House passes anti-BDS bill by wide bipartisan margin: three of “the squad” (along with 13 other Democrats) dissent

July 29, 2019 • 11:00 am

If you don’t know about B.D.S. (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, the New York Times article below, from Saturday, will give you the basics. As for the title question, well, it’s not answered; the article gives the views of both supporters and detractors of BDS.

I’ve always thought the movement was anti-Semitic, but even if you don’t agree, it’s clearly aimed not just at pressuring Israel to arrive at a land settlement with Palestine—an aim, if not a tactic, that I agree with—but to eliminate the state of Israel completely, at least as a Jewish state. In the end, the movement’s aims will result in a big “Israel” with an Arab majority, and that would be the finish, not just of a Jewish state, but of the Jews themselves. And that is the movement’s aim.

Here are the aims of BDS as the Times shows them:

Modeled on the fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa, it calls for countries, businesses and universities to sever ties with Israel unless it meets three demands. Parts of them are reasonable, but full acceptance of each is untenable (bolded bullet points from the NYT; my comments flush left).

• Ending its occupation of all land captured in 1967 and dismantling the wall and fence that separate Israel from much of the West Bank, dividing many Palestinian neighborhoods.

If you mean all the territory, that won’t do because it would mean returning the Old Town of Jerusalem, the Jewish quarter, the Western Wall, and Temple Mount, now under “sovereignty security” of Israel. Israel would never put up with giving all of this back to Palestine, which would mean giving up Jewish access to important holy sites. The other territories are, to my mind, negotiable, and should be part of a two-state solution.

As for removing the wall and fence, that’s a non-starter given that it was built to prevent terrorism and deaths of Israeli civilians—which have dropped precipitiously since the wall was constructed. Removing it is allowing a huge increase in terrorism. This is not equivalent to Trump’s fence, which is simply meant to keep out migrants, not prevent terrorism against U.S. citizens.

• Granting “full equality” to Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Palestinian Arabs who are citizens of Israel already have full rights (equal education, health care, voting rights, right to elected office). There is only one right denied to Israeli Arabs: they cannot alter the “Jewish character” of the nation by changing the national language, the national anthem, the national holidays, the flag, and other such symbols.

• Assuring the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to the homes and properties from which they or their ancestors were displaced in the wars that led to the establishment of Israel in 1948.

To me this is the real sticking point, and an insupportable demand of BDS, which knows very well what accepting this would accomplish. The living Palestinian refugees from 1948 number about 30,000-40,000, which could be accepted back into Israel. But consider also that there were 800,000 Jews expelled from Arab lands, so a “population exchange” would be difficult—and what Arab state would take back the Jews?

No, the real difficulty is that BDS demands that the descendants of those who were refugees (many of the original refugees ordered to leave by other Arab states) should also be allowed the right of return. These are estimated at about 5-7 million, compared to a population of  about 6.5 million Jews in Israel and about 1-1.5 million Arabs). Such a right of return would turn Israel into a Muslim-majority state—and that’s the end of Israel.

BDS supporters know very well that this right of return for ancestors and descendants would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish state, and lead to immense terrorism if not outright warfare. It is a foolish and insupportable demand. Witness what Omar Barghouti says in the NYT piece:

But many Israelis say the movement’s real goal is the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state. Full equality for Arab citizens of Israel would require overturning or amending Israeli laws that grant Jews automatic citizenship and define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Granting a right of return to the Palestinians classified as refugees — the original refugees and their millions of descendants — would spell the end of a Jewish majority.

In an interview, Omar Barghouti, a top B.D.S. spokesman, called the Israeli laws racist and exclusionary. A democratic state could still provide asylum for Jewish refugees, showing “some sensitivity to the Jewish experience,” he said, “but it cannot be a racist law that says only Jews benefit.” Asked if that means Jews cannot have their own state, he said, “Not in Palestine.”

What he means is that Jews cannot have their own state in the Middle East. I wonder where he thinks it should be.

And as for BDS accusations that Israel is an “apartheid state,” there is no greater apartheid state than the Palestinian Territory itself, where Jews aren’t allowed to live, and where women, gays, and those of other religions—including a small number of Christians—are oppressed. It is the height of hypocrisy to accuse Israel of being an “apartheid state” when those of other faiths, as well as gays and women, are given immense freedom in Israel but virtually no freedom in the Palestinian territories. How did the Left arrive at such hypocrisy?

At any rate, do read the article and perhaps have a look at this piece that lays out the aims and tactics of the BDS by some opponents. And then on to what was my main topic: the vote in the House this week on a bill to condemn BDS.

