Every Jewish group in the United States is rattled for one reason: Since Donald Trump’s election, 90 bomb threats have been called in to 73 Jewish Community Centers. But while Jewish activists are united in worry over the anti-Semitism, there is is a stark, albeit expected, divide on one question: whether the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel over human rights abuses is helping fuel the uptick in anti-Semitism in the U.S. Right-wing Jewish groups have cast BDS as a threat not only to Israel, but to Jews around the world. Left-wing groups that criticize Israel, though, say that this conflation obscures the roots of anti-Semitism, and is more about shutting up dissent than combatting anti-Jewish hatred.
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team announced today that Senator Jeff Sessions, a right-wing hardliner on immigration, will be his attorney general, and that Michael Flynn, the anti-Muslim former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, will be his national security adviser. The moves signal that Trump is rewarding those who remained loyal to him during his tumultuous presidential campaign–and that he has no intention of backing down from his hardline positions on Muslims and immigrants.
Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia–alongside a healthy dose of right-wing Zionism–go hand in hand among adherents of the Internet-savvy white nationalist movement that has supported Trump’s rise to power. The choice to bring Steve Bannon into the Oval Office, potentially alongside other anti-Muslim ideologues that have clustered around Trump, portends a dark future for the Muslim American community.
Edward Snowden is back in the news, thanks in large part to Oliver Stone’s new biopic of the whistleblower. While the movie focuses on what Snowden revealed about U.S. surveillance of Americans, Snowden also revealed a great deal about the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Snowden’s leaks provide an unprecedented look at how the U.S. and Israel share intelligence, and also reveal the tensions in the relationship. Mondoweiss takes a look back at Snowden’s revelations about Israel and the United States.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement on Saturday. Brown’s signature makes California the 13th state to enact an anti-BDS measure, most of which bar state contracts or pension funds from going to entities that support BDS. California is one of the most significant prizes that pro-Israel groups have won. It’s the most populous state in the country and activists groups on opposing sides of the issue have waged intense battles over BDS and Israel-Palestine.
The Anti-Defamation League brought a delegation of American police officers to an Israeli prison, occupied Hebron and a settler winery in the Golan Heights as part of their 2016 counter-terrorism seminar in Israel, according to an itinerary of the trip obtained by Mondoweiss. Trips like these have come under withering controversy from Palestine solidarity activists and Black Lives Matter protesters. In an age of police militarization and a growing movement to combat police brutality, critics see these trips as potentially fueling harmful police tactics.
For months, pro-Israel and Palestine solidarity groups have been locked in a fierce debate over legislation in California against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Now, to the chagrin of Palestine solidarity activists, the California State Senate is set to consider the bill that would require state contractors to certify that a boycott of Israel they were engaged in does not violate laws against discrimination. Jewish Voice for Peace activist Estee Chandler says it’s likely it will pass, which would make California the 13th state to pass anti-BDS legislation.
New Jersey became the 11th state to pass legislation against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The law to prohibit pension fund investment in pro-boycott companies now goes to Governor Chris Christie, who is expected to sign the bill. The move by the State Assembly is a defeat for for opponents of the bill who say the measure is an attack on the First Amendment right to boycott Israel.
The Democrats are repeating their post-9/11 mistake by pushing for the expansion of the national security state. Their celebrated sit-in is pushing for a measure that would bar people on a terrorist watchlist from buying guns. These watchlists are deeply flawed, arbitrary and disproportionately impact Muslims.
A New York state senator is seeking to cut off university funds to student groups that support boycotting Israel, an escalation of the legislative assault on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Last week, State Senator Jack Martins, a Republican from Long Island, New York, introduced a measure that would prohibit student organizations, like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), from receiving public funds. The bill would impact students who organize for Palestine at State University of New York and City University of New York schools and has been blasted as unconstitutional by Palestine Legal.