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MuzzleWatch: Breaking down the legal attack against the BDS movement

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MuzzleWatch

This is a nuts and bolts column regarding significant legal anti-BDS efforts, and the underlying tactics employed.  Given the ubiquity of new laws aimed at stifling BDS efforts it’s important to understand the machinery employed in order to effectively respond.  The good news is that civil rights groups like Palestine Legal and the ACLU have been working non-stop to counter these efforts.  In further service to coherently understanding the legal context for such anti-BDS efforts, I will be unpacking arguments in the Harvard Law Review note examining this issue.

Stopping BDS efforts has become a major thrust of the Israeli government and US actors who correctly recognize BDS as a serious non-violent tactic for effecting Israeli governmental change towards occupied Palestinians (beyond the green line) as well as inside Israel, proper.  Over the last few years, these efforts have accelerated and become more organized with, at this date, 28 US states having some sort of anti-BDS legislation on the books, and 14 more states attempting to pass legislation.  There are also myriad smaller scale efforts as well as federal level efforts, that, while important, I will leave for future columns.  What I want to do here is unpack the general outline of the legal strategy typically used by anti-BDS forces.

Although the “in the weeds” legal details don’t matter, it’s important to understand the general approach in order to develop a more coherent understanding of the forces arrayed against BDS efforts.   I will be using the recent and very thorough Harvard Law Review note (HLRn) that does a deep dive into the machinations of the legal theories involved.  For our purposes, the two necessary things to understand concern the First and Fourteenth Amendments (Free speech and discrimination, respectively). These amendments map very well onto issues discussed here previously concerning the conflation of antisemitic behavior and language with criticism of the state of Israel.

To reduce anxiety, I’ll give you the thumbnail first: it’s considered relatively settled law that BDS activity and language are protected by the First Amendment, and that discrimination claims have to reach a level that have, so far, and for the foreseeable future, not been achieved.  Thus, the US supreme court would have to reverse established law based (obviously, this could happen given this supreme court) on what has been, heretofore, considered relatively weak merits.  The civil rights movement in the US actually provides the strongest support for BDS efforts, as almost sacred SCOTUS decisions are providing the bedrock support for BDS.

Although BDS has been around since about 2005 as a consequence of Palestinian civil society calls to non-violently oppose the Israeli occupation, support refugee rights, and advocate for equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, anti-BDS legislative efforts have only been around since around 2014 when Illinois was the first state to pass laws.  Israel, in 2014, budgeted about $25 million dollars to establish an anti-BDS task force focused on the US.  Thus, it’s pretty clear there has been a well-coordinated and funded effort that was quickly ramped up. Hoping to overcome first amendment issues, the gist of the anti-BDS legal argument is that BDS is targeting a particular group by inflicting economic harm, thus discrimination.  Antisemitism is claimed by charging that BDS trades in antisemitic stereotypes and singles out the world’s only Jewish (democratic) state while ignoring state human rights abuses in other countries (the standard “whataboutism” tactic). Further, there is an attempt to link age-old exclusions of Jewish people from commerce to BDS as the latest version of “economic warfare” against Jewish people.   The charge of antisemitism against almost any criticism of Israel or support of Palestinian rights has not really changed, it’s the main go-to tactic and, particularly in Europe, has been effective.

The “legalization” of this tactic is, however, new and I’ll be drilling down a bit on why this matters.   The main approach by anti-BDS forces is to employ some version of the anti-discrimination rationale – often seeking to penalize activity that discriminates on the basis of religion, national origin and nationality. In addition to these “contracting” laws, many states have passed resolutions equating BDS as a way to spread antisemitism.  These are often paired together to defensively counter obvious First Amendment challenges. The general class of these claims centers on the notion that BDS is discrimination, pure and simple, and the state has the power to prohibit such activity – and that these issues of discrimination overcome First Amendment rights. In some instances, such as the Airbnb controversy, the claim was made that Airbnb was discriminating against Jewish Airbnb rentals in the West Bank.  This politically and culturally head spinning/guffaw-inducing claim, easy enough to dismiss in most worlds, save the world of law, was enough to force Airbnb to retract its ban on such rentals.

