Archive for the ‘Boycott Israel’ Category

Ross bill pulls state out of companies that boycott Israel – Burlington Times News

The Times-News

North Carolina will divest from companies that boycott Israel after Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law a bill sponsored by Rep. Stephen Ross, R-Burlington.

Ross filed H161 Divestment From Companies That Boycott Israel on Feb. 21 with Reps. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, and John Szoka, R-Cumberland. Cooper signed the bill Thursday.

H161 will strengthen the states economic ties with Israel and show North Carolinas dedication to one of our closest allies, Ross office said Thursday.

The bill requires divestment from, and prohibits state agencies from contracting with, companies that boycott Israel. It also amends existing Sudan and Iran Divestment statutes.

Today is a significant day for North Carolina, Ross said. Its important for our state to stand with Israel against boycotts that threaten Israels sovereignty. This bill protects North Carolinas economy from efforts to restrict trade and affirms our states economic commitments to Israel.

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Ross bill pulls state out of companies that boycott Israel – Burlington Times News

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July 27, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Listen: California Democrats defend right to boycott Israel – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Nora Barrows-Friedman The Electronic Intifada Podcast 24 July 2017

The California Democratic Party has approved a resolution calling on the US government to promote a just peace based on full equality and security for Israeli Jews and Palestinians alike, human rights and international law.

The resolution, which passed without debate at the annual state chapter conference in May, admonishes Israels settlement activities, as well as its denial of entry to activists who criticize the state.

It also decries the historic failures of the US government to take action against Israel with actual steps to change the status quo and bring about a real peace process.

Endorsed by more than 200 delegates at the California conference, the resolution breaks from the traditional mantras of the Democratic Party of prioritizing Israels military security, support of the two-state solution or pursuing yet another failed negotiations process, explained David Mandel, an author of the resolution.

Notably, the resolution also rejects any effort to restrict or discourage open public discourse on issues related to Israeli policies and opposes any attempt to restrict or penalize those who exercise their views through nonviolent action to effect change, signaling support for activists who engage with the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign and who face expanding repression on campuses and by local, state and federal legislatures.

The resolution is based on human rights, and also, really importantly to me, it criticizes any attempt to stifle debate, which has been happening all over the country, both in Congress and in a lot of states, including California, to stigmatize and suppress activism for boycotts and divestment, Mandel told The Electronic Intifada podcast.

Mandel said he hopes that this resolution encourages other activists around the US who are fighting for progressive policy platforms in the national Democratic Party, especially as Democrats and Republicans are considering passing the federal Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would make it a felony for companies to participate in an international commercial boycott of Israel.

Those found guilty could potentially face $250,000 to $1 million in fines and 20 years in prison.

This resolution will be a small arrow in our quiver of opposing those kinds of things, but hopefully it will lead to examples in other states and help us out in opposing that kind of suppression of speech, Mandel said.

The easy passage of the resolution indicates that the partys members are rapidly shifting their opinions about the US-Israel relationship, added Estee Chandler, a Democratic activist who campaigned for the resolution.

Both Chandler and Mandel are members of Jewish Voice for Peace but worked on the resolution as private citizens.

Opinions are changing among American Jews and others who until recently were reticent to express any serious criticism of Israeli policy, Chandler said. She added that the belligerent pro-Israel stance of the Trump administration and the appointment of settlement financier David Friedman as the US ambassador to Israel has deeply upset Democratic Party members.

What Im finding as a Democratic activist is that more and more Democrats of all stripes are alarmed by the situation, the extreme policies of Israel and the violence of the occupation, she said.

Listen to the interview with David Mandel and Estee Chandler via the media player above.

Theme music by Sharif Zakout

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Listen: California Democrats defend right to boycott Israel – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

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Robert Azzi: Congress assails First Amendment, BDS, Palestinians … – Concord Monitor

An advocate must be free to stimulate his audience with spontaneous and emotional appeals for unity and action in a common cause. When such appeals do not incite lawless action, they must be regarded as protected speech. (NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 1982)

In contradiction to such sentiments, Sen. Maggie Hassan is co-sponsoring a Senate bill Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720/H.R.1697) that would make it a felony for Americans to support an international boycott against Israel.

Its a bill designed to strip Americans of constitutionally protected rights, a bill that targets supporters of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement that works to end international support for Israels oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

Boycotts to achieve political goals, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has written, are a form of expression that the Supreme Court has ruled are protected by the First Amendments protections of freedom of speech, assembly and petition.

BDS is designed to give Palestinians and their supporters a nonviolent platform from which to resist occupation and illegal settlement activity, activity which the international community believes is a flagrant violation of international law without legal validity, activities condemned by innumerable U.N. resolutions from No. 242 to No. 2334 and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In 2014, Nobel Peace laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu said: I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces. Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.

BDS is designed to empower Palestinians to resist that humiliation.

In response to (S.720/H.R.1697) the ACLU has written: The bill would amend those laws to bar U.S. persons from supporting boycotts against Israel, including its settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, conducted by international governmental organizations, such as the United Nations and the European Union. It would also broaden the law to include penalties for simply requesting information about such boycotts. Violations would be subject to a maximum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison. We take no position for or against the effort to boycott Israel or any foreign country, for that matter. However, we do assert that the government cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, punish U.S. persons based solely on their expressed political beliefs.

This bill would impose civil and criminal punishment on individuals solely because of their political beliefs about Israel and its policies.

I support BDS because its a nonviolent response that I recognize initiated by Palestinian civil society to the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, to the oppression of Palestinians, to the continued incarceration of hundreds of Palestinians held under administrative detention without either indictment or trial.

BDS does not delegitimize Israel; it delegitimizes illegal occupation and oppression.

In April, BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti said, Twelve years ago, we were called romantic dreamers or worse. Today, our fast-growing movement is recognized as being so strong as to be fought by the full force of Israels regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, and by its partners in crime.

Partners like members of the United State Congress whove aligned themselves with oligarchs and power brokers, partners who not only oppose BDS but who oppose making political and economic distinctions between Israel and occupied Palestinian territory.

