Archive for the ‘Boycott Israel’ Category

The New Israel Anti-Boycott Act Is Still Unconstitutional …

Over the weekend, two senators introduced changes to the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would criminalize participation in certain political boycotts targeting Israel. The changes attempt to address the civil liberties concerns raised by the ACLU and other groups.

Unfortunately, the revised bill still violates the First Amendment. It does so by unconstitutionally penalizing Americans who participate in political boycotts of companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, if those boycotts were called for by international governmental organizations like the United Nations.

This is impermissible. Political boycotts are fully protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court made that clear when it recognized, in a landmark 1982 decision called NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware, that the Constitution protected a 1960s boycott of white-owned businesses in Mississippi. If the Israel Anti-Boycott Act were to pass and take effect, we would strongly consider challenging it in court.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act seeks to amend a 1970s law known as the Export Administration Act. That law was passed in response to the Arab Leagues boycott of Israel, which required U.S. businesses to boycott Israel as a condition of doing business with Arab League countries. To prevent foreign countries from bullying U.S. businesses into these compulsory boycotts, the EAA prohibited U.S. companies from entering into agreements with foreign governments to boycott countries friendly to the United States. Whereas the EAA was meant to protect U.S. companies from these compulsory boycotts, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act seeks to dictate the political activities Americans can and cant engage in. It does so by imposing civil and criminal penalties on American organizations that participate in political boycotts called for by international organizations.

The revised Israel Anti-Boycott Act, amended by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), does contain several significant improvements from the original draft. For example, the bill now makes clear that Americans cannot be imprisoned for their boycott participation. It also provides that speech critical of Israel cannot be used to open an investigation against an individual or as evidence that the person violated the law. These changes alleviate some of the gravest dangers posed by the bill.

But this latest version would still allow people who boycott to be slapped with criminal financial penalties. It suffers from the same fundamental flaw as the original draft by criminalizing participation in constitutionally protected boycotts. In fact, the bills sponsors openly admit that it was designed for this purpose. In the press release accompanying its announcement, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) described the bill as an attempt to combat Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) efforts targeting Israel. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also characterized the bill as anti-BDS legislation. Although the bill states that [n]othing in this Act . . . shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment, these words rings hollow in light of the bills obvious purpose.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act cannot be viewed in isolation. It is part of a sustained legislative campaign in the state and federal governments to suppress boycotts of Israel. Just a few weeks ago, a federal court in Kansas agreed with the ACLUs First Amendment challenge to a law requiring state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel. The court recognized that the Kansas state government could not constitutionally suppress our clients boycott to silence one side in the public debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In halting enforcement of the law, the court held that our clients boycott of Israel:

is protected for the same reason as the boycotters conduct in [NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware] was protected. . . . Namely, its organizers have banded together to express collectively their dissatisfaction with the injustice and violence they perceive, as experienced by both Palestinian and Israeli citizens.

From the campaign to divest from apartheid South Africa to the recent boycott against the National Rifle Association, boycotts have always been a key feature of American politics. If state and federal governments could outlaw boycotts they dont like, all sorts of social movements would suffer. Whatever their views are on Israel and Palestine, members of Congress should recognize that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act threatens fundamental First Amendment values. We urge them to oppose it.

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The New Israel Anti-Boycott Act Is Still Unconstitutional …

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Want to boycott Israel? Be my guest, there will be a …

A high official in the Israeli government says that the groups supporting BDS, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, are doing a great job, and Israel has to come up with more aggressive ways to counter them. If you want to promote boycotts against Israel, be my guest, its your right. But there will be a price tag, Ron Brummer said last week.

The new battlefield for BDS is in Europe, where companies are under growing pressure to divest from the West Bank, Brummer said. The best response is to put through anti-BDS legislation in American states (as state legislatures and governors have done in Texas, California, Maryland, New York, and other states), so that if a company boycotts the West Bank, it loses 10s of millions in U.S. contracts.

Brummer,the executive director for operations of the Israeli Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, said there is no distinction between boycotting West Bank settlement products and boycotting Israel. There is only one economy between the river and the sea. If you want to divest from the West Bank Judea and Samaria you have to divest from Israel, which means you boycott Israel completely, he said.

Brummer also called on American Jews to give money to Jewish groups in Europe and South American to fight BDS, because throughout history, Jews have always helped each other.

Brummer spoke at the Israeli American Council last Sunday, November 5 an organization funded by Sheldon Adelsonin a panel titled The Real BDS: Bigotry, Discrimination and Slander. The room was jammed with about 150 people, many young activists. The panel featured Shilo Adler, a leader from an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, Eli.

Lets go through Brummers points and then the points of two other pro-Israel advocates who are fighting BDS.

BDS groups are doing a great job, Brummer said:

The BDS organizations or the delegitimization organizations have evolved. They have improved. They are doing a great job on the other side and we have to adapt ourselves.

But BDS is really anti-Semitism:

BDS as we see it is only the symptom, the current face of something much, much, much deeper, much more established, much more ancient, and that is, the delegitimization of Israel as the Jewish state, as the homeland of the Jewish people.During history, many forces have tried to delegitimize us. Maybe through endless wars, terror, guerrilla, unilateral moves in the U.N. and other institutions.And the current face of the delegitimization campaign is the BDS.

If you support BDS, Israel will take you on:

Delegitimization is the problem we deal with, not BDS. BDS is just a symptom. If you want to promote boycotts against Israel, be my guest, its your right. But there will be a price tag.

Brummer said that Israel had traditionally been too reactive. We have to move from defense to offense. That means being aggressive.

With BDS promoters You always have to use the stick and carrot theory. First you hit them with the stick then you hit them with the carrot.

BDS has been contained in the U.S. but the real danger is Europe. BDS 2.0 is in the U.S. campuses and capitals.

BDS 3.0 is happening as we speak, and this is a much more severe danger to Israel. Im talking about the economic divestment. What is happening now in Europe might be ground zero for the next stage of BDS. Promoting divestment from Israel based on the alleged saying that companies who operate in the West Bank, over the Green Line, are violating human rights this is the narrative that BDS organizations are trying to implement in the U.N., in different institutions, but mainly when they encounter European companies.

Think about the process. Im CEO of a company. Im being approached time and time, over and over again by those BDS organizations, who claim that Because you operate in the West Bank, you are violating human rights. If I want to react and I want to do somethingand all of us dont want to be considered as violators of human rights I might just consider stop working in the West Bank.

But Brummer said there is no difference between the West Bank and Israel (and so no point in the Peace Now/Beinart program of boycotting just the settlements).

But you cannot stop working in the West Bank. Israel does not have two different economic ecosystems, like, Israel within the green line and Israel over the green line. If you want to divest from the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, you have to divest from Israel, which means you boycott Israel completely. This is exactly what the BDS delegitimization organizations are trying to do these days.

The European front is the reason pro-Israel groups are pushing legislation in 24 U.S. states to punish those who support BDS. The Israeli government is cheering from the sidelines:

It is extremely, super important to confront this new reality. Because eventually when a CEO of a company lets say in Denmark, has to decide, Does he listen to any kind of UN institution or any kind of human rights report that is being published, or does he want to lose 10s of millions of contracts in Texas or in Florida? most of the CEOs will decide not to lose those 10s of millions of dollars.

So when we talk about how do we try to move from defense to offense? The legislation piece, which obviously the Israeli government has nothing to do with but we look at it from the side, and we think this is a very good process.

BDS is on the verge of scoring a big success, he warned, in the real ground zero of BDS, which is South Africa. The African National Congress is considering a resolution to lower the countrys level of diplomatic relations with Israel. If that passes, there will no longer be an embassy in tel aviv.

If that will happen, this might be one of the biggest successes of the BDS movement ever.

Jews need to stick together. Brummer called on the wealthy and powerful American Jewish community to help Jewish communities in Europe, South Africa and Latin America to fight BDS.

That takes me to one of my bottom lines Through history the Jewish people have always assisted and helped the weaker part or, to be more correct, the more needy parts of world Jewry. I think that in the United States, once again, due to the amazing work IAC [Israeli American Council] and other organizations are doing, and the great support of many philanthropists here, there is a good answer to BDS.What is needed now is to shift the efforts to the other side of the ocean.

