May 16 2015
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.
Legal Insurrection 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.
Recent legislation introduced in the House targets the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, whose goal is the destruction of Israel through economic, cultural and academic boycotts.
The legislation, called the United States-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act, focuses on the “economic” boycott of Israel, expanding upon prior legislation implemented several decades ago in response to the Arab League Boycott of Israel.
The legislation reportedly was intended to force European countries and companies, where the BDS movement has some influence, into adopting anti-BDS policies and procedures as part of a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the U.S.
The EU would be forced to choose between a massive free trade agreement which would bring enormous economic benefits to the floundering EU, or the anti-Israel BDS movement. You could have a boost to European economies and employment, or you could have BDS, but you couldn’t have both.
The sponsors of the legislation presumably expect Europe to choose prosperity over anti-Israel activism.
Apparently there is a hard punch packed into the mere 12-page legislation, according to BDS activists who are part of a group dedicated to thwarting free trade agreements.
Writing at The Electronic Intifada, an influential anti-Israel portal, the authors sound like the sky will fall on BDS, How EU-US trade deal could thwart “boycott Israel” campaign:
Two members of the US Congress have introduced a bill that would turn a giant trade deal between the EU and US into a devastating weapon against the people of Palestine and all those seeking justice alongside them. Together with the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is currently under negotiation, the proposed bill would compel all 28 EU member states to crack down on European groups participating in the growing movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
In order to combat the increasing isolation of Israel in global public opinion, European governments would effectively be turned into police agents for the US state.
The proposed US-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act presented to Congress on 10 February seeks to make any trade deal with Brussels conditional on the EU’s willingness to stop European governments, organizations or individuals engaging in BDS actions designed to hold Israel accountable for its responsibilities under international law.
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 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.
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.
Canada, too, is considering using hate-crime laws against anti-Israel boycotters: