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‘Israel has never been so divisive in modern political history’ — anti-BDS bill fails again in Senate

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Israel has never been so openly politicized in the United States as it is right now. Yesterday afternoon Senate Democrats voted to block the progress of a bill that would punish those who support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. It was the second time in three days that the Democrats joined together on that procedural vote, saying that the shutdown should come first.

Democrats are expressing the fear that the party will split over Israel, just as Republicans want. The Senate leadership has indicated that it will push the bill again soon in an effort to show which party cares about Israel and which party is harboring “anti-semitic” and “racist” forces, in the words of Colorado Senator Cory Gardner.

The anti-boycott bill has gotten wide coverage, from Common Dreams to Vox, where Zack Beauchamp’s excellent explainer on the legislation concludes by citing the pro-Palestinian attitudes among young progressive Americans in polls.

“Israel has never been so divisive in modern political history… the Democratic Party can no longer be counted on to back any bill merely because it’s seen as ‘pro-Israel.’”

Mainstream Democrats fear that division. Josh Rogin writes in the Washington Post that Israel is now going to be an issue in the 2020 elections, and a “growing problem” for Democrats:

And each of the dozen or more Democratic lawmakers potentially running for president will have to take a position, one that either hurts them with progressives in the primary or moderates in the general election. And that’s the point. One can lament the end of congressional bipartisanship on Israel, but the truth is that has been the case for many years.

[Senate Majority leader Mitch] McConnell is attempting to show that, on Israel, Republicans are actually largely in agreement, whereas Democrats have a growing problem. The political battle over foreign policy leading up to 2020 has begun, and McConnell just fired the opening salvo.

Amir Tibon in Haaretz also sees “a real threat to the continuation of bi-partisan support for Israel in American politics.”

In the current political environment, Israeli diplomats and groups like AIPAC face a double challenge. One part of this challenge is the growing “progressive wing” within the Democratic Party which is very critical of Israel, and now includes two members of the House of Representatives who openly endorse BDS. The second part of the challenge is attempts by Republicans to paint the entire Democratic Party with a single brush when it comes to Israel, ignoring the real differences between the few who are truly anti-Israeli and those who have nuanced positions on specific policy questions.

Here are some highlights of the debate so far.

The lobbying against the bill was led by Palestinian solidarity groups such as the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Jewish Voice for Peace and the Presbyterian Church’s Israel Palestine Mission Network, all of which support boycotts, but also crucially by the ACLU, which repeatedly denounced the bill on free speech grounds.

It’s as if the Senate doesn’t have other matters to address — like a government shutdown. We urge Senators to stay strong in defense of the First Amendment and continue to vote no.

Israel supporters divided bitterly over the legislation, and AIPAC lost a Senate vote, twice.  “[T]he historically nonpartisan American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) called on lawmakers to advance the bill as quickly as possible, making its most partisan legislative push since it urged lawmakers to vote against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015,” Al-Monitor reported. 

The liberal Zionist group J Street clearly represents the Democratic Congress, against AIPAC. J Street respects the rights of Americans to boycott, and blasted an AIPAC email for “blatant falsehoods,” such as the claim that the bill would not target individuals.

In fact the bill would give a Congressional seal of approval to anti-BDS laws passed by 26 states that penalize individuals and groups that support boycott. The poster child for the cause has been the case exposed by the Intercept of a Texas elementary school teacher who lost work because she refused to sign a pro-Israel “loyalty oath.”

Amazingly, the issue of loyalty got into the debate, when the new congresswoman from Detroit, Rashida Tlaib, who is Palestinian and supports BDS, tweeted of the Senate bill:

They forgot what country they represent. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality. Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away.

Tlaib was greeted with an onslaught of criticism, reminiscent of the anti-Corbyn vitriol in Britain over the Israel issue. The Israel Policy Forum and the American Jewish Committee were angered by the imputation of dual loyalty. “[T]he charge evokes classical anti-Semitic tropes about dual loyalty–in this case applied to some lawmakers who are not even Jewish–that have no place in our political discourse,” the AJC said. (When you have time, check out all the reasonable voices that have raised just that issue, whose side are you on).

Tlaib gained surprising support from some liberal Zionists–surely because of her other big moment this week, her “impeach the motherfucker” line. Though it was in that connection that Michelle Goldberg at the New York Times wrote that neocon Daniel Pipes is “overtly bigoted” against Palestinians.

Rashida Tlaib was echoed by Jon Tester of Montana on the Senate floor yesterday. He said he had to be for America first:

I am telling you, I am a big supporter of Israel, but I took an oath of office to protect this country first, and we are turning our back on this country.

Juan Cole writes incisively, in an opinion that is sure to gain an echo in the mainstream before long:

[Tlaib] wasn’t harsh enough. The senators who pushed this bill, foremost among them Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have betrayed the Constitution. And so have the American Israel Public Affairs Committee staffers, who are attempting to gut the US Constitution on behalf of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. AIPAC should long ago have been made to register as the agent of a foreign power, and it is a consistent failure of the Department of Justice and the FBI that no pressure has ever been applied to the organization, which attempts to buy or bully representatives who should be standing up for their districts, not kowtowing to an international corrupt bully like Netanyahu.

February 22, 2018 meeting in Jerusalem. Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) Cory Gardner (R-CO). Flake has since left the Senate. Photo by Haim Zach / GPO

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner has provided the red meat on the Republican side, baiting Democrats for being anti-Semitic and racist because they aren’t there for Israel.

We have heard the rhetoric. We have heard the very real comments from not fictitious Members of Congress but from actual Members of Congress who support an anti-Semitic movement….

[Let us take] strong action against a reprehensible and racist movement known as BDS.

While Rubio said yesterday that the Democrats are in “de facto” support of BDS.

If you oppose this bill, then you are in favor of shielding from counter-boycotts anyone who decides to take these actions. That is what you are for, which is de facto support for BDS, because what you are basically saying is to go ahead and boycott Israel and divest from Israel, but no one can do that to you…

[This bill] doesn’t do anything to infringe on anyone’s First Amendment right. All it does is protect the First Amendment right to be against BDS and to do to the boycotters what the boycotters are doing to Israel.

Yesterday and on Tuesday, Rubio admitted that the bill was about limiting an individual’s freedom to influence foreign policy:

[T]his is not some domestic debate…. They are trying to influence the foreign policy of another country. This is not traditional free speech… It is about foreign policy….The courts give broad discretion to Congress and the President in the setting of our foreign policy.

There is a wide fear now among liberals that the Israel issue is going to divide the Democratic Party just when it needs to stay unified. Rogin argues in the Washington Post:

But if McConnell’s strategy was to draw attention to the Israel policy divide inside the Democratic caucus, progressives eagerly took the bait. “First and foremost, McConnell is pushing Democrats to take a position on BDS,” a senior Senate aide told me.

But the Democratic leadership is in a bind. They can use the shutdown to avoid voting directly on anti-BDS legislation for now. But when it eventually comes up, it will likely pass (in some form) with the support of [NY Sen. Chuck] Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who recently shrugged off the Israel policies of what she calls the “extreme left.”

Israelis fear that the debate is only going to open up division at the highest levels of American government. It was a bad week for AIPAC, Tibon writes in Haaretz:

For Israeli diplomats and pro-Israeli groups such as AIPAC, this was not a good week. A vote on Israel-related legislation that splits almost exactly along party lines (four Democrats out of 47 supported the bill), and creates a partisan boxing match with Israel in the middle, is the exact opposite of the bi-partisan support that Israel officially wants to preserve, and that AIPAC sees as essential for its success.

Michael Koplow of the Israel Policy Forum is deeply concerned. He calls it the big BDS bang and fears that U.S. politics will never be the same:

The 116th Congress has barely gotten settled, and already BDS and efforts to combat it are wreaking havoc across the Democratic Party and between Democrats and Republicans. This week featured accusations of dual loyalty, allegations of secret support for BDS, and thinly veiled efforts to use Israel, and BDS specifically, as a wedge issue for political gain. This is almost certainly a preview of what is to come rather than an aberration, and it adds to the urgency that Democrats already feel to maintain the party’s historically pro-Israel bent while effectively beating back attempts to cast support for Israel as being the sole province of Republicans.

Rubio is wrong that a “significant number of Senate Democrats,” let alone any Senate Democrats, now support BDS, Koplow continues, but Democratic Senators want to see this go away.

[M]uch of the anti-BDS legislation puts Democrats in an uncomfortable position, where they are forced into a bad choice of either being on the side of absolute support for Israel or absolute support for free speech, but not both. While none of the senators support BDS, many of them would rather see the issue go away.