The through-line here is to conflate antisemitism with anti-Zionism to such an extent that they are rendered, effectively, synonymous which then, allows for the relatively simple discriminatory claim of antisemitism to be made in almost all cases.  The table was set for this by a 2010 US state department adoption of antisemitism that includes the “3 Ds” – demonization, delegitimizing and double-standards (read: we like whataboutism).   The legal gravitas here centers on the transforming of ideology into something legally actionable (the legal term is “cognizable”).

We could easily, at this point, go down the rabbit hole of legalese and constitutional law — we won’t, but suffice it to say, it’s head spinning and the HLR note does an amazing job trying to keep it somewhat jargon free.  For our purposes, it’s important to understand that the bulk of established law supports free expression against general discrimination claims, but that obvious discrimination cannot hide behind free expression. Thus, a white supremacist group organizing a boycott of black businesses could be considered illegal by the state.  More concretely, Obama passed an executive law in 2014 prohibiting federal contractors from practicing anti-LGBT employment discrimination. This is similar to the claims now being made by those arguing for anti-BDS legislation.

But let’s not despair because almost all the laws developed to date are fairly weak constitutionally.  Indeed, these are very specific laws that only apply to boycotts against Israel, this “underinclusiveness” speaks to the fact that no other boycotts of any kind in the US are protected with these anti-BDS laws.  It’s pretty clear that such laws are being developed to stifle/quash (in legal terms, “disfavor”) a particular viewpoint, directed at a specific country, Israel. To be clear, it’s more than fine to have boycotts against any other country, any US state or the US itself (if this were possible), but apparently not Israel.

Anti-BDS forces try to make the case that direct evidence exists that BDS discriminates against Israeli individuals or Jewish individuals, per se, just because of their status but this claim could not be further from the truth.  Indeed, the Palestinian BDS national committee directly states that they do “not tolerate any act or discourse which adopts or promotes . . . antisemitism,” and it affirms Universal Declaration of Human Rights principles rejecting religious and national-origin discrimination. The Palestinian Boycott National Committee encourages supporters to select targets based on their complicity in Israel’s human rights violations, potential for cross-movement solidarity, media appeal, and likelihood of success. The movement does not select targets based on their national origin or religious identity.

There is a “judo throw” trick that anti-BDS forces also use in which they claim that criticism of the Jewish state or advocating the end of Israel as a Jewish state are direct evidence for antisemitism.  Although this stance can be construed or directly stated as being anti-Zionist (a political stance that opposes Jewish ethno-Nationalism in Israel), it certainly isn’t, by definition, equal to being antisemitic, (anti-Jewish animus).

Similarly, anti-BDS forces also argue that BDS ignores human rights abuses in other countries, and then uses “but-for” rhetoric, in the shape of “but-for” Israel being the Jewish state, or “but-for” Jews controlling political power in Israel, there would be no BDS movement.  Analogously, claims that the US refusing to trade with Iran are based on anti-Shia Muslim animus instead of Iranian nation-state policy, would be considered idle.  And the “but-for” argument immediately founders if we imagine a similar argument being made against BDS efforts in apartheid South Africa, “but-for” animus towards the Dutch Boer, there would be no BDS against South Africa.

In another attempted judo throw, anti-BDS tactics may involve claiming that BDS disproportionally affects Jewish Israelis, no matter the intent of BDS.   But this runs up against settled case law, NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886 (1982), in which the claim that the local whites were more likely to be employed by the boycotted businesses, constituting discrimination against white (I kid you not), was rejected.  Indeed, the point of the boycott was that whites were the only ones allowed to work and eat in these establishments due to racism. Similarly, BDS, if it has disproportionate effects on Israeli Jews is because the self-proclaimed Jewish State implements a policy of Jewish-only illegal settlements in the West Bank.