The Jewish communities and the pro Israel communities in Europe, in South Africa, a little bit in Latin America as well they need the help now. They dont have the tools, they dont have the money, they dont have the resources. They dont have the political support that you have here, and you take it maybe, sometimes you take it for granted.

This is the time to shift the efforts from whats going on here which is well treated it cannot be treated better than it is today, I think, and to shift the efforts to where it is really needed and that is in Europe and South Africa and other places of the world.

Brummer stressed the idea of Jewish cohesion. BDS is failing around the world, he asserted. But its aim was to drive a wedge between the state of Israel and the Jewish diaspora. I think this will fail because Israel is the glue that keeps us together. In LA or Beersheva. The amazing work that you are doing, and others, will be the glue that keeps us together.

Dillon L. Hosier National Director, State Government Affairs, Israeli-American Coalition for Action

Now lets move on to Dillon Hosier. Hosier is a lobbyist with the Israeli American Coalition for Action, which is a partner group of IAC. He works in state capitals on anti-BDS legislation.

Hosier pointed to the pro-BDS group, Jewish Voice for Peace, and said it was playing the game the right way in state capitals, fromSacramento to Boston to Olympia to Austin.

Over the past few years Ive seen something very interesting. There is one particular group how many people have heard of Jewish Voice for Peace? [30 hands go up; about a fourth of the room] Jewish Voice for Peace, in my mind theyre smart, theyre strategic, theyre connected, and they are playing the game the right way.

Ill tell you, I was in Carson City, the capital of Nevada. And the Jewish Voice for Peace activist was following every single step of the process of passing an anti-BDS piece of legislation. At every point in the legislative process they would object and try to rally against In Sacramento, there was a guy who lived there, retired of course, spent every single day of the session in the capital, going from office to office to office, trying to pull votes off the legislation. He would do his best to rally forces against support of the bill.

Hosier saw the same in Boston, where JVP brought out 100 people to a committee meeting to testify against the bill. While in Nevada, JVP did FOIA requests to see any communication I had with relevant government officials in the state. Hosier conducted himself in the most ethical manner, because if he didnt cross every t and dot ever i, Ive got JVP there and ready to jump.

Hosier said that JVP was redefining the playing field for the battle over BDS by imbedding themselves in local Democratic political organizations.

I was on the floor of the California Democratic Party convention earlier this year, as a delegate, and one of the most anti Israel resolutions passed at that convention. It was not because of the California Democratic Party.This resolution was not in my view representative of the California Democratic Party.

But guess what, Jewish Voice for Peace, in fact that same guy who hangs out at the capital, all day he managed to get 300 people, primarily through CAIR and other types of organizations, got 300 people to sign on to this legislation, to insure that it passed the floor immediately

Meanwhile, our side, we were completely flatfooted, we didnt have any organization there.

So JVP had held the party hostage.

This is not a college campus. Were talking about the California Democratic Party theyre imbedded in and that they are passing this resolution. So now it looks like BDS has legitimacy from one of the biggest Democratic parties in the country. Theyre basically in my view holding it hostage.

The problem is that the pro-BDS forces are in the trenches and the pro-Israel forces rely on big donors.

When it comes to political action, I see all too often we find a member of congress, we donate the maximum amount and thats it. We write a check and then we walk away. We expect them to vote our way. Sometimes they dont.We cant do that anymore.

Those who are passionately opposed to Israel, are getting elected.

From the lowest level delegate seats to school boards, those opposed to Israel are getting elected. For a while a lieutenant governor candidate in Illinois was pro-BDS (till he got kicked off the ticket, that is!).

These people are actually getting involved. Writing a check is no longer sufficient. We have to actually get involved. Strategically involved.

If we dont, Hosier said, well be completely overwhelmed. CAIR has a political action committee, and theyre engaged at the grass-roots level. Israel supporters have to get involved at that level. Writing a check is not enough. Because no amount of money will dissuade the opponents of Israel to change their line. Pro-Israel forces have to go grass roots.

Its a scary thing but we have to get involved at that level.

Michelle Rojas-Tal of the Jewish Agency

Finally, some quotes from Michelle Rojas-Tal, who works at Hillel International and the Jewish Agency. Rojas-Tal said that the battle on college campuses is to stop BDS as an illegitimate form of bigotry.

Its an issue of hate and prejudice, she said. If and when BDS decides to rear its ugly face on a college campus, BDS needs to be stopped.

Israel advocates can stop it because BDS has absolutely no place on a college campus because it goes against the values that American academic institutions stand for. Thats the language we need to start speaking.

She urged the activists in the room to use Israel the country as a model to show young Americans that Israel is a value in their lives.

We have an opportunity. Were living in a generation and a period of renaissance where we have Israel and we cannot take it for granted. Because we have Israel, we can use it as a classroom.

Nonetheless, Rojas-Tal lamented that BDS was drawing energy away from more positive engagement with Israel, to taking on the BDS narrative of Palestinian human rights.

BDS is taking up so much of our oxygen and our energy that I dont want to lose the opportunity of creating the everlasting bond between the Jewish people and Israel.

BDS has taken up so much of our attention, she said, that pro-Israel Jews are not able to tell the story, of what Zionism means. (I actually think the Palestinian solidarity community would love to have that discussion.)

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BDS Guide – Boycott Israel the Right Way

Also, have you used Facebook lately? Well, if you did… Did you know that Facebook opened an R&D center in Israel and acquired Israeli mobile tech company, Onavo? Yup. Please stop using Facebook immediately!

C’MON, LET’S DO THIS RIGHT!

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BDS Guide – Boycott Israel the Right Way

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Boycott Israel – Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Individual consumers can show their opposition to Israels Apartheid policies against the Palestinian people and violations of international law by participating in a consumer boycott of Israeli goods and services. A boycott can also put pressure on companies whose exports are linked to some of the most evident aspects of the Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Take Action: We are asking supporters and those concerned about Palestinian rights to write to supermarkets and ask them to stop stocking Israeli goods.

The Israeli barcode starts with the numbers 729. However, it doesnt necessarily appear on all Israeli products so be sure to always check the label for country of origin.

Also, please note that this is not a exhaustive list of all Israeli products available in Ireland brand names change, companies dissolve, new companies enter the market etc.

Jaffa oranges were famous for centuries before Israelis successfully colonised the Palestinian name along with the city of Yafa. The Israeli agricultural companies Mehadrin (Jaffa) and Carmel-Agrexco export fruit and vegetables for sale to Europe. Much of this produce is grown on confiscated Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley. Apart from oranges, other examples of fruit exported by these, and other, companies are grapefruits, peppers, avocados, grapes, figs, and passion and sharon fruits.

Dates from Israel come in many brands and are particularity prominent during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan where they can be found in many halal shops.

Israeli new potatoes are often seen in the spring before Irish potatoes are available. Carrots are also exported from Israel.

Tivall is an Israeli company that produces vegetarian foods.

Herbs, such as basil, dill, tarragon, parsley, sage, rosemary, mint, chives and others are commonly sold.

These goods are widely available in big chainstores such as Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Supervalu, Superquinn, Aldi and Lidl.

Most Stanley/Black&Decker Toolboxes and plastic organisers are made in Israel. Plastic saw horses are also often available.

Keter exports a wide range of large plastic products from Israel. These include shelf storage bins, garden sheds, outdoor storage boxes, dog kennels and composting bins.

These plastics can be found in Woodies, Chadwicks, Heitons, Davies and Cork builders providers (all part of the Grafton Group), Homebase, (part of the Home Retail Group),Argos, B&Q and many other hardware, builders providers and tool shops.

Sodastream, appliance for home-making carbonated drinks is a product that was previously manufactured in the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in occupied Palestine. It ow operates from the Naqab (Negev) area of Israel. These products can be found in Dunnes Stores, Harvey Norman, Argos, Clearys, Brown Thomas, DID Electrical and others.

Lees Carpets are made by the Israeli company Carmel Carpets in the illegal industrial settlement zone of Barkan in the West Bank.

Dead Sea beauty products come in many brands including, Ahava, Dead Sea Magik, GADI21,-417, VivO, Nevo and Sea Spa Skincare. YesTo, formerly an Israel-based company which has since relocated to the US, uses Dead Sea minerals in many of its products. They can be found in Holland & Barrett, Nourish and pharmacies. In addition they are often marketed by Israelis at large shopping centres including; Dundrum, Jervis Street, Liffey Valley and others.

