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A banner day for BDS — though you’d have to read the Jewish press to know it

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Today is a big day in the western movement for Palestinian solidarity. Why? Because of two important pieces published in the Jewish press explain that the BDS campaign, or boycott, divestment and sanctions, is gaining traction right here in River City. And it’s a measure of the poverty of the US mainstream press that this news comes to us from the Forward and Haaretz.

First, there is Nathan Guttman’s article at the Forward on Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson’s secret conference in Las Vegas this weekend to organize efforts against BDS. “Will Sheldon Adelson’s Push To Fund Anti-BDS Campaign Backfire on Campus?” is the headline; and the answer is yes.

The piece is full of shocking information. The Clarion Project will be attending; this is a group that circulates Islamophobic bigotry. The leading Israel lobby group, AIPAC, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, will not be attending; neither will two Jewish organizations that have been spearheading anti-BDS work on campuses already (I’d provide the names but it’s alphabet soup, comrades). Liberal Zionist groups were written out of the meeting, which we are informed will have a Shabbos “goy” to run electric equipment on Saturday so that the religious don’t feel compromised.

Shmuley Boteach with Ted Cruz at gala, June 2 2015

Shmuley Boteach with Ted Cruz at gala, June 2 2015

And Saban/Adelson’s initiative is to be led by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. This is truly bizarre. Boteach is religiously conservative and self-aggrandizing, he wrote a book about Kosher Lust and tweet himself schmoozing Ted Cruz Tuesday night, above. Adelson is a fool about hiring. Look at his presidential appointees. The Forward piece contains a savage read on Boteach:

A senior pro-Israel communal official added: “Shmuley should stay out of our bedrooms, out of our foreign policy and away from our campuses. He misunderstands and disrupts all three.”

Never forget that Samantha Power, an eminent establishment figure, was compelled to hitch her cart to this man in order to live down her mild criticisms of Israel and gain the appointment as ambassador to the United Nations; and that tells you everything you ever needed to know about the bipartisan character of the rightwing Israel lobby.

Also notice the conference’s emphasis on money:

A five-hour “Mega Philanthropists Session,” scheduled at the very end of the conference, on Saturday, June 6, will then “develop the conceptual framework for the anti-BDS action plan, assign roles and responsibilities to pro-Israel organizations, and create an appropriate command-and-control system to implement it,” the program announces. Those attending this session must make a prior commitment for an “average donation of $1M over the next two years.”

But money has nothing to do with fighting BDS. Young Jews are surely nauseated by this endless talk of money. Guttman frames the question correctly, as an argument over principle:

“The question is, do the Adelsons and the [Adam] Milsteins of the world have the right approach to progressives and liberals to keep them away from BDS?” an official with a major Jewish organization asked.

Of course they don’t. BDS is attracting young progressive Americans, and American Jews, because it speaks to their values, and their desire to make a difference.

The second important piece today is by Peter Beinart, in Haaretz and called, “The era of Iran is over; the age of BDS begins.” It says that the pro-Israel community organized around the supposed Iran threat for 25 years, now it’s turning to face the BDS threat. The strength of Beinart’s piece is his crystal-clear analysis and honesty about the importance of BDS.

If American Jewish groups began focusing on the Iranian threat once the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was born, BDS is growing in large measure because the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has died,” he writes.

He also says that the three planks of the BDS campaign (end occupation, end discrimination in Israel, honor the right of return) unite the three Palestinian communities (West Bank, Israeli, exile) in a way that their leaders have failed to do.

Jewish Voice for Peace is now at the forefront of progressive Jewish organizing in the U.S. and J Street is a side show:

Already, BDS is changing the landscape of organized American Jewish life. First, it is making Washington less important, which may make AIPAC less important…

The second consequence of the rise of BDS will be to increase the prominence of Jewish Voices [sic] for Peace. Right now, many establishment-minded American Jews don’t know what JVP is. In their mind, J Street still represents American Jewry’s left flank. But as the only significant American Jewish group to support BDS, Jewish Voices for Peace will grow in prominence as the movement itself does. Already, non-Jewish BDS activists cite JVP as evidence that American Jews do not monolithically oppose their cause. The more that mainstream American Jews hear this, the more enraged at JVP they will become. How exactly that rage will express itself, I don’t know. But as JVP grows, its battles with the American Jewish establishment will make those of J Street look tame.

Is Beinart so competitive that he can’t get JVP’s name right?

But his piece goes straightforwardly to the right place: the battle over “Zionism itself,” and over Israeli policies — in immigration and public life — that privilege Jews. He ends with the challenge we have many times posed to Beinart and to others in the liberal Zionist establishment: justify Zionism. Explain why an ideology of Jewish privilege is legitimate in this age, let alone call itself “liberal.”

Justifying Zionism to liberals is not an impossible task. But neither is it intellectually or morally simple. And it will require establishment-minded American Jews to defend principles they have long taken for granted. Of all the BDS movement’s consequences for American Jews, that may prove the most significant of all.

I say it is impossible. The deliverance story of European Jewry that Beinart tells is a measure of his filial piety (he’s an overly-mature guy who gives a ton of weight to his grandparents’ story) but it doesn’t resonate for young liberal American Jews. They want a movement that reflects their experience, of enlarging the communities that are able to have human rights.

This awareness is surely dawning on Beinart himself. I say the day will come when he comes out as a cultural Zionist and endorses BDS, but with a stipulation or two.