Democrats do indeed have a problem with some of their base on Israel, and Republicans are going to do all they can to make them take uncomfortable vote after uncomfortable vote, reaping whatever political wins they can rather than try and sustain bipartisan support for Israel as a policy goal. Praise the rock-solid support for Israel in the Republican Party all you want, but ask yourself how pro-Israel it truly is to accelerate a process through which Israel becomes a partisan issue rather than trying to stem the tide.

So, it’s just gotten started. And those who support BDS are getting a platform at last inside mainstream political life.

Thanks to Adam Horowitz, James North, and Dave Reed.

Philip Weiss

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

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96 Responses

  1. Henry Norr on January 11, 2019, 2:01 pm

    If I’m reading this post correctly, Phil is arguing that the Dimocrats in the Senate voted against the bill in question for fear of exposing or exacerbating the divisions over Israel within their own party. I think that’s a complete misreading of the politics of the situation.

    In fact, even though there are now real divisions among the Dims about anti-BDS legislation, that’s not why most of them, including the leadership, blocked the bill. They did so because they subordinated their loyalty to Israel and the lobby – for the moment – to their strategy of blocking all legislation until Trump agrees to end the government shutdown. This explanation has been laid out and documented repeatedly in The Hill (the Beltway insiders’ bible) – see, for example, “Democrats plan to jam up Senate over shutdown fight” at https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/424251-democrats-plan-to-jam-up-senate-over-shutdown-fight – as well as by Alison Weir t If Americans Knew (see “Even pro-Israel Democrats may block debate on S.1 until Republicans allow vote on reopening government” at https://israelpalestinenews.org/even-pro-israel-democrats-may-block-debate-on-s-1-until-republicans-allow-vote-on-reopening-government/ and “Democrats block vote on S.1 (bill for Israel) to protest inaction on government shutdown” at https://israelpalestinenews.org/democrats-block-vote-on-s-1-bill-for-israel-to-protest-inaction-on-government-shutdown/ .

    The reality is that most of the Dimocratic senators support the gist of the bill (S.1) they just voted against, in part because it’s not just anti-BDS legislation, as this article implies, but a multi-part bill that also includes another $33 billion, at least, in aid to Israel over the next 10 years (on top of the $5.5 billion they approved last year). as well a more sanctions against Syria, aid to Jordan, and other provisions.

    With a few notable exceptions (such as California Dim Dianne Feinstein), most of the Dim senators even support the bill’s blatantly unconstitutional anti-BDS provisions. Though S.1 was introduced by Republican Marco Rubio, its anti-BDS section (called “The Israel Anti-Boycott Act” ) is derived directly from last year’s S.170, which was introduced by Ben Cardin, Dim of Maryland (and Tel Aviv), and co-sponsored by 14 other Dim senators, including their leader, Chuck Schumer, and such pretend liberals as Richard Blumenthal, Maria Cantwell, Ron Wyden, and Ed Markey.

    With all those Dims lining up with the Republican majority, S.1 or similar legislation –including anti-BDS provisions as well as the billions for Israel – is very likely to pass the Senate at least, once the government shutdown ends, one way or another, and Trump does or doesn’t get his wall. It’s certainly true and encouraging that there’s more division among the Democratic rank and file and some of party’s new House members (led of course by the estimable Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar), but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that the lobby’s grip on the Congressional Dims as a whole has been broken!

    • Keith on January 11, 2019, 4:53 pm

      HENRY NORR- “I think that’s a complete misreading of the politics of the situation.”

      Thank you for your informative comment.

      • RoHa on January 12, 2019, 12:09 am

        Keith,

        A bit off-topic, but I think you will enjoy this:

        http://www.unz.com/chopkins/the-war-on-populism/

        Check his links to

        Jeremy Corbyn’s Nazi Death Cult,

        and

        The Brain-Devouring Russian-Cubano Crickets

        as well.

      • echinococcus on January 13, 2019, 1:46 am

        Let’s go back to Route66 and his highly unlikely championing of free speech; it’s worth it.
        I mean, don’t you just love it? Here is this, ehm, surgeon, who takes a lot of time off his selfless service to suffering humanity, and billing thereof, to berate supporters of Palestinian resistance for the authoritarian practice or support of censorship of some of them.

        Meanwhile, the Zionist entity he is attached to with Massadan loyalty does a lot of free speech, doesn’t it? Years of jail time for a poem or for a post on the CIA’s own Facebook, and that’s just the legal side. The Zionist entity’s legal concept of “incitement” is at the same level as that of Messrs. Redjep Erdogan, Ibn Saud and Adolph. The extra-legal side harasses and sometimes “executes” for a wrong word. Their Zionist owners in the US fire you illegally for expressing a private opinion (and pay compensation, ultimately out of US taxpayer money) and they murder the First with laws against boycotting whom you want.

        And here goddam Zionists are allowed to “defend” speech that favors them, and still they complain.

      • Jon66 on January 13, 2019, 11:42 am

        Echi,
        Not berating. Pointing out the inconsistencies. MW is a backer of free speech in some circumstances, but publishes authors who are against free speech in others. There is no “hate” speech exemption in our 1st amendment. Free speech is free because it is blind to the content. When people prevent others from speaking either with violence or a heckler’s veto, you destroy the concept of free speech.
        I do agree with the Supreme Court Brandenburg exception, “These later decisions have fashioned the principle that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Imminent being the key word.
        As to boycotts, either money is speech or money is commerce. If it’s speech, then Citizens United was decided correctly and there is nothing to prevent any politically motivated boycott as free speech. Of course, the allowance of boycotts must be neutral to the political purpose and so BDS has as much right to a boycott as any other political position.

      • echinococcus on January 13, 2019, 12:21 pm

        No one cares what Route 66 pretends to think. If he thought, he wouldn’t continue by continuing inept commonplaces.
        He’ll carry on this time, too, for another 300 posts, without addressing any of the topic. His only goal is to hold up discussions and create clutter. Anyway, there is no worse enemy of speech than the Zionist entity and its Zionist handlers in the US, and that is not even discussed by this despicable Zionist.

      • Talkback on January 13, 2019, 1:00 pm

        jon66: “When people prevent others from speaking either with violence or a heckler’s veto, you destroy the concept of free speech.”

        There’s a huge difference between trying to prevent someone from speaking (what violence btw.?) as a sign of protest on the one hand and criminalizing free speech or smearing it as “antisemitism” on the other to prevent it on a national scale. Especially when the occupier imprisons the occupied.

        This is just another case of false symmetry.

      • RoHa on January 13, 2019, 8:05 pm

        “Pointing out the inconsistencies. MW is a backer of free speech in some circumstances, but publishes authors who are against free speech in others. ”

        Backing free speech implies allowing speech from people who subscribe to fashionable nonsense.

      • Jon66 on January 14, 2019, 8:06 pm

        Roha,
        “Backing free speech implies allowing speech from people who subscribe to fashionable nonsense.”
        Free speech in an American context is speech free from governmental censorship. If MW publishes articles calling for the suppression of free speech is there not some implicit endorsement or at least tolerance of this view? You don’t find MW publishing articles from people in support of Zionism. The editors here have decided which views are legit and which are not in the published articles.

      • RoHa on January 14, 2019, 9:51 pm

        “Free speech in an American context is speech free from governmental censorship. ”

        Then, in the American context, preventing others from speaking either with violence or a heckler’s veto does not destroy the concept of free speech as long as the violence/heckling is not governmental.

        “If MW publishes articles calling for the suppression of free speech is there not some implicit endorsement or at least tolerance of this view?”

        MW tolerates a lot of views, especially in the comments section. Zionists get a good chance there. But MW does suppress some comments, and that includes anti-Zionist comments.

      • Jon66 on January 14, 2019, 11:47 pm

        Roha,
        “Then, in the American context, preventing others from speaking either with violence or a heckler’s veto does not destroy the concept of free speech as long as the violence/heckling is not governmental.”
        That depends. Public colleges and universities, where many of these suppressions have occurred, are the equivalent of government entities and so must protect all free speech without regard to content.
        “The First Amendment to the Constitution protects speech no matter how offensive its content. Restrictions on speech by public colleges and universities amount to government censorship, in violation of the Constitution. Such restrictions deprive students of their right to invite speech they wish to hear, debate speech with which they disagree, and protest speech they find bigoted or offensive. An open society depends on liberal education, and the whole enterprise of liberal education is founded on the principle of free speech.”https://www.aclu.org/other/speech-campus

        My point again is that MW runs articles decrying the suppression of pro-Palestinian speech in the US, but also appears comfortable with the call for suppression of speech that runs counter to that. The principle here is not the protection of free speech, but rather the protection of only ‘approved’ speech. That position is certainly within the rights of MW, but then stop whining when others take the opposite position. If your comfortable with the suppression of your opponents rights, don’t be surprised when they return the favor. Personally, I don’t think any speech that doesn’t call for imminent violence should be suppressed.

