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Proposed Arizona amendment could target critics of Israel

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Foundation for Middle East Peace President Lara Friedman points out that a proposed Arizona amendment could potentially trample on free speech and target critics of Israel.

“Folks, they are going to make it a hate crime to meaningfully criticize/protest Israel,” tweeted Friedman.

As Friedman notes, the legislation would revise statutes relating to crime reporting, but the amendment has ramifications that go far beyond data collection. Arizona doesn’t have a specific hate crime law, but the sentencing of individuals can potentially be increased if there is “evidence that the defendant committed the crime out of malice toward a victim because of the victim’s identity.” If passed, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism could be cited as an “aggravating factor” in such sentencing decisions. That definition infamously includes some criticisms of Israel.

“The problem is that the IHRA definition deals obsessively — more than with any other topic — with the degree of antisemitism in criticism of Israel, making it far more difficult to identify real instances of antisemitism, while casting a cloud of suspicion over nearly all criticism of Israel,” wrote Professors Amos Goldberg and Raz Segal in +972 Magazine last year. “Meanwhile, the burden of proof lies with critics of Israel, who are constantly asked to prove that they are not anti-Semites.”

Earlier this month, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a ban on Arizona’s anti-BDS law, as an amendment to the legislation had invalidated a legal challenge on free-speech grounds by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). However, the court did not rule that the law was constitutional and it remains to be seen whether a new lawsuit will emerge.

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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9 Responses

  1. Misterioso on January 23, 2020, 9:50 am

    Ironically, but not surprisingly, in the long run, the attempt by Zionists and their bought and paid for political lackeys to bury the First Amendment of the Constitution and ‘…make it a hate crime to meaningfully criticize/protest Israel,’ will inevitably lead to accelerating criticism and alienation of “Israel” within the American public.

    • eljay on January 23, 2020, 12:37 pm

      || Misterioso: Ironically, but not surprisingly, in the long run, the attempt by Zionists and their bought and paid for political lackeys to bury the First Amendment of the Constitution and ‘…make it a hate crime to meaningfully criticize/protest Israel,’ will inevitably lead to accelerating criticism and alienation of “Israel” within the American public. ||

      And the more that happens the harder Zionists will work to anti-Semitically conflate Israel and Zionism with all Jews and all Jews with Israel and Zionism.

  2. Ossinev on January 23, 2020, 1:28 pm

    Again not surprisingly here in the UK having slaughtered Jeremy Corbyn UK Zionists no doubt at the direct request of Zio Central back in only democracy blah blah blah who have been feasting over the kill and have been busy rounding up the rest of the Labour flock signalling that any direct criticism of Zioland or overt support of the native people in Palestine means that they will be next on the menu. In terms of population numbers and influence of course ZioJudaism is not in the same league nor as intrinsically Benjaminised as the USA but I think in the short to medium term the reaction of the average Brit will increasingly be along the lines of “God we have the crisis in the Health Service , our Police grossly underfunded,our schools and general infrastructure struggling to stay above water, thousands more homeless on our streets yet day after day we have this tiny tiny tiny usually very well off minority constantly whining about how badly they and their Biblical Wonderland are being viewed and treated – if things are so bad then please feel free to jettison your UK citizenship pack your bags and go off to your magical Zioworld where all your troubles will be over”
    Of interest in this context:

    With regard to the absurd notion of “outsourcing” complaints of Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party leaving aside the myriad of problems this would raise including the data protection the “outsourcing” presumably it would have to be applied to ALL registered political parties here in the UK ranging from the Conservatives to the Monster Raving Loony Party (yes the latter does exist and regularly contests UK elections)

  3. HarryLaw on January 23, 2020, 4:18 pm

    Ossinev, Emily Thornberry Shadow Foreign Secretary and one of the leadership candidates is carrying on where the Corbyn team left off unfortunately [No backbone to refute all the false allegations of Antisemitism]
    “If I was leader, I would simply not have that. Instead, driving Antisemitism out of Labour would be my most urgent and immediate priority. No more suspensions, training sessions, or forgiveness, I would just kick these scumbags out of our party
    We need to start by apologising to our Jewish brothers and sisters for the hurt and fear that they’ve been caused at the hands of the sickening, despicable people who call themselves part of the Labour movement but betray our party’s values and history with their every insidious remark.
    Then we need to get down on our hands and knees to the Jewish community and ask them for forgiveness and a fresh start”.
    I campaigned against the Monster Raving Loony party at a by election in Fulham 1986 it was led by the late Screaming Lord [David] Such, remember this…

    • RoHa on January 23, 2020, 11:27 pm

      I seem to recall that Lord Sutch had a certificate from a psychiatrist who had pronounced him sane, and used it to challenge all the other politicians to prove their sanity.

      Am I just imagining this?

      • HarryLaw on January 24, 2020, 2:30 pm

        At the Bootle by-election in May 1990, he secured more votes than the candidate of the Continuing Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by former Foreign Secretary David Owen, Shirley Williams and former Chancellor Roy Jenkins, Within days the SDP dissolved itself. Wow! He saw- off the SDP, what a gifted Politician he must have been.
        He had a history of depression and killed himself by hanging on 16 June 1999. At the inquest, his fiancée Yvonne Elwood said he had “manic depression”. Bipolar disorder (BPD, BD) previously known as manic depression, is a mental disorder that causes periods of depression and abnormally elevated moods.

      • RoHa on January 25, 2020, 2:43 am

        It was the history of depression that made me wonder whether I had imagined the story about the certificate of sanity.

  4. Rashers2 on January 23, 2020, 5:17 pm

    @Ossinev, thanks for the link to Deborah Maccoby’s piece on Dr. Finkelstein’s blog, which had passed me by. I agree with you about the unfortunate, long-term, popular reaction to the domestic intercessions of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and other establishment UK Jewish organisations on behalf of the Zionist state: “If things here are too tough for your taste, eff off and make your precious Aliyah!” Perhaps the BoD and its fellows should return to their “knitting”, which is admirably articulated in the BoD’s own mission statement (emphasis mine):
    “The Board of Deputies of BRITISH JEWS exists to promote and defend the religious and civil liberties of BRITISH JEWRY. For over 250 years the Board of Deputies of BRITISH JEWS has been at the forefront of safeguarding JEWISH LIFE IN THE UK.
    “As the community’s democratically elected cross-communal organisation, the Board connects with government, media and wider society, providing a unique means through which all BRITISH JEWS can be heard and represented.
    “The Board works at the heart of BRITISH JEWISH life, successfully representing every part of our community, from across the religious spectrum, on a broad range of issues and concerns; responding to growing challenges and providing a central voice for all BRITISH JEWS.
    “A comprehensive degree of representation is achieved by bringing together elected representatives, the Deputies, from numerous Synagogues, community organisations and charities. Our dedicated professional staff support the Deputies and both advise on and help formulate policy, whilst maintaining contacts in government, with other faith communities and beyond.
    “This proven structure, together with our accessibility to unaffiliated members of the public, gives every BRITISH JEW a voice, regardless of age, gender or religious involvement.”

  5. [email protected] on February 28, 2020, 9:54 pm

    It’s stupid and scary, but a person would have to commit a real crime in order for this to kick in. Although it is possible that someone could be charged and convicted in a protest and then this would add to the charges.

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