Why isn’t Beinart writing for the New Yorker? His stuff has run in the New York Review of Books and Haaretz, but not in the tribune of the U.S. establishment. The New Yorker chose the wrong Zionist horse: Ari Shavit’s revival Zionism. It is time to pivot to Peter Beinart wandering in the desert.

One other thing: Beinart credits Trita Parsi’s great book The Treacherous Alliance for its analysis of the usefulness of the Iranian threat to the Jewish establishment. But he leaves out the most disturbing claim in that book, that radical Islam became the needed “glue” for the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel in the 1990s, after the Cold War ended, and Israel was no longer our aircraft carrier in the Middle East. So the clash of civilizations and all that came with it was orchestrated to some degree by Zionists fearful that Israel’s security and the U.S’s could no longer be conflated. Well look, they’re still conflated. They occupy, we occupy, they drone, we drone. Just what the neocons wanted.

Thanks to Annie Robbins.

Philip Weiss

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

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75 Responses

  1. just on June 4, 2015, 2:04 pm

    A standing ovation for this!

    Beinart’s article is really very good.

    “Justifying Zionism to liberals is not an impossible task. But neither is it intellectually or morally simple. And it will require establishment-minded American Jews to defend principles they have long taken for granted. Of all the BDS movement’s consequences for American Jews, that may prove the most significant of all.

    I say it is impossible.”

    So do I, Phil. He’s clinging so ferociously to his Zionism, yet I can feel him stretching himself to bits! It’s fascinating to watch his evolution/metamorphosis.

  2. Bill in Maryland on June 4, 2015, 2:14 pm

    “Is Beinart so competitive that he can’t get JVP’s name right?”

    Good observation Phil. Kind of reminds me of the way, over the last few years, that Republicans use “Democrat” as an adjective, in place of “Democratic”, e.g. “Democrat policies”. Intentional malapropism as a form of disrespect.

    • annie on June 4, 2015, 4:30 pm

      ““Democrat policies” sounds a LOT more intentional. as someone who used to think it was jewish “voices” for peace and called it that myself until i was corrected a few years ago i’m going to give beinart the benefit of the doubt on this one. — but not if he keeps repeating this mistake.

      • irishmoses on June 5, 2015, 2:57 pm

        Ditto. I just learned it wasn’t voices from this article. Sheesh!

  3. pabelmont on June 4, 2015, 2:43 pm

    “So the clash of civilizations and all that came with it was orchestrated to some degree by Zionists fearful that Israel’s security and the U.S’s could no longer be conflated. Well look, they’re still conflated. They occupy, we occupy, they drone, we drone. Just what the neocons wanted.”

    It may be impossible for a logical person to justify Zionism (today — if not yesterday in the heated near aftermath of the holocaust), but it is also clear that two countries essentially run “of, by, and for” their respective defense industries don’t require such a logical justification to continue life-in-harness with “no light between” them on war policy.

    Neither USA nor Israel has an external threat, but both need to make it seem that they do. Never mind the facts, the facts ma’am. Israel is not fearful of the Palestinians or of Iran. But they do cry wolf very well, don’t they?

  4. a blah chick on June 4, 2015, 2:58 pm

    I love Wikipedia.

    “As is the case with many advocates for Israel, the growth of Milstein’s public profile has been accompanied by public criticism and what he considers to be defamation. Two anti-Israel websites, The Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss, used a past conviction on tax evasion as a jumping-off point for broader coverage on Milstein.”

    Also I wonder how a conference can be “secret” if everyone knows about it and I find it pretty telling that the AIPAC dudes are staying away. I think they should rename it the Crazy Uncle Conference for Likud Hegemony.

    “A five-hour “Mega Philanthropists Session,” scheduled at the very end of the conference, on Saturday, June 6, will then “develop the conceptual framework for the anti-BDS action plan… Those attending this session must make a prior commitment for an “average donation of $1M over the next two years.”

    You really have to live in cloud coo coo land to think that a bunch of L.A. or Park Avenue socialites, who are use to stiffing their doorman or talking down to the cleaning lady, can mount any sort of anti-anti-racist campaign that will resonate with anyone except other racists. And they want Rabbi Shmuley to lead it? This is stupidity on a cosmic level. I’m going to enjoy watching them make fools of themselves.

    • annie on June 4, 2015, 4:35 pm

      Those attending this session must make a prior commitment for an “average donation of $1M over the next two years.”

      would i ever like to be a fly on that wall.

  5. just on June 4, 2015, 3:02 pm

    The sign of BDS’ success is this now concerted effort to quash it with millions and more hasbara. Gideon Levy has a column up today about hasbara:

    “Israeli propaganda isn’t fooling anyone – except Israelis

    And propaganda shall cover for everything. We’ll say terrorism, we’ll shout anti-Semitism, we’ll scream delegitimation, we’ll cite the Holocaust; we’ll say Jewish state, gay-friendly, drip irrigation, cherry tomatoes, aid to Nepal, Nobel Prizes for Jews, look what’s happening in Syria, the only democracy, the greatest army. We’ll say the Palestinians are making unilateral moves, we’ll propose negotiations on the “settlement bloc borders,” we’ll demand recognition of a Jewish state and we’ll complain that “there’s no one to talk to.”

    We’ll wail that the whole world is against us and wants to destroy us, no less. The deputy minister will call on Switzerland to boycott, the minister will declare that boycotts are unacceptable, the deputy director of the Foreign Ministry will explain that a bigger budget is needed, and Sheldon Adelson will convene an emergency conference in Las Vegas – and despite it all, nothing will budge. Propaganda won’t cover for everything.

