Trending Topics:

At town hall, Sen. Warren says Israel Anti-Boycott Act ‘violates our basic constitution’

and on 32 Comments

The Democratic groundswell against the Israel Anti Boycott bill continues to build, and progressive party leaders are falling into line. The issue is coming up regularly in town halls.

Jewish Voice for Peace has lately posted video of progressive icon Senator Elizabeth Warren at a town hall in Revere, Mass., on Saturday, saying she does not support the Israel Anti-Boycott Act that is roiling the Democratic base– that was scripted by the Israel lobby group AIPAC and that Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon supports but that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY opposes.

JVP member William Ruhm asks, “Senator Warren will you stand with us in opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act?”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Senator Warren:

“Let me say two things in response. The first one is I do not support the boycott, I think the boycott is wrong. But I think outlawing protected free speech activity violates our basic constitution.”

Warren then turned to Congressperson Katherine Clark, who was also at the Town Hall.

“You feel the same? Good. We got two of us here.”

EI also has the story.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

Other posts by .

Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Executive Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

32 Responses

  1. Boomer on August 8, 2017, 12:55 pm

    “falling in to line”


    ” I think the boycott is wrong.”

    • festus on August 9, 2017, 12:22 pm

      “Let me say two things in response. The first one is I do not support the boycott, I think the boycott is wrong.

      What a gutless, weaselly statement.

      • Kathleen on August 12, 2017, 2:13 pm

        So we can assume Warren would have felt the boycott and divestment movement against the apartheid government of South Africa was “wrong” too. A logical conclusion. Although I hope someone ask her directly

      • Boomer on August 13, 2017, 6:57 am

        re Kathleen “So we can assume Warren would have felt the boycott and divestment movement against the apartheid government of South Africa was “wrong” too. A logical conclusion. Although I hope someone ask her directly.”

        It would be interesting to see how she answers this. Perhaps she would run away from the question, as she has been known to do.

        BBC World Service has been discussing the partition of India, arranged by the British 70 years ago. A museum is being established in India, with oral memories recorded by the few remaining participants. There is some urgency, as those with living memories to record are now relatively few. I haven’t heard the BBC discussing memorials of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, which also took place on Britain’s watch. Perhaps they will mention it in passing while memorializing the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding.

        I don’t expect to hear anything about the Nakba from Sen. Warren, or any other U.S. Senators. Or from our Corporate Media. The ability of a powerful elite to define reality by suppressing reality–even in our “free society” is amazing. Perhaps it will change, but such things can go on a long time.

        The historian Annette Gordon-Reed has masterfully explained how Thomas Jefferson’s children with Sally Hemings were simply ignored by white society and by historians, despite ample evidence, until DNA made the truth impossible to ignore. In the case of the Nakba, the truth is obvious, but as long as it is unspoken and unspeakable by those it power, the truth has no power, no existence.

  2. Ian Berman on August 8, 2017, 4:35 pm

    “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY opposes” the bill is not entirely correct.

    While she opposes the current form that would apply to individuals, she has not condemned the bill in its entirety. We must keep up the pressure on her.

    And Chuck too.

  3. just on August 8, 2017, 5:00 pm

    “Let me say two things in response. The first one is I do not support the boycott, I think the boycott is wrong …”

    Why, oh why???

    She’s not evolved much from this other town hall meeting in Cape Cod, has she?:

    “Liberals’ darling Elizabeth Warren defends Israeli attacks on Gaza schools and hospitals

    Published time: 29 Aug, 2014 16:08”


    “Elizabeth Warren’s Israel Position Surprises All, Especially Liberals”

    (How I wish that the stranglehold of Congress by Israel would break and the dam burst in a big way.)

    • just on August 8, 2017, 5:20 pm

      From EI’s great story:

      “… Challenge to Democrats

      Despite her reputation as a firebrand progressive, Warren has never been courageous on the question of Palestinian rights. Nothing symbolized her fear better than when she was caught on video hurrying away from a question about Israel’s assault on Gaza three years ago that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians.

      Warren, along with fellow progressive stalwart Bernie Sanders, joined every other member of the Senate in signing a letter in April reaffirming key lobby talking points that Israel is being unfairly picked on by efforts at the UN to hold it accountable.

      Her opposition to BDS means she continues to stand against a nonviolent movement for equal rights by a people subjected to decades of Israeli occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid enabled largely by US military and political support.

      But Warren’s willingness to oppose this bill reflects the ongoing challenge to Democratic Party leaders from a base that is far more supportive of Palestinian rights.