The bottom line is that anti-BDS efforts, in a legal context can easily be seen as an effort to stifle disfavored speech (with BDS considered a type of protected speech), precisely what the First Amendment is designed to protect.  Attempts to use anti-discrimination argumentation is dependent on the cynical conflation of critique of Israel’s policies with antisemitic racism. Although there are some critics of Israel that may also be antisemitic, BDS has clearly stated its rejection of any kind of racist language or behavior.  Attempts by anti-BDS forces to pass laws legislating against free speech, while successful in regard to getting onto the books in a majority of US states will most likely be rejected when constitutionally challenged. Palestine Legal has as its mission challenging these laws in court and I would urge people to see what they are doing here.

Pulling this back out of the legal context — clearly these anti-BDS efforts can have a chilling effect on non-violent efforts to challenge Israel’s US-supported illegal occupation.  The welter of local, state, and national laws and resolutions requires great commitment to fight against. This should not be surprising given the threat BDS poses to the status quo settler colonialism practiced by Israel.

See here for the MuzzleWatch archive. Have tips or feedback? Let us know — [email protected].

Rob Lipton

Rob Lipton is a long time member of Jewish Voice for Peace, wrote for JVP's Muzzlewatch, was an ISM participant, and was the LA director of FAIR during the first Gulf War. He is Poet Laureate of Richmond, CA and a spatial epidemiologist.

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32 Responses

  1. bcg on March 24, 2020, 12:40 pm

    I think it’s worthwhile to point out the very first sentence in the Harvard Law Review article cited above:

    https://harvardlawreview.org/2020/02/wielding-antidiscrimination-law-to-suppress-the-movement-for-palestinian-rights/

    “The United States is seeing a cultural shift toward increased concern over Israel’s human rights record. “

    • JWalters on March 28, 2020, 8:27 pm

      A welcome development. And I appreciate Rob Lipton’s comprehensible deep dive into the legal issues.

      Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose group X declared their right to cannibalize non-members of group X. And further suppose non-members of group X objected to that cannibalization. Could group X claim they were being discriminated against simply because they were members of group X?

  2. brent on March 25, 2020, 12:31 am

    I look forward to the day political battles for Palestinian well-being will not be determined by Israel’s supporters. It seems reasonable that force (stones, rockets or boycotts) is unlikely to have the power of civil rights. Equality under the law is a strategy that brings to fore the question of which face Jews decide to present to the world.

    • punterweger on March 25, 2020, 9:41 am

      It is fundamentally wrong to lump stones and boycotts together with rockets. Boycotts are non-violent, and stone throwing cannot be considered terrorism (as Israel does). Moreover, who are we privileged armchair strategists to advise Palestinian youths, who daily suffer the violence of the occupiers, how to resist. If I understand you correctly, you seem to think that global campaigns that highlighting the lack of equal rights in Israel and the occupied territories will be the most effective tactic in obtaining justice for Palestinians. Obviously, this should be one of the main tactics, But, moral appeals will not do the job by themselves. MLK employed boycotts and sit-ins as part of the civil rights struggle. The BDS movement is critically important, not so much because of its economic impact, but because it draws global attention the injustice that Israel perpetrates in Palestine and thus strongly influences public opinion.

    • catalan on March 25, 2020, 10:37 am

      “Boycotts are non-violent, and stone throwing cannot be considered terrorism”
      Some boycotts are non-violent, for example when people don’t buy Cheerios or Starbucks to protest. Some boycotts are extremely violent, such as those directed at depriving Israeli civilians of essential goods such as food or medicine. The BDS people seek the complete isolation and economic collapse of Israel in the hope that would lead to “concessions”. Since that would lead to starvation and lack of medical supplies, the goal is violent.
      Also, stone throwing can kill and maim for life (there are handy videos of Iranian executions of adulterers by stoning if you want to see how deadly it is).

