Trending Topics:

Cory Booker uses anti-Semitic massacre as an excuse to dismiss Palestinians rights

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker says that the Pittsburgh massacre has led him to support the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. He becomes the first politician to use the killings of 11 Jews to take a racist position against Palestinian rights. His move should be described exactly that way, as a cynical use of real antisemitism as an excuse to dismiss Palestinian rights so as to further his political career.

Booker, who is thought to have presidential ambitions, had opposed the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, but last week told Jewish Insider:

“We’ve seen the alarming rise in anti-Semitism in the United States and across the world in recent years manifest itself in many deeply concerning ways, including in the actions of foreign governments targeting Israel and the Israeli people.”

“I have long and staunchly opposed the BDS movement, and support this bill which will prevent international entities from imposing their will on US businesses with regards to their decisions, consistent with US law, to conduct commerce with our close ally Israel and its citizens. Initial concerns that this bill unintentionally infringed on individuals’  First Amendment rights have now been addressed by changes agreed upon earlier this year, and I feel confident that those modifications safeguard Americans’ constitutional right to free speech. I’ll be adding myself as a cosponsor, and will be urging my colleagues to support this important legislation in its modified form.”

The bill seeks to thwart the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, by criminalizing U.S. participation in the boycott, much as participation in the Arab boycott of Israel decades ago was criminalized. The ACLU rejects the modifications in the bill, saying it would “allow people who boycott to be slapped with criminal financial penalties. It suffers from the same fundamental flaw as the original draft by criminalizing participation in constitutionally protected boycotts.”

The bill has 57 co-sponsors, though New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand pulled her name off it, under pressure from the Democratic base. Many Democratic senators who are up for reelection are not co-sponsors, among them Tammy Baldwin, Tim Kaine, Dianne Feinstein, Mazie Hirono, Tom Carper, Chris Murphy, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Debby Stabenow, and Tina Smith. Though more conservative Dems, Ben Cardin, Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill, and Joe Manchin, are co-sponsors.

The BDS campaign originated in a 2005 call by Palestinian civil society leaders, supported by a great number of Palestinian organizations, for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel till it meets three demands, ending the occupation, ending discrimination against Palestinians in Israel, and honoring the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

Over the summer Booker posed with BDS activists from the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights at Netroots Nation. His spokesperson said he had taken the placard in a “rush,” and thinking it was about Mexico, not Israel.

Cory Booker and pro-Palestinian activists, from twitter.

IfNotNow on Booker:

Stuff like this happens because our communal leaders have made crushing nonviolent advocates for BDS the litmus test for opposing antisemitism, while plugging their ears to the rising din of fascism in this country.

Meantime, the UK has opened a hate-crime investigation into anti-Semitic comments posted by Labour Party members. The New York Times lays out the rules:

Tensions over anti-Semitism within the party were stoked this summer when Labour’s executive committee voted not to adopt the full text of the working definition of anti-Semitism as set out the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

In particular, the committee declined to endorse several examples of what the alliance defined as anti-Semitism, including describing Israel’s existence as a racist project and accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country.

The committee tried to calm a growing furor in early September by reversing itself and adopting the full text. It also tried to make clear that this should not prevent criticism of Israeli government policies, particularly toward Palestinians.

Racism against Palestinians still doesn’t count. You can criticize Israel, but you can’t call them racist. Why bother? Remember that the country lately adopted a law deeming Israel “the nation state of the Jewish people,” where Jews have the exclusive right of self-determination between the river and the sea, where Jewish settlement has a higher value than any other group’s land claims, and where Arabic has been stripped of its status as an official language.

Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson

Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson are NY writers and regular contributors to this site

Other posts by .

Posted In:

18 Responses

  1. Kay24 on November 5, 2018, 11:29 am

    Shame on Corey Booker, like other politicians with presidential ambitions, he is taking this awful incident, to show his unwavering support for the land of the zionists. The massacre in Pittsburgh had NOTHING to do with BDS, and the killer, a white nationalist, obviously does not care about the Palestinians, and their suffering. Booker has simply taken advantage of the situation, to change course, and bring AIPAC into his campaign…..despicable.

