Taking Aim at the Israeli Boycott

Mainstream U.S. presidential candidates are lining up behind Israel’s demand that the next “leader of the free world” take aim at Americans who express their contempt for Israel’s persecution of Palestinians through a boycott, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

By Lawrence Davidson

Most readers will know that the United States has served as the patron of Israel for decades. Why has it done so?

The commonly given reasons are suspect. It is not because the two countries have overlapping interests. The U.S. seeks stability in the Middle East (mostly by supporting dictators) and Israel is constantly making things unstable (mostly by practicing ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, illegally colonizing conquered lands and launching massive assaults against its neighbors).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with his generals to discuss the offensive in Gaza in 2014. (Israeli government photo)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with his generals to discuss the offensive in Gaza in 2014. (Israeli government photo)

Nor, as is often claimed, is the alliance based on “shared Western values.” The U.S. long ago outlawed racial, ethnic and religious discrimination in the public sphere. In Israel, religious-based discrimination is the law. The Zionist state’s values in this regard are the opposite of those of the United States.

So why is it that a project that seeks to pressure Israel to be more cognizant in foreign affairs of regional stability, and more democratic and egalitarian in domestic affairs, is now under fire by almost every presidential candidate standing for the 2016 election?

That project in dispute is BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, promoted by civil society throughout the Western world. BDS is directed at Israel due to its illegal colonization of the Occupied Territories and its general apartheid-style discrimination against non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular.

The Candidates and BDS

With but two exceptions, every presidential candidate in both parties is condemning the BDS Movement. Let’s start with the two exceptions.

The first exception is the Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who has taken the accurate position that “the United States has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government.” She has pledged to use both diplomatic and economic means to change Israeli behavior, behavior which she rightly believes is in contravention of international law and violates human rights.

The second exception is the Republican candidate Donald Trump, who recently told a meeting of Jewish Republicans that he didn’t think Israel is serious about peace and that they would have to make greater efforts to achieve it. When he was booed he just shrugged and told the crowd that he did not care if they supported him or not, “I don’t want your money.” Unfortunately, this appears to be the only policy area where Mr. Trump is reasonable.

Jill Stein gets absolutely no media coverage and Donald Trump gets too much. And neither is in the “mainstream” when it comes to American political reactions to BDS. However, the rest of the presidential candidates are. Here is what is coming out of the “mainstream”:

, Jeb Bush (Republican), Dec, 4, 2015: “On day one I will work with the next attorney general to stop the BDS movement in the United States, to use whatever resources that exist” to do so.

, Ted Cruz (Republican), May 28, 2015: “BDS is premised on a lie and it is anti-Semitism, plain and simple. And we need a president of the United States who will stand up and say if a university in this country boycotts the nation of Israel than that university will forfeit federal taxpayer dollars.”

, Marco Rubio (Republican), Dec. 3, 2015: “This [BDS] coalition of the radical left thinks it has discovered a clever, politically correct way to advocate Israel’s destruction. As president, I will call on university presidents, administrators, religious leaders, and professors to speak out with clarity and force on this issue. I will make clear that calling for the destruction of Israel is the same as calling for the death of Jews.”

Hillary Clinton (Democrat), July 2, 2015: In a letter to Haim Saban, who is a staunch supporter of the Zionist state and also among the biggest donors to the Democratic Party, she said, “I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority, I am seeking your advice on how we can work together – across party lines and with a diverse array of voices – to fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel.”

Bernie Sanders (Democrat), Oct. 20, 2015: “Sanders’ fraught encounter with BDS supporters who challenged his defense of Israel at a town hall meeting in Cabot [Vermont] last year was captured on YouTube.” Sanders told them to “shut up.”

The Legitimacy of Boycott

This hostility to the tactic of boycott runs counter to both U.S. legal tradition and the country’s broader historical tradition.

For instance, advocating and practicing BDS can be seen as a constitutionally protected right. It certainly is more obviously protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech than is the use of money to buy elections.

Thus, if Zionist lobbyists can use money to buy support for Israel, why can’t anti-Zionists use their free speech rights to challenge that support? It should be noted that, in this regard, most Americans of voting age think it is the Zionists, and not the anti-Zionists, who have gone too far.