      • Talkback on January 15, 2019, 7:39 am

        jon66: “You don’t find MW publishing articles from people in support of Zionism.”

        Are you crazy? They would accuse MW of being in bed with inhumane supremacists!

        But does it ommit views of Zionists? To the contrary. It eats it them for breakfast. Which sounds cool, but is actually too easy.

      • eljay on January 15, 2019, 1:05 pm

        || Jon66: … If your comfortable with the suppression of your opponents rights, don’t be surprised when they return the favor. … ||

        Similarly, Zionists – comfortable as they are with decades’ worth and counting of deliberately and unapologetically trampling all over the rights of Palestinians – shouldn’t be surprised when Palestinians try to return the favour. And yet they always act surprised (and even offended). Go figure.

      • Mooser on January 15, 2019, 1:54 pm

        “You don’t find MW publishing articles from people in support of Zionism.” “Jon66”

        So the writers at Mondoweiss don’t even get to write for the site, and the site is ordered by injunction (how else you gonna do it?) to post articles from “people in support of Zionism”?
        All hosted at Mondo’s expense, too?

        That’s your idea of “free speech”?

      • RoHa on January 15, 2019, 10:22 pm

        So private universities in the US need not protect freedom of speech?

        But to your main point.

        Yes, I recall that MW published an article in which the author spoke approvingly of getting a talk cancelled. (Or some such. I recall mostly a mish-mash of “intersectional” tripe.) So MW calls for free speech, and also, in the spirit of free speech, publishes an article (or maybe two) that calls for suppression of free speech. I don’t see that this is an indication that the editors follow the principle of the protection of only ‘approved’ speech. Simply that they are prepared to allow that principle to be expressed.

        Their main emphasis, of course, is on the protection of pro-Palestinian speech, since that is the speech most effort goes into suppressing.

        “Personally, I don’t think any speech that doesn’t call for imminent violence should be suppressed.”

        And there I agree with you. I think all these laws against “hate speech” and so forth should be repealed.

      • annie on January 15, 2019, 11:42 pm

        the thing about hate speech, is it becomes a tool of discrimination determining who gets worst sentences. aside from chapel hill there have been several murders of arabs or muslims or black people that resulted in ‘we couldn’t see that it was motivated by..bla bla therefore it isn’t a hate crime’. meanwhile — when the perpetrator is a privileged person, not only are they more likely to get off scott free, but to begin with the prosecution or police or whoever, determines they committed a violent offense because of a parking place or something.

        it’s ridiculous. and no jury decides whether it’s a hate crime, that’s set by the state. it’s another layer of control by the state.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2019, 2:09 pm

        “I think all these laws against “hate speech” and so forth should be repealed.”

        Very, very brave of you, considering.

    • annie on January 11, 2019, 5:34 pm

      hi henry, thanks for linking to alison’s article. noting the oneliner in italics at the base:

      [Senators Bernie Sanders and Dianne Feinstein have opposed anti-boycott legislation as a threat to free speech.]

      (links to haaretz here: https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-bernie-sanders-dianne-feinstein-urge-senate-leaders-to-scrap-anti-bds-bill-1.6762918

      that was her only mention of free speech in the article, i noticed you didn’t mention the not so small issue of free speech either. as for mentioning their strategy of blocking all legislation until Trump agrees to end the government shutdown you may have missed “Senate is unlikely to debate BDS — so long as gov’t remains shut down” https://mondoweiss.net/2019/01/significant-democrats-support/

      january 7th:

      reports from a couple of sources tonight indicate that the bill may not come to the Senate floor. Too many Democrats have indicated that they will block its progress until the first order of business, the government shutdown, is addressed. Jeff Stein of the Washington Post reports the names of 17 Democratic Senators who will stand in the way of the bill. That list includes at least two key supporters of the Israel boycott legislation, Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker, and one sponsor of it, Maryland’s Ben Cardin.

      The Washington Post reports widespread support among Democrats to block the legislation.

      perhaps you’re right, it may have been amiss of phil not to link to the recent articles he’s written about this (although he did mention it in the first paragraph), but i don’t think he’s trying to dupe anyone. here’s another “‘NYT’ calls out AIPAC and ADL for assault on free speech criticizing Israel” https://mondoweiss.net/2018/12/reporter-contract-criticism/

      It’s certainly true and encouraging that there’s more division among the Democratic rank and file and some of party’s new House members (led of course by the estimable Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar), but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that the lobby’s grip on the Congressional Dims as a whole has been broken!

      i don’t for a minute think the lobby’s grip on the dems has been broken, but i think you’re missing the big picture here. i don’t think the free speech issue is a little issue, i think it’s a big deal (especially for anyone with presidential aspirations as cited in washington post and phil’s article above) as mentioned and it’s being led by sanders and feinstein (she’s a very big fish). although i think it’s likely the bill may pass, i think there’s more trepidation in the dems over this bill than you’re giving credit for.

      sure, rubio is using the framing to his advantage claiming it’s because dems are pro bds (which is ridiculous for almost all of them), but the issue of free speech and 1st amendment rights, that courts in 2 states have already made rulings against it, the ACLU is strongly against it.. i think phil’s right.

      there are real fears the party will split over Israel. just yesterday i rewatched some segments of the israel lobby USA, top lobbyists have real fear of this. certainly dem constituents are split over israel and it’s a matter of time until that’s reflected more broadly in their representatives.

      i’m kinda split over this legislation (i can’t stand it!) because i have been relishing the day this lands before the supreme court and i think it will spark a national conversation. this legislation would escalate that process. but either way there’s going to be a big fight about it, something i am sure the lobby doesn’t want. pitting israel against our first amendment rights — this is a very big deal. that’s what this article is about — so no, i don’t think you’re “reading this post correctly”.

      • Henry Norr on January 11, 2019, 7:15 pm

        Sorry, Annie, but there are a couple of things in your reply to my comment that I don’t understand:

        1) You write “that’s for linking to allison’s article….” _What_ is for linking to Allison’s article?

        2) I completely agree that the anti-BDS bills are a frightening threat to free speech, but are you arguing that that’s why all the Dems voted to block S.1? I guess that would be a third hypothesis – Phil seems to be saying (in this piece at least) that it was because they’re divided about Israel, I’m saying it was because they’ve adopted a strategy of not passing anything while the shutdown goes on, and maybe you are saying it’s because they recognize the threat to free speech? Free speech apparently is a concern for Feinstein, since she issued that courageous statement with Bernie Sanders, but surely it isn’t for Schumer and all those other Dims who not only supported but went so far as to cosponsor both Cardin’s and Rubio’s anti-BDS bills. Surely you’re not contending that they have suddenly seen the light about free speech after backing anti-BDS bills for years?

      • Misterioso on January 12, 2019, 8:48 am

        @annie

        Well said!!! I agree. The First Amendment is a corner stone. It cannot be removed without the whole building collapsing.

      • annie on January 12, 2019, 11:26 am

        thanks misterioso!

        henry,

        1) You write “that’s for linking to allison’s article….” _What_ is for linking to Allison’s article?

        i’m sorry, i spelled alison’s name wrong. i was referencing:

        as well as by Alison Weir t If Americans Knew (see “Even pro-Israel Democrats may block debate on S.1 until Republicans allow vote on reopening government” at https://israelpalestinenews.org/even-pro-israel-democrats-may-block-debate-on-s-1-until-republicans-allow-vote-on-reopening-government/

        are you arguing that that’s why all the Dems voted to block S.1?

        definitely not. not sure how you got that impression. it’s curious tho because that’s the same impression you got from phil, who, as i explained, reported:

        Too many Democrats have indicated that they will block its progress until the first order of business, the government shutdown, is addressed.

        i think it has been made abundantly clear by pelosi the dems won’t pass anything until the shutdown has been addressed.