      • bcg on March 25, 2020, 11:51 am

        @Catalan: In your opinion, what caused South Africa to give up apartheid? Seriously.

        You will object that there isn’t any analogy between South Africa and Israel, but that’s not the point – the question is how countries have been moved (or forced, if you prefer) to make changes they don’t want to make. South Africa resisted dismantling apartheid but in the end it gave in. What caused the change?

      • punterweger on March 25, 2020, 1:28 pm

        @catalan – Your statement that the BDS boycott would cause “the economic collapse of Israel” or “starvation and lack of medical supplies” is ludicrous and misleading. If there were any danger of any of this, Israel would simply have to comply with democratic principles and international law to avoid such consequences. The boycott call only demands that Israel: 1. end the occupation of Palestinian land; 2. ensure equal rights to all citizens within Israel; 3. repect the right of the Palestinians it has displaced. Stop embarrassing yourself!

      • catalan on March 25, 2020, 1:55 pm

        “The boycott call only demands that Israel…:” Puntwegger
        You think you are in a position to demand?!? And what are you going to do if Israel doesn’t comply – not buy Cheerios and Nestle? Who cares what you and some concocted movement demands? Keep along the same path for the next 80 years, best wishes.

      • Misterioso on March 25, 2020, 2:23 pm

        @catalan

        Bull crap!!

        Those who participate in and support BDS are rightfully and morally responding to “Israel’s” brutal and illegal occupations, dispossesion, expulsion, torture, collective punishments and imprisonment of the long suffering indigenous Palestinians, (including those in the occupied** Gaza Strip) as well as the ever increasing destruction of their homes. In short, “Israel” is a thoroughly documented serial and escalating violator of hard won international humanitarian law and must be treated as such!!

        **As the respected human rights organization Human Rights Watch declared in 2005: “…Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under international law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawing and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawal’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagement] document at all… The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulations, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’. International jurisprudence has clarified that the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

        The International Committee of the Red Cross: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”

      • catalan on March 25, 2020, 2:47 pm

        “In your opinion, what caused South Africa to give up apartheid? Seriously.” Bcg
        South Africa in the last thirty years has become literally one of the world’s biggest failures; read about it – infant mortality, water shortages, infections disease are all some of the highest on the world. Human development index is the lowest possible as is happiness index. Crime is horrible and the ecological collapse is historic. And this is your role model?!?
        As to boycotts etc – I doubt that the fascist theocrats of Hamas will ever attract a particularly large boycott in the West. If the last decade is any sign, your abstinence from certain products and businesses (from Chevy to Starbucks) has not achieved much in terms either of quality of life for the Palestinians or their prospects. Have you heard the expression, hope is not a strategy?

      • punterweger on March 26, 2020, 1:02 pm

        @catalan – take your head out of the sand and look at how Israel is spending millions through its Ministry of Startegic Affairs to combat BDS. I hope they keep right on doing it, including their attempts to restrict freedom of speech in Western democracies. It just makes it so much clearer what lies the “Jewish and democratic” state stands for.

      • catalan on March 26, 2020, 2:06 pm

        “@catalan – take your head out of the sand and look at how Israel is spending millions through its Ministry of Startegic Affairs to combat BDS”
        Israeli GDP for 2020 is about 400 billion dollars. The 2019 budget was 140 billion dollars. I think spending a few million for public relations and combatting boycotts is a perfectly good investment. I am sure Russia spends quite a bit to advertise and reduce support for the sanctions. I live in a great place – New Mexico – and have the luxury to observe patiently how it all shakes out. Maybe in a few years you will be proven right. When the corona thing is over, make sure to visit New Mexico. The sky gives you perspective. People in New York, they never get to see the horizon.