The NYT piece on the recent vote is below.


This is a rare instance of bipartisan agreement (you can see the motion to “fast-track” the bill, and the link to the bill, here). The Times reports:

The House, brushing aside Democratic voices of dissent over American policy in the Middle East, on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the boycott-Israel movement as one that “promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace.”

The 398-to-17 vote, with five members voting present, came after a debate that was equally lopsided; no one in either party spoke against the measure. The House’s two most vocal backers of the boycott movement — Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, freshman Democrats and the first two Muslim women in Congress — did not participate in the floor debate.

However, earlier in the day, Ms. Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, delivered an impassioned speech in defense of the boycott movement. She branded Israel’s policies toward Palestinians “racist” and invoked American boycotts of Nazi Germany, among others, as an example of what she described as a legitimate economic protest to advance human rights around the world. [JAC: Of course she doesn’t recognize the Palestinian treatment of Jews as racist in the least.]

“I stand before you as the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, parents who experienced being stripped of their human rights, the right to freedom of travel, equal treatment,” Ms. Tlaib said. “So I can’t stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government and the state of Israel.”

. . .At a hearing last week, Ms. Omar spoke out forcefully against Israel, and the resolution.

“We should condemn in the strongest terms violence that perpetuates the occupation, whether it is perpetuated by Israel, Hamas or individuals,” she said. “But if we are going to condemn violent means of resisting the occupation, we cannot also condemn nonviolent means.”

In other words, those who opposed it (one Republican and 16 Democrats) didn’t have the moxie to speak against the bill during the debate period on the house floor, though Omar and Tlaib they did speak earlier in the House, as noted above. (I can excuse that, under the “fast-track” provision, the entire debate period was 40 minutes). And the opponents included, besides most “progressive” Democrats, the three most vociferous members of the “squad”: Justice Democrats Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Ayanna Presley voted “aye”). See the breakdown of the votes below. We now know where Ocasio-Cortez stands, although she’s tried very hard to avoid giving her opinion on boycotts or on the Israel-Palestine situation as a whole. But we all knew where she stood, and she’s now made that clear.

There was one difference between the message passed by the House and the one approved previously by the Senate: the House bill is weaker, as it does not have a provision for state and local governments to “break ties with companies that participate in the boycott movement.” I don’t support that provision anyway, as it appears to be a violation of freedom of speech (by the companies), and has been deemed as such by several courts.

This vote, then, was largely ceremonial: a statement of opposition to the BDS movement and, in effect, of support for Israel.  By making this post, I must hasten to add—lest I be accused of being 100% pro-Israel—that I do favor a two-state solution in which either land or reparations must be given to Arabs displaced from much of the West Bank. But I reject those who proclaim a moral superiority of Palestine over Israel, or who demonize Israel as an “apartheid state” while giving the Palestinian Territories a complete pass. Those include Tlaib, Omar, and Ocasio-Cortez, whose agenda of advancing Islam and demonizing Judaism is becoming increasingly clearer.

Here’s the breakdown of the House vote:


97 thoughts on “House passes anti-BDS bill by wide bipartisan margin: three of “the squad” (along with 13 other Democrats) dissent

  1. Folks on the American left have long been in denial about the goals of Palestinian nationalists, so when they’re clearly stated, they remain flustered.

    1. Folks on the American left have also been in denial of the negative aspects of rapid migration and demograhic changes around the world since globalization.

      1. And folks on the American right have been in denial of the beneficial aspects of immigration since the first Pilgrim off the Mayflower turned around on Plymouth Rock and told the rest of ’em, “Go back to where you came from, foreigners.”

        The USA goes through periodic bouts of Nativist Know-Nothingism every few decades. This current spree is nothing new — it’s the same ugly face, just in an ill-fitting suit and misshapen tie.

        1. “And folks on the American right have been in denial of the beneficial aspects of immigration….”

          True, but they are not the intellectuals!

          However I would expect sophisticated people on the left to have a more nuanced and less american centric point of view.

          Have you ever considered the effects of emmigration on countries as diverse as Bulgaria, Zimbabwe and Armenia?

          Many people often talk about how the West pillage Africa’s natural resources. They are completely oblivious to the fact that the west are also stealing the Third World’s human resouces.

          I am not convinced that people who support open borders and high levels of immigration to the west gives a damn about people in the third world.