I support BDS because I recognized, and supported, the boycott in South Africa that helped to strike down apartheid. I supported the Montgomery bus boycott and the Delano grape strike because I believe in justice.

Because I recognize that were called upon to resist oppression and occupation.

I recognize, too, that even when boycotts dont change anything, as in the anti-Nazi boycott of 1933 that did nothing to stop the harassment of German Jews, that its morally necessary to act.

As Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of the American Jewish Congress said at the time, We must speak out, and If that is unavailing, at least we shall have spoken.

BDS is working.

In 2016, the EU, along with Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands, affirmed the right to support BDS as protected by freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Last month the Spanish parliament unanimously passed a motion affirming the right to advocate for BDS as protected by freedom of speech and freedom of association.

BDS is working.

BDS supporters know its working because of the scale of resources its opponents are devoting to delegitimize and criminalize the nonviolent movement including getting members of Congress to emasculate the First Amendment.

I know BDS is controversial. Some of my dearest friends dont support it at all; others want BDS to apply only to the occupied territories.

I get that, and support their choice.

However, those friends and I do agree that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act is unjust and is a blatant attempt to dissuade American supporters of Palestinian freedom and justice from engaging in protected political speech and action.

Resisting violence is easy. Use greater violence and destroy, imprison and emasculate the enemy. If they resist, hit them harder.

Resisting nonviolence is harder you cant bomb non-violent resisters into submission.

So, to counter BDSs nonviolent philosophy, Israels calling upon America to violently defile existential imperatives and collude in squelching First Amendment rights.

Pay attention: (S.720/H.R.1697) aligns America with governments that choose to deal with dissent and protest by limiting freedoms and speech governments like Poland, Russia, Turkey, Israel and Egypt.

Were not like them. Were better than that.

Pay attention: If speech can be criminalized in order to oppress Palestinians then it could as easily be used against any other group that displease the government or oligarchs in the future.

Pay attention: Last week Vice President Mike Pence said, America stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel, as together we confront those enemies who threaten our people, our freedom and our very way of life.

What he, and Hassan, fail to recognize is that those who threaten our people, our freedom, and our very way of life is us that were in danger of becoming our enemy.

Let us speak out: If that is unavailing, at least we shall have spoken.

(Robert Azzi is a photographer and writer who lives in Exeter. He can be reached at theother.azzi@gmail.com and his columns are archived at theotherazzi.wordpress.com.)

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Robert Azzi: Congress assails First Amendment, BDS, Palestinians … – Concord Monitor

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July 23, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

The First Amendment Protects the Right to Boycott Israel – ACLU (blog)

Earlier this week, the ACLU sent a letter to members of Congress opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. The bill would amend existing law to prohibit people in the United States from supporting boycotts targeting Israel making it a felony to choose not to engage in commerce with companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Violations would be punishable by a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The bill is aimed at advocates of boycotts targeting Israel, most notably the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law. Specifically, the bill sponsors intend the act as a response to the U.N. Human Rights Councils 2016 resolution calling on companies to respect human rights, including in occupied Palestinian territories.

No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.

In fact, the right to boycott is one of the brightest stars in our constitutional firmament. The American Revolution was founded on boycotts against British goods to protest excessive taxes. John Jay led a boycott against New York merchants who engaged in the slave trade. And the Montgomery bus boycott of 19551956 was a major turning point in the struggle for civil rights in the Jim Crow South. In the 1970s and 1980s, colleges and universities led a widespread campaign to boycott and divest from South Africa, in protest of apartheid. In 2015, football players at the University of Missouri went on strike until the school addressed acute racial tensions on campus. And North Carolinas law prohibiting transgender people from accessing restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identities sparked massive boycotts by businesses and individuals.

Boycotts are a form of collective action that allows ordinary people to make their voices heard. For precisely this reason, the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment protects the right to boycott. The courts landmark decision in NAACP v Claiborne Hardware Co. affirmed the constitutional right of NAACP activists to hold a mass economic boycott of white-owned businesses in Port Gibson, Mississippi, to protest the communitys persistent racial inequality and segregation. In ringing language, the court held that the boycotters exercise of their rights to speech, assembly, and petition . . . to change a social order that had consistently treated them as second-class citizens rested on the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.

No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.

This is a proud constitutional legacy. Today, though, the right to boycott is under assault. Over the past several years, federal, state, and local legislators have introduced wave after wave of legislation seeking to stamp out boycotts and divestment campaigns aimed at Israel. One such law, passed earlier this year by Nassau County in New York, prohibits the county from doing business with people who support the BDS movement. As a result, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame could be banned from playing at the Nassau Coliseum in New York. Similar laws have been passed in Arizona and Kansas.

None of them comport with the First Amendment.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act introduced in Congress goes a step further, threatening severe civil and criminal punishment against individuals who refrain from doing business with Israel because of their political opposition to its governments actions. The bill amends two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, which prohibit certain boycotts sponsored by foreign governments.

The bill would expand the application of those laws in a number of ways. It would expand the laws to prohibit boycotts called for by international organizations, like the United Nations and the European Union; it would threaten sanctions against people who boycott businesses operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories; and it would prohibit even requests for information about companies business relationships with Israel and Israeli companies. This expansive language would likely chill a wide range of political activity in the United States directed at the Israeli government activity that is constitutionally protected, regardless whether members of Congress agree with it.

A number of the bills sponsors were apparently surprised by the ACLUs free speech concerns with the bill. A number of them have now expressed their intention to review the legislation with the ACLUs civil rights and civil liberties concerns in mind. We hope they do the right thing by backing away from any bill that violates our First Amendment rights.

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The First Amendment Protects the Right to Boycott Israel – ACLU (blog)

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Campaign to boycott Israel ‘helped SodaStream brand’, says chief … – Jewish News

The chief executive of the Israeli drinks company SodaStream paid sardonic tribute this week to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists who had targeted it.

They helped build awareness of the brand and did not damage our business one bit, said Daniel Birnbaum.

