Editor Note: This is a rerun from 2020. Today’s Gaza genocide is a stark reminder of what happens when checks and balances, free speech, and criticism are punished.
39 states now have these measures in place.
It’s not like we didn’t already know it.
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu is confirming to the pajama people that his extreme wing of foreign government interferes in the affairs of American states to further his own national interests. He admitted to actively subverting and overturning the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens.
“It was also not for nothing that the American administration has taken this step together with us. In recent years, we have promoted laws in most US states, which determine that strong action is to be taken against whoever tries to boycott Israel.” — PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) February 12, 2020
The man is literally bragging about making it illegal to boycott Israel in states like Texas, where teachers are forced to sign a pro-Israel oath.
A Texas teacher was fired for not signing this oath. This is a blatant infringement of the rights of the American citizen. The teacher filed a lawsuit against the state on the grounds that it was a violation of her First Amendment rights, and the court ruled in her favor.
The ACLU has also filed a lawsuit against Texas on similar grounds, representing four other people who have been affected by the law.
The states that have enacted pro-Israel (anti-BDS) oaths include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. Many of the states quietly passed such laws with little to no opposition.
Slated to give a keynote talk at a media literacy conference at Georgia Southern University later this month, Abby Martin was asked to sign what amounts to a loyalty oath to the State of Israel, mandated under a 2016 Georgia law barring the government from hiring contractors who boycott Israeli products, or who associate with or are sympathetic to global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Martin was to be paid a $1,000 honorarium plus expenses to be the keynote speaker for the 2020 International Critical Media Literacy Conference. So university officials asked her to sign a “Memorandum of Agreement” that states, “You certify that you are not currently engaged in, and agree for the duration of this agreement not to engage in, a boycott of Israel.”
Martin plans on bringing a suit against Georgia for enforcing this unconstitutional measure. We will now learn whether its judicial system has been subverted and corrupted.
The extent that Israel’s backers have subverted the U.S. government is beyond ridiculous. To pretend that a well-orchestrated conspiracy isn’t in play is absolutely absurd.
Voting with our wallets is one of the more effective methods we have to counter bad actors, whether it’s political extremist Zionism or SAS.
Indeed, there is a political party split on the Palestine issue. According to a 2018 survey carried out by the Pew Research Center, nearly eight in 10 U.S. Republicans (79%) sympathize more with Israel than they do with the Palestinians. This was a 29% increase from 2001. On the other hand, sympathy for Israel among Democrats declined to just 27%.
Americans Jews of voting age are estimated to represent around 2% of the population of the U.S. According to exit polls in previous elections, voters who self-identify as Jewish represent between 2% and 5% of the electorate, underscoring that fact that self-identified Jews vote in high numbers.
To our eye, it looks like Trump, the extreme Likudiks and their sister lobbying groups like AIPAC and ADL in the U.S. have hijacked this issue. It doesn’t take much when a half dozen Jewish billionaires can fully finance candidates and smear anyone who challenges the hijacking. However, AIPAC has 100,000 members out of a American Jewish population of around 7 million. This is the active political donor class of Jewry, not the entire voting bloc — a key distinction.
Under any reasonable interpretation of FARA, @AIPAC should be required to register as foreign agent of Israel.
Sheldon Adelson donated nearly $124 million to Republicans in the 2018 cycle. Adelson is joined in his influence-buying by other Jewish Republicans, many of whom likewise prioritize hard-line policies in support of Israel, including Bernard Marcus and Paul Singer. So the main issue here is also money in politics.
But, unlike the money-in-politics class, in reality, American Jewish voters rank Israel and Iran quite low on their list of issues. Moreover, contrary to what some – including President Trump – appear to assume, the majority of American Jews do not reflexively approve of U.S. policies that align closely with those of Israeli hardliners or neocons.
President Trump has suggested that American Jews who support Democrats are “disloyal” to Israel and to fellow Jews. Trump and his hardliner surrogates (often evangelical “Christians”) regularly brag about their pro-Israel, pro-Jewish bona fides.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) — an organization identified with the center-right of the American Jewish community– polled the community.
With respect to Jewish support for President Trump’s Israel policies, these polls found that a strong majority of U.S. Jews (59% in 2018, 64% in 2019) supports the two-state solution.
Likewise, a similarly strong majority of U.S. Jews (59% in 2018, 66% in 2019) supports dismantling some or all of the settlements that Israel has built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – the same settlements that Trump administration policy has shifted to legitimize. Even more notably, nearly half of American Jews (47%) oppose Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Overall, the polls reveal that the majority of U.S. Jews either disapprove or strongly disapprove of Trump’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations — disapproval that actually increased from 57% in 2018 to 59% in 2019. Similarly, a recent Pew poll found that 42% of U.S. Jews think Trump is “favoring the Israelis too much”.
Asked to select the top two issues that were most important to them in deciding their vote, self-identified Jewish voters ranked at the bottom of the rankings, Israel (4%), followed by Russia (3%), Iran (1%).
So for roughly half of American Jews who side with us on these issues, such as censorship and Israel/Palestine, perhaps it’s time to step up to the plate and get off the sidelines. And where is this faction in the anti-war movement? That’s true of everybody being taken along in this hijacking. Where are these people? Do they just acquiesce to hardliner actions for fear of being smeared?
Point of fact even leading pro-Israel advocacy groups oppose these anti-1st Amendment oath laws. An op-ed written by Jeremy Ben-Ami, president and founder, J Street, and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director, T’ruah addressed it well –
“These laws not only violate the First Amendment; they also open the door to much broader government control of public discourse, something that all Americans and especially American Jews should fear.
Our organizations, J Street and T’ruah, do not support or advocate for the BDS movement. But a true commitment to the First Amendment requires us to defend the principles of free speech even, and especially, when we find it objectionable or offensive.
That’s why our organizations, along with Georgetown University’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, filed an amicus brief in support of the Arkansas Times. The local newspaper has never participated in any boycott of Israel, but it refused to give up its free speech rights by signing a contract affirming that it never would. By refusing to sign the document, the newspaper forfeited needed ad revenue from the University of Arkansas.
In Arkansas, as we have seen in other states, the legislators who pushed through the bill never even bothered to consult with Arkansas’ small Jewish community. Rabbi Barry Block, the rabbi of the largest synagogue in the state, told Vice News that he opposes the law, which he said “has nothing to do with the Jewish people of Arkansas.” He added: “It gives the state a certain amount of control over the free press.”
It’s clear that American Jews are not even the primary constituency for this Zionist pro-Israel, philo-Semitic campaign. Rather, it seems far more likely that this strategy is designed to pander to two specific constituencies: major donors for whom support for hard line Israel (and warmongering against Iran) policy is the main focus, and pro-Israel Evangelical Christians who, unlike most American Jews, prioritize Israel over other issues. This is a very specific kind of philo-Semitism, which is itself an actual form of antisemitism, because it denies the Jewishness of Jews who do not conform to the required pro-Israel political ideology.