      • catalan on March 29, 2020, 8:07 pm

        “Then why is “Israel” sucking about $15 million each and every day out of the pockets of American tax payers?“ misterioso
        The same reason that if you offer to buy me a free coffee I would accept it, doesn’t mean I can’t afford it. The US is a strong country, with a big army, airforce and navy. Some say it is the lone superpower. If it doesn’t want to send money to Israel, it is free not to, Israel certainly can’t force it. Why should Israel say no to some financing? Maybe if the Palestinians chose to make friends with the US instead of their very best friend Iran, they could have gotten something too. Turns out burning American flags once a week ain’t so brilliant. Everyone makes their choices, now live with them.

    • Mooser on March 25, 2020, 1:17 pm

      “It seems reasonable that force (stones, rockets or boycotts) is unlikely to have the power of civil rights”

      What about automatic weapons, heavy weapons, control of the air, communications, an organized army and unaccountable ‘security forces’ and US supplied international immunity and impunity? Do those have the power of civil rights?

    • echinococcus on March 26, 2020, 12:48 am

      “It seems reasonable that force (stones, rockets or boycotts) is unlikely to have the power of civil rights”

      Somebody should tell you the truth at last: As the hyper-super snake oil salesman you imagine yourself to be in your crazy dreams, you are the most resounding failure of the century.

      “I look forward to the day political battles for Palestinian well-being will not be determined by Israel’s supporters”

      Meaning you perhaps should stop your propaganda.

      • Misterioso on March 29, 2020, 9:25 pm

        @Catalan

        “Some say it is the lone superpower. If it doesn’t want to send money to Israel, it is free not to, Israel certainly can’t force it. ”

        Feeble response.

        The hammer lock that American Zionist organizations and super wealthy individual Zionists (e.g., Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban) have via massive campaign donations gives them huge leaverage over American politicians and forces them to pour U.S. taxpayers’ money into”Israel’s” pockets. It’s now 72 years since “Israel” was forced on historic Palestine by Zionist Jews of foreign origin and it still cannot pay its way.

        Also, you conveniently ignore the abundance of evidence I provided proving that “Israel’ is not a success story. Indeed, it remains what it has always been, a beggar state that is being increasingly abandoned by Jews in search of a better life elsewhere.

  3. eljay on March 25, 2020, 11:38 am

    Zionists insist that the “Jewish State” shouldn’t be “singled out” for “special treatment” because that’s just anti-Semitic…and then they proceed anti-Semitically to oppose BDS against colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” Israel even as they fervently advocate, support and defend measures such as crushing economic sanctions, destabilization, regime change, military assault and constant existential threats against neighbouring countries like Iran and Syria.

    This behaviour would be surprising if it weren’t for the fact that hypocrisy is a staple of Zionism.

  4. Ossinev on March 25, 2020, 11:54 am

    @catalan
    “The BDS people seek the complete isolation and economic collapse of Israel in the hope that would lead to “concessions”. Since that would lead to starvation and lack of medical supplies, the goal is violent”
    = a sad,twisted,sick,distorted and amoral abuse of the Coronavius Tragedy simply to have yet another pathetic dig at BDS. HTF ! is the BDS goal stated below “violent”.

    “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

    Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Since its launch in 2005, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism”
    https://bdsmovement.net/what-is-bds

    • Misterioso on March 25, 2020, 2:35 pm

      @Ossinev

      Well said! The arrogance and endless deceit of these pro-“Israel” advocates are nauseating.

    • jon s on March 25, 2020, 3:36 pm

      BDS is primarily a campaign of anti-Israel activists in the West , and does not benefit the Palestinians.
      The Palestinians themselves don’t boycott Israel.

      • Misterioso on March 26, 2020, 9:57 am

        @jon s

        “The Palestinians themselves don’t boycott Israel.”

        Inane comment!! Prisoners are unable to boycott those who imprison them.