    The policy of denial and disconnection from reality is rising to a dangerous level, and the illness is getting worse. When the world starts to show encouraging signs of stirring to action, Israel further entrenches itself in its imaginary reality and erects more and more separation barriers for itself. Israel seems to think that what worked well in its society and succeeded in almost totally wiping out all consciousness and awareness, will work just as well in the rest of the world. That the brainwashing campaign that was such a dazzling success here will be just as effective abroad – it’s all just a matter of “hasbara,” the Israeli euphemism for propaganda – and of budgets, of course.

    Just give them enough funding and hasbara tools and they’ll explain to the world how wrong it is and how right the state of the Jews, who have no other country. A convention in Las Vegas, some brainstorming in Jerusalem, and the world will change its attitude.

    It’s only to be expected when facing a worldwide campaign aimed at implementing justice and international law: the stage of denial, of repression and clinging to the false, nearly magical belief that if Israel will just explain its position better and invest the appropriate resources, everything will be fine. In other words, Israel continues to think that the world is dumb (and Israel is smart). That you can sell the world anything, just as you can sell anything to Israelis. That Adelson will buy the world’s sympathy the way he buys politicians in America, and the deputy ambassador in Dublin will show those Irish anti-Semites what’s what.

    It’s self-deception, of course, and it’s also part of the campaign of propaganda and lies. There are some things, said the late ambassador Yohanan Meroz, that are not “hasbarable.” One of them is Israel’s actions. No explainer or propagandist can explain the perpetuation of the occupation. It just won’t work.

    Granted, in a country full of propagandists, it has been working for close to 50 years already; most Israelis are convinced that all is really fine with us; that the IDF is really moral and the occupation is really an occupation of no choice; that Israel can live by the sword forever and be dismissive of the whole world, that it can tyrannize the Palestinians, wreck Gaza every other year, shoot children and believe that justice is on its side and that the world will see this too. That propaganda can replace any other policy.

    That you can fool the whole world all the time. You can come up with all sorts of new (and strange) conditions every two or three years for ending the occupation and insisting that the spit we’re feeling is just raindrops. You can blame the Palestinians for everything and obscure the simple fact that this brutal occupation is Israeli. You can tell the world that it all belongs to us because the Bible says so and believe that anyone will take you seriously. You can be sure that the memory of the Holocaust will serve us forever, and justify any injustice. …

    …Of course, it won’t work indefinitely. It hasn’t worked in any country in history, no matter how strong and well-established, not even in the mightiest empires. Justice always triumphs in the end, even if very belatedly. And justice says that Israel cannot continue to tyrannize another people forever, even if Haim Saban himself lends his support.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.659480

    If you can get beyond the paywall, do. It’s a superb column and the comments are overwhelmingly positive!

    • amigo on June 4, 2015, 3:39 pm

      Just , thanks for this. I had not visited Haaretz today.

      Gideon Levy knows how to call it like it is.

      I loved that reference to Ireland.Makes me proud to be Irish.

      • just on June 4, 2015, 3:52 pm

        My pleasure, amigo.

        You have every right to be proud! Éirinn go Brách!

      • bintbiba on June 4, 2015, 5:28 pm

        The magnificent Gideon Levy strikes again.

        What a great man.

    • Nevada Ned on June 4, 2015, 4:06 pm

      Gideon Levy is in unusually good form, even for him.

      Levy could have pointed out that for decades Israelis have told themselves the Palestinians can be conquered, and Israeli occupation continued forever, if only the right hasbara is employed.

      So for years now, Israel has unleashed PR experts and hasbara experts and image consultants, and Charlotte Beers (remember her?) and Congressional visits and military liaison people and and writers and intellectuals and lobbyists and propagandists and birthright people and “brand” experts, and journalists and social network consultants etc etc

      BY THE PLANELOAD!!!!!..

      To no avail.

      BDS activists, operating on a shoestring (barely a thread) have slowly gained traction against
      Israel and the Israeli network.

    • aiman on June 5, 2015, 8:32 am

      Best, just!

    • Boo on June 5, 2015, 1:20 pm

      Haaretz will let you read the column via their Facebook page:

      link: to Haaretz facebook

  6. DaBakr on June 4, 2015, 4:59 pm

    Hey. Why aren’t you guys crowing about the CEO of Orange -the largest cell provider in Israel under a contract with our own Partner Co. which uses Orange brand.

    Evidently their CEO made a speech in egypt claiming how he would “love to sever ties with Israel” but couldn’t because it would be too costly to break the contract.

    I think he might have back-tracked on that and Orange may have announced its severing ties in light of CEO’s remarks. Bennet has urged Israelis to not up and boycott Orange as it would hurt Partner.

    Not sure it will hurt our economy as in end- Partner stands to gain much. And there are legal issues which might cost Orange billions-if Israel chooses to sue for defamation. I thought for sure I’d see this over here. Its all over Isralei press.

    Its a major bds win if you support bsd. If not actual harm done its still a status thing.

    • oldgeezer on June 4, 2015, 8:53 pm

      An earlier story added that nutnyahoo demanded Frannce fire the CEO. That story has since disappeared. Sounds like a typical israeli demand to the world.

      • DaBakr on June 5, 2015, 1:18 am

        it has nothing to do with BB. The CEO mae the statements in Egypt and Israeli politicians have reacted differently. If you actually knew more about Israel other then from the billion dollar Palestinian hasbara lobby you might know that Our Israeli co. Partner uses Orange to provide service to majority of Israelis. It might be equivilnt to something like The US carrier ATT suddenly boycotting China Unisiti partnership which is the major cell provider throughout most of China.

        you should at least pump a fist-even if the damage is only skin deep for now. Its a definite win for bds

      • annie on June 5, 2015, 1:24 am

        the billion dollar Palestinian hasbara lobby

        source?