He was in the UK on a round of media interviews linked to Soda-Streams environmental message, was bullish in his attitude and promotion of his company. The Israeli company was coming home, Birnbaum said, because it began in Britain in 1903.

Now SodaStream, long known as the fizzy drinks firm, has had a change in strategy and has altered its business model so that it sells a syphon and the opportunity to render tap water into sparkling water. And every one of SodaStreams products bears a proud logo saying Made in Israel: This product is produced by Jews and Arabs working side-by-side in peace and harmony.

And therein lies the heart of SodaStreams controversy. For when as a global experiment Soda-Stream opened a shop in Brighton, it was assailed by BDS activists because the companys headquarters were in the West Bank, no matter how its Palestinian employees praised its working conditions.

Israeli and Palestinian workers, working together

Birnbaum says there is an irony in that SodaStream chose Brighton because it was home to Britains only Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas. We were expecting to get her endorsement, instead we got her boycott, he says. The shop closed in 2014.

He says the company will never open any other shops, either in the UK or in any of the 45 countries where SodaStream is available. Instead, it is flourishing as an online product and in outlets such as Argos or Currys; he hopes, eventually, it will do away with dependency on plastic water bottles and wean the consumer on to a repeat-use container.

Made in Israel: This product is produced by Jews and Arabs working side-by-side in peace and harmony.

If Birnbaum, a former commander in the Israeli Navy, has fights, it is not with the BDS crowd. In fact, though an outspoken righty, he has had endless fights with the Prime Ministers office in Israel over the granting of work permits to his Palestinian employees.

SodaStream is now based in the Negev and employs huge numbers of Palestinians and Bedouin workers. Birnbaum is exasperated at the reluctance of Israel to employ more Palestinians, instead giving work permits to Chinese, Thai and Filipino workers.

Employing Palestinians creates stability, he says. We call SodaStream an island of peace. Why not employ more Palestinians? It could change the whole economic climate on the West Bank. And everyone knows it.

Sodastream said this week it is looking for a partner to help it shake up the home brewing market. It was in talks with potential partners that would help to roll out beer concentrates to pair with its machines in the next 12 months.

SodaStream chief executive Daniel Birnbaum, who was in the UK this week, in one of the companys factories

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Campaign to boycott Israel ‘helped SodaStream brand’, says chief … – Jewish News

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The call for a boycott of Israel is not only unjust: it is laughable – The Guardian

Posters in Tel Aviv advertising the concert by Radiohead; the band defied calls from fans and other performers for them to cancel the concert in protest at Israels occupation of Palestinian territory. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

A group of anti-Israel campaigners have called on Radiohead to boycott Israel and not perform in Tel Aviv this week (Letters, 17 July). We congratulate Thom Yorke and his band for having the courage to withstand the taunts of those who campaign against the worlds only Jewish state. Indeed, Israel is different in many ways from its neighbours. It is the only liberal democracy in the region. It is the only country in the Middle East in which Arabs, Jews and Christians enjoy full human rights and equality under the law, where the LGBT community is able to hold a Pride parade through its largest city, and where women and minorities face no discrimination. Yet this is the only country in a region filled with tyranny and dictatorship to be subjected to calls for a boycott.

This is not to say we do not have sympathy for the people of Gaza. When Israel withdrew in 2005, the people there had a historic opportunity for peace an opportunity that was squandered when Hamas took power. The ensuing conflicts with Israel have all been the response to missile campaigns by Hamas aimed at civilians across the border. This is a regime that is undemocratic and misogynistic, discriminates against LGBT people, terrorises not only Israeli civilians but also its own people, and is classed by the UK government as a terrorist organisation. For supporters of this regime to call for a boycott of Israel is not only unjust, but laughable. Marie van der Zyl Vice-president, Board of Deputies of British Jews

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After Calling to Boycott Israel, Roger Waters’ NY Concert May Be Cancelled – Haaretz

Nassau County lawmaker Howard Kopel asked county attorney to see if the concert venue has to comply with the anti-BDS legislation

Allowing BDS proponent Roger Waters to perform at a Long Island arena violates a local law against the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, a Nassau County lawmaker said.

Waters, the former Pink Floyd front man, is scheduled to appear at the Nassau Coliseum on September 15 and 16.

The lawmaker, Howard Kopel, asked the county attorney last week to determine whether the Nassau Coliseum lease requires compliance with the county law, adopted in May 2016, that prevents the county from doing business with any company that participates in the economic boycott of Israel.

Kopel, an Orthodox Jewish legislator who represents a district with a large Jewish population, said in a Facebook post that the Waters concert violates the anti-BDS law while calling the musician a notorious front man for the BDS movement and virulent anti-Semite.

In a Facebook Live chat Saturday with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Waters said he would play his shows in Nassau, saying an artists rights should not be attacked over his stand on an issue.

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I think theyre gonna fail, Waters said of attempts to prevent him from playing in Nassau County. I dont think, I know they are, because you would have to tear up the Constitution of the United States of America, particularly the First Amendment, and throw it into the Hudson River, or the East River if thats closer, in order for that to happen.

Waters also noted an incident in Miami last week in which a dozen teens from a Miami Beach Parks summer program who were to perform on stage with him backed out amid accusations of anti-Semitism.

Miami Beach spokeswoman Melissa Berthier told the Miami Herald on Thursday, hours before the scheduled concert, that the teens would not be participating, saying in a statement, Miami Beach is a culturally diverse community and does not tolerate any form of hate.

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation in an online ad on the Miami Herald website posted a link to a statement on its website reading, Mr. Waters, your vile messages of anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and hatred are not welcome in this community.

Waters is embroiled in a controversy with Radiohead after he publicly called on the band to cancel its Wednesday concert in Tel Aviv.

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So now American Zionists want to boycott Israel – Opinion … – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

A woman plays with her dog as the municipality building is lit in the colours of the American flag on the first day of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit in Israel, in Tel Aviv, Israel May 22, 2017.. (photo credit:REUTERS/CORINNA KERN)

Several prominent American Zionists including long-time supporters of Israel are so outraged at the Israeli governments recent decision regarding the Western Wall and non-Orthodox conversion that they are urging American Jews to reduce or even eliminate their support for Israel.