        Phil seems to be saying (in this piece at least) that it was because they’re divided about Israel,

        i can’t find where you’re getting this impression. maybe if you cite something specific he wrote i can better understand what you mean. the article is about Israel being openly politicized right now, in a way that it has not been before (as addressed in the first sentence). this has been exacerbated by the shutdown (the bill coming up twice and turned down twice) and rubio’s claims it is because dems are pro bds.

        the article is about , Democrats are expressing the fear that the party will split over Israel, which i believe it will. i do not believe our dem legislators will split down the middle over israel, but i think dem voters already have, and i think the establishment knows that already. i think, to understand phil’s point, the one he’s making in the article, it would behoove you to review the articles he links to and the passages he cites/highlights.

        this is not only a funding bill. this is a bill that is a direct challenge to the constitution, a bill that will require american citizens to sign away their free speech rights in order to work in any capacity for jobs in any way funded by the federal government. it’s a very big deal. while i think it will likely pass, i don’t think it will pass quietly at all.

        i do not know what on earth gives you the impression i think people like schumer and all the other lobby stooges would “suddenly seen the light about free speech after backing anti-BDS bills for years”. also, there is a big difference between anti bds being passed on the state level and it being passed in congress. i think it’s the first time it’s been introduced. there was some effort last year but it was staved off, which is why they tried to slip it into this bill.

        the reason i think this is different than funding israel, supporting the 2ss or not, opposing the settlements, or any other pushback regarding our relationship with israel, is because it is an attack on the constitution. it will effect every american. it will be an open fight which will thrust israel in a position of being openly politicized.

        contrary to your impression, the article is not about whether the bill will pass or not. imho.

      • Jon66 on January 12, 2019, 11:36 am

        Mist,
        Mondo is all for free speech sometimes.
        Here’s Nada Elia in a Mondo article , “The other significant victory was the shutting down of the scheduled Milo Yiannopolous talk at the University of California in Berkeley. Anyone who would blame the protestors for “violence,” rather than resistance, is assuming that the promotion of hatred is non-violence. But that assumption, quite simply, is wrong. There is no such thing as “non-violent hate speech.” Hate speech has direct consequences, all of which are violent.”
        https://mondoweiss.net/2017/02/cannot-protect-ourselves/

      • Mooser on January 12, 2019, 12:16 pm

        ” because i have been relishing the day this lands before the supreme court and i think it will spark a national conversation.”

        Oh my. Considering the level of our other national conversations lately, it ought to be a doozy!
        On my personal “Is this good for or bad for” scale, an errant asteroid or exploding sun is looking better and better.

      • echinococcus on January 12, 2019, 12:17 pm

        John 66,

        Nobody called you, of all people. Support to Palestinian resistance is not, repeat not, a free speech and civil liberties movement. It certainly includes enemies of free speech –including Ms. Elia and the censoring Mondoweiss. It includes a good number of social authoritarians and other fractions of the far right (which are ignored and rejected by ‘liberal’ gate-keepers like this site.)

        But then, it is a movement for supporting Palestinian resistance. Those among us who wish to support free speech are free to do so in other venues, and many of us do.

        You are obviously working at encouraging division within the ranks of the support movement for Palestinian resistance but you’re way too inept to be able to.

      • Mooser on January 12, 2019, 12:30 pm

        ” There is no such thing as “non-violent hate speech.” Hate speech has direct consequences, all of which are violent.”

        And that’s why Milo was banned.

        “Jon66”, time spent reading your comments helped me to understand all those “Surgeon amputates wrong limb” stories.

      • annie on January 12, 2019, 12:54 pm

        stop making me spit my coffee mooser!

      • Henry Norr on January 12, 2019, 1:14 pm

        Annie,

        I think we are kind of going around in circles now, and I’m sorry I seem to have offended you, so I’ll be brief.

        1) re “that’s for linking to allison’s article,” I know what link you are talking about. What I don’t understand is what you mean by “that’s.”

        2) You write that you “can’t find where you’re getting this impression” (that Phil is saying, in this piece at least, that the Dims blocked S.1 because they’re divided about Israel) and that “maybe if you cite something specific he wrote i can better understand what you mean. ” OK, let’s start with the headline. Both parts are obviously true, but juxtaposing them seems to imply a causal connection. So does sticking “Democrats are expressing the fear that the party will split over Israel, just as Republicans want” (first sentence of second graf) in between other passages about what happened to the bill. And so on.

        3) You write, quite condescendingly to my eye, that “it would behoove you to review the articles he links to and the passages he cites/highlights. FWIW I _have_ read most if not all the articles Phil cites here.

      • annie on January 12, 2019, 2:38 pm

        i meant “thanks”! thanks for linking to alison’s article. i will go fix it. not sure how i missed that twice!

        more later…

      • annie on January 12, 2019, 3:48 pm

        henry, as for the rest of your comment — you haven’t offended me, i don’t take it personally you read the article differently than i do. i am even tempted to write phil and ask him, although it’s rare that i ever write him about discussions in the comment section, at this point i’m curious if you’ve got a point i am somehow willfully missing.

        i can see how the headline (a quote followed by a fact) might suggest that, but i still can’t find it in the article. i don’t think “Democrats are expressing the fear that the party will split over Israel, just as Republicans want” implies Dems voted against the bill “for fear of exposing or exacerbating the divisions over Israel within their own party.” because he wrote, in the opening paragraph

        It was the second time in three days that the Democrats joined together on that procedural vote, saying that the shutdown should come first.

        i am very sorry you thought i was being condescending but your assertions have inspired me to re read the article several times now in close examination to see your point. and every time i keep coming back to all the articles phil cited and all of them, to me, seem to support my notion. one ofter the other. that is why i thought if you re read it you might be more persuaded than you seem to be with my argument. case in point:

        And each of the dozen or more Democratic lawmakers potentially running for president will have to take a position, one that either hurts them with progressives in the primary or moderates in the general election. And that’s the point. One can lament the end of congressional bipartisanship on Israel, but the truth is that has been the case for many years.

        there will be a split in the party. it won’t be down the middle but it’s dangerous politically for a politician to run against what is increasingly perceived as *the* progressive position on israel if one’s constituents are not onboard. for the most part the politicians in the dem party are not where the public is on israel. that’s been reaffirmed by the polls. so what might seem like a fracture today will amount to a split eventually, and that is exactly what the republicans want (i want it too for other reasons of course).

        Democrats do indeed have a problem with some of their base on Israel [not to be confused with the politicians], and Republicans are going to do all they can to make them take uncomfortable vote after uncomfortable vote, reaping whatever political wins they can rather than try and sustain bipartisan support for Israel as a policy goal. Praise the rock-solid support for Israel in the Republican Party all you want, but ask yourself how pro-Israel it truly is to accelerate a process through which Israel becomes a partisan issue rather than trying to stem the tide.

        that was from Koplow of Israel Policy Forum. this is what i see as the point of the article. if the point of the article was that there was enough votes there to win the vote, i think the focus of the article would have been different. i think we can all hope things will go our way, but i’m not seeing that thus far nor do i see it suggested. i think if a small handful of the 4 or 5 vote against it many dem party leaders would breathe a sigh of relief. but i don’t think that will happened either. if there are even 25% who vote against it that will be a significant wedge (split). feinstein is providing cover. i really don’t know. i’d like there to be at least 40%. i just don’t think that’s what this article is about.

        P.S. this has to do with the sanders split in the party. it tore apart the california dem convention, it’s fractured the party. the dems don’t like to spell it out, but along with single payer, free college education, all those things the progressives want, palestine/israel is in that box of progressive concerns. it’s a big deal.

      • Henry Norr on January 12, 2019, 6:20 pm

        Annie,

        This is, I swear, my last comment on this article or your responses to my original comment.

        Your last response and the other articles you cite, as well as Misterioso’s comment addressed to me, all seem to me focused on making the case that are increasing divisions among the Dims about Israel. But you don’t need to convince me of that – I said as much at the top of my very first comment on the article.

        The question is what connection do these obvious divisions have with the Senate Dims blocking S.1. Phil seems to think they’re very much connected – why else write a whole long piece intertwining these two facts? You seem to agree with him. I don’t – my contention is that the Dims voted to block S.1 not out of any discomfort with the content of that bill, but because their strategy for the moment is to block any legislation until the shutdown is over.

        (Note, as I pointed out in a previous comment, that Schumer, the reported author of the strategy of blocking everything until the shutdown ends, was a co-sponsor of Rubio’s anti-BDS bill last year, along with a slew of other “liberal” Dim senators.)

        In general, it appears that the Dimocratic divisions about Israel are mainly among rank-and-file voters and now, in a small but very visible way, among House members. It was certainly encouraging that Feinstein joined Sanders in that statement opposing anti-BDS legislation, but beyond that I don’t see much evidence that the Zionists’ grip on the Dim Senators is loosening.