      • Citizen on June 5, 2015, 5:57 am

        @ DaBakr

        “If you actually knew more about Israel other then from the billion dollar Palestinian hasbara lobby…”

        ” the billion dollar Palestinian hasbara lobby?” Where? Name a few key examples of its outlets. Of big donors? Which organizations? As Annie asks, source?

      • on June 5, 2015, 7:35 am

        The billion dollar Palestinian hasbara lobby

        source?

        I believe it is called projection

      • Kay24 on June 5, 2015, 8:16 am

        Giles I agree it sounds like projection too. After all, the US media is owned by Palestinians, the journalists keep repeating Palestinian propaganda, conceals from the American people the suffering of the Israeli people, have made all Israelis look like terrorists, and denigrates anyone who criticizes the brutality of the Palestinian armed forces, or speaks about the Palestinian occupation and land thefts in Israel. The Palestinian “hasbara” must be paid to cover the endless crimes of the State of Palestine.

    • oldgeezer on June 5, 2015, 1:52 am

      Yep it’s a major bds win.

      Yep it’s huge. For as much you wish to downplay each bds win we see Israeli politicians and foreign backers letting loose in their pampers in panic.

      Yep it’s about baby’s reaction as well. Perhaps examing more than one facet of a story is beyond your abilities.

      Israel will need to change it’s course. The question is how much pain will it suffer before it does. The pain that occurs will be on their own heads.

      • aiman on June 5, 2015, 8:32 am

        +300, Giles, Kay, old geezer!

    • Hostage on June 8, 2015, 6:05 am

      Hey. Why aren’t you guys crowing about the CEO of Orange -the largest cell provider in Israel under a contract with our own Partner Co. which uses Orange brand.

      Evidently their CEO made a speech in egypt claiming how he would “love to sever ties with Israel” but couldn’t because it would be too costly to break the contract.

      You just answered your own question. Orange and Partner Co. had just signed a 10 year deal and the Orange CEO said that it would be too costly to break it.

      The very next day the company confirmed it would only be withdrawing its brand name from those countries where it doesn’t actually conduct its own operations – and only as the branding contracts with other parties come to full term and expire. So, for now at least, Orange is hanging on to its liabilities and licensing fees (derived from Partner Co’s proceeds from allegedly unlawful activities) and Partner Co. still has the rights to use a (now very unpopular) brand.

      FYI, the Orange CEO wasn’t directly responding to either the Palestinian civil society BDS movement or the Arab League Boycott of Israel in any event. For example: “The French government released a public message to its citizens … warning against conducting business or investing in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights. The French Foreign Ministry wrote in the statement that under international law the settlements are illegal, and therefore doing business with them is taking a legal risk, … A French diplomat noted to the daily that the announcement is part of a coordinated effort by the European Union’s five largest countries — Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain — to curb economic cooperation with Israeli settlements. http://www.timesofisrael.com/france-warns-citizens-over-doing-business-in-settlements/

      France’s ambassador to Washington, Gerard Araud, who in the past served as ambassador to Israel, posted on his Twitter account Wednesday: “4th Geneva Convention: settlement policy in occupied territories is illegal. It is illegal to contribute to it in any way.” — http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.659655

      After the UNESCO and the General Assembly votes on the status of Palestine, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution introduced by the State of Palestine requesting that it dispatch a fact finding mission to investigate the “Implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” The Mission was chaired by a French Judge and it advised all UN member states about the impact of their own companies that are complicit in the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise. Both the fact finding mission and the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises pointed out that transnational corporations risk both criminal and civil liability for violations of Palestinian human rights. See http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Business/OPTStatement6June2014.pdf and http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A-HRC-22-63_en.pdf

      And there are legal issues which might cost Orange billions-if Israel chooses to sue for defamation.

      I suppose you say that based upon the press release which said that “Orange does not have the right to terminate the agreement with Partner for reasons of convenience,” http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150604006012/en/Partner-Communications-Responds-Reported-Remarks-Chairman-CEO#.VXTSOby37tR But that doesn’t mean the CEO is guilty of defamation or threatening to terminate without sufficient cause. It’s perfectly true that French consumers; NGOs; other State governments; and UN treaty monitoring bodies have all publicly advised or warned the CEO of Orange about the criminal nature or serious civil liabilities associated with Mr. Sabin’s (Partner Co.) “Orange”-branded business undertakings in the occupied Palestinian territories and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Trademark owners routinely do include clauses that permit early termination of a license “for cause” in cases where the licensee engages in any sort of: fraud, embezzlement, or theft; willful misconduct damaging to the goodwill or reputation of the Licensed Mark or to the owner’s reputation and its other products, services, or customers. That’s considered termination “for cause”, not “convenience”.

      Here is a statement sponsored by a couple of dozen private NGOs alleging a grave breach of Article 147 of the 4th Geneva Convention. i.e. “Partner is an Israeli telephony company directly participating in settlement activities in the West Bank and the Golan Heights:

      * it has 176 antennas and relays on land confiscated by the Israeli army and settlers;
      * with other Israeli operators, it benefits from the ban imposed by the Israeli army on the Palestinian operators forbidding them to install their own antennas in 60% of the West Bank, thus limiting their access to local markets;
      * it retains its profit, taxes, and other amounts owed to the Palestinians;
      * it operates retail stores in the Israeli settlements;
      * it provides network service to the settlers and the Israeli occupation army.