      It also recalls a warning in a leaked report from prominent Israel lobby groups earlier this year that anti-BDS laws are raising concerns over violations of free speech, which may alienate potential supporters of Israel.

      Other lawmakers are being challenged over their support of the bill too. As Mondoweiss reported on Monday, Ron Wyden, a Democratic senator from Oregon, was repeatedly challenged over his support for it at a townhall meeting in Portland on Saturday.

      “Wyden, who has a reputation for supporting civil rights, got flustered by hecklers and questioners,” Mondoweiss observed.

      The senator conceded that the impetus for the bill was the fact that “the boycott movement has grown.””

      Hope that the senators, congressfolks, and their staff will read both MW and EI.

  4. CigarGod on August 8, 2017, 7:37 pm

    She hasn’t deserved the press she has gotten for years.

  5. chocopie on August 9, 2017, 3:39 am

    I’m glad she opposes the legislation but I wish she would explain her opposition to boycott and also say specifically how she thinks we can demonstrate our support for equal rights for Palestinians if even a boycott is a no-go.

    Mealy-mouths who complain about violence and ask where is the Palestinian Gandhi and demonize child rock-throwers better have some really brilliant ideas for achieving justice for Palestinians if they can’t even get behind a 100% peaceful boycott.

    Palestinians have been living under Israel’s heel since before she was born, exactly what does she think we should do to support them in their struggle for justice? Generations of Palestinians have had their lives ruined because they were born non-Jewish, how many generations of human potential should they be willing to sacrifice?

  6. wondering jew on August 9, 2017, 3:52 am

    First regarding what the law criminalizes and what it doesn’t? Who cares. It looks like a law prohibiting free speech and in this game it’s the appearance that is the key. And the appearance of this law is ridiculous.

    (Regarding the boycott, rather than the law: People I am willing to listen to: like Larry Derfner and Gideon Levy state that Israel will never change its stance without pressure.)

    Though my focus here in mw is on the faults of various comments, the general direction of Bibi is certainly a pulsing heartbeat of negativity and though his removal will hardly suffice, it is difficult for me to look beyond the day to day aspect of following the conflict, and as such I can’t help but hope that Bibi leaves office soon.

    • Mooser on August 9, 2017, 1:11 pm

      “Though my focus here in mw is on the faults of various comments…”

      “Yonah” you should try reading the articles once in a while. Also, people are getting tired of the devastated, ruined and permanently traumatized commenters you leave in your wake as you “focus on the faults of various comments”. Have a little mercy on us.

  7. James Canning on August 9, 2017, 1:42 pm

    Yes, one can oppose BDS and still correctly regard the proposed legislation as an effort by fanatical Zionists to suppress free speech in the US, in order to foster the endless occupation of the West Bank by Israel.

    • Citizen on August 9, 2017, 6:10 pm

      How so? And how would’ve one’s opposing apartheid S Africa be the same, or differ?

    • montereypinegreen on August 11, 2017, 11:09 am

      That’s what segregationists in the South used to tell blacks, too: “You have to go slow. Change takes time, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah…”

    • Kathleen on August 14, 2017, 8:52 pm

      James are the Leveretts around anywhere…writing? So miss their influential and so solidly based pieces about foreign policy, They seemed to take a back seat after Iran deal went through.

      • Tuyzentfloot on August 15, 2017, 5:57 am

        James are the Leveretts around anywhere…writing?

        Flynt Leverett switched to China issues after that. The general thrust of his writing is similar: trying to explain the very reasonable concerns of the other party in order to help bring about a mutual understanding and some form of agreement in certain areas instead of wasteful conflicts.

  8. rhkroell on August 9, 2017, 4:11 pm

    Stop kvetching about Yonah’s canny comment! She is employing mellow, honeyed rhetoric in her post (as opposed to pompous magniloquence or bombastic cant). So . . . give her a break. Why kvetch when she’s serving fresh knish?

    • Mooser on August 9, 2017, 6:40 pm

      “So . . . give her a break”

      You are right. “yonah” is letting us off easy.

    • wondering jew on August 9, 2017, 7:20 pm

      rhkroell- Yonah is a name used by both males and females. I am male.

      • Mooser on August 10, 2017, 4:22 pm

        ” I am male.”

        There’s no need to declare it, “Yonah”.
        Your every comment oozes testosterone.

      • YoniFalic on August 11, 2017, 9:53 am

        It is interesting that the Hebrew name יוֹנָה translates into Yiddish by means of טוֹיבֶּע, which is always a woman’s name. I suppose one can use Jonas instead of Jonah/Yonah for the equivalent to avoid confusion.