According to an article by Elliot Abrams in Mosaic, Ike Fisher, a prominent member of the AIPAC board, threatened to suspend all further financial support for Israel. Daniel Gordis, a leading voice for Conservative Judaism, urged American Jews to cancel their El Al tickets and fly Delta or United. He also proposed withholding donations to Israeli hospitals, so that They start running out of money and begin to falter. This sort of emotional response is reminiscent of the temper tantrum outgoing US president Barak Obama engaged in when he refused to veto the UNs recent anti-Israel resolution.

I strongly disagree both with the Israeli governments capitulation to the minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who wield far too much influence in Israeli politics, and with the proposals to cut back on support for Israel by some of my fellow critics of the Israeli governments recent decisions with regard to religion.

I strongly support greater separation between religion and state in Israel, as Theodor Herzl outlined in his plan for the nation-state of the Jewish People in Der Judenstaat 120 years ago: We shall…

prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood. We shall keep our priests [by which is meant rabbis] within the confines of their temples.

It was David Ben-Gurion who made the deal with the Orthodox rabbinate that violated Herzls mandate and knocked down the wall of separation between religion and state. He allocated to the Chief Rabbinate authority over many secular matters, such as marriage, divorce and child custody. He also laid the groundwork for the creation of religious parties that have been a necessary part of most Israeli coalitions for many years.

So dont blame Israels current prime minister for the recent capitulation. His governments survival depends on his unholy alliance with allegedly holy parties that threaten to leave the coalition and bring down his government unless he capitulates.

The alternative to a Netanyahu government might well be far to the Right of the current government, both on religious matters and on prospects for peace. Reasonable people may disagree as to whether Netanyahu did the right thing, but I believe that given the choice between the current government and what may well replace it, Netanyahu acted on acceptable priorities.

This is not to say that I am happy with the end result. As a post-denominational Jew, I want to see a part of the Western Wall opened to conservative and reform prayer.

I also want to see Conservative and Reform and Modern Orthodox rabbis deemed fully competent to perform rituals including marriage and divorce.

I will continue to fight for these outcomes, and I think we will ultimately be successful.

But in the meantime, I will also continue to fly El Al, contribute to Israeli hospitals, attend AIPAC events and encourage Americans to support Israel, both politically and financially. To do otherwise is to engage in a form of BDS the tactic currently employed by Israels enemies to delegitimize the nation state of the Jewish People.

Supporters of BDS will point to these benign boycotts as a way of justifying their malignant ones. If BDS is an immoral tactic, as it surely is, so too is punishing the people of Israel for the failure of their government to be fully inclusive of Jews who do not align themselves with the ultra-Orthodox.

Tough love may be an appropriate response in family matters, but boycotting a troubled nation which has become a pariah among the hard Left is not the appropriate response to the Israeli governments recent decisions regarding religion.

The answer is not disengagement, but rather greater engagement with Israel on matters that involve world Jewry. I, too, am furious about the arrogant and destructive threats of the ultra-Orthodox parties in the current government.

I, too, would prefer to see a coalition that excluded the ultra-Orthodox parties.

I, too, would like to see a high wall of separation that kept the rabbis out of politics.

But I do not live in Israel, and Israel is a democracy. Ultimately it is up to the citizens of Israel to change the current system. The role of American Jews is limited to persuasion, not coercion. In the end, we will be successful in persuading the Israeli people to take the power of religious coercion out of the hands of the ultra-Orthodox minority because that would not only be good for secular Israelis who are a majority but also for religious Israelis.

History has proved that separation of state from religion is better not only for the state, but also for religion.

Follow Alan Dershowitz on Twitter: @ AlanDersh and Facebook: @AlanMDershowitz.

This article was first published by Gatestone Institute.

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Radiohead frontman appears to curse pro-Palestinian protesters at show – The Times of Israel

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke apparently flipped off pro-Palestinian protesters at a Friday concert in Glasgow, Scotland, amid a continuing campaign to pressure the band to cancel its upcoming gig in Tel Aviv.

Several Palestinian flags and signs calling on the band to boycott Israel were held aloft during the bands concert at the TRNSMT Festival in the Scottish city.

During a break in between songs, the musician muttered the phrase, some fucking people four times into the microphone in what appeared to be a reference to the around ten Palestinian flags waving in the crowd at the time.

The online music site Consequence of Sound reported that Yorke also gave the middle finger to the protesters from Glasgow Palestine Action, Glasgow Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Radiohead Fans for Palestine, who had also all demonstrated outside of the concert.

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke headline the main Stage at the TRNSMT music festival on Glasgow Green, in Glasgow on July 7, 2017. (AFP/Digital/Andy Buchanan)

Since the announcement of Radioheads July 19 concert in Israel, the English rock band has been bombarded with protests from pro-Palestinian groups calling on them to withdraw from their commitment.

In February, dozens of high-profile artists had signed a letter urging the band to cancel its performance at Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine last month, Yorke characterized the letter as offensive and called out its signees for assuming the band is not informed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Its deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw shit at us in public, he said. Its deeply disrespectful to assume that were either being misinformed or that were so retarded we cant make these decisions ourselves.

Yorke noted that Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood was particularly hurt by the hatred the band had been subjected to over the upcoming concert.

Greenwoods wife Sharona Katan was born in Israel. She described herself on Twitter as an Arab Jew who is proud to have Arab roots as she traces ancestry to Iraq and Egypt.

Since then, several groups have chastised Yorke for his rhetoric and criticized him for refusing to further discuss the topic.

Thoms is a simple choice: will he stand with the oppressor or the oppressed? said film director Ken Loach in a statement through Artists for Palestine UK on June 5.

A cultural boycott campaign against Israel has had limited success. Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill have scrapped shows but numerous major names including Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Santana, Lady Gaga, and Bon Jovi have performed in recent years. Rod Stewart played in Tel Aviv in May and Britney Spears performed last week.