According to a December 2015 Brookings Institute poll, 49 percent of Democratic voters and 25 percent of Republican voters think that Israel has too much influence with U.S. politicians. Those supporting BDS in the United States might give some thought as to how to use these numbers to uphold their cause.

Then there is the fact of well-established historical tradition. The war for American Independence was built upon a framework of boycott. In November 1767, England introduced the Townshend Acts, requiring the colonists to pay a tax on a large number of items. The reply to this was both a boycott of British goods by many colonial consumers which was eventually followed by a boycott on the importation of such goods on the part of colonial merchants.

Subsequently, Americans have used the tactic of boycott against:

, (1930s) Goods produced by Nazi Germany , (1960s and 1970s) California-grown grapes in support of the United Farm Workers , (1970s and 1980s) All aspects of the economy and cultural output of South Africa , (1980) The Moscow-hosted Olympics of 1980 , Myriad number of boycotts of various companies and products ranging from Nestle (baby formula) to Coca Cola. See the list given by the Ethical Consumer.

The reality is that the tactic of boycott has long been as American as the proverbial apple pie.

Apple pie not withstanding, the legal and historical legitimacy of boycott no longer has much impact on the attitudes of presidential candidates or, for that matter, members of Congress. Nor does the fact that the changes the BDS movement seeks to make in Israeli behavior would be to the benefit of U.S. interests in the Middle East.

Instead what the positions of the candidates seem to indicate is that there will be an almost certain attack on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, coming from the very highest levels of U.S. power, sometime soon after the 2016 elections.

How is it that such a contradiction between national interests and established tradition on the one hand, and imminent government policy on the other can exist? The answer is not difficult to come by. It is just a matter of fact that constitutional rights, historical tradition, and indeed the very interests of the nation, can be overridden by special interest demands.

The demands of what George Washington once called “combinations and associations” of “corrupted citizens” who would “betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country” in favor of those of some other “favorite nation.” It is exactly such demands that are now given priority by the politicians in Washington.

This form of corruption will go on as long as the general public does not seem to care that it is happening. And it is sadly clear that the BDS activists alone cannot overcome this indifference. Thus, the politicians can dismiss the Brookings Poll numbers mentioned above. They can shrug and say, So what?

As long as that majority does not express their opinion by actively demanding a change in the situation, as long as they are not successfully organized to do so, their opinion cannot compete with the millions of special interest dollars flowing into political campaigns.

In many ways our greatest enemy is our own indifference to the quiet erosion of important aspects of the democratic process. Allowing the attack on BDS only contributes to this disintegration of rights.

A combination of localness and ignorance sets us up for this feeling of indifference. However, in the end, there can be no excuse for not paying attention. One morning you will wake up to find that valued rights and traditions are no longer there for you.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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34 comments for “Taking Aim at the Israeli Boycott

  1. Samuel Frankl
    January 8, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Very true. Those who are not backing BDS are deluded by ridiculous zionist fearmongering, pretending that any criticism of any Jew implies a conspiracy to send them all to Auschwitz or Dachau.. Not only are the mass media fearful of losing zionist business (and that of the majority of Jews who tolerate zionism because they are afraid to resist or expect benefits). In fact 40 to 60 percent of the mass media are directly controlled by Jewish people, and the balance are indirectly controlled. The only obvious exceptions are some newspapers in NJ controlled mostly by Italians, and some in TX-LA controlled by oil companies. So much for an independent press. Presumably the same is true of broadcasters. The zionists could not gain such control without economic corruption of democratic institutions, including all three branches of the federal government.

    When we see militant expression of the desire for freedom, there will be hope for democracy, and not before. But we see only cowardice, and it deserved what it gets.

  2. JWalters
    January 8, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Very good analysis. A bunch of candidates already paid off. Bernie is more ambiguous, possibly more cautious than Trump on his timing. He did boycott Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, and was the first Senator to announce he would.

    Here’s an excellent follow-up article on how BDS is scaring the Israeli government.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2016/01/knesset-israeli-isolation

  3. Zachary Smith
    January 8, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    The author provides an impressive list of politicians who want to stomp BDS out of existence, but unfortunately there are other forces.