      • annie on January 13, 2019, 2:29 pm

        The question is what connection do these obvious divisions have with the Senate Dims blocking S.1. Phil seems to think they’re very much connected – why else write a whole long piece intertwining these two facts? You seem to agree with him.

        hi henry, ok, i’ll swear to make this my last comment too especially since we seem to be talking right past eachother. i can’t answer your question about what these obvious divisions have to do with dems blocking the legislation because as i explained earlier in this exchange

        i don’t for a minute think the lobby’s grip on the dems has been broken

        (iow, i think they still have a very firm grip)

        i also don’t think phil “intertwined” the fact of votes (not being passed) and the division in the party all throughout the article. in the 2nd paragraph he wrote “The Senate leadership has indicated that it will push the bill again soon in an effort to show which party cares about Israel” and for the remainder of the article discussed the divisions in the party, varying commentary about that division, and what the gop will make of it. as i explained before:

        contrary to your impression, the article is not about whether the bill will pass or not. imho.

        i don’t think you’ll see any unified fortified block of the vote like you saw before, nor do i see any indication phil thinks that will happen in this article. will there be division? yes. it’s very worrying to the lobby and the hand wringers israel will not be viewed as a solid unified bipartisan issue in the future.
        maybe someone else can better answer your question, preferably someone who agrees with the premise of it.

      • Elizabeth Block on January 13, 2019, 1:18 am

        “AIPAC should long ago have been made to register as the agent of a foreign power.”
        It isn’t registered already???

      • Mooser on January 13, 2019, 1:14 pm

        “but you’re way too inept to be able to”

        Inept? He’s an expert at causing tomophobia. I’m hoping he’s just a fanatic do-it-yourself-er.

    • Misterioso on January 12, 2019, 9:51 am

      @Henry Norr, et al

      A new day is dawning. This is not 1948 or 1967 when as a result of an ongoing well financed deluge of pro-“Israel” propaganda/lies (e.g., Leon Uris’s mountain of mendacity, “Exodus” and the resulting movie) the vast majority of Americans saw “Israel” as a valiant island of Jews fending off an onslaught of blood-thirsty Arabs. The ugly documented truth about Zionism and its spawn is now staring Americans, especially youth, in the face. A showdown is on the horizon and its outcome will be determined in large measure by the ever increasing shift in public opinion. In short, “Israel” is in big trouble. Its leaders better wake up soon. As predicted long ago, Zionism has proven to be a nightmare for Palestinians and a curse for Jews.

      https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/11/americans-are-increasingly-critical-of-israel/

      “Americans Are Increasingly Critical of Israel” FP, Foreign Policy, Dec. 11/18

      “The firing of Professor Marc Lamont Hill as a CNN contributor after his speech at a United Nations event commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People has generated considerable debate about free speech that goes beyond the case itself—what is legitimate criticism of Israel, and what constitutes anti-Semitism. A recent University of Maryland public-opinion poll indicates that many aspects of Hill’s views are widely shared among the American public—and that these views are not reflective of anti-Semitic attitudes, or even of hostility toward Israel as such. On these issues, there is a gap between the mainstream media and U.S. politicians on the one hand, and the American public on the other.

      “While many issues were raised about Hill, the part of his speech that received the most criticism was his call for a ‘free Palestine from the river to the sea,’ which was seen by some as calling for the end of Israel. Hill himself clarified almost immediately that ‘my reference’ to ‘river to the sea’ was not a call to destroy anything or anyone. It was a call for justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza.’ In an op-ed he penned later, he acknowledged that the language he chose may have contributed to the misperception that he was advocating violence against Jewish people—and apologized for that.

      “But, perceptions aside, are Professor Hill’s views exceptional?

      “The first issue to consider is advocacy for a one-state solution, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, with equal citizenship for all, which would in effect threaten Israel’s status as a Jewish-majority state, as Arabs might soon outnumber Jews on that territory. In fact, this solution has considerable support among the American public, as revealed in a University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll, fielded by Nielson Scarborough, which was conducted in September and October among a nationally representative sample of 2,352 Americans, with a 2 percent margin of error. When asked what outcome they want U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to seek in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Americans are split between one state with equal citizenship and two states coexisting side by side: 35 percent say they want a one-state solution outright, while 36 percent advocate a two-state solution, 11 percent support maintaining the occupation, and 8 percent back annexation without equal citizenship. Among those between 18 and 34 years old, support for one state climbs to 42 percent.

      “Furthermore, most of those who advocate a two-state solution tend to choose one state with equal citizenship if the two-state solution were no longer possible; the last time the survey asked this question, in November 2017, 55 percent of two-state solution backers said they would switch to one state in such circumstances. Bolstering this result is Americans’ views on the Jewishness and democracy of Israel: If the two-state solution were no longer possible, 64 percent of Americans would choose the democracy of Israel, even if it meant that Israel would cease to be a politically Jewish state, over the Jewishness of Israel, if the latter meant that Palestinians would not be fully equal.

      “When one considers that many Israelis and Palestinians, as well as many Middle East experts, already believe that a two-state solution is no longer possible, especially given the large expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, it’s not hard to see why more people would be drawn to a one-state solution—or see the advocacy for two states as legitimizing the unjust status quo through the promise of something unattainable.

      “Second, while most Americans have probably never heard of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement that Hill backs, our poll shows that a large number of Americans support imposing sanctions or more serious measures if Israeli settlements in the West Bank continue to expand: 40 percent of Americans support such measures, including a majority of Democrats (56 percent). This comes as senators, including Democrats, are proposing, despite continued ACLU opposition, to delegitimize and criminalize voluntary boycotts of Israel or settlements through the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, while not differentiating between Israeli settlements in the West Bank from those in Israel proper.

      “Third, there is a growing sense that the Israeli government has ‘too much influence’ on U.S. politics and policies: 38 percent of all Americans (including 55 percent of Democrats, and 44 percent of those under 35 years old), say the Israeli government has too much influence on the U.S. government, compared with 9 percent who say it has ‘too little influence’ and 48 percent who say it has ‘about the right level of influence.’ While the number of Jewish participants in the sample (115) is too small to generalize with confidence, it is notable that their views fall along the same lines of the national trend: 37 percent say Israel has too much influence, 54 percent say it has the right level, and 7 percent say it has too little influence.

      “These results indicate neither a rise in anti-Semitism nor even a rise in hostility toward Israel as such. As analysis of previous polls has shown, many who espouse these opinions base them on a principled worldview that emphasizes human rights and international law.

      “Keep in mind that, in a polarized America with deep political antagonism, it’s hardly surprising that Americans would have sharply divided views on Israelis and Palestinians.

      “What many read as a rising anti-Israeli sentiment among Democrats is mischaracterized; it reflects anger toward Israeli policies—and increasingly, with the values projected by the current Israeli government.

      “On the question of whether Americans want the Trump administration to lean toward Israel, toward the Palestinians, or toward neither side, there is a vast difference between Republicans and Democrats in the new poll: While a majority of Republicans want Washington to lean toward Israel outright (57 percent), a substantial majority of Democrats (82 percent) want it to lean toward neither side, with 8 percent wanting it to lean toward the Palestinians and 7 percent toward Israel. Still, it’s inaccurate to label the Democrats’ even-handedness as ‘anti-Israel.'”

      .
      .

    • Citizen on January 12, 2019, 12:06 pm

      Yes, Henry Norr, you’re right, and a bit more clear than Phil is here. The next procedural vote, the third one, is coming next week. It should be noted that the part of Sen bill #1 making concrete Obama’s final $38 Billion + interest MOU gift to Israel, excludes Obama’s ceiling; the vote yes makes the $38 Billion a floor, not a ceiling. It also embeds Israel in NSA & pays Jordan to kiss Israel, not to mention Rubio’s direct dilution of free speech, which is based on the notion the government has the same rights as individual citizens to boycott American citizens critical of Israel, a foreign government. In short, Rubio is fascist.

  2. Henry Norr on January 11, 2019, 4:57 pm

    Correction to my previous post here: contrary to what I wrote, the anti-BDS section of Marco Rubio’s S.1, the bill the Senate Dims just blocked, is not based on the anti-BDS legislation promoted last year by Sen. Ben Cardin, which was actually labeled S.720. The anti-BDS provisions of S.1 do come from S.170 but that was a different bill that Rubio himself introduced last year. Cardin’s bill was focused on punishing companies that participate in anti-Israel boycotts. Rubio’s is aimed at empowering state and local governments to make BDS illegal.