        2. I’ve always disliked the right/left division. Libertarians and Reason magazine are often characterized as “right wing.” You would be hard pressed to find any other group or publication that is more pro-immigration.

          1. Yeah, libertarians (especially the ones of the lower case “l”) don’t fall neatly along the standard left/right continuum.

            The nativist, anti-immigrant block comes from the old, reactionary paleo-con right — the rightwing of Pat Buchanan, Lew Rockwell, Murray Rothbard, et al.

          2. Yeah, libertarians (especially the ones of the lower case “l”) don’t fall neatly along the standard left/right continuum.

            Neither does that small minority consisting of me. The same goes for numerous other like minorities.

          3. “The nativist”

            You mean the American Indians?
            Were they not full of joy when the Mayflower pilgrims arrived?

  2. The “Holy Lands,” so-called, are vexed for now. If Yahweh, Allah, and Jesus Christ himself were to walk arm-in-arm through the Temple Mount, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre calling for peace and goodwill, I don’t think it’d make a damn bit of difference for the time being.

        1. Speak for your own breasts. My manly, oiled pecs haven’t had any hope in them for at least fifteen years.

          I need to take more medication…

    1. If by “for now” you mean “for ever”, then yes.

      Barring a visit from Ultron, the Holy lands are, for now, vexed. In reality, the Holy Lands get their power from outside. When the planet has no more believers, the Holy Land will turn into something like Mayan Ruins: archeologically treasures that no one is willing to die for.

  3. I see this, on one hand, as a sad thing for America. Our cherished free speech value is put in conflict with doing the right thing. Would it have been that hard to indicate support for Israel without treading on unconstitutional ground?

    On the other hand, BDS and it’s supporters are again an example of illiberal forces using our principles against us. This is an ever-present problem a free country must deal with.

    1. I’m not an American and I’m not a lawyer so I don’t understand: A company which discriminates against Israel is barred from doing business with a state. How is it a free speech issue? This company may boycott Israel to it’s heart content – the freedom of its action and speech is not restricted. It will just have to forgo some lucrative state contracts.

      1. Awarding state contracts based on a company’s political position is considered unfair. States can’t require companies to support the Republican party, for instance. The state must be politically neutral when conducting business.

        1. But how a boycott of one state among all the states in the world is a “political position”? BTW, are companies who openly discriminate because of etnic origins, sexual orientation or nationality allowed to do business with states? If not, how discrimination against Israeli firms and Israeli citizens (nationality) differs?

          1. That’s a fair question. The courts currently find that a boycott is political and not discrimination. It is certainly a matter of opinion, and can vary case by case. That’s why we have judges in courts making rulings. The questions are never settled for good, and the rulings can change when the next set of judges come along.

      2. Companies are making political statements by refusing to do business with Israel. Just like burning the flag is considered speech, so is this. It is political speech the most important to protect.

        Let fools expose themselves by saying (in whatever form) what they will. Don’t feed conspiracy theories by suppressing ideas.

        1. First, I still don’t understand what kind of political statement it is to announce a boycott of Israel. As far as I know, support for Israel is largely bi-partisan (as this voting now shows). Second, I really don’t know and would like to know whether a company which refuses to employ, let’s say, Vietnamese, would be allowed to sign contract with a state. And if it wouldn’t, why Israelis should be treated differently.

          1. A company choosing to boycott Israel is implicitly saying

            “We disapprove of the actions of the state of Israel”

            That is the speech under the American Constitution. The government can’t prohibit that speech.

          2. I may well be missing some of the nuance. I’m not a lawyer of any kind. Volokh (in your linked article) is hard for me to follow mixing anti-discrimination law in with First Amendment issues and a large body of existing law.

            I don’t like BDS, and I’m trying to overcome my bias as I look at the issue. I also have a bias against the heavy hand of government telling people (or companies) what they can do or say without good reason. I guess I fail to see a good reason for anti-BDS laws.

        2. By this chain of logic, businesses should be allowed to do business with countries against which we have sanctions in place, but they’re not. Are we treading on their free speech rights by not allowing them to do business with, for example, North Korea?

          1. There are limits on free speech. Everyone is familiar with the famous Oliver Wendell Holmes line that the Constitution doesn’t permit shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. That case didn’t involve stampeding a theater – the statement was a metaphor for speech that presents real danger of harm.

            The actual case was against an activist passing out anti-draft leaflets during World War I. Holmes reasoned this posed a wartime danger by aiding our enemies and wasn’t protected by the First Amendment. That seems dubious to me, but trading with a sanctioned country does not. Speech that creates real danger is not protected.