        Of course, Yoni can cause even worse confusion.

      • RoHa on August 12, 2017, 12:35 am

        It’s a good Sanskrit word.

  9. JWalters on August 9, 2017, 10:06 pm

    Sometimes revolutionaries must shuffle along with their heads bowed down until the moment is ripe to rise.

    • montereypinegreen on August 11, 2017, 11:08 am

      That’s what segregationists in the South used to tell blacks, too: “You have to go slow. Change takes time, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah…”

  10. Kathleen on August 12, 2017, 12:40 pm

    Warren is a die hard PEP. Also leaned right on Iran.

    Amazing how often MSNBC host have so called analyst on their programs who promoted the invasion of Iraq, military intervention in Libya, Syria. More rigid stances towards Iran. Lawrence O’Donnell has Frum Hadley, Kristol, Max Boot on regularly. Joy Reid starting to follow suit.

    As if these war hawks are credible sources for middle east issues. Joy Reid had Max Boot on this morning as some kind of ethical expert on what is going on here in the states with white nationalist protest etc. As if these characters were not major promoters of a racist, ethnocentric deadly wars and interventions.

    Why do MSNBC host promote these deadly war hawks as expert analyst? Why not have Hillary and Flynt Mann Leverett on Katrina from the Nation…Prof Juan Cole others who were spot on about the invasion of Iraq etc. Why have the people who sold that horrific invasion on as experts? Shameful

  11. hophmi on August 12, 2017, 3:06 pm

    Whoops. Guess your silly disingenuous narrative went out the window.

    • annie on August 12, 2017, 3:50 pm


      “I cannot support the bill in its current form if it can be interpreted as stifling or chilling free speech. I would never put my name on legislation that would do that. So I took my name off the bill – until it is rewritten so the text is clear that it won’t violate our right to free speech.”

      opposing the bill as it is written is still opposing the bill. what other reference to gillibrand might there be in the article you are referring to?

    • Keith on August 12, 2017, 5:37 pm

      HOPHMI- “Whoops. Guess your silly disingenuous narrative went out the window.”

      Let us begin by noting that on an article about Senator Warren you link to an article by Senator Gillibrand. In regards to both of these Senators, nobody has ever suggested that they are not going to continue to grovel to the Zionist Lobby. No one expects them to bite the hand which funds them. The problem is the Israel Anti-boycott Act which stealthily attempts to expand existing legislation to go after persons who work with or communicate with the United Nation Human Rights Council, a radical distortion of the original intent of the original legislation. Otherwise, this wouldn’t be a high priority for AIPAC. Yet another example of the inherent dishonesty of Zionists who continue to pursue their objective by way of deception.

  12. gingershot on August 12, 2017, 9:08 pm

    Israel and it’s Lobbys prime existential fight over BDS, the focus of all it’s lawfare, and they come up not only with bupkis but the humilation of Jewish interests caught in flagrante delicto trying to suppress American First Amendments freedoms. Astonishing…

    This public spectacle of Jewish interests (Sen Cardin, etc) openly trying to bully Americans into silence over the Kahanist Apartheid should be OPENLY SHAMED

    Sen Cardin should be OPENLY SHAMED and driven out of the Senate for his anti-American Pro-Israeli Facist/Kahanist sympathies

    • gingershot on August 12, 2017, 9:25 pm

      Victory over Israeli/Jewish Lobby anti-BDS legislation is a strategic victory

      More and more Americans, including Jewish Millenials, are going to be boycotting this 21st Century Apartheid until it howls

      Anyone hating these underhanded and sleazy Israeli Lobby/Israeli Lawfare tactics against Americans should boycott Israel on the grounds of the threats it poses to American freedom and American values

      Israel needs to fear Americans who value their freedom

  13. on August 13, 2017, 11:58 am

    Warren is a true PEP which makes her a dishonest and insincere champion of human rights.

    You either believe in equal rights for all or you don’t. Palestinians should be treated as equals to Israeli jews under all law – if you don’t believe that you can’t be a true progressive but you can be a bigot.

    Warren is not the future – she is a small stepping stone, perhaps and hopefully, to much better leaders.

  14. Krendall Mist on August 13, 2017, 6:21 pm

    “…progressive icon Senator Elizabeth Warren…”

    What a very, very, sad — but accurate–observation on current “progressivism.”

    The soft Zionist and his apologists and enablers have appropriated and thereby destroyed the adjective.

    The language of American politics stinks with rot.

    But how to cleanse and purify it?

Leave a Reply