      • oldgeezer on March 26, 2020, 12:29 pm

        @Misterioso

        jon s knows that. it’s not the first time he’s used that same worn out excuse.

        He’s just another racial supremacist that will lie and obfuscate in order to protect his racist ideology.

      • jon s on March 26, 2020, 11:54 pm

        Old geezer, as usual,engages in name calling.
        I despise racism, I believe in equal rights for all, and I’ve never written anything different.

      • eljay on March 27, 2020, 8:55 am

        || jon s: … I despise racism, I believe in equal rights for all, and I’ve never written anything different. ||

        You’re a Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacist and you’ve never written anything different.

        You object to a resolution to I-P based on justice, accountability and equality, and you’ve never written anything different.

      • Mooser on March 27, 2020, 3:34 pm

        “Jon s” who do you think you’re fooling?

  5. bcg on March 25, 2020, 3:17 pm

    @Catalan: I gather from your comments that BDS is a nothingburger, Mondoweiss is divorced from reality and isn’t worth the electrons it’s printed on. Fine, I’m not going to try to change your mind, you have the perfect right to express your opinion. But there’s something crazy here I don’t understand: I think astrology is crazy and people who believe in astrology are divorced from reality, so I don’t read astrology websites. Get what I mean?

  6. JohnSmith on March 25, 2020, 4:36 pm

    It definitely is amusing to see hate-filled racist creep and troll Catalan make inconsistent and stupid arguments and generally hyperventilate on a site that he totally, totally doesn’t care about and could never be bothered to look at except that he does look at it.

    BDS supposedly can’t do anything, yet it supposedly has the potential to create mass suffering in the streets of Israel as Zionists run about screaming “Oh, woe!, oh woe! we are starving and penniless because of BDS and yet the world does nothing!”

    And protestors tossing a large pebble, or even a fist-sized rock, from 40 or 100 feet away is the same as an organized execution by stoning as executioners destroy a human body, an adulterer or adulteress perhaps, with stones?

    Can there really be people who are so full of hyperventilating stupid, illogical rage as this incredibly illogical and unintelligent pro-Israel racist Catalan?

    I’m sure he loves to talk about supposed problems in South Africa because of the same kind of anti-black animus that animates his anti-Palestinian racism. If he were a decent human being, someone who actually cared about sufferings and wrongs and actually looking at problems and situations in the world, he would actually look at South Africa in a reasoned way and see and discuss things that have improved, things that continue to be troubling, etc. I expect a lot of problems in South Africa are the continuing result of the history resulting from the racism that Catalan so loves.

    Catalan makes bad-faith arguments because he loves evil and racism. As with right-wingers in the US, you know his arguments are crap because he can’t analyze problems with any degree of subtlety or intelligence. It’s all just extremist hyperventilating. But it’s not extremist to say that Catalan loves evil and racism because evil is evil and racism is racism, and there is such an abundance of proof that that evil and that racism is what Catalan supports.

    He really shouldn’t even be on this site, but perhaps he’s paid to squawk his twaddle. Or maybe his love of his Master Race beliefs just renders him that crazy.

    • Misterioso on March 26, 2020, 10:04 am

      @JohnSmith

      Well said!!

      With supporters like Catalan, criticism of “Israel” comes easy and is entirely justified.
      Racist Zionism is enroute to disaster. Needless to say, the sooner the better.

    • Mooser on March 27, 2020, 3:39 pm

      “He really shouldn’t even be on this site, but perhaps he’s paid to squawk his twaddle.”

      No, he is just fulfilling his mission as a member of the League of Validators.

  7. brent on March 26, 2020, 1:19 am

    BDS, not coupled with a sustained campaign for civil rights, isn’t likely to be very effective. Defending it compromises energy.

    Americans would walk off a cliff before submitting to pressure tactics. Where have sanctions alone proved effective?