            Trading with North Korea is clearly a different matter than stating you will not trade with Israel or proposing to boycott companies that do.

          2. Sorry if this isn’t the most articulate comment, but I’ve had a few whiskeys 🙂

            First off (and I promise I’m not saying this to be a dick, I just have a very cold way of writing), I encourage you to read up on the “fire in a crowded theater” quote. That’s not considered “good law.”

            More importantly, I don’t see a difference between the government deciding that you can’t trade with certain countries and the government deciding that you can’t refuse to trade with certain countries. Either way, the government is giving direction on what is and is not allowed when it comes to how business can be conducted with foreign countries.

            I just thought of an interesting thought experiment: what if a business decided it would not do any business with black-majority countries? Or, perhaps more relevantly, Muslim-majority countries? Should the government allow that? The point here is that one cannot distinguish whether the businesses in question have a fundamental difference in philosophy with all those countries, or if their decision not to do business with them is based on racism or religious bigotry.

            I would say the same is true of refusing to do business with Israel. Considering how many of the BDS leaders have shown themselves to be antisemites, is their pressuring of businesses to refuse business with Israeli companies based on Israeli policy, or on the fact that it’s a Jewish nation? Omar’s document conspicuously listed only businesses owned by Israeli Jews, leaving out businesses owned by non-Jews in the same country. Furthermore, they’re not going after, say, Saudi Arabia, which has killed more Yemenis since 2015 than Israel has killed Palestinians in its entire existence (multiplied by at least 100), and Saudi Arabia has also displaced over 2.5 million Yemenis since 2015; nearly all of these are civilians, unlike the Palestinians killed by the IDF, who are largely terrorists. Among other things, it’s a legitimate question whether the BDS movement hates Israel because it’s the Jewish homeland, considering how many far more horrific wars around the world it ignores. If it is rooted in antisemitism, this would seem to change the calculation here regarding the question at hand.

            And that’s just one question among many. Regardless, it seems, based on history and precedent, that the government has the right to decide whether or not businesses can do or refuse to do business with other countries. Furthermore, while I’m not directing the following comment at you, I find it strange that many people who are still angry about Citizens United “ruling that corporations are people” (which isn’t what it does at all, though I still disagree with large portions of the decision) suddenly think businesses should be treated as people when it comes to refusing business with Israel (again, this particular point is not directed at you. Considering your other comments, I doubt you hold both of these views at the same time).

          3. I woke up this morning and thought to myself, “I should have been clearer that I’m sympathetic to Carl’s views.” I think this is a tough question: at what point does the government’s ability to regulate businesses end? I don’t really buy the free speech idea except when it comes to artistic or transformative services. So, for example, I think a cake shop should have to sell cakes to anyone and everyone, but should not be forced to make a special cake for something the owner does not believe in or support (I think making a special cake specifically for that event is both art and, more importantly, can be claimed by the baker as being forced to express a political opinion that they do not wish to express, and no speech should be compelled). This is kind of the opposite of what we’re talking about here: a business not being allowed to make what some might say is a political statement. I think these are two very different things. Just as a business cannot make the statement “I support North Korea” by doing business with North Korea (due to sanctions), it seems only logical that the government can keep businesses from refusing to do business with another country in order to make a political statement.

            Still, I am sympathetic to your views. It all comes down to where government regulation ends, and that’s a good question for the courts and for all of us. It’s more a question of philosophy than any truly coherent policy within the constraints of the 1st Amendment, which makes it interesting to discuss.

            Thanks for the civil and enjoyable debate, Carl. I always appreciate it when someone makes me think 🙂

    2. The sanction against BDS does not have to do with free speech, the regulation of business, political expression, or even boycotting doing business with Israel (Because the boycott harms people and businesses, not the State of Israel).

      The sanction against BDS is because BDS practices (National origin) *discrimination*, and the United will not give government contract monies to actors who practice discrimination.

      1. Roger, your framing here of the issue is more palatable, but I still can’t agree with the government’s anti-BDS action. I’m very anti-BDS and very pro-Israel, but I’m trying not to let these sentiments blind me to basic principles.

        Look at it in the light of a law proposing sanctions on companies that:

        1. Boycott the Philippines because the President there is a thug carrying out mass-murders under the cover of his office.

        2. Boycott Saudi Arabia for any of a number of good reasons – or any country under Sharia, for the grotesqueries that they are.

        3. Boycott Russia for it’s attacks on our political system.

        I would favor all three. I would find it intolerable if my company was put under any disability because of that.

