Pushback against anti-Israel boycotters just got real.
We have been here before.
The vicious anti-Israel boycotters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement don’t like it when the tables are turned on them. That’s why, when faculty pass their anti-Israel boycott resolutions, they include in the resolutions the demand that their right to boycott be protected.
In other words, boycotters claim the right to boycott others, but deny others the right to boycott them.
It’s an “academic freedom for me, but not for thee” attitude.
In Europe, in particular, the BDS rhetoric and tactics are so toxic that BDS has become the mother’s milk of anti-Semitic violence and threats. In many cities, Walking While Jewish is hazardous to one’s health.
But boycotting the boycotters was bound to happen. Israel supporters were not going to be punching bags forever. And forever has arrived.
We have highlighted before proposed federal legislation updating boycott protection for Israel in new trade legislation, including the massive European Union free trade agreement under negotiation. BDS supporters howled that the trade legislation could mean the death of BDS in Europe.
That effort just got a huge boost, as this AIPAC press release reflects:
The Times of Israel provides more context:
AIPAC praises the Senate Finance Committee for unanimously including an amendment targeting harmful anti-Israel trade and commercial practices in the “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority bill yesterday. AIPAC applauds the amendment’s authors, Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH), and expresses appreciation to Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (D-OR), who backed this key initiative.
The amendment addresses efforts by foreign governments to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. Utilizing well-established congressional tools, the provision directs that one of the principal American objectives in upcoming trade negotiations will be to discourage trading partners from taking actions that would limit U.S.-Israel commerce. The amendment also urges the U.S. Trade Representative to seek to eliminate politically-motivated economic attacks on Israel by America’s free trade partners.
In considering another measure, the customs enforcement bill, the Finance Committee included additional important provisions to further combat BDS activities. The Committee established new requirements for administration reporting and disclosure by foreign companies of their participation in political boycotts of Israel.
Companion legislation to the anti-BDS amendment, H.R. 825, has been introduced in the House by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA).
The amendment will come to a floor vote when the Senate votes on the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the underlying bill. The administration is pushing hard for the TPA, which is expected to come to a vote as early as next week and has bipartisan support.
The amendment only applies to the TTIP negotiations with Europe, and not the companion Trans-Pacific Partnership talks — a response, sponsors say, to a tide of BDS-related initiatives in the European countries with which the US hopes to negotiate a historic agreement.
“Unfortunately, some of our European allies are engaged in (BDS),” one of the amendment’s two original sponsors in the senate, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), told colleagues before the late Wednesday vote. “Banks from from Sweden, Denmark and the largest pension fund in the Netherlands have divested from israel’s financial institutions. Denmark has actually threatened sanctions against Israel unless the Israeli government takes actions with regard to Gaza. There was a threat in the European Union to boycott meat and dairy products from certain areas of Israel depending how those products are labeled.”
There also is separate federal legislation pending that would require contractors with the U.S. government to certify they are not participating in BDS. There are similar efforts ongoing at the state level.
Look at how Ali Abunimah, one of the most prolific and aggressive anti-Israel boycott advocates who travels from campus to campus advocating various forms of BDS, complains about legislation in Illinois similar to the federal legislation, Illinois law would force state to boycott companies accused of boycotting Israel.
The Illinois bill in question is up for a vote today. Regardless of whether it passes, the handwriting is on the wall.
The people of the United States overwhelmingly support Israel. It’s not even close.
Now we, the people, are being heard in opposition to the BDS movement not just on campuses, but also through our elected representatives.
In another important move, the Tennessee and Indiana legislatures officially condemned BDS:
Resolutions condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel in the Tennessee and Indiana state legislatures mark what a group of pro-Israel organizations and grassroots activists hope is just the start of a new trend in fighting BDS on American soil.
The Tennessee General Assembly on April 21 became the first state legislature in the U.S. to formally condemn the BDS movement through the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 170. The resolution was initiated by Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder of the Christian Zionist group Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN). Cardoza-Moore worked with local Jewish and Christian organizations to bring the resolution to the state legislature.
“With the current climate of increasing anti-Semitism, anti-Israel, and anti-Zionist campaigns, Tennesseans and all people of conscience should endorse public statements of support for our Jewish brethren living in Tennessee and pro-Israel students attending colleges and universities in our state,” Cardoza-Moore said…..
Similar to the Tennessee resolution, the Indiana measure “expresses opposition to the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel” BDS movement, adding that the global spread of anti-Jewish speech and violence “represents an attack, not only on Jews, but on the fundamental principles of the United States.” The resolution goes on to thank the presidents of Indiana University and Purdue University for “strongly” condemning the boycott of Israeli academic institutions after some faculty members and other staffers at those schools voiced support for the BDS movement.
After years of being a boycott punching bag, supporters of Israel are fighting back.
And don’t think the fight won’t come to academia if BDS continues to rip at the fabric of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas through its boycotts.
The easy days for BDS are over.DONATE
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