Any theft by the Israeli state or companies of natural resources from the Palestinian section of the Dead Sea constitutes War Pillage under the terms of the Geneva Convention. Ahava is one company that is guilty of this, being based in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem on the Dead Sea.

Despite the misleading name, MoroccanOil is an Israeli company that manufactures argan oil-based hair care products, which can be found in Peter Marks and other hair salons.

Ronen Chen is an Israeli womens fashion label that can often be found in boutique fashion outlets.

The Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva, which specialises in generic drugs, is the leading supplier of prescription drugs in the Irish market. For most Teva products there are alternatives if you ask your pharmacist if there is no alternative, just remember Nelson Mandelas maxim that a boycott is a tactic, not a principle.

The Israeli brand AMAV is distributed in Europe by George Prentice Associates (GPA), Kildare. They market a range of activities type craft boxes (plastic!) and Art Easels for children These are available at major toy retailers, Hamleys, Smiths and Art & Hobby.

The DIY-website company Wix is headquartered in Israel, and Wix is the parent ogansiation of the online artistic platform DeviantArt which it acquired in 2017. The audio plugin development company Waves is a joint US-Israeli venture. The ancestry research and DNA testing website MyHeritage.com is headquartered in Tel Aviv. The controversialonline marketplace Fiverr is headquartered in Tel Aviv, while its Corporate Office is based in the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC.

HP Hewlett-Packard, although not an Israeli company, is boycottable due to the companys deep role in helping entrench the occupation of Palestine and associated human rights abuses.

Similarly, while also not an Israeli company, Motorola is boycottable as it provides surveillance in Israeli illegal colonial settlements, profiting from this violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Although neither are Israeli companies, both Caterpillar and South Korean Hyundai supply the machinery used by Israel when it demolishes Palestinian homes, structures and farmlands in the Gaza, West Bank, Jerusalem and the Naqab (Negev) desert. In addition to machinery, Caterpillar also markets shoes, bags, tools and other consumer products under its brand name.

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Boycott Israel – Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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Netanyahu condemns Irish legislation promoting Israel boycott …

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday strongly condemned an Irish legislative initiative which calls for a boycott of products produced in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

Netanyahu said in a statement that the goal of the proposed legislation is to support the BDS movement and harm the State of Israel.

The initiative gives backing to those who seek to boycott Israel and completely contravenes the guiding principles of free trade and justice, he added.

Netanyahu also instructed that the Irish Ambassador to Israel be summoned to the Foreign Ministry on this matter. The meeting with the Irish ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly, will be held on Wednesday, according to a report in Haaretz.

The Irish senate debated the bill on Tuesday. Beyond outlawing the import or sale of such products, it would also ban services originating from Judea and Samaria, the newspaper said.

The senate decided that debates regarding the bill will be formally adjourned until July. “This will allow the Irish government five months to progress a diplomatic approach and action at European Union level. It also gives more time for improvements, amendments and changes to the bill,” people involved in the matter told Haaretz.

The European Commission in 2015 issued guidelines for labeling products from Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and neighborhoods of Jerusalem liberated during the 1967 Six Day War.

The EU insists the labeling does not amount to a boycott of these regions, saying so-called settlement products have to be correctly labeled.

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In First, Judge Blocks Kansas Law Aimed at Boycotts of Israel …

TOPEKA, Kan. The American Civil Liberties Union won an early victory today in its federal lawsuit arguing that a Kansas law requiring a public school educator to certify that she wont boycott Israel violates her First Amendment rights.

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law while the case filed in October proceeds. It is the first ruling addressing a recent wave of laws nationwide aiming to punish people who boycott Israel.

The law, which took effect on July 1, requires that any person or company that contracts with the state submit a written certification that they are not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel. The ACLU is also currently fighting a case filed in December against a similar law in Arizona.

The court has rightly recognized the serious First Amendment harms being inflictedby this misguided law, which imposes an unconstitutional ideological litmus test, said ACLU attorney Brian Hauss, who argued the issue in court. This ruling should serve as a warning to government officials around the country that the First Amendment prohibits the government from suppressing participation in political boycotts.

In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree wrote, [T]he Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment protects the right to participate in a boycott like the one punished by the Kansas law.

Other Supreme Court decisions have established that the government may not require individuals to sign a certification regarding their political expression in order to obtain employment, contracts, or other benefits.

The ACLU represents Esther Koontz, who belongs to the Mennonite Church USA. In accordance with calls for boycott made by members of her congregation and her church, Koontz decided not to buy consumer products made by Israeli companies and international companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Koontz participates in this boycott in order to protest the Israeli governments treatment of Palestinians and to pressure the country to change its policies.

Having served as a public school math teacher for nine years, Koontz now develops her schools math curriculum and trains teachers on how to implement it. She is also qualified to train teachers statewide as a contractor with the Kansas Department of Educations Math and Science Partnerships program. When Koontz was asked to certify that she does not participate in a boycott of Israel, she said that she could not sign the form in good conscience. As a result, the state refuses to contract with her, and she is unable to participate as a trainer in the states program.

Judge Crabtree wrote in his opinion, She and others participating in this boycott of Israel seek to amplify their voices to influence change.

The lawsuit argues that the Kansas law violates the First Amendment for several reasons: it compels speech regarding protected political beliefs, associations, and expression; restricts the political expression and association of government contractors; and discriminates against protected expression based on its content and viewpoint. The lawsuit asks the court to strike down the law and bar the Kansas Department of Education from requiring contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel.

The Kansas law is similar to legislation that has been passed in other states. The ACLU does not take a position on boycotts of foreign countries, but the organization has long supported the right to participate in political boycotts and has voiced opposition to bills that infringe on this important First Amendment right. In the lawsuit challenging the Arizona law, the ACLU represents an attorney and his one-person law office, which contracts with the government to provide legal services to incarcerated individuals.

In July, the ACLU sent a letter to members of Congress opposing a bill that would make it a felony to support certain boycotts of companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. As a result, Senate sponsors of the bill are considering changes.

Todays ruling is here:https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/koontz-v-watson-opinion

Also documents filed in the case are here:https://www.aclu.org/cases/koontz-v-watson-challenge-kansas-law-targeting-boycotts-israel

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Laws Targeting Israel Boycotts Fail First Legal Test …

Issuing the first decision of its kind, a federal judge today blocked enforcement of a Kansas law targeting boycotts of Israel, ruling in an ACLU lawsuit that the First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.

The Kansas law requires that any person or company that contracts with the state sign a statement that they are not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel. The ACLU brought the lawsuit in October on behalf of Esther Koontz, a schoolteacher who refused to sign the certification. Todays decision, an important victory for political speech, will allow her to resume her work. Thanks to the order, Kansas is prohibited from enforcing its law while the case proceeds.

This is the first ruling to address a recent wave of laws nationwide aiming to punish people who boycott Israel, and it should serve as a warning to other states with similar provisions, including one we are challenging in Arizona. It correctly recognizes that forcing an individual to choose between exercising their rights and contracting with the state is unconstitutional.

Here are the key takeaways from the decision:

The Supreme Court made this clear with its landmark decision in NAACP v. Claiborne, which found that a civil rights-era boycott of white-owned businesses in Mississippi was protected by the Constitution. Judge Daniel D. Crabtree relied on Claiborne in finding that the First Amendment clearly protects Esthers decision to band together with others in a boycott in order to:

express collectively their dissatisfaction with the injustice and violence they perceive, as experienced both by Palestinians and Israeli citizens. She and others participating in this boycott of Israel seek to amplify their voices to influence change, as did the boycotters in Claiborne.

Esther is a veteran math teacher and trainer who was told she would need to sign the certification statement in order to participate in a state program training other math teachers. She boycotts consumer goods and services produced by Israeli companies and international companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. She does so in order to protest the Israeli governments treatment of Palestinians and to pressure the government to change its policies. As a result, she could not in good conscience sign the statement and thus couldn’t participate in the state program.

The judge correctly recognized the political litmus test the state was imposing on Esther:

Plaintiffs harm stems not from her decision to refuse to sign the certification, but rather from the plainly unconstitutional choice the Kansas Law forces plaintiff to make: She either can contract with the state or she can support a boycott of Israel.

As the court held, that is not permissible.