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Radiohead frontman appears to curse pro-Palestinian protesters at show – The Times of Israel

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Ross bill pulls state out of companies that boycott Israel – Burlington Times News

The Times-News North Carolina will divest from companies that boycott Israel after Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law a bill sponsored by Rep. Stephen Ross, R-Burlington. Ross filed H161 Divestment From Companies That Boycott Israel on Feb. 21 with Reps. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, and John Szoka, R-Cumberland. Cooper signed the bill Thursday. H161 will strengthen the states economic ties with Israel and show North Carolinas dedication to one of our closest allies, Ross office said Thursday. The bill requires divestment from, and prohibits state agencies from contracting with, companies that boycott Israel. It also amends existing Sudan and Iran Divestment statutes. Today is a significant day for North Carolina, Ross said. Its important for our state to stand with Israel against boycotts that threaten Israels sovereignty. This bill protects North Carolinas economy from efforts to restrict trade and affirms our states economic commitments to Israel.

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July 27, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Listen: California Democrats defend right to boycott Israel – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Nora Barrows-Friedman The Electronic Intifada Podcast 24 July 2017 The California Democratic Party has approved a resolution calling on the US government to promote a just peace based on full equality and security for Israeli Jews and Palestinians alike, human rights and international law. The resolution, which passed without debate at the annual state chapter conference in May, admonishes Israels settlement activities, as well as its denial of entry to activists who criticize the state. It also decries the historic failures of the US government to take action against Israel with actual steps to change the status quo and bring about a real peace process. Endorsed by more than 200 delegates at the California conference, the resolution breaks from the traditional mantras of the Democratic Party of prioritizing Israels military security, support of the two-state solution or pursuing yet another failed negotiations process, explained David Mandel, an author of the resolution. Notably, the resolution also rejects any effort to restrict or discourage open public discourse on issues related to Israeli policies and opposes any attempt to restrict or penalize those who exercise their views through nonviolent action to effect change, signaling support for activists who engage with the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign and who face expanding repression on campuses and by local, state and federal legislatures. The resolution is based on human rights, and also, really importantly to me, it criticizes any attempt to stifle debate, which has been happening all over the country, both in Congress and in a lot of states, including California, to stigmatize and suppress activism for boycotts and divestment, Mandel told The Electronic Intifada podcast. Mandel said he hopes that this resolution encourages other activists around the US who are fighting for progressive policy platforms in the national Democratic Party, especially as Democrats and Republicans are considering passing the federal Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would make it a felony for companies to participate in an international commercial boycott of Israel. Those found guilty could potentially face $250,000 to $1 million in fines and 20 years in prison. This resolution will be a small arrow in our quiver of opposing those kinds of things, but hopefully it will lead to examples in other states and help us out in opposing that kind of suppression of speech, Mandel said. The easy passage of the resolution indicates that the partys members are rapidly shifting their opinions about the US-Israel relationship, added Estee Chandler, a Democratic activist who campaigned for the resolution. Both Chandler and Mandel are members of Jewish Voice for Peace but worked on the resolution as private citizens. Opinions are changing among American Jews and others who until recently were reticent to express any serious criticism of Israeli policy, Chandler said. She added that the belligerent pro-Israel stance of the Trump administration and the appointment of settlement financier David Friedman as the US ambassador to Israel has deeply upset Democratic Party members. What Im finding as a Democratic activist is that more and more Democrats of all stripes are alarmed by the situation, the extreme policies of Israel and the violence of the occupation, she said. Listen to the interview with David Mandel and Estee Chandler via the media player above. Theme music by Sharif Zakout Subscribe to The Electronic Intifada podcast on Apple Podcast (search for The Electronic Intifada). Support our podcast by rating us and leaving a review.

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Robert Azzi: Congress assails First Amendment, BDS, Palestinians … – Concord Monitor

