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Ali Abunimah Tag

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—darling of the far-left and heroine of the anti-Israel lobby—recently canceled an appearance sponsored by far left 'pro-Israel' groups, and reportedly is avoiding meeting with mainstream Jewish groups. In this post, I go over the background of how we got here.

In several posts we have described how biased teaching materials about the Arab-Israeli conflict and the history and practice of Islam were used for years in the curriculum of two public high schools in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts:

Since October 2015, Israelis have endured stabbings, car rammings, and shootings in a wave of Palestinian violence that’s tapered off somewhat but hasn’t really come to an end. Now it looks like arson can be added to the list. This past week Israel has been battling massive fires with at least some of them caused by deliberate “nationally motivated” arson. Most people on the planet would say that if arsonists start fires, then they should be held responsible for the damage. But as we’ve noted on many occasions on this website and as I discuss further below, some of Israel’s worst detractors aren’t like most people. Instead of blaming the arson-terrorists, they want to pin it entirely on the pine trees.

On July 1, 2016, we covered the murder of Rabbi Michael "Miki" Mark, a father of 10 children, in front of his wife and several of the kids, Palestinian War of Terror – Israeli father of 10 murdered in front of his family: MichaelMark1
A Palestinian shot and murdered Michael “Miki” Mark, an Israeli father of 10, as he drove near Hebron. His wife and two of their children sustained injuries in the attack. From The Jerusalem Post:
In Friday’s incident, the rain of bullets against the vehicle caused it to overturn. Paramedics who arrived at the scene found Mark in the upside down vehicle, while the other passengers had been managed to exit the car. Magen David Adom paramedic Zaki Yahav said that it was a “very difficult” scene. Mark “was trapped inside” with gunshot wounds and other injuries form the accident. He didn’t have a pulse and he wasn’t breathing. “We tried to resuscitate him,” said Zahav, but it was not possible they declared him dead at the scene.

Benjamin Norton is a leading author who favors the boycott movement (BDS) against Israel. Norton writes for the anti-Zionist Mondoweiss website, as well as a slew of other places on the topic of how bad Israel is. While I don't agree with most of what Norton says, he certainly is prolific and an upcoming opinion-leader in that sphere. So when I saw Norton pen a column severely criticizing the ban on American Jewish musician Matisyahu at the behest of a Spanish branch of the BDS movement, I was, well, surprised. All the more so because leading American BDS activists like Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal were seeking to justify the ban because Matisyahu was too pro-Israel. Norton wrote at his own website, Cancellation of Matisyahu’s Performance Blatantly Defies BDS [via Google cache] (emphasis added):

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement suffered one of its worst public relations debacles when it pressured the Spanish Rototom SunSplash festival to ban American Jewish musician Matisyahu. At so many levels, the incident exposed BDS for what it is - anti-freedom, anti-Jewish, anti-just about everything we hold dear. Left twisting in the wind are leading American BDS activists like Ali Abunimah, Max Blumenthal and Joe Catron who supported the ban, even as BDS leader Omar Barghouti ran for political cover and BDS author Ben Norton condemned the ban. BDS defenders of the Matisyahu ban claim the ban was justified because Matisyahu is Zionist and pro-Israel. If being Zionist and pro-Israel were justification for a ban, then BDS would be justified in banning the vast majority of Jews from public appearances. So tell me again how BDS is not anti-Semitic? We mentioned yesterday that the festival organizers had apologized and reinvited Matisyahu to perform. Now the date is set, August 22, on the main stage:

American Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu was banned from the Spanish Rototom Sunsplash festival after intense pressure from supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, who demanded that Matisyahu sign a pledge supporting a Palestinian state. Matisyahu was singled out because he was Jewish. He's not even Israeli. No other musician, regardless of his or her politics, was asked to take a political pledge. It was a huge victory for BDS, which routinely seeks to prevent Israeli musicians from appearing at festivals around the world for the crime of being Israeli and Jewish (the ban doesn't appear to be enforced as to non-Jewish Israelis.) When Matisyahu was first banned, there was much joy in BDS circles, particularly in the United States where BDS leaders like Max Blumenthal, Ali Abunimah and Joe Catron publicly supported the decision. (And apparently still do.) But then a funny thing happened on the way to this huge BDS victory. In fact, something quite unusual in the world of BDS bullying in Europe -- the world expressed outrage.

We wrote the other day about how the Boycott, Divestment and Movement pressured the Spanish Rototom Reggae festival to ban American Jewish musician Matisyahu because he refused to sign a pledge supporting a Palestinian state. Matishayu's position was that he's just a musician and shouldn't have to take a political pledge, particularly since he was singled out because he's Jewish. No non-Jewish musicians were pressured to sign any pledges. He wrote on his Facebook page:
"The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people. I support peace and compassion for all people. My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music. Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process. The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people. As musicians that is what we seek. - Blessed Love, Matis"

Jeremy Corbyn likely will be the next leader of the leftist British Labour Party. Elections are underway for party leadership. The Labour Party has fallen on hard times after being crushed by David Cameron's Conservative Party in the national elections in May 2015. The Conservative Party now holds an outright majority in parliament, but Labour still is the major political opposition in the country. Which is why there is so much concern over Corbyn's connection to so many of worst anti-Semitic and anti-Israel elements. The Jewish Chronicle in Britain gives the big picture view:
The JC rarely claims to speak for anyone other than ourselves. We are just a newspaper. But in this rare instance we are certain that we speak for the vast majority of British Jews in expressing deep foreboding at the prospect of Mr Corbyn’s election as Labour leader. Because, although there is no direct evidence that he has an issue himself with Jews, there is overwhelming evidence of his association with, support for — and even in one case, alleged funding of — Holocaust deniers, terrorists and some outright antisemites....