic homeland … ||

        No, Israel is the historic homeland of Israelis – that is to say, of all non-Jewish and Jewish people from the geographic region comprising Partition-borders Israel.

        || Whether or not present-day Jews are all directly, biologically, descended from the ancient Hebrews or Israelites … is not important in my view, since I’m not a racist … ||

        You may not be a racist, but you are most clearly and unapologetically a supremacist.

      • RoHa on April 28, 2015, 8:22 pm

        “Israel is the Jewish historic homeland ”

        But you haven’t told us what you mean by “homeland”. Your “proof” suggests that you mean “the place where Jewishness originated”. Is that correct?

        If so, what moral implications does it have? Why does that give Polish Jews any rights at all in respect of the territory? (You have denied that biological descent is relevant.)

        The same region is, allegedly, the place where Christianity originated. Do Welsh Christians have similar rights to Polish Jews in respect of the territory?

        Japan is the place where Aikido originated. Do Swedish Aikidoka have any special rights in respect of Japan?

      • Walid on April 28, 2015, 8:56 pm

        Shmuel, to add more of the same to your tangentially related anecdote and gamal’s, by Iraqi Arab Jew Ella Shohat:

        “… As an Arab Jew, I am often obliged to explain the “mysteries” of this oxymoronic entity. That we have spoken Arabic, not Yiddish; that for millennia our cultural creativity, secular and religious, had been largely articulated in Arabic (Maimonides being one of the few intellectuals to “make it” into the consciousness of the West); and that even the most religious of our communities in the Middle East and North Africa never expressed themselves in Yiddish-accented Hebrew prayers, nor did they practice liturgical-gestural norms and sartorial codes favoring the dark colors of centuries-ago Poland. Middle Eastern women similarly never wore wigs; their hair covers, if worn, consisted of different variations on regional clothing (and in the wake of British and French imperialism, many wore Western-style clothes). If you go to our synagogues, even in New York, Montreal, Paris or London, you’ll be amazed to hear the winding quarter tones of our music which the uninitiated might imagine to be coming from a mosque.”

        And most remarkably from Shohat on the treatment of oriental Jews on arrival in Israel:

        “… What for Ashkenazi immigrants from Russian and Poland was a social aliya (literally “ascent”) was for Oriental Sephardic Jews a yerida (“descent”). ”

      • talknic on April 29, 2015, 9:08 am

        jon s “Israel is the Jewish historic homeland as proven by the historical and archaeological record, and by the people’s memory. “

        Bullsh*t pal! Israel is as it pleaded to be and was recognized ” an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947, and that a provisional government has been charged to assume the rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law. The Act of Independence will become effective at one minute after six o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948, Washington time” no more, no less. Israel has not legally acquired any territory since 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) .

        Colonizing Zionist idiots destroyed the opportunity for Israeli Jews to live anywhere in the Jewish People’s Historical Homeland in Palestine by demanding and declaring a separate Jewish state. Herzl could have in his life time immigrated to Palestine, acquired citizenship, bought land and settled. He didn’t bother, neither did his family. Now he’s an illegal fact on the ground, buried in non-Israeli territories. Opportunity after opportunity missed.

        Idiotic Zionist schmucks have led Israel up the garden path to a point where having created so many illegal facts on the ground, it can’t even afford to adhere to the law without going bankrupt, becoming a failed state. It has to negotiate its way out of the legal sh*t hole they created and they even refuse to do that. They are truly a scourge on the Jewish people.

        “Whether or not present-day Jews are all directly, biologically, descended from the ancient Hebrews or Israelites is impossible to prove and in any case is not important…”

        It’s also completely irrelevant to the legal status of Israeli sovereignty and Israel’s 67 years of illegal ‘facts on the ground’ in non-Israeli territories.

      • talknic on April 29, 2015, 9:20 am

        jon s “Show me any other similar narrative: a people living as a dispersed and often -persecuted minority, yearning and praying every day for a return to their historic homeland”

        The Palestinians.