Judge Crabtree also recognized the laws true purpose:

The Kansas Laws legislative history reveals that its goal is to undermine the message of those participating in a boycott of Israel. This is either viewpoint discrimination against the opinion that Israel mistreats Palestinians or subject matter discrimination on the topic of Israel. Both are impermissible goals under the First Amendment.

Some two dozen other states have passed laws specifically targeting those who oppose one side of the Israel-Palestine debate. They should all take note of todays decision.

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Israel asks Irish ambassador to explain legislators calls …

JERUSALEM (JTA) The Irish ambassador to Israel was summoned for a clarification meeting over a legislative initiative in Ireland calling for a boycott of trade in West Bank settlements.

The summons to meet with officials of Israels Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday came at the order of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who in a statement Tuesday condemned the initiative.

The initiative gives backing to those who seek to boycott Israel and completely contravenes the guiding principles of free trade and justice, Netanyahu said.

TheIrish Senate postponed voting on the bill hours after Netanyahus statement. A new date for considering the initiative has not been announced.

The ambassador told Foreign Ministry officials that the initiative was raised by independent representatives in the Irish Senate and that the Irish government is opposed to the measure. The ambassador also said the proposed legislation is not a BDS initiative and that the Irish government opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel, the ministry said in a statement.

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How the Israel Anti-Boycott Act Threatens First Amendment …

Last week, the ACLU came out against a bill that would criminalize constitutionally protected boycotts and certain speech targeting Israel. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which was introduced in both the House and Senate earlier this year, would expand a 1970s-era export law and expose a range of activity to sweeping penalties, including criminal prosecution.

Since we sent our letter to Congress setting out our opposition to the bill, weve received dozens of questions about what it actually does. We attempt to answer the most common ones below.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act principally seeks to amend the Export Administration Act of 1979. That law prohibits U.S. persons a term that refers to both individuals and companies from taking certain actions to comply with or support a boycott imposed by a foreign country against another country that is friendly to the United States.

The 1979 law responded to the Arab Leagues boycott of Israel. At the time, countries in the Arab League would require U.S. businesses to boycott Israel and Israeli companies, and furnish information to verify the boycott, as a condition of doing business. To prevent foreign countries from dragooning U.S. businesses into these compulsory boycotts, the 1979 law prohibited U.S. companies from complying with foreign boycott requirements.

Specifically, the 1979 law prohibits U.S. persons from boycotting a friendly country i.e., by refusing to do business with the boycotted country or with a company operating in that country pursuant to an agreement with, requirement of, or request from another country. It also prohibits the furnishing of information about U.S. persons business relationships in the boycotted country.

For example, suppose a U.S. company had wanted to do business in Saudi Arabia, but Saudi Arabia would allow it to operate in its territory only if the company suspended business ties with Israel and reported its dealings to prove its compliance. The 1979 law would prohibit the U.S. company from complying with the Saudi governments boycott demand and from furnishing information about its business dealings with Israel.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act was drafted in response to the U.N. Human Rights Councils (UNHRC) March 2016 resolution calling for the creation of a database of companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territories. The bills statement of policy declares that Congress opposes the UNHRC resolution and views such policies as actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel.

The bills operative provisions expand the 1979 law by prohibiting U.S. persons from boycotting Israel and Israeli businesses including businesses operating in the occupied Palestinian territories in adherence to boycotts called for by international governmental organizations, such as the United Nations and the European Union. The bill would also prohibit U.S. persons from not only furnishing, but even requesting information about any persons business relations with Israel, if done to support a foreign countrys or international governmental organizations call for boycott.

The bill states that violators shall be fined in accordance with the penalties laid out in Section 206 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. That section provides that violations are punishable by a civil penalty that could reach $250,000 and that willful violations are subject to criminal prosecution, which could result in a fine of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The existing law would be amended as follows (with amendments in bold):

For the purpose of implementing the policies set forth in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (5) of section 4602 of this title, the President shall issue regulations prohibiting any United States person, with respect to his activities in the interstate or foreign commerce of the United States, from taking or knowingly agreeing to take any of the following actions with intent to comply with, further, or support any boycott fostered or imposed by a foreign country, or request to impose any boycott by a foreign country, against a country which is friendly to the United States and which is not itself the object of any form of boycott pursuant to United States law or regulation, or support any boycott fostered or imposed by any international governmental organization against Israel or request to impose any boycott by any international governmental organization against Israel.

As written, the bill would prohibit a U.S. person from:

The bills amendments would significantly expand the 1979 laws prohibitions, untethering them from Congress original concern about foreign governments coercing U.S businesses into boycotting friendly countries in exchange for commercial relations. Instead, the bill risks penalizing U.S. individuals and companies that support a U.N.-led boycott movement by refusing to purchase goods made by certain companies.

In other words, the original intent of the law was to protect U.S. companies from the coercion of foreign governments. While the law may have been overbroad, Congress new amendments make the problem worse. Now, it is the U.S. government prohibiting people from participating in certain boycotts that they wish to join.

On its face, the bill appears to directly prohibit boycott activity that is protected under the First Amendment. Even if the bill could be interpreted more narrowly, as some of its supporters claim, its broad language could still chill protected expression by scaring people into self-censorship. Either way, the bill would impose serious First Amendment harms.

Some people have argued that the bill effectively accomplishes nothing, because no international governmental organization is currently engaged in a boycott against Israel. But, as noted above, the bills statement of policy expressly opposes the UNHRCs March 2016 resolution calling for a database of companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, and it declares that Congress views such policies as actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel.

Reading the bill in light of its own statement of policy, a reasonable person could plausibly infer that the UNHRCs March 2016 resolution amounts to a request for a boycott within the meaning of the bill. That would mean that anyone who attempts to support the resolution, as Congress has described it, by refusing to purchase goods made in Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories would be violating the law. Given the severe penalties at stake, many people would undoubtedly choose to refrain rather than risk prosecution.

But even apart from limiting the right to boycott by refusing to purchase goods for political reasons, the bill infringes on pure speech. It prohibits even requests for information about whether a person is doing business in Israel in order to support a boycott of Israel, regardless of whether the requester is actually engaged in a boycott. This additional prohibition will chill people from seeking information about companies boycotting Israel or engaged in business dealings in Israel.

For example, suppose a consumer wishes to make a decision about whether to purchase a product made by a certain company. She posts a request on Facebook seeking information about that companys environmental, labor rights, or human rights record. Her request is protected speech. But if the company she is asking about operates in the occupied Palestinian territories, and she is asking about that activity in order to support the U.N.s resolution and then publicly shares any information she receives, she would have reason to fear prosecution under the law.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law. Because the BDS movement is not itself an international governmental organization, support for BDS and its activities should not violate the bills provisions. However, BDSs members and supporters may refer to international governmental organizations boycott requests or policies to support their own advocacy. Thus, the bill threatens to sanction a BDS-supporting individual or company that declares an intention to boycott every business listed in the UNHRC database. The bill also threatens to sanction BDS supporters who identify companies dealing with businesses listed in the UNHRC database.

Additionally, even though BDS participation does not by itself violate the bills provisions, BDS members and supporters may fear that they will be targeted for investigation based on their affiliation and expressive activities, and self-censor accordingly.

The Office of Antiboycott Compliances website explicitly states:

The term U.S. person includes all individuals, corporations and unincorporated associations resident in the United States, including the permanent domestic affiliates of foreign concerns. U.S. persons also include U.S. citizens abroad (except when they reside abroad and are employed by non-U.S. persons) and the controlled in fact affiliates of domestic concerns.

Even if the government has in the past chosen to pursue penalties against corporations, not individuals, the bills language plainly applies to individuals. And even if the government promises not to prosecute individual consumers under the bill, such a promise can be changed at any time, at the whim of any presidential administration. Because the bill applies to individuals, flesh and blood people have reason to be concerned that their own protected boycott activity and speech could violate the law.

The ACLU believes that the 1979 law is overbroad. However, courts upheld the law against First Amendment challenge, concluding that it was a sufficiently narrow attempt to prevent foreign countries from dragooning American businesses into boycotts against Israel, thereby raising delicate foreign policy questions. Whatever their merits, these rulings envisioned a narrow scope for the law and did not involve challenges by individuals engaged in political speech and advocacy.

The bill goes beyond any such narrow scope. The UNHRC does not engage in trade with U.S. companies, and the law is not narrowly tailored to situations involving export relationships that trigger foreign policy concerns. The bill threatens to sanction businesses and individuals who seek to demonstrate their support for the UNHRCs March 2016 resolution and similar future policies by the EU or international governmental organizations through protected speech and boycott activity.