      Through its activity, Partner violates international law and the Geneva conventions that condemn “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out large-scale unlawfully and wantonly.” http://www.petitions24.net/palestine_france_telecom_doit_rompre_son_accord_avec_partner

      It most certainly would be illegal under those circumstances for Mr Sabin to hold any such plundered public or private property under color of Israeli municipal law and an Israeli-government franchised telephone monopoly. See 18 U.S. Code § 957 – Possession of property in aid of foreign government https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/957 and the penal sanctions for any grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions in 18 U.S. Code § 2441 – War crimes https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2441

      Any financial transaction which represents the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity under those statutes would also amount to an offense with respect to which the United States would be obligated by a multilateral treaty, either to extradite the alleged offender or to submit the case for prosecution, if the offender were found within the territory of the United States. See “specified unlawful activity” in 18 U.S. Code § 1956 – Laundering of monetary instruments https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1956 and 18 U.S. Code § 1957 – Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1957 and the definition of “racketeering activity” in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 96 “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations” RICO, § 1961 – Definitions https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1961

      • Froggy on June 8, 2015, 9:05 am

        Hostage : Brilliant and informative! Thank you for posting that.

      • Hostage on June 8, 2015, 2:11 pm

        Thank you for posting that.

        You’re welcome.

  7. just on June 4, 2015, 5:08 pm

    New “Video: Ali Abunimah on Israel’s national panic about BDS”

    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-ali-abunimah-israels-national-panic-about-bds

  8. Eva Smagacz on June 4, 2015, 7:03 pm

    Really momentous story about Orange Telecom – this from The Guardian:

    “The French telecoms giant Orange has indicated that it intends to terminate its relationship with the Israeli company that licenses its brand in the country – and would end the relationship “tomorrow” if it could.

    The comments – made by the company’s CEO, Stephane Richard – have emerged amid a sharp push back by the Israeli government against growing calls for an international boycott of Israel over its continuing occupation of Palestinian territories.

    They were angrily condemned by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who called on the French government to “distance itself publicly from the miserable statement and the miserable action of a company that is partially owned by the government of France.”

    Although Orange only licenses its name to the Israeli company Partner, the threat – if carried through – will be seen as a major success for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which has been campaigning on the issue in both France and Egypt.

    Orange, in which the French government has a quarter stake, has been under pressure in France as well as in Egypt to terminate its relationship with Partner over its supply of services to Israeli settlements regarded as illegal under international law.
    (…..)

    In a report published in May the group claimed that Partner had built more than 100 telecommunication antennas on confiscated Palestinian land, as well as operating four shops in Israeli settlements.

    Speaking at a news conference in Cairo to lay out plans for the years ahead in Egypt, Richard said that his company intended to withdraw the Orange brand from Israel as soon as possible, but that the move would take time.

    “I am ready to abandon this tomorrow morning but the point is that I want to secure the legal risk for the company. I want to terminate this, once again, but I don’t want to expose Orange to a level of risk and of penalties that could be really sizeable for the company,” he said.

    • just on June 4, 2015, 7:12 pm

      Absolutely delightful & huge news!

      Thanks, Eva! Doing a happy dance here.

      • DaBakr on June 5, 2015, 1:19 am

        aww. you can’t even give a poor zionist credit for breaking this ‘good’ news to you.

        I mean really- there is no hidden agenda. it was simply the big lead story in Israel today and i was surprised mw didnt cover it sooner. not everything is a cynical zionist ploy. sheesh

      • bryan on June 5, 2015, 8:00 am

        DaBakr – sorry to hear about your affliction, but thanks for breaking the news. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

      • annie on June 5, 2015, 12:08 pm

        aww. you can’t even give a poor zionist credit for breaking this ‘good’ news to you….not everything is a cynical zionist ploy. sheesh

        maybe it’s your delivery dabkr (“why aren’t you guys crowing about…”). i actually didn’t see your initial comment (or a report from israel) and read about it first from eva’s comment last night. i read your comment later when i commented on it (June 5, 2015, 1:24 am.. btw, you still have not answered my query about your “billion dollar Palestinian hasbara lobby”, what’s up w/that? ) sometimes it takes more than just snapping ones fingers to get these articles to materialize and hard as it is to imagine (hold your breath) we don’t always cover everything, plus, we don’t always cover it on the same day it breaks.

        but i’ll give you credit for posting about it first >>>> congrats for first breaking the news to us dabkr!

    • JLewisDickerson on June 4, 2015, 7:57 pm

      • Billionaire Saban Assails Orange Plan to Pull Brand From Israel – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-04/saban-slams-orange-threats-to-cut-ties-with-israeli-provider

    • annie on June 4, 2015, 8:01 pm
      • oldgeezer on June 4, 2015, 8:36 pm

        An earlier story added that nutnyahoo demanded Frannce fire the CEO. That story has since disappeared. Sounds like a typical israeli demand to the world.

      • just on June 4, 2015, 8:43 pm

        “They were angrily condemned by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who called on the French government to “distance itself publicly from the miserable statement and the miserable action of a company that is partially owned by the government of France.””

        He’s the miserable schoolyard bully of da world!

    • amigo on June 5, 2015, 11:58 am

      “Orange, in which the French government has a quarter stake, has been under pressure in France as well as in Egypt to terminate its relationship with Partner over its supply of services to Israeli settlements regarded as illegal under international law. “Eva.

      The CEO of Orange should invite Partner to sue them.Seems to me if I found out my business partner was breaking laws I would be obliged to separate myself from such a person rather than leave myself open to criminal prosecution.