    None of this changes my basic argument, though. Rubio is of course a Republican but his bill last year was co-authored (nominally – probably it was really written by the lobby) by Joe Manchin, Dim of West Virginia, and it was co-sponsored by Cardin and a slew of other Dims, including Schumer, Blumenthal, Cantwell, Wyden, Markey, and both Menendez and Booker of New Jersey.

    In other words, there’s still broad support among Dimocratic Senators for anti-BDS legislation, and since most if not all Republicans take the same position, some such bill is likely to pass the Senate eventually, once the current dispute over Trump’s wall and the government shutdown is resolved. S.1 didn’t pass not because Schumer at al. are afraid of divisions in their party, as Phil suggests, but simply because passing it would have undermined their strategy for opposing Trump at this moment.

    If such a bill does pass the Senate, the question will be whether Rashida Tlaib and other House members who aren’t beholden to the lobby will be able to block it in their chamber.

    • Citizen on January 12, 2019, 12:09 pm

      Correct. Tlaib & friends will be smeared galore by all establishment leaders on both sides of the fence.

    • MHughes976 on January 12, 2019, 12:49 pm

      My guess about the politics of this is that each of the parties I’d trying to discredit the other by claiming that it’s awful of them not to vote on certain proposals. The Democrats voted to reopen the Government, some Senators wanted to reprove their Democrat colleagues for not voting even when the sacred cause of Israel was involved. There was an opportunity to draw attention to the fact that a split, so far very small, has indeed opened in Democrat ranks. The likes of them want to draw attention to this because they believe that the split will probably widen and work to their and Israel’s advantage. The likes of us also draw attention because we hope that there will be less of a split and more of a shift away from the consensus of past decades, even drawing in some who, like ‘The American Conservative’ (as Scott mentions below) identify themselves as on the right.

      • echinococcus on January 12, 2019, 2:15 pm

        Hughes,

        Looks like you’re better than most at wording things adequately. Even this clear message may be missed, however, by good number of participants here, who seem to “identify themselves as on the” left and still can’t understand that the “right” that they are attacking (on behalf, by the way, of the dominant administrative organ of Zionist domination on American imperial power), has at least as valuable a contingent of antizionist thinkers, organizers and fighters.

      • Mooser on January 13, 2019, 2:08 pm

        “the “right” that they are attacking (on behalf, by the way, of the dominant administrative organ of Zionist domination on American imperial power), has at least as valuable a contingent of antizionist thinkers, organizers and fighters.”

        Do tell! Want to give us, oh, a couple of examples?

      • echinococcus on January 13, 2019, 11:33 pm

        You don’t seem to be going out much, don’t you? A man of rank so high, of The highly titled few, to whom one cannot show too much respect, cannot after all be aware of inferior beings (especially if outside the Salvation Party.)
        As a matter of fact, social-conservative antizionists are mostly much clearer, in antizionist opposition and thinking, than the tribal libruls. I haven’t seen much of them with “my people” nonsense. And they are probably more numerous, too. Hughes had also just given an example, which I am so sure you diligently researched.
        Right before reading your post, I had just copied something from Paul Craig Roberts (former Reagan cabinet), let me paste it here if your censors allow it. Clearer at any rate than the article here trying to absolve Tlaib of some “canard” for telling the truth, which she hasn’t, etc.

        “US Senator Marco Rubio poses as a representative of Florida Republicans, but in truth he represents the interests of Israel. He is sponsor of legislation that punishes Americans who boycott Israel as their way of protesting Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people. That Rubio is doing his best to dismantle what little is left of the First Amendment doesn’t seem to bother Florida voters or the presstitute media, who are no longer protective of the First Amendment.
        Yesterday (January 9, 2019) the legislation failed to pass the Senate, because Democrats blocked it. But not really. The Democrats are not opposed to the bill. Indeed, the senators of both parties are too well paid in campaign contributions by the Israel Lobby to vote against anything that Israel wants. Moreover, they know that if they do, the money and the media support in their next election will flow to their opponent. The reason the Democrats blocked the passage of the bill is that they are making a point that no legislation will pass until President Trump gives in on the issue of The Wall and signs the necessary money bill to reopen the government.
        […]
        How much more plain can it be? The US Congress represents Israel, not Americans. The US Congress will even destroy the US Constitution for Israel. And the United States is called a democracy?”

      • annie on January 15, 2019, 5:56 pm

        Paul Craig Roberts has added a lot to the conversation, he first came on my radar during the iraq war. but i think this framing is off:

        The reason the Democrats blocked the passage of the bill is that they are making a point that no legislation will pass until President Trump gives in on the issue of The Wall and signs the necessary money bill to reopen the government.

        The reason the Republicans blocked the passage of the bill is that they are making a point that no legislation will pass until Trump gets his Wall, then they will reopen the government.

        the wall doesn’t have enough votes (i suppose it had more votes before the new congress so it’s odd the gop didn’t try to pas it then.) but to threaten to shut down the government unless trump gets his way is not really business as usual. it’s the sort of thing a dictator would do.

        Roberts framing suggests it is the democrats who are the obstructionists, but slipping the wall into the budget bill is what’s obstructing the passage. and polls suggest most americans don’t want the wall. but whether they do or not, dems have approved a legislative package aimed at opening the government, it’s the gop that won’t approve it. other than that his thinking seems pretty clear here.

    • annie on January 11, 2019, 6:36 pm

      thanks scott, i tweeted it. rand paul strikes again. i’m a little confused there isn’t more pushback from the right on this legislation. or maybe there is and i just have not encountered it yet.

      • echinococcus on January 12, 2019, 9:35 am

        “i’m a little confused there isn’t more pushback from the right on this legislation”

        I’d suggest that that’s due to the way you define “right” and “left”. There’s no “left” there.

      • annie on January 12, 2019, 11:37 am

        ech, conservatives of all stripes. people who self identify as being rightwing and/or conservatives.

      • echinococcus on January 12, 2019, 11:56 am

        There you go with self-identification again. Not a good guide in life; it encourages fuzzy thinking. It brought us Zionism, too.

      • annie on January 12, 2019, 12:12 pm

        what do you mean “there i go again”? you’re just trying to be argumentative echi.
        maybe this person can explain it better “our identity is a lens and you can’t ever take it off”

      • Mooser on January 12, 2019, 12:48 pm

        “There you go…/… It brought us Zionism, too.”

        “Echin” you better be watching “Annie” very carefully for signs of incipient Zionism!

      • echinococcus on January 12, 2019, 1:37 pm

        Mooser, I won’t try to make you suddenly lose the habit of jumping to conclusions unrelated to the discussion. Never try to change nature, especially in persons of ripe age.

      • echinococcus on January 12, 2019, 1:41 pm

        Annie,
        Totally unrelated to the objection. “Identity”, if you want to call it that, is like everything else: measurable by facts and effective action. Not sure why another Congress politician’s face is being shown as if it were a rebuttal of that statement.

        Also, it’s unclear what that shows as to a “left” here. That lady has some democratizing tendencies (that don’t any onger extend to occupied Palestine anyway.) Doesn’t make it a “right” or “left” discussion.

      • annie on January 12, 2019, 2:35 pm

        echi, carry on re your objection to my mention regarding pushback from the right on this legislation, into some left right identity thing you glombed onto for another petulant rant (claiming i *define* the right and left, which i don’t) just go for it. but i’m not interested in this exchange — take the last word.

      • echinococcus on January 13, 2019, 4:20 am

        Annie,

        Wrongity wrong. You brought it up, not I. You did this by casually calling “the right” a tiny fraction only of what is by its very definition the rightwing, which by definition comprises not only social conservatives but also identity politicians that fraction popular opposition to imperialism, warmongers and enemies of free speech working for either of the two apparent wings of the single imperialist party.

        Surely calling out a post on its uncritically repeating “self-identification” official propaganda that confuses essential concepts cannot be characterized as bringing up some new topic.

        More, and beautifully put, about this from one of the few clear-thinkers around. Written for the UK but even more appropriate for the US situation:

        “…Ethically oriented thinkers are still excited by the idea of equality, freedom and opposition to racism. Sadly, these ideals are not reflected in New Left politics. While the Old Left taught us to transcend gender, race, sexual preference etc., the New Left builds walls dividing us along those same lines. As much as the Old Left was inspired to openness by Orwell’s criticism of the tyrannical, the New Left has slipped into that authoritarian dystopia. In a Kafkaesque manner that defies any reasonable rationale, the New Left is consumed with interfering with freedom of expression, meaning expression that does not comply with its strict newspeak protocol. The New Left bureaucracy is oblivious to the intent of the law and uses the form of the law to impose its will […]”
        ( http://www.unz.com/gatzmon/oh-the-services-of-islington-council/ )

      • Mooser on January 13, 2019, 1:28 pm

        “Never try to change nature, especially in persons of ripe age”

        Thank you. That youth at us must have its fling, is hard on us. To our prerogative we cling – so pardon us, if we decline to dance and sing. Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la.