Read more from the original source:

How the Israel Anti-Boycott Act Threatens First Amendment …

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December 29, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

The New Israel Anti-Boycott Act Is Still Unconstitutional …

Over the weekend, two senators introduced changes to the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would criminalize participation in certain political boycotts targeting Israel. The changes attempt to address the civil liberties concerns raised by the ACLU and other groups. Unfortunately, the revised bill still violates the First Amendment. It does so by unconstitutionally penalizing Americans who participate in political boycotts of companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, if those boycotts were called for by international governmental organizations like the United Nations. This is impermissible. Political boycotts are fully protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court made that clear when it recognized, in a landmark 1982 decision called NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware, that the Constitution protected a 1960s boycott of white-owned businesses in Mississippi. If the Israel Anti-Boycott Act were to pass and take effect, we would strongly consider challenging it in court. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act seeks to amend a 1970s law known as the Export Administration Act. That law was passed in response to the Arab Leagues boycott of Israel, which required U.S. businesses to boycott Israel as a condition of doing business with Arab League countries. To prevent foreign countries from bullying U.S. businesses into these compulsory boycotts, the EAA prohibited U.S. companies from entering into agreements with foreign governments to boycott countries friendly to the United States. Whereas the EAA was meant to protect U.S. companies from these compulsory boycotts, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act seeks to dictate the political activities Americans can and cant engage in. It does so by imposing civil and criminal penalties on American organizations that participate in political boycotts called for by international organizations. The revised Israel Anti-Boycott Act, amended by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), does contain several significant improvements from the original draft. For example, the bill now makes clear that Americans cannot be imprisoned for their boycott participation. It also provides that speech critical of Israel cannot be used to open an investigation against an individual or as evidence that the person violated the law. These changes alleviate some of the gravest dangers posed by the bill. But this latest version would still allow people who boycott to be slapped with criminal financial penalties. It suffers from the same fundamental flaw as the original draft by criminalizing participation in constitutionally protected boycotts. In fact, the bills sponsors openly admit that it was designed for this purpose. In the press release accompanying its announcement, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) described the bill as an attempt to combat Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) efforts targeting Israel. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also characterized the bill as anti-BDS legislation. Although the bill states that [n]othing in this Act . . . shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment, these words rings hollow in light of the bills obvious purpose. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act cannot be viewed in isolation. It is part of a sustained legislative campaign in the state and federal governments to suppress boycotts of Israel. Just a few weeks ago, a federal court in Kansas agreed with the ACLUs First Amendment challenge to a law requiring state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel. The court recognized that the Kansas state government could not constitutionally suppress our clients boycott to silence one side in the public debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In halting enforcement of the law, the court held that our clients boycott of Israel: is protected for the same reason as the boycotters conduct in [NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware] was protected. . . . Namely, its organizers have banded together to express collectively their dissatisfaction with the injustice and violence they perceive, as experienced by both Palestinian and Israeli citizens. From the campaign to divest from apartheid South Africa to the recent boycott against the National Rifle Association, boycotts have always been a key feature of American politics. If state and federal governments could outlaw boycotts they dont like, all sorts of social movements would suffer. Whatever their views are on Israel and Palestine, members of Congress should recognize that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act threatens fundamental First Amendment values. We urge them to oppose it.

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April 22, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Want to boycott Israel? Be my guest, there will be a …