    I guess the millions of shekels Israel is investing to sabotage the BDS movement is working.

    • Misterioso on November 6, 2018, 11:15 am

      Kay24, et al

      The split widens:

      “American Jews May Never Forgive Israel for Its Reaction to the Pittsburgh Massacre” Haaretz, Nov. 5/18 by Allison Kaplan Sommer

      “Over the past week, American Jews expected comfort and support. Instead, Israeli government officials offered carefully honed political talking points, choosing Trump over them.”

      “Until this moment, nothing has left American Jews feeling that they are being physically abandoned by their Israeli brothers. Never before has the State of Israel so blatantly demonstrated that it will protect its own political interests at the expense of American Jews.”

      “One stunning encounter that took place during Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit to the United States last week encapsulated the distance between Israeli officialdom and American Jews reeling after the worst attack on their community in the country’s history.

      “That moment came for Bennett during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations, after he winged his way to the United States to attend the funerals of the victims of the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

      “After paying his respects, Bennett was quickly off to New York to make the rounds of the studios and conference rooms of major Jewish organizations to take full advantage of his unexpected trip to North America to raise his profile – after all, he makes no secret of his aspirations to the prime ministership.

      “From the moment he landed on U.S. soil, Bennett in his discussion with council members insistently defended President Donald Trump against accusations that the poisonous xenophobic tone and outlandish conspiracy theories he peddles bore any connection to the massacre in Pittsburgh. Bennett paired this with an equally problematic message that the threat of anti-Semitism in America was overblown.

      “’This is not in any sense Germany of the ’30s, it doesn’t resemble that in any possible way,’ Bennett declared confidently, according to a report in the Jewish Insider.

      “He was confronted by 89-year-old Edward Bleier, a former Warner Bros. president, media pioneer and Jewish philanthropist who, disgusted by Bennett’s observation, gave him the schooling he badly needed. He noted that the Israeli minister is poorly educated when it comes to the Jews of the Diaspora, their history and sensitivities.”

      “’Some of us are older than you are and we recall the pre-war period in America when the Nazis convened in Madison Square Garden and paraded on 96th Street with brown shirts and swastikas. And the rallying cry of the anti-Semites was ‘America First.’ So my hair stands on end when I hear an American president invoke that line,’ Bleier told him.

      “It was a rare moment: An American Jew confronting one of the pack of Israeli officials who saw it as their role to act as Trump’s political armor, shielding him from any responsibility for Pittsburgh.

      “The fury, resentment and disgust of American Jews toward Israel’s representatives only came pouring out afterward, in private conversations and across social media.”

  2. Marnie on November 5, 2018, 12:26 pm

    ‘Over the summer Booker posed with BDS activists from the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights at Netroots Nation. His spokesperson said he had taken the placard in a “rush,” and thinking it was about Mexico, not Israel.’

    That’s a 12-year-old answer. Seriously? Mr. Booker you’re a complete idiot. Have known you’re a tool for a while now.

  3. Spring Renouncer on November 5, 2018, 1:02 pm

    Corey Booker is a shameless, spineless follower.

    BDS and support for the Palestinian cause among young Americans have destabilized the psyches of mainstream cultural and political leaders across the country.

    Last night I attended a screening of the 1974 absurdist film “Rhinoceros” at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. The film was presented as an allegory to fascism, and screened in the context of Trumpism and the imminent midterm elections. After the film, there was a panel discussion with a playwright Theresa Rebeck and Columbia University political science professor Ester Fuchs. I was shocked and horrified when Ester Fuchs, after bragging about having achieved tenure, gloating about having worked for the Bloomberg administration, and delivering boring platitudes about the necessity for young people to vote, initiated a totally unprovoked attack on BDS campus activists.

    Israel and Palestine were not supposed to be the focus of the night’s discussion, so Fuchs’ random statements that essentially equated young BDS activists with Facists and a mindless mob of Rhinoceroses who were incapable of communicating with the other side, were unexpected. But it’s clear to me that some supporters of Israel are so caught up in colonial fervor and so triggered by the mere existence of Americans who want justice in Palestine that they decide to inject their reactionary beliefs in all contexts.