An advocate must be free to stimulate his audience with spontaneous and emotional appeals for unity and action in a common cause. When such appeals do not incite lawless action, they must be regarded as protected speech. (NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 1982) In contradiction to such sentiments, Sen. Maggie Hassan is co-sponsoring a Senate bill Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720/H.R.1697) that would make it a felony for Americans to support an international boycott against Israel. Its a bill designed to strip Americans of constitutionally protected rights, a bill that targets supporters of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement that works to end international support for Israels oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law. Boycotts to achieve political goals, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has written, are a form of expression that the Supreme Court has ruled are protected by the First Amendments protections of freedom of speech, assembly and petition. BDS is designed to give Palestinians and their supporters a nonviolent platform from which to resist occupation and illegal settlement activity, activity which the international community believes is a flagrant violation of international law without legal validity, activities condemned by innumerable U.N. resolutions from No. 242 to No. 2334 and the Fourth Geneva Convention. In 2014, Nobel Peace laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu said: I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces. Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government. BDS is designed to empower Palestinians to resist that humiliation. In response to (S.720/H.R.1697) the ACLU has written: The bill would amend those laws to bar U.S. persons from supporting boycotts against Israel, including its settlements in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, conducted by international governmental organizations, such as the United Nations and the European Union. It would also broaden the law to include penalties for simply requesting information about such boycotts. Violations would be subject to a maximum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison. We take no position for or against the effort to boycott Israel or any foreign country, for that matter. However, we do assert that the government cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, punish U.S. persons based solely on their expressed political beliefs. This bill would impose civil and criminal punishment on individuals solely because of their political beliefs about Israel and its policies. I support BDS because its a nonviolent response that I recognize initiated by Palestinian civil society to the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, to the oppression of Palestinians, to the continued incarceration of hundreds of Palestinians held under administrative detention without either indictment or trial. BDS does not delegitimize Israel; it delegitimizes illegal occupation and oppression. In April, BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti said, Twelve years ago, we were called romantic dreamers or worse. Today, our fast-growing movement is recognized as being so strong as to be fought by the full force of Israels regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, and by its partners in crime. Partners like members of the United State Congress whove aligned themselves with oligarchs and power brokers, partners who not only oppose BDS but who oppose making political and economic distinctions between Israel and occupied Palestinian territory. I support BDS because I recognized, and supported, the boycott in South Africa that helped to strike down apartheid. I supported the Montgomery bus boycott and the Delano grape strike because I believe in justice. Because I recognize that were called upon to resist oppression and occupation. I recognize, too, that even when boycotts dont change anything, as in the anti-Nazi boycott of 1933 that did nothing to stop the harassment of German Jews, that its morally necessary to act. As Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of the American Jewish Congress said at the time, We must speak out, and If that is unavailing, at least we shall have spoken. BDS is working. In 2016, the EU, along with Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands, affirmed the right to support BDS as protected by freedom of speech and freedom of association. Last month the Spanish parliament unanimously passed a motion affirming the right to advocate for BDS as protected by freedom of speech and freedom of association. BDS is working. BDS supporters know its working because of the scale of resources its opponents are devoting to delegitimize and criminalize the nonviolent movement including getting members of Congress to emasculate the First Amendment. I know BDS is controversial. Some of my dearest friends dont support it at all; others want BDS to apply only to the occupied territories. I get that, and support their choice. However, those friends and I do agree that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act is unjust and is a blatant attempt to dissuade American supporters of Palestinian freedom and justice from engaging in protected political speech and action. Resisting violence is easy. Use greater violence and destroy, imprison and emasculate the enemy. If they resist, hit them harder. Resisting nonviolence is harder you cant bomb non-violent resisters into submission. So, to counter BDSs nonviolent philosophy, Israels calling upon America to violently defile existential imperatives and collude in squelching First Amendment rights. Pay attention: (S.720/H.R.1697) aligns America with governments that choose to deal with dissent and protest by limiting freedoms and speech governments like Poland, Russia, Turkey, Israel and Egypt. Were not like them. Were better than that. Pay attention: If speech can be criminalized in order to oppress Palestinians then it could as easily be used against any other group that displease the government or oligarchs in the future. Pay attention: Last week Vice President Mike Pence said, America stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel, as together we confront those enemies who threaten our people, our freedom and our very way of life. What he, and Hassan, fail to recognize is that those who threaten our people, our freedom, and our very way of life is us that were in danger of becoming our enemy. Let us speak out: If that is unavailing, at least we shall have spoken. (Robert Azzi is a photographer and writer who lives in Exeter. He can be reached at theother.azzi@gmail.com and his columns are archived at theotherazzi.wordpress.com.)

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July 23, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

The First Amendment Protects the Right to Boycott Israel – ACLU (blog)

Earlier this week, the ACLU sent a letter to members of Congress opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. The bill would amend existing law to prohibit people in the United States from supporting boycotts targeting Israel making it a felony to choose not to engage in commerce with companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Violations would be punishable by a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison. The bill is aimed at advocates of boycotts targeting Israel, most notably the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law. Specifically, the bill sponsors intend the act as a response to the U.N. Human Rights Councils 2016 resolution calling on companies to respect human rights, including in occupied Palestinian territories. No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts. In fact, the right to boycott is one of the brightest stars in our constitutional firmament. The American Revolution was founded on boycotts against British goods to protest excessive taxes. John Jay led a boycott against New York merchants who engaged in the slave trade. And the Montgomery bus boycott of 19551956 was a major turning point in the struggle for civil rights in the Jim Crow South. In the 1970s and 1980s, colleges and universities led a widespread campaign to boycott and divest from South Africa, in protest of apartheid. In 2015, football players at the University of Missouri went on strike until the school addressed acute racial tensions on campus. And North Carolinas law prohibiting transgender people from accessing restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identities sparked massive boycotts by businesses and individuals. Boycotts are a form of collective action that allows ordinary people to make their voices heard. For precisely this reason, the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment protects the right to boycott. The courts landmark decision in NAACP v Claiborne Hardware Co. affirmed the constitutional right of NAACP activists to hold a mass economic boycott of white-owned businesses in Port Gibson, Mississippi, to protest the communitys persistent racial inequality and segregation. In ringing language, the court held that the boycotters exercise of their rights to speech, assembly, and petition . . . to change a social order that had consistently treated them as second-class citizens rested on the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values. No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts. This is a proud constitutional legacy. Today, though, the right to boycott is under assault. Over the past several years, federal, state, and local legislators have introduced wave after wave of legislation seeking to stamp out boycotts and divestment campaigns aimed at Israel. One such law, passed earlier this year by Nassau County in New York, prohibits the county from doing business with people who support the BDS movement. As a result, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame could be banned from playing at the Nassau Coliseum in New York. Similar laws have been passed in Arizona and Kansas. None of them comport with the First Amendment. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act introduced in Congress goes a step further, threatening severe civil and criminal punishment against individuals who refrain from doing business with Israel because of their political opposition to its governments actions. The bill amends two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, which prohibit certain boycotts sponsored by foreign governments. The bill would expand the application of those laws in a number of ways. It would expand the laws to prohibit boycotts called for by international organizations, like the United Nations and the European Union; it would threaten sanctions against people who boycott businesses operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories; and it would prohibit even requests for information about companies business relationships with Israel and Israeli companies. This expansive language would likely chill a wide range of political activity in the United States directed at the Israeli government activity that is constitutionally protected, regardless whether members of Congress agree with it. A number of the bills sponsors were apparently surprised by the ACLUs free speech concerns with the bill. A number of them have now expressed their intention to review the legislation with the ACLUs civil rights and civil liberties concerns in mind. We hope they do the right thing by backing away from any bill that violates our First Amendment rights.