A high official in the Israeli government says that the groups supporting BDS, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, are doing a great job, and Israel has to come up with more aggressive ways to counter them. If you want to promote boycotts against Israel, be my guest, its your right. But there will be a price tag, Ron Brummer said last week. The new battlefield for BDS is in Europe, where companies are under growing pressure to divest from the West Bank, Brummer said. The best response is to put through anti-BDS legislation in American states (as state legislatures and governors have done in Texas, California, Maryland, New York, and other states), so that if a company boycotts the West Bank, it loses 10s of millions in U.S. contracts. Brummer,the executive director for operations of the Israeli Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, said there is no distinction between boycotting West Bank settlement products and boycotting Israel. There is only one economy between the river and the sea. If you want to divest from the West Bank Judea and Samaria you have to divest from Israel, which means you boycott Israel completely, he said. Brummer also called on American Jews to give money to Jewish groups in Europe and South American to fight BDS, because throughout history, Jews have always helped each other. Brummer spoke at the Israeli American Council last Sunday, November 5 an organization funded by Sheldon Adelsonin a panel titled The Real BDS: Bigotry, Discrimination and Slander. The room was jammed with about 150 people, many young activists. The panel featured Shilo Adler, a leader from an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, Eli. Lets go through Brummers points and then the points of two other pro-Israel advocates who are fighting BDS. BDS groups are doing a great job, Brummer said: The BDS organizations or the delegitimization organizations have evolved. They have improved. They are doing a great job on the other side and we have to adapt ourselves. But BDS is really anti-Semitism: BDS as we see it is only the symptom, the current face of something much, much, much deeper, much more established, much more ancient, and that is, the delegitimization of Israel as the Jewish state, as the homeland of the Jewish people.During history, many forces have tried to delegitimize us. Maybe through endless wars, terror, guerrilla, unilateral moves in the U.N. and other institutions.And the current face of the delegitimization campaign is the BDS. If you support BDS, Israel will take you on: Delegitimization is the problem we deal with, not BDS. BDS is just a symptom. If you want to promote boycotts against Israel, be my guest, its your right. But there will be a price tag. Brummer said that Israel had traditionally been too reactive. We have to move from defense to offense. That means being aggressive. With BDS promoters You always have to use the stick and carrot theory. First you hit them with the stick then you hit them with the carrot. BDS has been contained in the U.S. but the real danger is Europe. BDS 2.0 is in the U.S. campuses and capitals. BDS 3.0 is happening as we speak, and this is a much more severe danger to Israel. Im talking about the economic divestment. What is happening now in Europe might be ground zero for the next stage of BDS. Promoting divestment from Israel based on the alleged saying that companies who operate in the West Bank, over the Green Line, are violating human rights this is the narrative that BDS organizations are trying to implement in the U.N., in different institutions, but mainly when they encounter European companies. Think about the process. Im CEO of a company. Im being approached time and time, over and over again by those BDS organizations, who claim that Because you operate in the West Bank, you are violating human rights. If I want to react and I want to do somethingand all of us dont want to be considered as violators of human rights I might just consider stop working in the West Bank. But Brummer said there is no difference between the West Bank and Israel (and so no point in the Peace Now/Beinart program of boycotting just the settlements). But you cannot stop working in the West Bank. Israel does not have two different economic ecosystems, like, Israel within the green line and Israel over the green line. If you want to divest from the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, you have to divest from Israel, which means you boycott Israel completely. This is exactly what the BDS delegitimization organizations are trying to do these days. The European front is the reason pro-Israel groups are pushing legislation in 24 U.S. states to punish those who support BDS. The Israeli government is cheering from the sidelines: It is extremely, super important to confront this new reality. Because eventually when a CEO of a company lets say in Denmark, has to decide, Does he listen to any kind of UN institution or any kind of human rights report that is being published, or does he want to lose 10s of millions of contracts in Texas or in Florida? most of the CEOs will decide not to lose those 10s of millions of dollars. So when we talk about how do we try to move from defense to offense? The legislation piece, which obviously the Israeli government has nothing to do with but we look at it from the side, and we think this is a very good process. BDS is on the verge of scoring a big success, he warned, in the real ground zero of BDS, which is South Africa. The African National Congress is considering a resolution to lower the countrys level of diplomatic relations with Israel. If that passes, there will no longer be an embassy in tel aviv. If that will happen, this might be one of the biggest successes of the BDS movement ever. Jews need to stick together. Brummer called on the wealthy and powerful American Jewish community to help Jewish communities in Europe, South Africa and Latin America to fight BDS. That takes me to one of my bottom lines Through history the Jewish people have always assisted and helped the weaker part or, to be more correct, the more needy parts of world Jewry. I think that in the United States, once again, due to the amazing work IAC [Israeli American Council] and other organizations are doing, and the great support of many philanthropists here, there is a good answer to BDS.What is needed now is to shift the efforts to the other side of the ocean. The Jewish communities and the pro Israel communities in Europe, in South Africa, a little bit in Latin America as well they need the help now. They dont have the tools, they dont have the money, they dont have the resources. They dont have the political support that you have here, and you take it maybe, sometimes you take it for granted. This is the time to shift the efforts from whats going on here which is well treated it cannot be treated better than it is today, I think, and to shift the efforts to where it is really needed and that is in Europe and South Africa and other places of the world. Brummer stressed the idea of Jewish cohesion. BDS is failing around the world, he asserted. But its aim was to drive a wedge between the state of Israel and the Jewish diaspora. I think this will fail because Israel is the glue that keeps us together. In LA or Beersheva. The amazing work that you are doing, and others, will be the glue that keeps us together. Dillon L. Hosier National Director, State Government Affairs, Israeli-American Coalition for Action Now lets move on to Dillon Hosier. Hosier is a lobbyist with the Israeli American Coalition for Action, which is a partner group of IAC. He works in state capitals on anti-BDS legislation. Hosier pointed to the pro-BDS group, Jewish Voice for Peace, and said it was playing the game the right way in state capitals, fromSacramento to Boston to Olympia to Austin. Over the past few years Ive seen something very interesting. There is one particular group how many people have heard of Jewish Voice for Peace? [30 hands go up; about a fourth of the room] Jewish Voice for Peace, in my mind theyre smart, theyre strategic, theyre connected, and they are playing the game the right way. Ill tell you, I was in Carson City, the capital of Nevada. And the Jewish Voice for Peace activist was following every single step of the process of passing an anti-BDS piece of legislation. At every point in the legislative process they would object and try to rally against In Sacramento, there was a guy who lived there, retired of course, spent every single day of the session in the capital, going from office to office to office, trying to pull votes off the legislation. He would do his best to rally forces against support of the bill. Hosier saw the same in Boston, where JVP brought out 100 people to a committee meeting to testify against the bill. While in Nevada, JVP did FOIA requests to see any communication I had with relevant government officials in the state. Hosier conducted himself in the most ethical manner, because if he didnt cross every t and dot ever i, Ive got JVP there and ready to jump. Hosier said that JVP was redefining the playing field for the battle over BDS by imbedding themselves in local Democratic political organizations. I was on the floor of the California Democratic Party convention earlier this year, as a delegate, and one of the most anti Israel resolutions passed at that convention. It was not because of the California Democratic Party.This resolution was not in my view representative of the California Democratic Party. But guess what, Jewish Voice for Peace, in fact that same guy who hangs out at the capital, all day he managed to get 300 people, primarily through CAIR and other types of organizations, got 300 people to sign on to this legislation, to insure that it passed the floor immediately Meanwhile, our side, we were completely flatfooted, we didnt have any organization there. So JVP had held the party hostage. This is not a college campus. Were talking about the California Democratic Party theyre imbedded in and that they are passing this resolution. So now it looks like BDS has legitimacy from one of the biggest Democratic parties in the country. Theyre basically in my view holding it hostage. The problem is that the pro-BDS forces are in the trenches and the pro-Israel forces rely on big donors. When it comes to political action, I see all too often we find a member of congress, we donate the maximum amount and thats it. We write a check and then we walk away. We expect them to vote our way. Sometimes they dont.We cant do that anymore. Those who are passionately opposed to Israel, are getting elected. From the lowest level delegate seats to school boards, those opposed to Israel are getting elected. For a while a lieutenant governor candidate in Illinois was pro-BDS (till he got kicked off the ticket, that is!). These people are actually getting involved. Writing a check is no longer sufficient. We have to actually get involved. Strategically involved. If we dont, Hosier said, well be completely overwhelmed. CAIR has a political action committee, and theyre engaged at the grass-roots level. Israel supporters have to get involved at that level. Writing a check is not enough. Because no amount of money will dissuade the opponents of Israel to change their line. Pro-Israel forces have to go grass roots. Its a scary thing but we have to get involved at that level. Michelle Rojas-Tal of the Jewish Agency Finally, some quotes from Michelle Rojas-Tal, who works at Hillel International and the Jewish Agency. Rojas-Tal said that the battle on college campuses is to stop BDS as an illegitimate form of bigotry. Its an issue of hate and prejudice, she said. If and when BDS decides to rear its ugly face on a college campus, BDS needs to be stopped. Israel advocates can stop it because BDS has absolutely no place on a college campus because it goes against the values that American academic institutions stand for. Thats the language we need to start speaking. She urged the activists in the room to use Israel the country as a model to show young Americans that Israel is a value in their lives. We have an opportunity. Were living in a generation and a period of renaissance where we have Israel and we cannot take it for granted. Because we have Israel, we can use it as a classroom. Nonetheless, Rojas-Tal lamented that BDS was drawing energy away from more positive engagement with Israel, to taking on the BDS narrative of Palestinian human rights. BDS is taking up so much of our oxygen and our energy that I dont want to lose the opportunity of creating the everlasting bond between the Jewish people and Israel. BDS has taken up so much of our attention, she said, that pro-Israel Jews are not able to tell the story, of what Zionism means. (I actually think the Palestinian solidarity community would love to have that discussion.)

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April 3, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

BDS Guide – Boycott Israel the Right Way

Also, have you used Facebook lately? Well, if you did… Did you know that Facebook opened an R&D center in Israel and acquired Israeli mobile tech company, Onavo? Yup. Please stop using Facebook immediately! C’MON, LET’S DO THIS RIGHT!

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March 1, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Boycott Israel – Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Individual consumers can show their opposition to Israels Apartheid policies against the Palestinian people and violations of international law by participating in a consumer boycott of Israeli goods and services. A boycott can also put pressure on companies whose exports are linked to some of the most evident aspects of the Israeli occupation and apartheid. Take Action: We are asking supporters and those concerned about Palestinian rights to write to supermarkets and ask them to stop stocking Israeli goods. The Israeli barcode starts with the numbers 729. However, it doesnt necessarily appear on all Israeli products so be sure to always check the label for country of origin. Also, please note that this is not a exhaustive list of all Israeli products available in Ireland brand names change, companies dissolve, new companies enter the market etc. Jaffa oranges were famous for centuries before Israelis successfully colonised the Palestinian name along with the city of Yafa. The Israeli agricultural companies Mehadrin (Jaffa) and Carmel-Agrexco export fruit and vegetables for sale to Europe. Much of this produce is grown on confiscated Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley. Apart from oranges, other examples of fruit exported by these, and other, companies are grapefruits, peppers, avocados, grapes, figs, and passion and sharon fruits. Dates from Israel come in many brands and are particularity prominent during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan where they can be found in many halal shops. Israeli new potatoes are often seen in the spring before Irish potatoes are available. Carrots are also exported from Israel. Tivall is an Israeli company that produces vegetarian foods. Herbs, such as basil, dill, tarragon, parsley, sage, rosemary, mint, chives and others are commonly sold. These goods are widely available in big chainstores such as Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Supervalu, Superquinn, Aldi and Lidl. Most Stanley/Black&Decker Toolboxes and plastic organisers are made in Israel. Plastic saw horses are also often available. Keter exports a wide range of large plastic products from Israel. These include shelf storage bins, garden sheds, outdoor storage boxes, dog kennels and composting bins. These plastics can be found in Woodies, Chadwicks, Heitons, Davies and Cork builders providers (all part of the Grafton Group), Homebase, (part of the Home Retail Group),Argos, B&Q and many other hardware, builders providers and tool shops. Sodastream, appliance for home-making carbonated drinks is a product that was previously manufactured in the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in occupied Palestine. It ow operates from the Naqab (Negev) area of Israel. These products can be found in Dunnes Stores, Harvey Norman, Argos, Clearys, Brown Thomas, DID Electrical and others. Lees Carpets are made by the Israeli company Carmel Carpets in the illegal industrial settlement zone of Barkan in the West Bank. Dead Sea beauty products come in many brands including, Ahava, Dead Sea Magik, GADI21,-417, VivO, Nevo and Sea Spa Skincare. YesTo, formerly an Israel-based company which has since relocated to the US, uses Dead Sea minerals in many of its products. They can be found in Holland & Barrett, Nourish and pharmacies. In addition they are often marketed by Israelis at large shopping centres including; Dundrum, Jervis Street, Liffey Valley and others. Any theft by the Israeli state or companies of natural resources from the Palestinian section of the Dead Sea constitutes War Pillage under the terms of the Geneva Convention. Ahava is one company that is guilty of this, being based in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem on the Dead Sea. Despite the misleading name, MoroccanOil is an Israeli company that manufactures argan oil-based hair care products, which can be found in Peter Marks and other hair salons. Ronen Chen is an Israeli womens fashion label that can often be found in boutique fashion outlets. The Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva, which specialises in generic drugs, is the leading supplier of prescription drugs in the Irish market. For most Teva products there are alternatives if you ask your pharmacist if there is no alternative, just remember Nelson Mandelas maxim that a boycott is a tactic, not a principle. The Israeli brand AMAV is distributed in Europe by George Prentice Associates (GPA), Kildare. They market a range of activities type craft boxes (plastic!) and Art Easels for children These are available at major toy retailers, Hamleys, Smiths and Art & Hobby. The DIY-website company Wix is headquartered in Israel, and Wix is the parent ogansiation of the online artistic platform DeviantArt which it acquired in 2017. The audio plugin development company Waves is a joint US-Israeli venture. The ancestry research and DNA testing website MyHeritage.com is headquartered in Tel Aviv. The controversialonline marketplace Fiverr is headquartered in Tel Aviv, while its Corporate Office is based in the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC. HP Hewlett-Packard, although not an Israeli company, is boycottable due to the companys deep role in helping entrench the occupation of Palestine and associated human rights abuses. Similarly, while also not an Israeli company, Motorola is boycottable as it provides surveillance in Israeli illegal colonial settlements, profiting from this violation of the Geneva Conventions. Although neither are Israeli companies, both Caterpillar and South Korean Hyundai supply the machinery used by Israel when it demolishes Palestinian homes, structures and farmlands in the Gaza, West Bank, Jerusalem and the Naqab (Negev) desert. In addition to machinery, Caterpillar also markets shoes, bags, tools and other consumer products under its brand name.