    In response to Dr. Fuchs’ on-stage breakdown, a young black male member of the audience mentioned right wing Jewish groups that flirted with fascism like the JDL. The sentiment behind his question/comment was understandable, but unfortunately it was not phrased coherently. He should have directly questioned her attacks against BDS. Regardless, Fuchs responded in the most inappropriate way, pointedly referring to Louis Farrakhan as an example of an antisemitic black person.

    Thankfully the panel ended soon after this, but the whole incident of Fuchs hijacking the discussion to attack Palestinian rights activism while touting her “progressive” ideals left a bitter taste in my mouth.

  4. Maghlawatan on November 5, 2018, 5:05 pm

    Palestinians can’t vote in Israeli elections. They have no power.

    It is very Jim Crow. And how ironic that an African American senator backs the oppressor. It wasn’t that long ago that African Americans were murdered for daring to ask for the right to vote.

    Kevin M. Kruse


    Reverend George Lee in Belzoni, Mississippi, used his pulpit and his printing press to encourage African Americans to register to vote.

    For his troubles, he was assassinated by three men with shotguns in May 1955.

    In 1961, voting rights activist Herbert Lee was murdered by a state legislator in front of a dozen witnesses.

    After a few years, one of the witnesses offered to testify about the murder. The night before he was going to leave the state, he was killed outside his home.

    Around midnight, Medgar Evers’ children heard the familiar sound of their father’s Oldsmobile pulling into the driveway.

    He got out of the car, picked up a stack of sweatshirts stenciled “JIM CROW MUST GO” and turned to enter his home.

    Across the street, hidden among the honeysuckle vines, a white supremacist named Byron de la Beckwith squinted through the scope of a 30.06 Winchester rifle, squeezed the trigger, and ripped a bullet through the activist’s back.

    At the crack of the gun, his kids inside threw themselves to the floor, precisely as their father, a veteran of the Normandy landing, had trained them.

    When no more shots came, they hurried outside to find their dad face down and bloodied in their driveway.

    In the early hours of June 12, 1963, Evers passed away.
    After the civil rights breakthroughs of the day before, in Tuscaloosa and Washington DC, and across the country, too, his assassination proved a powerful reminder of just how much further the nation still had to go.

    Kevin M. Kruse


    Most famously, in the summer of 1964, three voting rights activists — James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner — were detained by cops and then murdered by Klansmen in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

    A few weeks later, Rev. James Reeb, a Unitarian minister from Boston, was beaten by white supremacists who attacked him and two other clergymen who had come to Selma to support voting rights. Reeb died two days later.

    Two weeks after that, four Klansmen murdered Viola Liuzzo, a mother of five from Detroit who had been giving rides to voting rights marchers after the Selma-to-Montgomery march. They chased her in their own car and shot her twice in the head.

    I believe the correct term for Corey Booker is Uncle Tom

    • mondonut on November 5, 2018, 8:55 pm

      @Maghlawatan Palestinians can’t vote in Israeli elections. They have no power.

      Half right (and half another lie). It is correct that non-Israelis cannot vote in national elections, which is entirely normal and correct. The right to vote in national elections is exclusive to citizens in nearly every country in the world.

      But like many, many countries Israel is less exclusive in local and municipal elections. Palestinians had the right to vote in the recent Jerusalem elections but largely chose not to, that and the subsequent loss of power is on them.

      • CigarGod on November 6, 2018, 9:58 am

        Oh, you mean the illegal elections conducted by the Israeli’s on occupied territory.