    In December 2014, United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2865, representing 13,000 teaching assistants and other academic workers in the University of California system, made history when it became the first union to pass a resolution by rank-and-file vote in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

    Now, the UAW International Executive Board (IEB) has nullified the vote by Local 2865, despite acknowledging that the vote was carried out in a fully legitimate and democratic manner.

    http://socialistworker.org/2016/01/04/uaw-leaders-overturn-a-bds-vote

    Why? Because other UAW workers at Big Weapons Companies make bombs and other devices which kill Palestinians and similar subhuman people.

    The UAW was once a force for the good, but these days it’s in bed with Big Business. Google “UAW” and “TPP” and you’ll see that it’s ‘pulling a hillary’ by expressing concerns about that crap treaty. I won’t be a bit surprised if UAW opponents of the TPP don’t eventually get slapped down in the same way as the BDS folks who want to slow down the shitty little apartheid nation of Israel instead of assisting with its horrible abuses.

  4. Bruce
    January 8, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Well. proud to be Green; waddateh rest of the Zionists plotting : To OBAMACARELEÏŸÏŸLY mandate we buy the gefilte fish, Bubbi? Motzah BALL卐 ! Or TAX US for failure to purchase? That didn’t end well for George III and won’t for any latter-day “Chicken” Georges, either!! And chicken soup is a known Yddish “cure”!!!

  5. Joe Tedesky
    January 9, 2016 at 3:45 am

    I’m curious to see how good a friend Israel is to the U.S.. If by the newly created Russian oil benchmark using Rubbles is accepted causes the U.S. Petro dollar to decline, will Israel run towards Russia? Damage to the U.S. Dollar will deteriorate all MIC spending, and then ‘whoops’ America ain’t the only super power no longer. Israel’s big brother won’t be the only big brother any more, so who will pick up the slack? Then again everyone knows this, so I’m sure they all have a pretty good plan to deal with such things. Right?

  6. January 9, 2016 at 4:15 am

    the jewish community has experienced rejection and persecution by just about every nation it attempts to integrate itself into throughout the centuries. from the first signs of monotheistic ideology on that stretch of land west of the Jordan river, to the most modern usurpation of that land from the people who lived upon it. the jew cannot prosper, without contempt from the non-jew try as the jew might try.
    what is the common denominator in the history of the jew?
    rejection?
    or the jew?

    • Karl
      January 9, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      JVP Supports the BDS Movement
      Jewish Voice for Peace endorses the call from Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) as part of our work for freedom, justice and equality for all people. We believe that the time-honored, non-violent tools proposed by the BDS call provide powerful opportunities to make that vision real.
      https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/boycott-divestment-and-sanctions/jvp-supports-the-bds-movement/

  7. Peter Loeb
    January 9, 2016 at 8:40 am

    THE DEMISE OF FREE SPEECH?

    It seems more than likely that any criticism of Israel,
    its crimes, its oppression is now automatically considered
    a “hate crime”. In the process, politicians abetted by
    the vast majority, exculpate themselves from
    any questionning of the Israeli “victims” . .
    This process is analyzed in Norman G. Finkelstein’s
    THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY…(Verso, 2000, 2nd
    Ed. 2003, p. 32 etc.).

    A deeper analysis is that of Michael Prior, CM,
    formerly Head of Theology at St. Mary’s University
    College, University of Surrey,UK) in THE BIBLE
    AND COLONIALISM … (Sheffield Academic Press,
    1997). Prior examines in depth the land traditions
    and violence in the Bible, its origin, exploitative use
    and its abuses (eg censoring by the Christian Church
    etc.).

    In his conclusion Prior begins by pointing out that
    “the biblical claim of the divine promise of land is
    integrally linked with the divine approval of the
    extermination of the indigenous people.” (p.287)

    There are too many aspects to Prior’s analysis
    to go into here. In addition I am no a theologian..

    Prior does say , “There is little indication that
    Zionism will reverse the spoliation it has caused.”
    (pp. 288-9)That seems at best an understatement
    at best.

    The particular effects on BDS will be negative and
    in the present political climate will undoubtedly
    have an enormous impact not only the the US but
    worldwide.

