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Eugene Kontorovich Tag

Hen Mazzig is an Israeli who makes frequent appearances abroad to promote the truth about Israel. I first learned of Hen when he wrote about his experiences with the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the U.S.:
As a young Israeli who had just completed five years of service in the IDF, I looked forward to my new job educating people in the Pacific Northwest about Israel. I was shocked, however, by the anti-Israel bigotry and hostility I encountered, especially in the greater Seattle area, Oregon, and Berkeley. I had been very liberal, a member of the leftist Zionist party, Meretz, but the anti-Semitism and hatred for Israel that I have seen in the U.S. has changed my outlook personally and politically….

We previously reported how the UN Human Rights Council, with help from anti-Israel groups like Human Rights Watch, was preparing a blacklist of companies doing business in Israel's "occupied territories" (i.e. what is commonly referred to as the West Bank and East Jerusalem). This would, of necessity, become a de facto blacklist of almost all Israeli companies. The discussion was in the context of UN Security Resolutin 2334, the biased anti-Israel resolution the Obama administration orchestrated, UN Resolution 2334 advances the boycott of Israel:

There he went again. Early this morning Donald Trump launched a twitter storm regarding the issue of the Executive Orders regarding visa entry to the U.S. from 6 (originally 7) majority Muslim nations previously identified by the Obama administration as posing unique security risks. On January 28, 2017, just after the first Executive Order, I addressed much of the nonsense in the media about the substance of the Executive Order, Most claims about Trump’s visa Executive Order are false or misleading. Most significantly, it was inaccurate to describe it as a "Muslim ban," which was the media descriptor of choice.

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The U.S. Embassy is in Tel Aviv, and a consulate in Jerusalem. Trump promised during the campaign to "move" the Embassy to Jerusalem. A physical move isn't actually needed, the Jerusalem Consulate could simply be redesignated at the Embassy. Most of the diplomats enjoying their beautiful beachfront views in Tel Aviv could stay there.

On Thursday May 11, at the 67th FIFA Congress in Manama, Bahrain the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) and its supporters of vehemently anti-Israel ‘human rights’ organizations lost their bid to sanction or suspend the Israel Football Association (IFA) from FIFA—the governing body of world soccer. Eligible member associations voted 138-50 to approve the FIFA Council’s alternative proposed motion to delay the issue for one more year until March 2018. I highlighted the persistent campaign against Israel at FIFA in a recent post, Will FIFA Kick Israel Out of World Football?

The American Studies Association (ASA), which is run by anti-Israel activists from academia, was the first (and only) significant-sized American faculty association to adopt the academic boycott of Israel. A few very small groups also have adopted the boycott, but attempts to reach larger organizations, such as the Modern Language Association, American Anthropological Association and American Historical Association, have failed. Legal Insurrection was at the forefront of covering ASA's December 2013 vote and the reaction, including the rejection of the boycott by over 250 university presidents and numerous major university organizations.

Barak Ravid, the diplomatic correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz, has a reputation of getting great scoops, especially of the sort that makes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu look bad. In a story with a sensational headline that has lit up anti-Netanyahu social media, Ravid reported, Exclusive Kerry Offered Netanyahu Regional Peace Plan in Secret 2016 Summit With al-Sissi, King Abdullah. The sub-headline read, "Kerry's outline included Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Netanyahu claimed he couldn't get his coalition to back it."

For all the hubbub over "fake news", major news outlets are making a name for themselves peddling misinformation and inaccurate reports. Like this New York Times report. Here's how the NYT ran the story:

We previously covered, in exhaustive detail, the upcoming vote on Saturday, January 7, on three resolutions at the Modern Language Association:
The Modern Language Association is at it again: at this year’s annual MLA meeting in Philadelphia, academic boycotts of Israel are on the agenda. Thus continues the Settler Colonial attempt by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) to hijack American faculty organizations. The 24,000 member organization, comprised of faculty in the fields English and other non-classical foreign languages, will be debating (again) whether to boycott their colleagues in Israel, and would extend to the Academy of the Hebrew Language.