      • Misterioso on November 6, 2018, 10:14 am



        Setting aside the well documented horrors Zionist Jews inflict on them in the rest of historic Palestine, a brief look at ugly reality regarding indigenous Palestinians living west of the green line:

        “Former Foreign Ministry director-general invokes South Africa comparisons. ‘Joint Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state”
        EXCERPT: “Similarities between the ‘original apartheid’ as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in ISRAEL [my emphasis] and the West Bank today ‘scream to the heavens,’ added [Alon] Liel, who was Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria from 1992 to 1994. There can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is not less intense than that of blacks during apartheid-era South Africa, he asserted.” (Times of Israel, February 21, 2013)

        Ronnie Kasrils, a key player in the struggle against the former South African apartheid regime, minister for intelligence and a devout Jew: “The Palestinian minority in Israel has for decades been denied basic equality in health, education, housing and land possession, solely because it is not Jewish. The fact that this minority is allowed to vote hardly redresses the rampant injustice in all other basic human rights. They are excluded from the very definition of the ‘Jewish state’, and have virtually no influence on the laws, or political, social and economic policies. Hence, their similarity to the black South Africans [under apartheid].” (The Guardian, 25 May 2005)

        Shlomo Gazit, retired IDF Major General: “[Israel’s] legal system that enforces the law in a discriminatory way on the basis of national identity, is actually maintaining an apartheid regime.” (Haaretz, July 19, 2011)

        The effect of Israel’s blatantly racist “Citizenship Law” and more than fifty other restrictions Arab citizens have to endure is well expressed by writer and Knesset member, Ahmed Tibi, “…dutifully defining the state [of Israel] as ‘Jewish and democratic,’ ignores the fact that in practice ‘democratic’ refers to Jews, and the Arabs are nothing more than citizens without citizenship.” (Ma’ariv, 1.6.2005)

        In its 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, published in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor acknowledges the “institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel.” (U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)

      • mondonut on November 6, 2018, 10:38 am

        @Misterioso Sigh.

        Nice off topic diatribe, but nothing in your comment disputes what I said.

      • Misterioso on November 6, 2018, 11:08 am


        “Nice off topic diatribe, but nothing in your comment disputes what I said.”

        To state the obvious, Alon Liel, Ronnie Kasrils, Shlomo Gazit and Ahmed Tibi disagree with you. And the 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for ISRAEL [my emphasis] and the occupied Palestinian territories, published in 2016, (the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor) puts the icing on the cake.

        We get it mondonut: The truth hurts!!

      • mondonut on November 6, 2018, 12:36 pm

        @Misterioso To state the obvious, Alon Liel, Ronnie Kasrils, Shlomo Gazit and Ahmed Tibi disagree with you.

        Once again, your comment is entirely off topic. Nothing that you refer to disputes the fact the voting in national elections is commonly restricted to citizens. Nor does anything you refer to dispute that Palestinians were permitted to vote in recent Jerusalem elections but largely chose not to.

  5. Marnie on November 5, 2018, 11:36 pm

    @mcdonut ‘Half right (and half another lie). ‘ As he goes into a whopper and then blames the victims for their lack of enthusiasm to be victimized. Voter suppression – zionist style.

    Outrage over new Israeli law allowing Palestinians in Jerusalem to be stripped of residency

    New ‘breach of loyalty’ legislation administered at discretion of interior ministry challenged by activists as illegal under international law

    Bethan McKernan Beirut | @mck_beth |
    Thursday 8 March 2018 17:49 |

    ‘Palestinians and rights activists have reacted with anger to the passing of a controversial “breach of loyalty” bill in the Israeli Knesset which will allow the authorities to strip Arabs living in Jerusalem of their right to live there.

    Residency documents belonging to any Palestinian deemed to be a threat to the state can be seized by the ministry of the interior under the new measures, which went to a vote on Wednesday.

    An amendment to the bill, which was first proposed in September, also means the Supreme Court will be unable to challenge any interior ministry rulings.

    It will also apply to Palestinians who are believed to have falsely claimed residence.

    The measures will be “used against permanent residents who plan to carry out attacks against Israeli citizens”, right-wing interior minister Aryeh Deri said on Twitter after the vote passed.

    The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) called the vaguely worded new legislation “deeply racist”.

    “By unethically stripping the residency of Palestinians from Jerusalem and depriving the rights of those Palestinians to remain in their own city, the Israeli government is acting in defiance of international law and is violating international human rights and humanitarian laws,“ senior PLO member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement.

    Around 420,000 Palestinians live in east Jerusalem, which was annexed and occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War, a move not recognised international law.