      The Zionists are kicking up a big stink (see Haaretz/J post/Y,net news et al )

      and telling Israeli to boycott Orange.Lets hope French citizens do the same to Israeli companies in France. 66million French v 7 million Israelis which will be really only 5+ million if you take out the 20 % non Jews.

      • Froggy on June 5, 2015, 10:40 pm

        Amigo : “Lets hope French citizens do the same to Israeli companies in France.”

        Many of us already are.

  9. Mooser on June 4, 2015, 7:43 pm

    “is gaining traction right here in River City.”

    Well, you gotta keep the young ones moral after schul. (Our children’s children gonna have trouble, trouble…trouble…)

  10. MRW on June 4, 2015, 8:23 pm

    As a matter of historical record for this comment in the post,

    But he leaves out the most disturbing claim in that book, that radical Islam became the needed “glue” for the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel in the 1990s, after the Cold War ended, and Israel was no longer our aircraft carrier in the Middle East. So the clash of civilizations and all that came with it was orchestrated to some degree by Zionists fearful that Israel’s security and the U.S’s could no longer be conflated.

    I offer this long–and worthwhile saving–piece from August 1992 by Leon T. Hadar, former bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post, and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute at the time.

    Cato Policy Analysis No. 177
    The “Green Peril”:
    Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat

    .
    A story of how the neocons did it.

  11. a blah chick on June 4, 2015, 9:01 pm

    This Orange company stuff is just comedy gold. Take it away USNews.com.

    “”The absurd drama in which the democracy that observes human rights — the state of Israel — and which defends itself from barrages of missiles and terrorist tunnels, and then absorbs automatic condemnations and attempted boycotts, this absurd drama will not be forgiven,” Netanyahu also said.”

    And…

    “Culture Minister Miri Regev called on the French government to “show zero tolerance for anti-Semitism.” She also urged Jewish customers of Orange in France and around the world to drop their service and switch carriers.”

    That’s it, Miri, boycott the boycotters!

    Meanwhile the company says that this is business not political, which goes to the question I asked a while ago: how do you prove that a company pulling out of Israel is NOT business?

    • echinococcus on June 5, 2015, 2:41 am

      how do you prove that a company pulling out of Israel is NOT business?

      You can’t. That is why the US and Zionists, basing themselves on the venerable legal principle of “guilty until proved innocent” will set huge penalties for every pullout no matter what, as they prove the antisemitism of whoever is doing it.

  12. William Burns on June 4, 2015, 9:36 pm

    Maybe these guys in Vegas could come up with an official name for their group, like Zionist Elders, Zion Elders, something like that.

  13. echinococcus on June 5, 2015, 2:34 am

    As long as BDS is presented to the world with the boycott limited to post-1967 occupied territories, it a boycott mainly in the interests of Israel. If Beinart were a little smarter (actually he is smart, make it obnubilated by his emotions) he would be at the forefront of today’s unleaded BDS.

    There is no other way for the ‘liberal” Zionists to continue advancing their interests while anesthetizing Europe and to clinch a window-dressing agreement for a 1.01-state solution, i.e. a state with huge military power that will continue conquest and genocide against the Palestinian people in the 0.1 Zionist-directed puppet “state” with no sovereignty, no border security, no right to set its agenda, no RoR, no this, no that.

    • just on June 5, 2015, 11:05 am

      Great comment, echinococcus.

      (exciting to see someone use the wonderful word ‘obnubilated’!)

      • echinococcus on June 5, 2015, 5:33 pm

        Thank you. We should add that, essentially, boycott limited to post-1967 occupation serves to create the false impression that the pre-1967 invasion is in any way legitimate (a mythical belief shared by some on this site, too.) That is the main advantage of unleaded BDS for Zionists. If I were one, I’d be screaming for more post-1967 boycott.
        Taking out the Basic Invasion out of BDS makes it BS.

    • Froggy on June 5, 2015, 10:45 pm

      .
      .
      obnubilated ?????
      .
      .
      (Now where did I put that English-French dictionary ?)

      • just on June 6, 2015, 12:38 am

        lol, Froggy!

        (obnubilé)

      • echinococcus on June 6, 2015, 4:03 am

        No need –even a plain Webster monolingual is enough.
        Bevet Breizh.

      • Froggy on June 6, 2015, 12:05 pm

        echinococcus :

        Devezh mat. Kenavo ar c’hentañ.

        Froggy

  14. Shmuel on June 5, 2015, 3:26 am

    I say it [justifying Zionism to liberals] is impossible. … [I]t doesn’t resonate for young liberal American Jews. They want a movement that reflects their experience, of enlarging the communities that are able to have human rights.

    I disagree on both counts. The occupation, building of settlements and, to a lesser extent, Israel’s belligerence in Gaza may be impossible to justify to liberals, but not the core idea of Zionism, the right of the Jewish people to an ethnic Jewish nation state in Israel/Palestine. I’d go even further than Beinart and say it actually is “morally and intellectually simple” — wrong, but not at all hard to do.

    As for young, liberal, American Jews, Beinart himself has pointed out that American Jewish establishments have put all their identity eggs in the Israel basket. That has and will cause some young (and not so young) Jews to chuck the whole thing or fight for different Jewish identities but, for others (including Beinart himself), a certain kind of identity tips the scale. Some may disagree with this analogy, but how many young liberal Americans of all faiths and ethnicities have supported, at least in part, US military interventions, on the basis of their American identity and an “us and them” mentality? A commitment to “enlarging the communities that are able to have human rights” is fine and dandy, but how “morally and intellectually” objective are we in general and when it comes to “our own”?