    Here’s a comment I’d recorded by South Dakota Senator James Aboresque, speaking to an ADC conference around 1987. “There has been a tremendous PR drive over the past 50 years on the part of Israel unanswered by the Arabs. They simply don’t have PR knowledge or skills.”

    While skills have evolved, there is still the belief force, absent an organized civil rights effort, will be effective at realigning the politics of America, its Congress and Jewish people. I haven’t seen the evidence.

    Abbas could stipulate independence or equality, declare a unilateral ceasefire, enforce it and ask the US to be responsible to monitor it. Then be prepared to sustain blows as Americans debate their responsibility.

    • bcg on March 26, 2020, 9:38 am

      “BDS, not coupled with a sustained campaign for civil rights, isn’t likely to be very effective. Defending it compromises energy.”

      First of all, we can walk and chew gum at the same time – there are now enough people concerned about the human rights situation in Israelistine so that BDS activities can be supported without draining other resources.

      Second, reality in general and politics in particular are non-linear: nothing happens, nothing happens, nothing happens and then all of a sudden something happens – there’s usually a straw that beaks the camels back. (there’s a branch of mathematics that studies this kind of phenomenon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catastrophe_theory ). Putting all our eggs in the BDS basket isn’t advised, but as one among many activities it’s worth pursuing.

  8. Misterioso on March 29, 2020, 7:36 pm

    @Catalan

    “Israeli GDP for 2020 is about 400 billion dollars. The 2019 budget was 140 billion dollars. ”

    Then why is “Israel” sucking about $15 million each and every day out of the pockets of American tax payers?

    Also:
    “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $134.7 billion (current, or non inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance. At a signing ceremony at the State Department on September 14, 2016, representatives of the U.S. and Israeli governments signed a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid covering FY2019 to FY2028. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States pledges to provide $38 billion in military aid ($33 billion in Foreign Military Financing grants plus $5 billion in missile defense appropriations) to Israel. This MOU replaces a previous $30 billion 10-year agreement, which runs through FY2018.”

    Newsweek, May 10/18
    “More Israelis are moving to the U.S.—and staying for good”

    “Spurred by the high cost of living, low salaries, and political and demographic trends, Israelis are leaving the country in droves.” By Yardena Schwartz.

    EXCERPTS: “Israel celebrates its 70th birthday in May with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Yet the country is grappling with an existential crisis—one that doesn’t involve Iranian nukes or Palestinian protests. Spurred by the high cost of living, low salaries, and political and demographic trends, Israelis are leaving the country in droves, trying to build their lives elsewhere, mostly in the United States. Many of these young Israelis are moving to big cities, and yet, even in these often expensive places, they see more opportunities to advance.”

    “The available data is telling, analysts say. Between 2006 and 2016, more than 87,000 Israelis became U.S. citizens or legalized permanent residents, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. That’s up from 66,000 between 1995 and 2005. These figures take into account only those who took the legal route (many Israelis, analysts say, arrive on temporary tourist, student or work visas, then stay). And in addition to the Israelis now living stateside, according to the country’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, hundreds of thousands have moved to Europe, Canada and elsewhere.

    “The country’s brain drain isn’t new. For years, many of its most talented scholars and researchers moved to the U.S., where the salaries are far higher and there are more jobs at top-tier universities. One report by Dan Ben-David, an economist at Tel Aviv University, found that the emigration rate of Israeli researchers was the highest in the Western world. Recently, however, the exodus has expanded to include average young people, many of whom say there’s simply no future in Israel.

    “…Israel has one of the highest poverty rates and levels of income inequality in the Western world. Meanwhile, it also has one of the highest costs of living. Tel Aviv ranks ninth among the world’s most expensive cities, higher than New York and Los Angeles; five years ago, it ranked 34th. The situation is so dire that a 2013 survey by the financial newspaper Calcalist (the most recent Israeli study conducted on this topic) found that 87 percent of adults—many with children of their own—depend on substantial financial support from their parents.”

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