        1. What’s interesting is that the bill considers that a boycott is different than political speech, and at least one court judgement agrees.

          The anti-BDS bill is absolutely not about political speech – it allows people and corporations to express all the political speech they want. They can drape their corporate headquarters with giant “We support the Palestinian cause” or “We support the BDS movement” all they want and they will suffer no consequence.

          It is only when they do economic harm or refuse to do business – ie, participate in a boycott – with people and companies from Israel that they run afoul of this legislation. Because at that point, they are a company refusing services to people based on their national origin, a form of discrimination.

          Now, these companies have the right to continue their boycott. There is no fine or criminality involved with that. But the US will not help finance that discrimination with financial reward, just as it will not give contracts to companies that discriminate against people based on their race or religion or sex.

          1. “… just as it will not give contracts to companies that discriminate against people based on their race or religion or sex.”

            That has generally been the case, at least until Trump’s Labor Department issued Directive 2018-03 last year, which allows federal contractors to raise a “religious exemption” if accused of discrimination. It basically immunizes “religion-exercising organizations and individuals” from claims of discrimination. And the directive specifically says it “supersedes” the Department of Labor’s “Frequently Asked Questions” memo that explains that anti-LGBT discrimination by contractors is illegal.

          2. Forgot about that – you are right, I think. Chalk up another million for an appeal on Constitutional grounds.

            I wonder if the next Prez can issue an Executive order rendering every Trump executive order null and void. Save a tree.

  4. My dad took me to see “Trial at Nuremberg” when I was just a preteen. I read “Exodus” when I was 13. I immediately thought of myself as a Zionist, little goy that I was. I think the Jewish right of return is appropriate and maybe even sacred. I can’t quite say the same for Palestinians, though. I keep recalling a scene in “Exodus” (or was it “the Source”?) where a Jewish settler, a sabra, pleads with his Arab neighbors not to leave but to remain and work with the new state. I do believe that Israel has been far more accommodating to Palestinians than vice versa, and the Palestinians have brought much of this upon themselves both historically and in the present by not repudiating Hamas and terrorism. This is not to say that I don’t believe that there is a humanitarian crisis in Palestine, and the right-wing Netanyehu government is troubling in many respects. I don’t think he’s helping. But I don’t know enough, really.

    Ken Kukec in comment 4 has an apt observation. Those damn “People of the Book”, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian, are all a pain in the ass.

    1. ““People of the Book”, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian, are all a pain in the ass.”

      I also have no time for Germans, Russians, Chinese, Zulu’s, Japanese and the bloody French.

  5. I guess the vote just shows, there is far too much attention and press given to a few far left types than is justified.

    1. The fact that you don’t hear many people talk about it doesn’t mean it’s not a serious issue. Back in college in the very early 2000’s, the students got my college to completely divest from all funds, stocks, etc. connected to Israel. This was long before the BDS movement gained the steam it has today. There were regular anti-Israel activities on campus. One day, the BDS people decided to post “guards” outside the cafeteria and stop people from trying to go in, demanding “identification” and whatnot, so people could “experience what it’s like to be Palestinian.” My one brave Israeli friend who had an Israeli flag taped to his window inside his dorm had his dorm broken into and his flag torn down and defaced. The Hillel clubs building had some really nasty anti-Israel (very much bordering on antisemitic) graffiti put on it at one point.

      Again, this was nearly twenty years ago, when this movement was nascent and nobody but people on left-wing campuses and in left-wing activist circles had heard about this. That’s how long this has been gaining steam.

      You don’t just sit back and watch something like this continue to grow, especially as hate crimes against Jews continue to rise, the UK Labour Party elects an antisemite to lead it and refuses to deal with antisemitic MPs, France and other Euro countries see growing antisemitism, etc. (and this is by no means all from far-left groups or people). The BDS movement is one part of a sprawling issue of antisemitism, but it’s one of the biggest because it disseminates false information far and wide, and that information is often antisemitic and hints or outright talks about a global Jewish conspiracy, the kind of thing that, over many years of exposure, causes antisemitism to spike.

      This is not about a small handful of extreme lefties.

      1. I would also add that the people in the BDS movement who are disseminating this information are considered more “trustworthy” and “legitimate” than others who claim global Zionist/Jewish conspiracies (like crazed far-Right loons), thus making their activities far more dangerous.

  6. There is only one right denied to Israeli Arabs: they cannot alter the “Jewish character” of the nation by changing the national language, the national anthem, the national holidays, the flag, and other such symbols.