    • Shmuel on June 5, 2015, 3:51 am

      Inside the American Jewish establishment, the first response to the BDS movement’s challenge to Zionism has been to cry anti-Semitism. But that response conceals a dirty little secret: that many “pro-Israel” activists haven’t thought much about the tension between Jewish statehood and liberal democracy, and thus don’t really know how to justify Zionism to an audience of skeptical, progressive non-Jews.

      I agree, but that just means that these spokesmen are inept, not that the task itself is difficult. I often feel that I could do a much better job of defending Israeli policies I strongly oppose than some of these guys.

      • Citizen on June 5, 2015, 6:20 am

        @ Shmuel

        Pick an Israeli policy you oppose, and defend it; gives us non-jews here a taste of Israel’s moral and ethical wisdom.

      • Shmuel on June 5, 2015, 8:25 am

        Pick an Israeli policy you oppose, and defend it

        Interesting idea, but no thanks.

      • echinococcus on June 5, 2015, 10:14 am

        Shmuel,

        That goes to support the impression that Zionism has unmasked itself so far that smart and decent people have already stopped defending it.

      • just on June 5, 2015, 11:09 am

        +1! (again)

  15. Jackdaw on June 5, 2015, 9:16 am

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4664867,00.html

    In the end of January 1933, Adolf Hitler rose to power. The winds of war began blowing. It was already clear that he was insane. Ten days after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Oxford Union Society convened to discuss the fears of war. It was a stormy debate. The accepted motion was amazing: “This House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country.” It was carried by 275 votes to 153.

    ..Churchill, the man who wanted to stop the Hitlerism, delivered a fiery speech, eight days after the Oxford resolution:

    “I think of Germany, with its splendid clear-eyed youths marching forward on all the roads of the Reich singing their ancient songs, demanding to be conscripted into an army; eagerly seeking the most terrible weapons of war; burning to suffer and die for their fatherland. I think of Italy, with her ardent Fascisti, her renowned Chief, and stern sense of national duty. I think of France, anxious, peace-loving, pacifist to the core, but armed to the teeth and determined to survive as a great nation in the world. One can almost feel the curl of contempt upon the lips of the manhood of all these people when they read this message sent out by Oxford University in the name of young England. That abject, squalid, shameless avowal… It is a very disquieting and disgusting symptom.”

    Banner day, or white flag of surrender?

    • annie on June 5, 2015, 11:42 am

      banner day. nice try tho — conflating bds w/hitler’s germany.

      hasbara #Fail

    • just on June 5, 2015, 12:04 pm

      Oh, the irony! Thanks, Jackdaw.

    • Qualtrough on June 5, 2015, 1:17 pm

      Jackdaw–Unless your name is Ben-Dror Yemini you plagiarized your post from the following article:

      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4664867,00.html

      Not only that, but in changing a few words here and there to disguise what you did you managed to get the number of days after the resolution that Churchill made his speech wrong. It was eight days according to the Ynet article, and you wrote a week.

      • just on June 5, 2015, 1:35 pm

        Busted Crow!

        (he’s on Ziotime, Qualtrough)

      • annie on June 5, 2015, 2:16 pm

        thanks qualthrough. i added some blockquotes and the link to his comment..

        jack, you can’t do that around here. you need to specify when you are citing/copying others work. thanks!

    • Froggy on June 5, 2015, 11:22 pm

      Thanks for the laugh, Jackdaw.

  16. just on June 5, 2015, 11:39 am

    Lawdamercy! The Blair has an ‘official’ job as literal bloody hasbarist!

    “Tony Blair recruited by cheerleader for Israel’s crimes

    Scanning the headlines about Tony Blair’s latest appointment, I wanted to believe that someone was playing a joke.

    The war criminal who morphed into a Middle East “peace envoy” will now work pro bono for an Israel lobby group. For that is the most accurate way to describe Blair’s new “employer,” the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation.

    While its name might give the impression that it is a dispassionate intergovernmental body, the ECTR is an initiative of the Zionist zealot and fertilizer tycoon Moshe Kantor.

    As well as being the ECTR’s founder, Kantor is the president of the European Jewish Congress. Despite his claim to represent 2.5 million Jews, Kantor regularly panders to anti-Semites. By acting as a cheerleader for Israeli aggression, Kantor lends credence to the fallacy that Israel enjoys a universal blessing from Jews.

    He is completely out of sync with the growing number of his co-religionists who are speaking out against Israeli apartheid.”…

    more @ http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/david-cronin/tony-blair-recruited-cheerleader-israels-crimes

    • echinococcus on June 5, 2015, 12:25 pm

      Why the surprise? The Butcher of Baghdad was the junior part of the advanced guard of Zionism with his elder brother George Bush, destroying Iraq perhaps forever and murdering up to a million people, then working at it in different capacities in Libya, Syria, etc., and as a (paid) Israeli ambassador to the Quartet. By the way, what pretext did the UK invoke not to try him or turn him in, to the ICC?

      • just on June 5, 2015, 1:48 pm

        I guess that my sarcasm failed/ ;-(

        There’s a lengthy and very comprehensive article in the Guardian today about the conference this weekend and “BDS panic”. It’s very good, and Yousef Munayyer is given ‘space’…

        “Sheldon Adelson looks to stamp out growing US movement to boycott Israel

        Billionaire gambling magnate and Republican party donor convenes closed-door meeting to combat US university movement amid growing Israeli alarm over growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign in US and Europe”

        http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/05/sheldon-adelson-looks-to-stamp-out-growing-us-movement-to-boycott-israel

        It’s got some things in it that were new to me.