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Campaign to boycott Israel ‘helped SodaStream brand’, says chief … – Jewish News

The chief executive of the Israeli drinks company SodaStream paid sardonic tribute this week to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists who had targeted it. They helped build awareness of the brand and did not damage our business one bit, said Daniel Birnbaum. He was in the UK on a round of media interviews linked to Soda-Streams environmental message, was bullish in his attitude and promotion of his company. The Israeli company was coming home, Birnbaum said, because it began in Britain in 1903. Now SodaStream, long known as the fizzy drinks firm, has had a change in strategy and has altered its business model so that it sells a syphon and the opportunity to render tap water into sparkling water. And every one of SodaStreams products bears a proud logo saying Made in Israel: This product is produced by Jews and Arabs working side-by-side in peace and harmony. And therein lies the heart of SodaStreams controversy. For when as a global experiment Soda-Stream opened a shop in Brighton, it was assailed by BDS activists because the companys headquarters were in the West Bank, no matter how its Palestinian employees praised its working conditions. Israeli and Palestinian workers, working together Birnbaum says there is an irony in that SodaStream chose Brighton because it was home to Britains only Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas. We were expecting to get her endorsement, instead we got her boycott, he says. The shop closed in 2014. He says the company will never open any other shops, either in the UK or in any of the 45 countries where SodaStream is available. Instead, it is flourishing as an online product and in outlets such as Argos or Currys; he hopes, eventually, it will do away with dependency on plastic water bottles and wean the consumer on to a repeat-use container. Made in Israel: This product is produced by Jews and Arabs working side-by-side in peace and harmony. If Birnbaum, a former commander in the Israeli Navy, has fights, it is not with the BDS crowd. In fact, though an outspoken righty, he has had endless fights with the Prime Ministers office in Israel over the granting of work permits to his Palestinian employees. SodaStream is now based in the Negev and employs huge numbers of Palestinians and Bedouin workers. Birnbaum is exasperated at the reluctance of Israel to employ more Palestinians, instead giving work permits to Chinese, Thai and Filipino workers. Employing Palestinians creates stability, he says. We call SodaStream an island of peace. Why not employ more Palestinians? It could change the whole economic climate on the West Bank. And everyone knows it. Sodastream said this week it is looking for a partner to help it shake up the home brewing market. It was in talks with potential partners that would help to roll out beer concentrates to pair with its machines in the next 12 months. SodaStream chief executive Daniel Birnbaum, who was in the UK this week, in one of the companys factories

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

The call for a boycott of Israel is not only unjust: it is laughable – The Guardian

Posters in Tel Aviv advertising the concert by Radiohead; the band defied calls from fans and other performers for them to cancel the concert in protest at Israels occupation of Palestinian territory. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images A group of anti-Israel campaigners have called on Radiohead to boycott Israel and not perform in Tel Aviv this week (Letters, 17 July). We congratulate Thom Yorke and his band for having the courage to withstand the taunts of those who campaign against the worlds only Jewish state. Indeed, Israel is different in many ways from its neighbours. It is the only liberal democracy in the region. It is the only country in the Middle East in which Arabs, Jews and Christians enjoy full human rights and equality under the law, where the LGBT community is able to hold a Pride parade through its largest city, and where women and minorities face no discrimination. Yet this is the only country in a region filled with tyranny and dictatorship to be subjected to calls for a boycott. This is not to say we do not have sympathy for the people of Gaza. When Israel withdrew in 2005, the people there had a historic opportunity for peace an opportunity that was squandered when Hamas took power. The ensuing conflicts with Israel have all been the response to missile campaigns by Hamas aimed at civilians across the border. This is a regime that is undemocratic and misogynistic, discriminates against LGBT people, terrorises not only Israeli civilians but also its own people, and is classed by the UK government as a terrorist organisation. For supporters of this regime to call for a boycott of Israel is not only unjust, but laughable. Marie van der Zyl Vice-president, Board of Deputies of British Jews Join the debate email guardian.letters@theguardian.com Read more Guardian letters click here to visit gu.com/letters

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

After Calling to Boycott Israel, Roger Waters’ NY Concert May Be Cancelled – Haaretz

Nassau County lawmaker Howard Kopel asked county attorney to see if the concert venue has to comply with the anti-BDS legislation Allowing BDS proponent Roger Waters to perform at a Long Island arena violates a local law against the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, a Nassau County lawmaker said. Waters, the former Pink Floyd front man, is scheduled to appear at the Nassau Coliseum on September 15 and 16. The lawmaker, Howard Kopel, asked the county attorney last week to determine whether the Nassau Coliseum lease requires compliance with the county law, adopted in May 2016, that prevents the county from doing business with any company that participates in the economic boycott of Israel. Kopel, an Orthodox Jewish legislator who represents a district with a large Jewish population, said in a Facebook post that the Waters concert violates the anti-BDS law while calling the musician a notorious front man for the BDS movement and virulent anti-Semite. In a Facebook Live chat Saturday with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Waters said he would play his shows in Nassau, saying an artists rights should not be attacked over his stand on an issue. We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. I think theyre gonna fail, Waters said of attempts to prevent him from playing in Nassau County. I dont think, I know they are, because you would have to tear up the Constitution of the United States of America, particularly the First Amendment, and throw it into the Hudson River, or the East River if thats closer, in order for that to happen. Waters also noted an incident in Miami last week in which a dozen teens from a Miami Beach Parks summer program who were to perform on stage with him backed out amid accusations of anti-Semitism. Miami Beach spokeswoman Melissa Berthier told the Miami Herald on Thursday, hours before the scheduled concert, that the teens would not be participating, saying in a statement, Miami Beach is a culturally diverse community and does not tolerate any form of hate. The Greater Miami Jewish Federation in an online ad on the Miami Herald website posted a link to a statement on its website reading, Mr. Waters, your vile messages of anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and hatred are not welcome in this community. Waters is embroiled in a controversy with Radiohead after he publicly called on the band to cancel its Wednesday concert in Tel Aviv. Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

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July 19, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

So now American Zionists want to boycott Israel – Opinion … – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