    Such laws make me leery. The de jure path to apartheid always begins in relative innocuousness. The first law in South Africa merely required registration by population group. The first Nuremberg law merely prohibited intermarriage. The first commandment changed at Animal Farm merely gave some animals permission to sleep in beds.

    A two-state solution must be achieved.

    1. AIUI that’s in their ‘basic laws’ (essentially their constitution). That constitution can be amended by supermajority of the Knesset.

      So I don’t see it as a slippery slope issue, for two reasons: (1) any further laws would be distinct from it in not being in the basic law framework. Thus it would be hard for the government to “slide down” that slope without that being noticed. (2) If, in the future, the good people of Israel decide they are happier with a more non-religious type state, there’s a mechanism for removing it.

      I’d like to see a two state solution too. But I think right now neither government really wants it. At least, IMO neither is willing to compromise on any of the important stuff that a two-state solution would imply.

    2. Unfortunately for them, for the region, and for the world

      … the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”
      – Abba Eban

      Various groups and individuals with their “support” seem only to encourage unrealistic Palestinian demands and expectations. The consequences have been a long string of missed opportunities.

    3. I think those laws are an effort by a people who have a long history of being subjugated and displaced by others, to try to ensure that it does not happen again.

      The Palestinian Arabs want the Jews dead. It is pretty hard to compromise with someone like that. Do you offer to let them kill a quarter of your family, and settle for half?

      There is a sort of kid on the playground who is not happy when you both have the same kind of toy. He might demand your toy, but not because he thinks he needs two of them. It is because he really does not want you to have one.

  7. As for removing the wall and fence, that’s a non-starter given that it was built to prevent terrorism and deaths of Israeli civilians

    Any two state solution will eventually require Israel to take down any fencing it maintains within the (future) sovereign territory of Palestine, and move that fencing back onto Israel’s territory. However we are a loooong way yet from that point.

    1. I agree. There is no question that the separation wall was very effective from the point of view of security. However, it is also a part of the long-term political strategy, because instead of being built on the Green Line most of it was built further to the east, in order to include many Israeli settlements. Of course, the settlers feel safer that way, but the Israeli government also wanted to establish facts on the ground in case it will be forced to reach a two-state solution.

      1. The wall had to be built. We forget quickly how often we saw footage of burning, hollowed out buses and cafes in the 80’s and 90’s from constant terrorist bombings in Israel. The only reason we stopped seeing that is the wall, as it brought down terrorist attacks like that by over 90%.

  8. “This is not equivalent to Trump’s fence, which is simply meant to keep out migrants, not prevent terrorism against U.S. citizens.”

    I would argue that a large influx of muslim migrants into israel would be a greater existential threat than low level terrorism.

  9. I’m always a little suspect as to why Evangelicals support Israel (I do as well FWIW but for likely different reasons). I read recently that half of evangelicals support Israel because they believe it is important for fulfilling end-times prophecy.

    Bad reasoning leading to positive outcomes.

    1. Evangelicals believe it will ensure their access to Mount Megiddo site of the final battle of Armageddon according to the eschatology they derive from the biblical Book of Revelation.

      1. Yes, and the Temple must be rebuilt on the Temple Mount. Presumably after the Dome of the Rock mosque is torn down. Evangelical end time prophesies are loonier than any SF or fantasy novel.

    2. Yes George W was all about Gog and Magog. Evangelicals are a death cult. Their time here is spent preparing for the Second Coming and the Jews returning to the Holy Land is supposed to be step 1. Step 2 is the Jews all accepting Jesus. He it’s 4 Horsemen time.

      1. According to evangelical eschatology, the Jews in Israel will be given a choice of converting to Christianity at the End Times. Those who refuse, will be cast into the fiery pits of hell for all eternity.

        Friends like these, who should want them?

        1. I would love to hear VP Pence answer where he think Jews go when they die. Maybe, I have been visiting Bart Erhmans blog too much.

        2. Equivalently, other denominations belive that Jews must convert now or be cast into the fiery pits of hell for all eternity.

          This is an aspect of different Christian sects’ interpretations of millennialism¹, which is only incidentally about Jews, but has had an enourmous impact on differing levels of Judenhass. Briefly, millennialism is the idea that Jesus is going to rule on Earth for a thousand years before the Last Judgement.