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February 3, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Netanyahu condemns Irish legislation promoting Israel boycott …

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday strongly condemned an Irish legislative initiative which calls for a boycott of products produced in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu said in a statement that the goal of the proposed legislation is to support the BDS movement and harm the State of Israel. The initiative gives backing to those who seek to boycott Israel and completely contravenes the guiding principles of free trade and justice, he added. Netanyahu also instructed that the Irish Ambassador to Israel be summoned to the Foreign Ministry on this matter. The meeting with the Irish ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly, will be held on Wednesday, according to a report in Haaretz. The Irish senate debated the bill on Tuesday. Beyond outlawing the import or sale of such products, it would also ban services originating from Judea and Samaria, the newspaper said. The senate decided that debates regarding the bill will be formally adjourned until July. “This will allow the Irish government five months to progress a diplomatic approach and action at European Union level. It also gives more time for improvements, amendments and changes to the bill,” people involved in the matter told Haaretz. The European Commission in 2015 issued guidelines for labeling products from Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and neighborhoods of Jerusalem liberated during the 1967 Six Day War. The EU insists the labeling does not amount to a boycott of these regions, saying so-called settlement products have to be correctly labeled.

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February 2, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

In First, Judge Blocks Kansas Law Aimed at Boycotts of Israel …

TOPEKA, Kan. The American Civil Liberties Union won an early victory today in its federal lawsuit arguing that a Kansas law requiring a public school educator to certify that she wont boycott Israel violates her First Amendment rights. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law while the case filed in October proceeds. It is the first ruling addressing a recent wave of laws nationwide aiming to punish people who boycott Israel. The law, which took effect on July 1, requires that any person or company that contracts with the state submit a written certification that they are not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel. The ACLU is also currently fighting a case filed in December against a similar law in Arizona. The court has rightly recognized the serious First Amendment harms being inflictedby this misguided law, which imposes an unconstitutional ideological litmus test, said ACLU attorney Brian Hauss, who argued the issue in court. This ruling should serve as a warning to government officials around the country that the First Amendment prohibits the government from suppressing participation in political boycotts. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree wrote, [T]he Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment protects the right to participate in a boycott like the one punished by the Kansas law. Other Supreme Court decisions have established that the government may not require individuals to sign a certification regarding their political expression in order to obtain employment, contracts, or other benefits. The ACLU represents Esther Koontz, who belongs to the Mennonite Church USA. In accordance with calls for boycott made by members of her congregation and her church, Koontz decided not to buy consumer products made by Israeli companies and international companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Koontz participates in this boycott in order to protest the Israeli governments treatment of Palestinians and to pressure the country to change its policies. Having served as a public school math teacher for nine years, Koontz now develops her schools math curriculum and trains teachers on how to implement it. She is also qualified to train teachers statewide as a contractor with the Kansas Department of Educations Math and Science Partnerships program. When Koontz was asked to certify that she does not participate in a boycott of Israel, she said that she could not sign the form in good conscience. As a result, the state refuses to contract with her, and she is unable to participate as a trainer in the states program. Judge Crabtree wrote in his opinion, She and others participating in this boycott of Israel seek to amplify their voices to influence change. The lawsuit argues that the Kansas law violates the First Amendment for several reasons: it compels speech regarding protected political beliefs, associations, and expression; restricts the political expression and association of government contractors; and discriminates against protected expression based on its content and viewpoint. The lawsuit asks the court to strike down the law and bar the Kansas Department of Education from requiring contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel. The Kansas law is similar to legislation that has been passed in other states. The ACLU does not take a position on boycotts of foreign countries, but the organization has long supported the right to participate in political boycotts and has voiced opposition to bills that infringe on this important First Amendment right. In the lawsuit challenging the Arizona law, the ACLU represents an attorney and his one-person law office, which contracts with the government to provide legal services to incarcerated individuals. In July, the ACLU sent a letter to members of Congress opposing a bill that would make it a felony to support certain boycotts of companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. As a result, Senate sponsors of the bill are considering changes. Todays ruling is here:https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/koontz-v-watson-opinion Also documents filed in the case are here:https://www.aclu.org/cases/koontz-v-watson-challenge-kansas-law-targeting-boycotts-israel

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February 2, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Laws Targeting Israel Boycotts Fail First Legal Test …

Issuing the first decision of its kind, a federal judge today blocked enforcement of a Kansas law targeting boycotts of Israel, ruling in an ACLU lawsuit that the First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts. The Kansas law requires that any person or company that contracts with the state sign a statement that they are not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel. The ACLU brought the lawsuit in October on behalf of Esther Koontz, a schoolteacher who refused to sign the certification. Todays decision, an important victory for political speech, will allow her to resume her work. Thanks to the order, Kansas is prohibited from enforcing its law while the case proceeds. This is the first ruling to address a recent wave of laws nationwide aiming to punish people who boycott Israel, and it should serve as a warning to other states with similar provisions, including one we are challenging in Arizona. It correctly recognizes that forcing an individual to choose between exercising their rights and contracting with the state is unconstitutional. Here are the key takeaways from the decision: The Supreme Court made this clear with its landmark decision in NAACP v. Claiborne, which found that a civil rights-era boycott of white-owned businesses in Mississippi was protected by the Constitution. Judge Daniel D. Crabtree relied on Claiborne in finding that the First Amendment clearly protects Esthers decision to band together with others in a boycott in order to: express collectively their dissatisfaction with the injustice and violence they perceive, as experienced both by Palestinians and Israeli citizens. She and others participating in this boycott of Israel seek to amplify their voices to influence change, as did the boycotters in Claiborne. Esther is a veteran math teacher and trainer who was told she would need to sign the certification statement in order to participate in a state program training other math teachers. She boycotts consumer goods and services produced by Israeli companies and international companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. She does so in order to protest the Israeli governments treatment of Palestinians and to pressure the government to change its policies. As a result, she could not in good conscience sign the statement and thus couldn’t participate in the state program. The judge correctly recognized the political litmus test the state was imposing on Esther: Plaintiffs harm stems not from her decision to refuse to sign the certification, but rather from the plainly unconstitutional choice the Kansas Law forces plaintiff to make: She either can contract with the state or she can support a boycott of Israel. As the court held, that is not permissible. Judge Crabtree also recognized the laws true purpose: The Kansas Laws legislative history reveals that its goal is to undermine the message of those participating in a boycott of Israel. This is either viewpoint discrimination against the opinion that Israel mistreats Palestinians or subject matter discrimination on the topic of Israel. Both are impermissible goals under the First Amendment. Some two dozen other states have passed laws specifically targeting those who oppose one side of the Israel-Palestine debate. They should all take note of todays decision.