      • annie on January 13, 2019, 5:01 pm

        mooser, it’s rather hysterical the crank scolding you on the “habit of jumping to conclusions unrelated to the discussion” by a condescending practitioner of that very thing. tra lalalalala ;)

      • Mooser on January 13, 2019, 5:36 pm

        “More, and beautifully put, about this from one of the few clear-thinkers “ “Echin”

        “…While the Old Left taught us to transcend gender, race, sexual preference etc., the New Left builds walls dividing us along those same lines…” Gilad Atzmon

        “Echin” bubbele! You are a fan of the Old Israeli Left? I did not know that. You figure the Old Israeli Left (what else could Gilad Atzmon be talking about?) has the answers we need?

      • echinococcus on January 13, 2019, 10:16 pm

        Pooh-Bah,
        Slow down your quick reading, you miss the point. This is about Annie’s (and Mooser’s) calling “left” any amount of imperialist warmongers. It’s all about UK-US. Of course there can’t be any Zionist “left” anywhere, don’t make yourself ridiculous.

      • annie on January 14, 2019, 9:05 pm

        . This is about Annie’s (and Mooser’s) calling “left” any amount of imperialist warmongers.

        everyone can scroll up. this is about you, pouncing on my comment about “more pushback from the right (conservatives or constitutionalists) on this legislation” (in reference to something rand paul wrote) and then you making up fake quotes and a fake allegations i *define* the left, which i don’t:

        the way you define “right” and “left”.

        and then you accuse others of “jumping to conclusions unrelated to the discussion.” (your forte)

        there was nothing in the discussion “left” until you wrote:

        There’s no “left” there.

        which i duly ignored because it was clear you were echitching for a fight. i posted the video for her quote about identity, not in relation to left or right. and then you say it again:

        Also, it’s unclear what that shows as to a “left” here.

        there’s no discussion here about “the left” except what you’ve brought to it. like i said, anyone can just scroll up.

      • echinococcus on January 15, 2019, 2:45 am

        Annie,

        You are implying that calling the author out on any other thing heshe says, other than what the author himherself intends to make as a main point, including the way they parrot propaganda, is now to be defined by you as introducing an off-topic question. Your new law seems to be that one cannot answer anything in any message if not the point that the author of it wants to make. I’ll take note but I’m not so sure that you strictly comply with your own new regulations yourself.

        I picked on your uncritically repeating nonsense characterizations about “the right” and the harmful habit of accepting self-attributed “identities” at face value and observed that this parrots official propaganda. You’re protesting that you did not use the word “left”. Now… when you call some “the right”, what are the others? Unrights or blanks? If you’re not a lawyer or sumpin’, you sure show an aptitude.

        Finally the story with Mooser, who had to protest by insinuating, while of course not stating, that I was calling you a Zionist… because I had pointed out that self-awarded, critically unexamined “identity” is what gave us Zionism in the first place.

        Enough of all this unnecessary back-and-forth. By the looks of it, the correct policy would be to expect some similar reaction from you every time I’d like to discuss anything, instead of a discussion of what’s bothering me at the moment , and to just ignore said reaction. I’ll continue to oppose the nonsense of self-definitions.

      • Mooser on January 15, 2019, 1:37 pm

        “identity” is what gave us Zionism in the first place.”

        You are right. The identity assigned to Jews in many places and times in Europe was bad enough to make people susceptible to ressentiment and a mythical painless irredentistry.

      • echinococcus on January 15, 2019, 3:13 pm

        Yes, Mooser. Po’babies! The only victims ever of the state-religion system or religion-based discrimination.

      • Mooser on January 15, 2019, 3:54 pm

        “The only victims ever of the state-religion system or religion-based discrimination.” “Echi”

        Darn! You caught me “jumping to conclusions” again.

      • echinococcus on January 15, 2019, 4:31 pm

        No, Mooser, that’s not what you were doing this time.

      • annie on January 15, 2019, 4:53 pm

        You are implying that calling the author out on any other thing heshe says, other than what the author himherself intends to make as a main point, including the way they parrot propaganda, is now to be defined by you as introducing an off-topic question. Your new law seems to be that one cannot answer anything in any message if not the point that the author of it wants to make. I’ll take note but I’m not so sure that you strictly comply with your own new regulations yourself.

        lol, well that was quite the mouthful!

        as far as i know there are no new regulations.

        i read an article scott linked by rand paul, i liked it, i tweeted it out …

        nothing to do with you really. and not suggesting anything. and the allegations get wilder and wilder all the time — and i repeat, at no time do i recall ever defining left or right (or “characterizations” as you now claim) but if you’d like to keep attacking me on this bone you won’t let go of, i do find it somewhat entertaining at this point, so by all means keep at it.

      • Mooser on January 15, 2019, 6:54 pm

        “No, Mooser, that’s not what you were doing this time.”

        Okay then, what was I doing when I said (paraquoting my exact words): ‘Jewish suffering invalidates, makes irrelevant all other suffering, and justifies any remedy’?

        That sure seems like a genuine case of JTAC to me.

      • oldgeezer on January 15, 2019, 10:25 pm

        @echnicoccus
        “Your new law seems to be that one cannot answer anything in any message if not the point that the author of it wants to make. ”

        What new rule? In general one responds to the topic of the article.
        If your topic doesn’t fit there find a new article.
        If there’s no article that fits your topic then write one.
        If MW won’t publish it then find a new web site that will.

        That’s more than a little self absorbed.

        And on the internet no one owes you an answer and you have no basis for the utterly brain dead comment that you didn’t answer that proves I’m right bs.

        Geeze Palestinian supporters like you could make me a zionist. Won’t happen but if you were in charge I would finally agree with the argument that there’s no partner for peace.

        I had a friend who worked for NASA who always disagreed with me but the reality is that it’s not rocket science.

        No sane person is going to play by your individual rules and most of us will laugh at your attempts to achieve that.

      • echinococcus on January 16, 2019, 2:31 am

        Old Geezer,

        If you believe it should be forbidden to object to (or approve) the introduction of propaganda language in a post, while its author intends to make some point unrelated to the objectionable language, go ahead and ban it. No one insisted on an answer, as you seem to suggest. All I did was object to the way she uses the words “right” or “left”, as a side remark.
        Thanks for your contribution to the endless, pointless bickering.

      • annie on January 16, 2019, 3:22 am

        to object to (or approve) the introduction of propaganda language

        you mean this: i’m a little confused there isn’t more pushback from the right on this legislation

        that’s your idea of “propaganda language”?

        its author intends to make some point unrelated to the objectionable language

        au contraire, there was no “point”. i merely expressed confusion why all these supposed stalwarts of the constitution have been largely silent over this assault on our 1st amendment right to free speech. meaning, aside from paul, the gop (aka our legislative right wing).

        go ahead and ban it.

        ban what?

        All I did was object to the way she uses the words “right” or “left”,

        again, i made no mention of left. is my sin here referencing paul as part of the right? we live in a 2 party system. while the right commonly identifies (ah, that word!) with the gop, dems like to think of themselves as centrists. our “left” party, if it exists at all, is the greens. then there’s justice dems and dsa but they are not parties per se.

        if you want to have a conversation about identity politics (currently shredding the dems) or how there is no left in our system (or anything else) just say so. but when you launch that conversation as an allegation (directed at me) regarding how or what i identify as right or left: the way you define “right” and “left”. you better have some back up, as in quotes of me defining “right” and “left”. but you have absolutely nothing on that front which leaves you flailing in the wind.

        if you have a desire to speak on a topic of your interest, post to the main thread. sure, you can come after individual commenters. but if you try coming after me, be prepared and don’t make up shit you can’t verify.

      • echinococcus on January 16, 2019, 11:03 am

        Still at it, Annie?

        “don’t make up shit you can’t verify.”
        Who made up anything?
        You ask “is my sin here referencing paul as part of the right?” There is no “sin” in this (everybody and his mother-in-law do parrot this uncritically, after all) but it’s pretty uncritical because there’s only “the right”, nothing else, if you think for a split second. And I used my right to a light, passing observation. So nothing was made up.

        Next time, though, I’ll know better and avoid getting dragged in yet another interminable bout of bickering over nothing.

      • Mooser on January 16, 2019, 12:23 pm

        “There is no “sin” in this”

        Of course not. Is there any “sin” in ‘sincere’, dear?