        “maintaining a continuous presence in said homeland”

        Only the actual people who actually lived there continuously and they’d been Palestinian Jews from at least the Roman era til 1948, for far longer than any Kingdom of David or State of Israel.

        “and I would support their right to return to thir homeland, as long as they wish to live in peace with -and not displace – the rest of the population”

        Uh huh. Israel displaced some 711,000 people ” from Israel- controlled territory “ in 1948.

      • MHughes976 on April 29, 2015, 12:23 pm

        Wanting something with whatever strength of emotion does not give you a right to it: there could be no conceivable morality on that basis. If you think you should have something you have to explain why your desire for it should be satisfied: that means giving a reason, not just saying or saying again and again that you do in fact want it.
        My definition of ‘historic homeland of a certain group’ would be ‘place where many of their ancestors lived’. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be more than one such for any one group or why, more importantly, the same place should not be the historic homeland of several groups of people. More importantly yet, the idea has absolutely no moral implications. Nothing is owned by someone now simply because owned by ancestors, because part of the essence of ownership is that it can be transferred, and no one is part of a certain social contract because several ancestors were. An individual enters a social contract only by express or tacit consent on their own part, tacit consent meaning what is implied by normal, unremarked participating in the relevant activities. All this is explained by Locke, whose work is the locus classicus.
        There can be no intelligible social contract without mutual trust, the heart of the matter. This of course implies that there can be no right for some participants, however linked between themselves, to exclude others and in the process become solely dominant.
        If you reject social contract theory there is an alternative, traditionally expressed as the theory of overriding divine prescription. This can be transformed into a non-religious form, perhaps as an existentialist claim to an overriding right in the name of survival, but this has no special connection with historical residence and suchlike.
        All this historic homeland stuff amounts to arrant Nakba justification and should have no place here.

      • eljay on April 29, 2015, 1:01 pm

        || MHughes: … Nothing is owned by someone now simply because owned by ancestors … ||

        Zio-supremacism is injustice and immorality.

        It starts with the premise that Palestine belongs far less to its indigenous population than it does to citizens of the Jewish faith living in their respective countries (homelands) around the world, regardless of whether they even have any tangible ties to the region (i.e., they are n-generations removed from it).

        And it continues with:
        – Jewish terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population from their homes and lands;
        – the establishment of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” of (Greater) Israel in Palestine;
        – almost seven decades (and counting) of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder;
        – a refusal to honour obligations under international law;
        – a refusal to accept responsibility and accountability for past and on-going (war) crimes; and
        – a refusal to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

      • RoHa on April 29, 2015, 7:15 pm

        “Nothing is owned by someone now simply because owned by ancestors”

        Can Americans of English ancestry claim those parts of Northern Germany where the Angles and Saxons migrated from?

        “There is no reason why there shouldn’t be more than one such for any one group or why, more importantly, the same place should not be the historic homeland of several groups of people. ”

        Under conventional evolutionary theory, the entire human race originated from somewhere in Africa. That is our homeland. I claim my bit of Kenya! (Or was it Angola?)

  8. DaBakr on April 25, 2015, 6:57 pm

    author writes: “even Jstreet…..” as if it’s surprising Jstreet would ever take an anti-Israel/anti-Zionist position. They do this all the time including the embracing of speakers at their sponsored events that advocate for Jews to become a “protected minority” in a future binational state. One can not possibly get anymore anti-Zionist than that so not sure why there was a need to use the adverb “even” . Not that even that is surprising.

    • Mooser on April 26, 2015, 7:22 pm

      “One can not possibly get anymore anti-Zionist than that”

      Well, then, you really are screwed, aren’t you? But if you think “one can not possibly get anymore anti-Zionist” than J-Street you are in for some rude shocks, budye.