          Evangelicals are premillennials — they believe this hasn’t happened yet. (As an atheist, I agree with that part.) They believe that when Jesus returns, probably arm in arm with his Dad while the Holy Spirit serves refreshments, Jews are obviously going to realize that they were mistaken about him not being the Mesiach, and convert. Until then, it’s perfectly fine for Jews to stay Jewish, and it’s none of Christians’ business to interfere with that.

          Many other denominations are postmillennial or amillennial. For postmillennials, Jesus is already ruling on Earth, through His Church. (This idea is somehow quite attractive when you are the Church.) Therefore, Jews should already have converted, or be converting, and if they don’t, there’s something wrong with them.

          1. Thank you for that…it is helpful. I wonder what happens to Jews who die now…pre-premillennial? Some kind of suspended animation of the soul I guess or suspended time itself. Heavy physics..who would of thought😀

    3. I have talked to some of my religious neighbors about this issue, and have come to the conclusion that the “support for Israel only to fulfill biblical prophecy” issue is a big exaggeration, and is used to ascribe ill motives to the evangelical types.
      Of course there are people like that, just as there are people who take up serpents as part of their worship.
      But my neighbor with the “I stand with Israel” sign supports Israel partly because he worships a man who was born a Jew, but primarily because of all of the cultural exchange with Israel. There are a lot of Christian trips to Israel, and people pretty much always come back with a very favorable view of the Israelis.
      I should repeat that although I have quite a bit of experience living and working in Israel and several Islamic countries, I was not raised in the Abrahamic religions. Not my monkeys, not my circus. But I hope my observations of the different group’s various behaviors are mostly objective.

  10. A company choosing to boycott Israel is implicitly saying

    “We disapprove of the actions of the state of Israel”

    That is the speech under the American Constitution. The government can’t prohibit that speech.

    1. ‘A company choosing to boycott Israel is implicitly saying
      “We disapprove of the actions of the state of Israel”’

      So, a company choosing to boycott firms owned by homosexuals (let’s say, abroad) is implicity saying
      “We disapprove the actions of homosexuals”.

      Would such a company be allowed a contract with a state?

      What is the difference between discriminating against firms owned by homosexuals and discriminating against firms owned by Israelis?

        1. No, I do not have such principles. It all depends on the situation. As there are so many real human rights abusers in the world, real, bloody occupations, real discrimination and persecution of minorities, to chose only Israel, which obviously is not any kind of paradise (there is no paradise on earth) but is light years better than dozens other states (especially in the Middle East and Africa) singling out Israel is for me a sure sign that were Israel not a Jewish country but and Arab, Turkish, Ibo or any other ethnic group there would be no boycott.

      1. It’s a hypothetical since (to my knowledge) it has never happened, but if a company ever did boycott firms owned by homosexuals, it’s entirely imaginable to me that there would be a campaign to pressure the state to cut ties with the company, and the state may well craft a law to punish it. Right or wrong, I think very few people would stand up for the company’s freedom of speech.

    2. “We disapprove of the actions of the state of Israel”

      While ignoring all other human rights violations around the world, because like everyone else we just pretend to care.

      1. Eric, the comment of mine you are replying to is out of place and was a reply to someone asking why the anti-BDS statutes violate free speech. I repeated it above where it should have been.

        Taken out of context, it might look like I am criticizing Israel. If you look at all my comments within this post, you will see that is not the case. I despise the BDS movement and support Israel.

        If you are saying anti-Israel criticism is largely hypocritical, misguided, and ignorant, I agree wholeheartedly.

        1. “Eric, the comment of mine you are replying to is out of place”

          Sorry Carl, my browser is acting strange.
          I thought I was replying inside your comment thread.

          “If you are saying anti-Israel criticism is largely hypocritical, misguided, and ignorant, I agree wholeheartedly.”

          Yes that was my point, sorry for the messy post.

    3. The government isn’t prohibiting that. But the federal-, or a state- or local government may choose to not do business with a company practicing BDS. This resolution merely affirmed that right to choose.

  11. The “Hypocritical Squad”, or the “Squad of the Hypocrites”, I think, is more appropriate than just “the squad”.

    1. Yeah, and I don’t know why so many people are willing to go along with their new “Justice Democrats” branding. Can we not? Please? It just implies that the rest of the Democrats don’t believe in justice, and these four are the only ones who do.

  12. I’m glad to see Ayanna Presley vote in favor. Maybe she can dissuade the others of their antisemitism.

  13. I still don’t understand why some on the Left are so vehemently anti-Israel. That position requires a great deal of (willful) ignorance of the conflict’s policy and history, not to mention a very rosy view of Palestinian leadership. I mean, I don’t see by what stretch of logic Israel is the Great Satan while Hamas is some beacon of justice and freedom.