  3. friendofpalestine on January 11, 2019, 9:12 pm

    Glad the issue of the $38 billion to Israel is accompanied by a lot of noise, instead of quietly being snuck through.

    Activists were first alerted to the $38 billion back in July, by If Americans Knew.

    https://israelpalestinenews.org/tell-congress-vote-no-on-38-billion-to-israel/

    Glad to see other organizations are now following their lead.

    Keep making a noise, everyone!

    • annie on January 12, 2019, 11:42 am

      friendofpalestine, anyone who thinks activists were first alerted to “the issue of the $38 billion to Israel” last summer, is misinformed.

      here’s just one example (and i’d assume If Americans Knew had covered this issue earlier as well):

      https://mondoweiss.net/2016/09/brookings-billion-package/

      • Citizen on January 12, 2019, 12:15 pm

        It’s no secret Phil does not like If Americans Knew, is it? Personally, I identify with Alison Weir’s brave, lonely quest to make non-Jewish Americans aware of who most influences US foreign policy in the Middle East and American foreign aid, and why.

      • annie on January 12, 2019, 12:28 pm

        i like alison weir and appreciate her irrepressible activism. if what you say is true it would be the first i’ve heard of it. so i’d challenge your premiss first, as well as it being any kind of secret or not secret.

        i may be mistaken citizen, but aren’t you also the person who claimed we were funded by jvp? where do people come up with these declarations?

      • Mooser on January 12, 2019, 12:42 pm

        “the person who claimed we were funded by jvp?”

        The internal workings of Mondoweiss seem to excite the imagination.

      • JWalters on January 12, 2019, 5:20 pm

        Agreed, we all need to pull together. Sowing discord among the resistance is an old Zionist tactic.

      • echinococcus on January 13, 2019, 4:33 am

        Walters,

        “Sowing discord among the resistance” is precisely what JVP does. In fact, it seems to be its main goal.

      • Citizen on January 13, 2019, 7:36 am

        @ Annie
        No. To my knowledge, I never thought or claimed MW was funded by JVP.

      • annie on January 13, 2019, 5:05 pm

        i’m sorry citizen, it must have been someone else. i’m not very proficient in remembering details . . and now that our archives are effectively useless… i’m even worse! i just recalled it was the first i heard of it in the comment section.

      • RoHa on January 13, 2019, 8:11 pm

        “and now that our archives are effectively useless”

        And it looks as though the long-promised search engine is going to be very long promised.

      • Mooser on January 14, 2019, 3:21 pm

        “the long-promised search engine”

        I found a tedious work-around which allows some searching: Keep loading “More Comments”, which loads them into one page, and use ‘find’ feature in your browser.

      • Keith on January 14, 2019, 4:56 pm

        ANNIE- “i’m sorry citizen, it must have been someone else.”

        You once implied that I said that even though I didn’t. My contention was and is that Mondoweiss has a somewhat close relationship with JVP including a similar outlook and priorities. I know that you and Phil are members of JVP, and I suspect that Adam and/or Scott and /or Tova and/or others. Also, I have become aware that some (many?) of the authors are active in JVP. Joseph Levine is on the academic council of JVP and Sarah Schulman is an advisory board member. I am sure there are others, but these are the only ones I bothered to check. I believe that Mondoweiss to a significant degree shares JVP’s strong emphasis on the prevalence of anti-Semitism and the need to attack those in the solidarity movement who run afoul of JVP’s criteria, most recently Alice Walker. Mondoweiss continues to provide a platform for this type of activity.

        As for funding, I suspect that both Mondoweiss and JVP appeal to the same group of people. I doubt that either organization gives any significant funding to the other.

      • Mooser on January 14, 2019, 5:38 pm

        I can see it now, an expose of the inner workings of Mondoweiss: “Behind the ‘About’ Page”

    • Citizen on January 14, 2019, 8:20 pm

      @ Keith
      I am not, to my knowledge, a member of JVP. I’m not, to my knowledge, a member of any political organization of any sort, although I support some organization’s sponsored petitions by signing them, and I subscribe to some of their email programs. My impression remains Mondoweiss does not resonate much to the work of Alison Weir, or Gilad Atzmon, or–there’s another guy, but I don’t remember his name at the moment. There’s also another guy, an independent who does great work, but I’ve never seen it mentioned or linked to on MW.

      Oops, I think Keith was addressing Annie, not me, but I will let this comment stand.

      • Keith on January 14, 2019, 9:39 pm

        CITIZEN- “I am not, to my knowledge, a member of JVP.”

        I am not surprised. I am having difficulty relating your comment to my comment which was a response to Annie in regards to what she incorrectly remembers as a claim regarding some sort of funding connection between JVP and Mondoweiss. She has mentioned this before and I recalled that she once claimed that I claimed there was such a relationship but I hadn’t. Since she and Phil (and others?) are members, I assume that they probably make some sort small (?) personal contribution. As I tried to make clear in my comment to Annie, my basic point was/is that Mondoweiss and JVP seem to share a common view and emphasis on certain matters, in particular an emphasis on anti-Semitism which I do not share. Hardly an outrageous assertion on my part. I doubt that the Mondoweiss administrators are offended that I see a certain commonality of emphasis between Mondoweiss and JVP. I assume that they consider their point of view as correct, and I suspect that both organizations would likely agree that they share many similar views.

  4. Talkback on January 12, 2019, 3:17 am

    So according Cory Gardner it’s racist and antisemitic to protect the constitution and free speech.

  5. Marnie on January 12, 2019, 4:28 am

    In reading the latest ‘breaking news’ story that the FBI had tRUMP under investigation like he was/is a foreign agent working for the benefit of russia. As troubling as that is, I think the FBI needs to considering investigating the many congresspeople on both sides of the isle who regularly shill for the zionist state, and this anti-BDS bill is just the tip of the iceberg.

    • Citizen on January 12, 2019, 12:17 pm

      LOL. So how has Bobby Kennedy’s attempt to make AIPAC register under FARA as agent of a foreign government coming along? At the same pace as a real congressional investigation of the assault on the USS Liberty?

  6. Misterioso on January 12, 2019, 10:26 am

    For the record:

    http://normanfinkelstein.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/IMG_8157.jpg

    Photo of Dr. Norman Finkelstein and his students: “Palestine and Israel Within the Struggle for World Peace and Justice.”

  7. JWalters on January 12, 2019, 5:17 pm

    Senator Rubio’s logic gets an F minus. He says, “All it does is … do to the boycotters what the boycotters are doing to Israel.”

    Not allowed! Israel has the right to boycott the BDS protesters. But the US government does NOT have the right to boycott, or in any another way punish the BDS protesters. THAT is a core purpose of the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. It is settled law.

    Rubio should be impeached for his sneak attack on the US’s Liberty and his Adelson-brained subservience to a treacherous foreign country.

  8. James Canning on January 13, 2019, 12:49 pm

    Suppressing free speech in the US in order to facilitate Israel’s endless occupation of the West Bank, is actually not in Israel’s own true best interests.

    • RoHa on January 13, 2019, 8:07 pm

      But putting a comma after a subject clause is taking free speech too far.

  9. PeaceThroughJustice on January 13, 2019, 3:21 pm

    “There is a wide fear now among liberals that the Israel issue is going to divide the Democratic Party just when it needs to stay unified.”
    Too bad Phil has temporarily forgotten to draw the distinction between Jewish votes and Jewish money. In terms of voters, there is no reason in hell why the Dem Party needs to show loyalty to Israel. It’s not as if it’s worked well for them so far. It’s not as if Dem voters are going to desert to Trump.
    The issue is solely the donors. (In the last election, seven of Hillary’s eight largest donors were Jewish zionists.) It’s only by shining a light on the corrupting influence of this money that’s there’s any chance of ending its stranglehold on American foreign policy.
    Despite Phil’s hopes, that kind of discussion of J-power is never going to come from the J-community. Got to look wider.

    • Citizen on January 15, 2019, 5:47 am

      So who were the seven of eight said Jewish donors to Hillary, beside Haim Saban? Source? Who were the top eight biggest donors to Trump, beside Sheldon Adelson?

  10. PeaceThroughJustice on January 18, 2019, 2:34 am

    “How mega-donors helped raise $1 billion for Hillary Clinton“
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-mega-donors-helped-raise-1-billion-for-hillary-clinton/2016/10/22/a92a0ee2-9603-11e6-bb29-bf2701dbe0a3_story.html

    (Would have thought this site would do a better job keeping its readers aware of basic power relationships like this.)

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