    Most Arabs living in the city do not have Israeli citizenship: they instead hold permanent residency ID cards and are allowed to use temporary Jordanian passports for foreign travel. To date around 14,000 have had their Jerusalem residency revoked.

    The new law was first proposed in 2017, after Israel’s supreme court overturned an interior ministry decision to strip one former Knesset minister and three elected Hamas officials of their Jerusalem residency.

    The contested city has seen an upswing in stabbings and shooting attacks in the past three years in what has been dubbed the “Jerusalem” or “silent” intifada.

    The unrest has largely been attributed to the breakdown of the 2013-2014 peace talks, the increased rate of Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank, and a lack of economic opportunity for Palestinian youth.

    In July this year there were intense clashes over access to the al-Aqsa mosque compound after the Israeli authorities installed security cameras, X-ray machines and other security measures in what was viewed as an attempt to control the site.

    Tensions were further inflamed by US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Israel as the undivided capital of the Israeli state last December. The US embassy will relocate to the city from Tel Aviv in May.

    Israel-based Palestinian rights group Adelah said the new Israeli law is illegal under international humanitarian law as East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory.

    “Palestinian residents are a protected civilian population… [it is illegal] to impose upon them an obligation of loyalty to the occupying power, let alone to deny them the permanent residency status on this basis,” a statement said.”

  6. HarryLaw on November 6, 2018, 4:10 am

    The Metropolitan Police have opened an investigation into hate crime face book posts involving Antisemitism of 45 ?? members, if all those members are found guilty, then 45 out of a total membership of 550,000 is a very small percentage, not unimportant but must be kept in perspective. Meanwhile this was posted as the last comment on James North’s ageing article with no feedback.
    Merseyside police not happy with Latuffs drawings, Peter Gregson threatened with arrest at Labour Party Conference Police ban Scots IHRA petition campaigner from showing “anti-Semite” Banner outside Labour Conference

    • Bumblebye on November 6, 2018, 3:48 pm

      Not quite correct Harry! The query is into *social media* posts, which could just as easily have been made by non-members. Apparently Labour’s Disputes Panel has dismissed many of them on the basis that they couldn’t prove they were members and others because they weren’t found antisemitic. This is going to prove yet another own goal for the over zealous zionists!

  7. Ossinev on November 6, 2018, 7:07 am

    ” The right to vote in national elections is exclusive to citizens in nearly every country in the world”

    When (not if facts on the ground have moved on ) the PA implodes and Israel takes over formal as opposed to Vichy control of the territories which they have occupied since 1967 will you support the granting of citizenship to the native Palestinians thus allowing them to vote as citizens of this “Greater Isreal”. Yes or no without ifs or buts.

    “But like many, many countries Israel is less exclusive in local and municipal elections”

    Examples please.

    • mondonut on November 6, 2018, 9:49 am

      @Ossinev, will you support the granting of citizenship to the native Palestinians.

      Should Israel annex the West Bank, or should the residents of the West Bank choose to integrate with Israel, then every resident should be offered citizenship and full voting rights. Absolutely.

      Examples please.

  8. Maghlawatan on November 6, 2018, 11:25 am

    The only reason someone like Booker would support a rancid ideology such as Zionism is money. He probably hates Israel. I imagine a lot of people in :DC do.
    Israël doesn’t have friends. A friend who cared about Israel would take it aside and tell it to stop drinking because other people have started to notice the violence. Adelson is no friend either. Anyone who enables someone to drink themselves to death is not a friend. Israel doesn’t have friends. Israel has whores.

    Another reason why Israel can’t make it.

  9. mkleiman on November 6, 2018, 12:57 pm

    Of course Booker will follow the money. Please remember Booker’s vote against Bernie Sanders’ bill to ease importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada to lower prices. Here’s why the analogy matters:

    In 2009 nearly all Dems went quietly and said nothing while Obama took the public option off the table while he was trying to pass health care reform. Just nine years later “Medicare for All” has gone mainstream in Democratic politics and is a staple of many campaigns. That this was achieved despite the overwhelming financial power of Pharma, the PBMs, the insurance companies, and the hospital, medical, and long term care lobbies, speaks volumes about the power of patiently educating and relentlessly organizing.


Leave a Reply