    • Bornajoo on June 5, 2015, 4:16 pm

      “Lawdamercy! The Blair has an ‘official’ job as literal bloody hasbarist!”

      Thanks for that awful info Just. I’m not surprised

      All part of his evolution to be the Devil Incarnate. He’s almost there

      One of the greatest war criminals in the history of humankind

      • just on June 5, 2015, 5:00 pm

        He’s really bad, but there’s Bushco, too!

        In other Brilliant BDS news:

        “Palestine solidarity campaigners dominate annual meeting of G4S

        The annual general meeting of the security company G4S descended into chaos on Thursday as board members faced a grilling over the firm’s involvement in Israel’s occupation.

        For the third year in a row, the firm’s AGM was taken over by human rights campaigners directing tough questions at chief executive Ashley Almanza and chairperson John Connolly.

        Campaigners from groups including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, London Palestine Action, Stop G4S and War on Want, who had bought a share each in the company in order to attend, far outnumbered those whose shares were bought for profit.

        And their angry voices were far louder than those of “genuine” shareholders who only managed to ask two questions during the two-hour meeting in London.

        The rest of the AGM was dominated by questions on G4S’ Israeli contracts and frequent disruptions from beginning to end by activists who stood up to read out the details of Palestinian prisoners, including children, being held and tortured in G4S-serviced jails.

        Some activists wore masks showing the face of the prisoner whose story they were telling, others blew whistles. Two activists threw hundreds of tiny pieces of paper, each one bearing the face of a prisoner on it, which lay scattered across the meeting room floor in silent protest as the AGM went on.

        As activists stood up and started reading statements, they were approached by up to four of the G4S security guards who stood lining two walls of the room. Most were carried out by their arms and legs, still shouting, “Stop hurting me”, “This is what you do to Palestinian prisoners in Israel” and “G4S has blood on its hands.”

        Aware of the journalists present in the room, Connolly, at one point, said: “None of our security staff enjoy this aspect of their jobs.”

        In an unusual move for the AGM of a publicly-listed company, G4S had banned everyone attending, including board directors, from taking in mobile phones. Any other recording equipment was also removed from attendees as they went through airport-style security — complete with x-ray machines and hand-held scanners — during registration.

        But the draconian measures didn’t stop London Palestine Action from smuggling in a recorder and videoing the removal of two protesters shouting “Who supports the siege of Gaza? G4S does!”

        For the third consecutive year, G4S board members had lost control of their own meeting. But while they had sat stony-faced and shocked in 2013, this year, their faces and body language betrayed something more akin to resignation coupled with a desire to get the whole thing over with.”…

        video and much more @ http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/amena-saleem/palestine-solidarity-campaigners-dominate-annual-meeting-g4s

        Outstanding action!

      • Walid on June 5, 2015, 6:07 pm

        The annual shitdisturbing scenes at G4S general meeting are not much more than rituals. The G4S has been promising to walk away from Israeli contracts since 2002 and so far hasn’t walked away from much; it still maintains over 8000 employees there to manhandle Palestinian prisoners in Israel and the WB jails. The closest thing to a ripple that happened to these ghouls a couple of years back was the divestment by Bill Gates.

        Until BDS decides to turn its guns at Israel itself and not only the settlement enterprise, it won’t be scoring any meaningful home runs.

      • Froggy on June 6, 2015, 3:28 pm

        Bornajoo : You have to give Blair credit for one thing. Blair succeeded in unifying Britain in a way that nobody has done since WW2..

        Everybody hates him. From the last of the Red Clydesiders up in Glasgow, to the religious nutcases in the Western Isles, to the true blue Tories of the Home Counties, everybody hates Blair. They hate in in Cumbria, in Yorkshire, in the Midlands, and in Cornwall. They hate him in the Welsh valleys, in the cities, in the towns, and in the villages.

        It’s remarkable when the Glasgow Reds and the Home County Tories share the same contempt for a politician.

  17. Citizen on June 6, 2015, 1:46 pm

    Dual Citizen Zionist Billionaire Donor 2 Hillary’s Democratic Party Haim Saban Miffed at Orange CEO 4 Supporting BDS,by public comment http://www.algemeiner.com/?p=273901

    • Froggy on June 6, 2015, 3:14 pm

      Citizen : They really are angry, aren’t they…. All those threats.

      We’re so frightened… NOT!

  18. Pixel on June 7, 2015, 4:38 am

    It wasn’t too long ago that I realized the correct name for JVP is “Jewish Voice For Peace,” singular.

    Before that, I honestly believed/assumed/misread it as “Jewish Voices for Peace,” plural – and I’ve been an active member for years!

    Go figure.

  19. Doubtom on June 9, 2015, 1:12 pm

    Dealing only with the last paragraph, no one has ever defined this “special relationship” we’re suppose to have with Israel. It’s a measure of the effectiveness of propaganda that with repetition, this ‘status’ goes unchallenged by anyone and yet no one really knows of what this ‘relationship’ consists. We know that it at least, consists of an automatic donation of billions of our tax dollars each and every year, along with generous batches of our latest weaponry. All we get in return, is the undying hatred of the Arab world for our hypocrisy in playing the neutral mediator, a farce that has no equal anywhere in the world. When did we vote for this “special relationship”?

    • Citizen on June 9, 2015, 7:31 pm

      You didn’t vote for the special relationship, AIPAC et all did. You don’t count. Follow the money, USA’s god. SCOTUS agrees.

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