A woman plays with her dog as the municipality building is lit in the colours of the American flag on the first day of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit in Israel, in Tel Aviv, Israel May 22, 2017.. (photo credit:REUTERS/CORINNA KERN) Several prominent American Zionists including long-time supporters of Israel are so outraged at the Israeli governments recent decision regarding the Western Wall and non-Orthodox conversion that they are urging American Jews to reduce or even eliminate their support for Israel. According to an article by Elliot Abrams in Mosaic, Ike Fisher, a prominent member of the AIPAC board, threatened to suspend all further financial support for Israel. Daniel Gordis, a leading voice for Conservative Judaism, urged American Jews to cancel their El Al tickets and fly Delta or United. He also proposed withholding donations to Israeli hospitals, so that They start running out of money and begin to falter. This sort of emotional response is reminiscent of the temper tantrum outgoing US president Barak Obama engaged in when he refused to veto the UNs recent anti-Israel resolution. I strongly disagree both with the Israeli governments capitulation to the minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who wield far too much influence in Israeli politics, and with the proposals to cut back on support for Israel by some of my fellow critics of the Israeli governments recent decisions with regard to religion. I strongly support greater separation between religion and state in Israel, as Theodor Herzl outlined in his plan for the nation-state of the Jewish People in Der Judenstaat 120 years ago: We shall… prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood. We shall keep our priests [by which is meant rabbis] within the confines of their temples. It was David Ben-Gurion who made the deal with the Orthodox rabbinate that violated Herzls mandate and knocked down the wall of separation between religion and state. He allocated to the Chief Rabbinate authority over many secular matters, such as marriage, divorce and child custody. He also laid the groundwork for the creation of religious parties that have been a necessary part of most Israeli coalitions for many years. So dont blame Israels current prime minister for the recent capitulation. His governments survival depends on his unholy alliance with allegedly holy parties that threaten to leave the coalition and bring down his government unless he capitulates. The alternative to a Netanyahu government might well be far to the Right of the current government, both on religious matters and on prospects for peace. Reasonable people may disagree as to whether Netanyahu did the right thing, but I believe that given the choice between the current government and what may well replace it, Netanyahu acted on acceptable priorities. This is not to say that I am happy with the end result. As a post-denominational Jew, I want to see a part of the Western Wall opened to conservative and reform prayer. I also want to see Conservative and Reform and Modern Orthodox rabbis deemed fully competent to perform rituals including marriage and divorce. I will continue to fight for these outcomes, and I think we will ultimately be successful. But in the meantime, I will also continue to fly El Al, contribute to Israeli hospitals, attend AIPAC events and encourage Americans to support Israel, both politically and financially. To do otherwise is to engage in a form of BDS the tactic currently employed by Israels enemies to delegitimize the nation state of the Jewish People. Supporters of BDS will point to these benign boycotts as a way of justifying their malignant ones. If BDS is an immoral tactic, as it surely is, so too is punishing the people of Israel for the failure of their government to be fully inclusive of Jews who do not align themselves with the ultra-Orthodox. Tough love may be an appropriate response in family matters, but boycotting a troubled nation which has become a pariah among the hard Left is not the appropriate response to the Israeli governments recent decisions regarding religion. The answer is not disengagement, but rather greater engagement with Israel on matters that involve world Jewry. I, too, am furious about the arrogant and destructive threats of the ultra-Orthodox parties in the current government. I, too, would prefer to see a coalition that excluded the ultra-Orthodox parties. I, too, would like to see a high wall of separation that kept the rabbis out of politics. But I do not live in Israel, and Israel is a democracy. Ultimately it is up to the citizens of Israel to change the current system. The role of American Jews is limited to persuasion, not coercion. In the end, we will be successful in persuading the Israeli people to take the power of religious coercion out of the hands of the ultra-Orthodox minority because that would not only be good for secular Israelis who are a majority but also for religious Israelis. History has proved that separation of state from religion is better not only for the state, but also for religion. Follow Alan Dershowitz on Twitter: @ AlanDersh and Facebook: @AlanMDershowitz. This article was first published by Gatestone Institute. Share on facebook

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July 18, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed

Radiohead frontman appears to curse pro-Palestinian protesters at show – The Times of Israel

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke apparently flipped off pro-Palestinian protesters at a Friday concert in Glasgow, Scotland, amid a continuing campaign to pressure the band to cancel its upcoming gig in Tel Aviv. Several Palestinian flags and signs calling on the band to boycott Israel were held aloft during the bands concert at the TRNSMT Festival in the Scottish city. During a break in between songs, the musician muttered the phrase, some fucking people four times into the microphone in what appeared to be a reference to the around ten Palestinian flags waving in the crowd at the time. The online music site Consequence of Sound reported that Yorke also gave the middle finger to the protesters from Glasgow Palestine Action, Glasgow Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Radiohead Fans for Palestine, who had also all demonstrated outside of the concert. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke headline the main Stage at the TRNSMT music festival on Glasgow Green, in Glasgow on July 7, 2017. (AFP/Digital/Andy Buchanan) Since the announcement of Radioheads July 19 concert in Israel, the English rock band has been bombarded with protests from pro-Palestinian groups calling on them to withdraw from their commitment. In February, dozens of high-profile artists had signed a letter urging the band to cancel its performance at Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine last month, Yorke characterized the letter as offensive and called out its signees for assuming the band is not informed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its deeply distressing that they choose to, rather than engage with us personally, throw shit at us in public, he said. Its deeply disrespectful to assume that were either being misinformed or that were so retarded we cant make these decisions ourselves. Yorke noted that Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood was particularly hurt by the hatred the band had been subjected to over the upcoming concert. Greenwoods wife Sharona Katan was born in Israel. She described herself on Twitter as an Arab Jew who is proud to have Arab roots as she traces ancestry to Iraq and Egypt. Since then, several groups have chastised Yorke for his rhetoric and criticized him for refusing to further discuss the topic. Thoms is a simple choice: will he stand with the oppressor or the oppressed? said film director Ken Loach in a statement through Artists for Palestine UK on June 5. A cultural boycott campaign against Israel has had limited success. Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill have scrapped shows but numerous major names including Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Santana, Lady Gaga, and Bon Jovi have performed in recent years. Rod Stewart played in Tel Aviv in May and Britney Spears performed last week.

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July 9, 2017   Posted in: Boycott Israel  Comments Closed


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