    Those of us who continue to believe that the
    “victim” is the oppressed Palestinian, not the
    oppressor Israelis will face difficult and serious
    attacks. We must be prepared to withstand.

    In my sceptical eyes, the most appropriate response
    is not the most obvious—such as demonstrations
    and the like—but the slow and savvy attack on
    the levers of the Zionist establishment’s power.
    I have elsewhere suggested the employment of
    one or more professional lobbyists of our own to
    diselect our opponents. This is not a “quick
    fix”. It works.

    BDS is itself such a strategy. Israel can deal
    with demonstrations, political opposition.
    It feels the effects of increased economic difficulties.
    I think Israel feels it more than we can comprehend
    due to their response. But can BDS hold out?
    Can it hold out in the US? In Europe?

    Mere declarations are made to distract BDS.
    Unless enforced, there has been no real change.

    And Israeli “private” companies continue to train
    US police forces in merciless and often fatal
    attacks on black citizens who demonstrate for
    justice. For Israeli profit,of course.

    Will the lawsuit against tax-exempt so-called
    “charity” donations to illegal settlements be
    successful? It will be a while before we know
    It is in such efforts that we shall try to survive
    what will be an inevitable onslaught by Israel..

    Claiming free speech rights while accurate is
    insufficient to do the job.

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  8. Brian Fleury
    January 9, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I guess this means I have to be the grumpy Bernie Sanders supporter who complains about coverage. I cannot believe this author would stoop to the mainstream media tactic of presenting facts without context in order to falsely characterize their behavior.

    Is the author wrong? Did the senator not tell some constituents in a town meeting event to “shut up”? Yes, he did. However, from the one sentence description of the event, before Sanders announced his presidential bid, one would get the impression that he responded solely with a two word response in response to a question about Israeli crimes.

    The vocal Israeli supporters in the meeting asked a question and the senator tried to answer. When the people in the crowd heard the answer, they shouted, made a scene, and continued to disrupt the meeting. This is where context matters.

    Severe disruption at town meetings has become a problem since the birth of the Tea Party movement. As a result, many congresspeople stopped attending local public events because they turned into shouting matches. That is what Senator Sanders was reacting to when he told the people to shut up. He was taking a stand against the disruption of open democracy, not their opposition to Israeli policy. Here is the incident:

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/excuse-me-shut-up-bernie-sanders-defends-israel-from-town-hall-hecklers/

    The description Mr. Davidson depicts is a gross oversimplification, in my opinion, and should be corrected. Judge for yourself.

    • Zachary Smith
      January 9, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      The description Mr. Davidson depicts is a gross oversimplification, in my opinion, and should be corrected.

      I suggest that you “correct” it yourself and provide us some evidence that Sanders isn’t completely in bed with Israel on the BDS issue.

      Prediction: that evidence isn’t going to be at all easy to locate. The Senator has been very careful to avoid that particular subject, but basically supports Israel in every important instance I can locate. Maybe your search will produce different results.

      • Pat
        January 10, 2016 at 7:04 am

        Noam Chomsky isn’t a big fan of BDS, either, but one could hardly say he was “in bed with Israel.”

        If you haven’t found other instances of Sanders not siding with Israel, then you haven’t been looking in the right places. Just one “small” example: Despite what you may have read, he was not “one of 100 Senators who stood up like AIPAC windup dolls” and approved Israel’s assault on Gaza last summer. In fact, 79 out of 100 did — which is still outrageous — but 21 of them didn’t, and Sanders was among them.

        • Zachary Smith
          January 10, 2016 at 1:55 pm

          Sanders was a genuine profile of courage! Headline:

          Senate Passes Resolution Endorsing Israeli War Crimes by Unanimous Consent

          From the text:

          “Unanimous consent” means that no one who was present objected to passage.

          Although no one objected, only 79 formally attached their names to S. 498

          It’s my understanding that a US Senator can vote “no” on these issues. Mr. Hero couldn’t bring himself to do that. Silent consent is still a consent.

          Sanders has been Israel’s insurance policy in case Hillary’s fragile health fails before the election.