Donald Trump has promised, both himself and through surrogates, to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That move, long promised by American presidents but never implemented, would have particular importance in light of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which the Obama administration pushed behind the scenes and allowed to pass by abstaining. That Resolution purports to declare illegal the Jewish presence even in place such as the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, which was captured by Jordan after Israel declared independence, and then ethnically cleansed of Jews. That ethnic cleansing of Jew along with ransacking and destruction of Jewish religious places, even cemeteries, was remedied when Israel recaptured the area in 1967 after Jordan attacked Israel in support of Egypt and Syria. Israel also recaptured the Western Wall, the holiest place in Judaism at which Jews are permitted to pray. The UN Resolution declares Israeli control over the Western Wall illegal as well.

I've been warning that Obama's passage of the recent anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution was not necessarily the "final" jab at Israel. Obama still has three more weeks left in which time he can achieve substantial UN action. The Israelis have reason to be fearful, asserting they have ‘Ironclad Information’ the Obama administration both pushed and helped craft the prior Resolution.

Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated an obvious truth. The demand that Jews leave Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") as part of a two-state solution is nothing less than a demand for ethnic cleansing that cannot be a basis for peace, Netanyahu: Ethnic Cleansing of Jews For Peace is Absurd: That video, and the truth underlying it, caused a fury because it took on a core (but false) international view that Jewish presence beyond the 1949 armistice line (pre-1967) is illegitimate at best, illegal at worst.

Just over a week ago I reported how Rhode Island legislature passes anti-BDS law, becoming the 10th state to pass legislation exercising the state's right not to subsidize the discriminatory Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). The forms of such legislation in various states focus on pension investments by and/or contracting with state agencies. None of these recent laws, or NY Governor Cuomo's Executive Order, criminalize or prohibit such boycotts, though some states have longstanding anti-discrimination laws barring boycotts based on national origin, race and other factors. In May, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill barring pension investments in companies engaging in BDS, and as it moved on to the state Assembly, BDS forces mounted a counter attack, but to no avail. An overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Assembly passed the law:
The New Jersey Legislature passed legislation that prohibits the state from investing  pension and annuity funds in companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses.

The American Anthropology Association (AAA) has announced that the resolution to boycott Israeli university put before the membership was narrowly defeated. For our earlier coverage of the years-long effort of anti-Israel radical faculty to demonize and boycott Israel, see here, here, and here. [embed][/embed]

Leftist media and BDS supporters have railed against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order that will not allow state agencies to engage with businesses that participate in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel. They have thrown around typical scare words like "blacklist" and "McCarthyism" while praising a "grassroots" movement meant to economically deprive America's lone ally and stable nation in the Middle East. But as Eugene Kontorovich, law professor at Northwestern points out, the blacklist label does not apply because the government uses these lists against Iran and Sudan:

This past Sunday more than 1,500 people—along with dozens of members of the media and press—attended The Jerusalem Post’s 5th Annual Conference in New York City. The one-day event, themed “Israel, the U.S. and the Free World Facing Global Terror,” was held at the Marriot Marquis Hotel in the heart of Times Square and Manhattan’s theater district. JPost annual conference 2016 logo According to the pre-conference publicity, the annual conference—which in the past has proved to be “both newsworthy and dazzling”—was predicted to be the “best and biggest yet”. It was indeed.

The American Studies Association (ASA) was the first significant-sized faculty association to implement the academic boycott of Israel. A lawsuit just filed by several distinguished members challenges the ASA boycott, seeks damages against individual officers and National Council members who advanced the boycott, as well as injunctive relief, arguing that ASA exceeded its purpose defined under its constitution and bylaws. A copy of the Complaint is embedded at the end of this post. The lawsuit could serve as a model for litigation against other faculty organizations which have been hijacked by anti-Israel activists.