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February 2, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Israel asks Irish ambassador to explain legislators calls …

JERUSALEM (JTA) The Irish ambassador to Israel was summoned for a clarification meeting over a legislative initiative in Ireland calling for a boycott of trade in West Bank settlements. The summons to meet with officials of Israels Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday came at the order of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who in a statement Tuesday condemned the initiative. The initiative gives backing to those who seek to boycott Israel and completely contravenes the guiding principles of free trade and justice, Netanyahu said. TheIrish Senate postponed voting on the bill hours after Netanyahus statement. A new date for considering the initiative has not been announced. The ambassador told Foreign Ministry officials that the initiative was raised by independent representatives in the Irish Senate and that the Irish government is opposed to the measure. The ambassador also said the proposed legislation is not a BDS initiative and that the Irish government opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel, the ministry said in a statement.

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February 2, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

How the Israel Anti-Boycott Act Threatens First Amendment …

Last week, the ACLU came out against a bill that would criminalize constitutionally protected boycotts and certain speech targeting Israel. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which was introduced in both the House and Senate earlier this year, would expand a 1970s-era export law and expose a range of activity to sweeping penalties, including criminal prosecution. Since we sent our letter to Congress setting out our opposition to the bill, weve received dozens of questions about what it actually does. We attempt to answer the most common ones below. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act principally seeks to amend the Export Administration Act of 1979. That law prohibits U.S. persons a term that refers to both individuals and companies from taking certain actions to comply with or support a boycott imposed by a foreign country against another country that is friendly to the United States. The 1979 law responded to the Arab Leagues boycott of Israel. At the time, countries in the Arab League would require U.S. businesses to boycott Israel and Israeli companies, and furnish information to verify the boycott, as a condition of doing business. To prevent foreign countries from dragooning U.S. businesses into these compulsory boycotts, the 1979 law prohibited U.S. companies from complying with foreign boycott requirements. Specifically, the 1979 law prohibits U.S. persons from boycotting a friendly country i.e., by refusing to do business with the boycotted country or with a company operating in that country pursuant to an agreement with, requirement of, or request from another country. It also prohibits the furnishing of information about U.S. persons business relationships in the boycotted country. For example, suppose a U.S. company had wanted to do business in Saudi Arabia, but Saudi Arabia would allow it to operate in its territory only if the company suspended business ties with Israel and reported its dealings to prove its compliance. The 1979 law would prohibit the U.S. company from complying with the Saudi governments boycott demand and from furnishing information about its business dealings with Israel. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act was drafted in response to the U.N. Human Rights Councils (UNHRC) March 2016 resolution calling for the creation of a database of companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territories. The bills statement of policy declares that Congress opposes the UNHRC resolution and views such policies as actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel. The bills operative provisions expand the 1979 law by prohibiting U.S. persons from boycotting Israel and Israeli businesses including businesses operating in the occupied Palestinian territories in adherence to boycotts called for by international governmental organizations, such as the United Nations and the European Union. The bill would also prohibit U.S. persons from not only furnishing, but even requesting information about any persons business relations with Israel, if done to support a foreign countrys or international governmental organizations call for boycott. The bill states that violators shall be fined in accordance with the penalties laid out in Section 206 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. That section provides that violations are punishable by a civil penalty that could reach $250,000 and that willful violations are subject to criminal prosecution, which could result in a fine of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. The existing law would be amended as follows (with amendments in bold): For the purpose of implementing the policies set forth in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (5) of section 4602 of this title, the President shall issue regulations prohibiting any United States person, with respect to his activities in the interstate or foreign commerce of the United States, from taking or knowingly agreeing to take any of the following actions with intent to comply with, further, or support any boycott fostered or imposed by a foreign country, or request to impose any boycott by a foreign country, against a country which is friendly to the United States and which is not itself the object of any form of boycott pursuant to United States law or regulation, or support any boycott fostered or imposed by any international governmental organization against Israel or request to impose any boycott by any international governmental organization against Israel. As written, the bill would prohibit a U.S. person from: The bills amendments would significantly expand the 1979 laws prohibitions, untethering them from Congress original concern about foreign governments coercing U.S businesses into boycotting friendly countries in exchange for commercial relations. Instead, the bill risks penalizing U.S. individuals and companies that support a U.N.-led boycott movement by refusing to purchase goods made by certain companies. In other words, the original intent of the law was to protect U.S. companies from the coercion of foreign governments. While the law may have been overbroad, Congress new amendments make the problem worse. Now, it is the U.S. government prohibiting people from participating in certain boycotts that they wish to join. On its face, the bill appears to directly prohibit boycott activity that is protected under the First Amendment. Even if the bill could be interpreted more narrowly, as some of its supporters claim, its broad language could still chill protected expression by scaring people into self-censorship. Either way, the bill would impose serious First Amendment harms. Some people have argued that the bill effectively accomplishes nothing, because no international governmental organization is currently engaged in a boycott against Israel. But, as noted above, the bills statement of policy expressly opposes the UNHRCs March 2016 resolution calling for a database of companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, and it declares that Congress views such policies as actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel. Reading the bill in light of its own statement of policy, a reasonable person could plausibly infer that the UNHRCs March 2016 resolution amounts to a request for a boycott within the meaning of the bill. That would mean that anyone who attempts to support the resolution, as Congress has described it, by refusing to purchase goods made in Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories would be violating the law. Given the severe penalties at stake, many people would undoubtedly choose to refrain rather than risk prosecution. But even apart from limiting the right to boycott by refusing to purchase goods for political reasons, the bill infringes on pure speech. It prohibits even requests for information about whether a person is doing business in Israel in order to support a boycott of Israel, regardless of whether the requester is actually engaged in a boycott. This additional prohibition will chill people from seeking information about companies boycotting Israel or engaged in business dealings in Israel. For example, suppose a consumer wishes to make a decision about whether to purchase a product made by a certain company. She posts a request on Facebook seeking information about that companys environmental, labor rights, or human rights record. Her request is protected speech. But if the company she is asking about operates in the occupied Palestinian territories, and she is asking about that activity in order to support the U.N.s resolution and then publicly shares any information she receives, she would have reason to fear prosecution under the law. The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law. Because the BDS movement is not itself an international governmental organization, support for BDS and its activities should not violate the bills provisions. However, BDSs members and supporters may refer to international governmental organizations boycott requests or policies to support their own advocacy. Thus, the bill threatens to sanction a BDS-supporting individual or company that declares an intention to boycott every business listed in the UNHRC database. The bill also threatens to sanction BDS supporters who identify companies dealing with businesses listed in the UNHRC database. Additionally, even though BDS participation does not by itself violate the bills provisions, BDS members and supporters may fear that they will be targeted for investigation based on their affiliation and expressive activities, and self-censor accordingly. The Office of Antiboycott Compliances website explicitly states: The term U.S. person includes all individuals, corporations and unincorporated associations resident in the United States, including the permanent domestic affiliates of foreign concerns. U.S. persons also include U.S. citizens abroad (except when they reside abroad and are employed by non-U.S. persons) and the controlled in fact affiliates of domestic concerns. Even if the government has in the past chosen to pursue penalties against corporations, not individuals, the bills language plainly applies to individuals. And even if the government promises not to prosecute individual consumers under the bill, such a promise can be changed at any time, at the whim of any presidential administration. Because the bill applies to individuals, flesh and blood people have reason to be concerned that their own protected boycott activity and speech could violate the law. The ACLU believes that the 1979 law is overbroad. However, courts upheld the law against First Amendment challenge, concluding that it was a sufficiently narrow attempt to prevent foreign countries from dragooning American businesses into boycotts against Israel, thereby raising delicate foreign policy questions. Whatever their merits, these rulings envisioned a narrow scope for the law and did not involve challenges by individuals engaged in political speech and advocacy. The bill goes beyond any such narrow scope. The UNHRC does not engage in trade with U.S. companies, and the law is not narrowly tailored to situations involving export relationships that trigger foreign policy concerns. The bill threatens to sanction businesses and individuals who seek to demonstrate their support for the UNHRCs March 2016 resolution and similar future policies by the EU or international governmental organizations through protected speech and boycott activity.

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December 29, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed


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