    And it’s also ironic that Tlaib accuses Jews of dual loyalty and then makes anti-Israel activism her pet cause once in the house. Plus, some of her associations and supporters are every bit as repulsive as Trump’s.

  14. What’s the difference between ‘present’ and ‘NV’.

    Are they equal to abstain?

    Israel has a right exist and a right to protect its citizens.

  15. At least the Democrats have a leg to stand on when they say that the ‘social justice fringe’ of their party is only in the order of 10%.

    1. Trump is trying to drag the fringes of both parties to the forefront(for opposite reasons obviously). The Dems just need to hold it the fuck together and not let him succeed with them as he succeeded with the Republicans.

      Stay sane, don’t get dragged into the hysterical social justice doubling-down that the illiberal minority of the left have engaged in since he came to power. It’s perfectly possible to stand for social justice without wagging fingers at voters or being divisive.

  16. “I did not know that the establishment of Israel also involved the displacement of Jews from Arab lands. That not-so-small detail is new to me.”

    Just to flesh that out a bit, the creation of Jordan involved giving 5/6ths of Palestine only to the ‘Palestinians’ (That is, Muslim Arabs who lived in Palestine, the exact same people who now call themselves “The Palestinian people”). All the Jews living in 5/6ths of Palestine were evicted, some killed, and most lost all their holdings and possessions when Trans-Jordan became independent.

    The negotiators for the new state of Trans-Jordan (from a general region in Mandate Palestine known as “Trans-Jordania”) demanded that this new Arab State was to be ‘Judenrein’, ie, no Jews allowed, because they falsely assumed that Jewish Palestine would only be for Jews. They promised British officials that the creation of “The Arab State in Palestine would put an end to all further claims by Arabs to land in Palestine. (They lied).

    Winston Churchill accomplished this for them in an act that essentially was illegally adjudicated under League of Nations protocol.

    Forgive me for bringing this up, but I felt it important to do so, because today’s Palestinian supporters are pushing the canard that Israel’s territory is the sum total of what was known as Palestine, while the truth is that Israel is only 1/6th of Mandate Palestine.

    And that therefore, 5/6ths of Palestine has *already* been given to the Arabs of Palestine, the Palestinian people.

    Meanwhile, over the 71 years since Israel declared its independence, approximately 850,000 Jews have been displaced from Arab countries:

    1. Thanks for this. The historical facts about Israel are too little known (or ignored).

      I’ll add that following the mandate division of Palestine into Jewish and Arab parts, surrounding Arab countries – with overwhelming advantages in population and material – attempted to eliminate the Jewish portion by invading the infant nation of Israel. Many of the people demanding “right of return” left under assurances from the invaders it would be temporary and ease the way for them “cleansing” the land of Jews. The cleansing did not go well. While Israel gladly absorbed any Jews who wanted to come, the surrounding Arab countries – Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq – left displaced Arabs in refugee camps to suffer as propaganda tools.

      1. Yes.

        As I understand it, a large portion of those Arabs who left were not just innocent refugees hoping for the destruction of Israel – they were militant guerillas engaging in the armed conflict. IOW, they were doing their best to kill the Jews and wound up retreating.

        I too find that the Arab nations – not Israel – are at fault for this whole debacle. I feel they should be the ones cleaning up their mess. And I have a particular beef with Jordan about this whole affair.

        They took 5/6ths of Palestine and proudly proclaimed that fact publicly to the world for many decades. They participated in multiple wars of genocidal aggression against the Jews of Israel, breaking their promise under the Mandate for Palestine, which still remains as law. And then they occupied the West Bank for 19 years, destroying the synagogues in that area. And then, astoundingly, they reversed their stance in 1967, and no longer claimed that “Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan” – they actually say the opposite to this day!

        And, as you point out, they not only abandoned their jetsam citizens, they have even gone so far as to disallow West Bank Arabs entry into Jordan proper, confining them to refugee camps on Jordan’s perimeter. They have been completely hideous, imho, in their shirking of their responsibilities.

        I believe Jordan has a huge moral debt to honor here, both to Israel and to their own Arabs they have abandoned. If there is to be a new Arab state in Palestine (the second Arab state in Palestine!), a so-called Palestinian state – it should be, if justice be served, inside Jordan, not inside Israel. And that would mean that the ‘Palestinian people’ would, in fact, have their new state inside what they claim is their land – Palestine.

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