      • DaBakr on April 27, 2015, 7:06 pm

        rude shocks? as if thats even an issue. I eat rude shocks for sustenance every time I glance at the NYT bylines. And jstreet will be exposed as the farcical enterprise it is. They may not have a ‘big tent’ but they will still have you. At least they can take solace in that hebephrenic incubus.

      • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 10:12 pm

        “rude shocks? as if thats even an issue. I eat rude shocks for sustenance every time I glance at the NYT bylines.”

        Yeah, that bad ol’ “Anti-Israel” New York Times!! Oh, you poor thing! You should get Hophmi to do a Jewish self-hatred analysis of the NYTs.

  9. Krauss on April 26, 2015, 3:47 am

    I hope the amendment passes. TTIP is a terrible piece of legislation.
    I view this amendment like I view Bibi’s insistance that Iran should recognize Israel for there to be a nuclear deal. Only I think this will pass. Europeans are very passive in Washington.

    Also, it will expose the lobby for pulling the strings on much more than just Middle Eastern policy.

    So you hit two flies in one go; kill TTIP and further expose the lobby.

  10. Shmuel on April 26, 2015, 4:53 pm

    The wording “in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories” is straight out of Israel’s own anti-boycott law.

    I suggest “occupying” that phrase to highlight the apartheid practised in an area that is treated by Israel (and apparently by the US Congress) as a single entity.

  11. traintosiberia on April 27, 2015, 11:21 pm

    Israel responsible for Gaza strikes on UN schools and shelters, inquiry finds

    Ban Ki-moon condemns attacks, including strike on UN school that killed 20 people and wounded dozens, ‘as a matter of the utmost gravity’

    UN Condemnation and removal from UN in the from of boycott by other members should be initiated

  12. traintosiberia on April 27, 2015, 11:34 pm

    Israel ahs succeeded beyond it’s wetest dreams in confusing American . It has no reason to pause and consider that failure in passing any bill through Congress/senate is a possibility .
    It has inserted requirements in school text book, it has silenced churches, it has forced demonic silence over it’s continued brutalities in academia and has got the media to spin its story ,it has provided the talking points and the details to the media and the Congress/Senate to attain what it is in best interest ,it has written position papers on the situation of ME and also provided Israeli centric solution ,it has thrown out anybody with Arabic and Muslim names from cabinet appointments ,it has penned various accountability acts and showered the country with Islamophobia . It has provided crucial support to Sisi of Egypt, Jihadist threatening ME, has managed to attack the neighbors with impunities and given war and more sanctions as only play in town to deal with Syria , Iran and Sudan.

    Dulles, Senator Fulbright,and Admiral Moorer in 50s,60s,and 70s respectively warned of the dangers from Israel to US. Those dangers have become perversely the very desired outcomes US seeks now ,thanks to the pressure and propaganda by Israel.

  13. traintosiberia on April 28, 2015, 1:11 am

    Last time someone called this AIPAC and Kohr on the carpet was Rep MCollum ( D -Minn.) She is verily needed ( Enough is Enough .People have had it up here with The Lobby . May 26 2006) Hollings and Moran and Barr are also missed sorely . These people challenged and confronted the agenda of AIPAC out in the open .

  14. lysias on April 28, 2015, 11:57 am

    Iran insists Israel ‘give up the bomb’ as Tehran seeks nuclear-free Middle East:

    Iran has demanded that Israel give up its “nuclear weapons”, as it spoke on behalf of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the bloc also wants a nuclear free-zone in the Middle East.

    Mohammad Javad Zarif was speaking at the United Nations for the non-aligned group of countries. Israel has never admitted or denied the widespread assumption it has nuclear weapons. However, Zarif says Israel’s assumed nuclear arsenal was a threat to regional security.

    The Iranian Foreign Minister said the non-aligned movement regards Israel’s nuclear program as, “a serious and continuing threat to the security of neighboring and other states, and condemned Israel for continuing to develop and stockpile nuclear arsenals,” according to Reuters.

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