          I’ll be surprised if Sanders isn’t the VP on the Dem ticket – much the same as Lyndon Johnson joined Kennedy in 1960. Israel wins, no matter what.

          • Pat
            January 10, 2016 at 6:09 pm

            It’s my understanding that a US Senator can vote “no” on these issues. Mr. Hero couldn’t bring himself to do that. Silent consent is still a consent.

            That is incorrect. It’s the misunderstanding of “unanimous consent” that got everyone on the hard left foaming at the mouth about Sanders’s alleged support for the invasion of Gaza.

            The confusion seems to have arisen from 1) the different uses of “unanimous consent,” and 2) not understanding how resolutions are passed in the Senate.

            Unanimous consent is used in conducting routine business on the Senate floor; for example, the presiding officer might ask for unanimous consent to dispense with the reading of a bill or to enter a statement into the Congressional Record that wasn’t read on the floor. If no one present objects, it’s done, without further discussion. This is sometimes referred to as “simple unanimous consent,” and it typically is employed to limit debate and thereby speed up Senate business.

            Complex unanimous consent is different. These agreements are negotiated before a measure comes to the floor, often between Senate leadership, sponsors, and the committee to which the measure was referred, so that when it gets to the floor, there will be no objections. This is how ALL simple resolutions in the Senate are passed – i.e., those designated “S.Res.” Joint and concurrent resolutions have a different process. Simple resolutions are taken up on the Senate floor by unanimous consent agreement, which means everything has been negotiated in advance, and there is no opportunity to object. Of the 420 resolutions passed in the 113th Congress (2013-2014), every single one passed by unanimous consent.

            The important thing to remember is that there is NO VOTE on simple resolutions. They can be (and often are) adopted before an entirely empty chamber, with only the presiding officers present. There’s no point in senators being there, because THERE IS NO VOTE and the decision has already been made that the resolution is going to pass. Even though the presiding officer goes through the motions of asking whether there’s any objection, in practice, none is allowed. In the case of S.Res. 498, it was brought up for adoption three minutes before the Senate was adjourned for a three-day weekend. The whole process took less than one minute. You can watch it here:
            http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4504165/s-res-498

            So, NO – Sanders could not have objected. The only way he could express his disapproval was by not signing on as a co-sponsor, as 79 of his colleagues did. That does make him a “hero” in my book.

          • Zachary Smith
            January 10, 2016 at 6:53 pm

            From a Google search:

            Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) blocked her unanimous consent request earlier this week to pass legislation that would require President Obama to make the details of a trade agreement public before senators decided whether or not to grand it fast-track status.

            Also:

            http://democrats.senate.gov/2015/09/08/floor-update-senate-begins-consideration-of-h-j-res-61-iran-mcconnell-offers-substitute-amendment-mcconnellreid-unanimous-consent-requests-530pm-nomination-vote/

            And:

            hXXp://www.wisegeek.org/in-the-us-congress-what-is-unanimous-consent.htm

            At times, all members present in Congress approve bills or confirmation hearings without objection. When most of Congress knows something will be approved with unanimous consent, there’s no good reason to take a vote. Generally, a statement first calls for any objections to be raised. If no objections are raised, no vote is needed, so whatever decision needs to be made is adopted unanimously.

            Objections happen all the time. Except when everybody involved is in bedwetting fear of the Zionist Lobby. Or true Zionists themselves.

          • Pat
            January 10, 2016 at 8:25 pm

            The McConnell-Reid exchange occurred in a debate on a JOINT RESOLUTION. Hint: “H.J. Res.” Joint resolutions require a VOTE in one or both houses and are sent to the president to be signed into LAW. There is NO VOTE on simple resolutions in the Senate, which do NOT BECOME LAW (maybe bold, all caps will make this point stick?), while joint and concurrent resolutions are voted on and thereby have a different process. Also note that their objections are NOT to the amendments themselves, but to procedural points; e.g., one of them says, “Can everyone present agree to take a vote on this now?” and the other objects, meaning, “No, I do not agree that we can take a vote now.” This is what I referred to in my previous post as “simple unanimous consent.” They are agreeing or objecting to PROCEDURE, not the measures themselves.

            Ditto with Orrin Hatch. He didn’t block Warren’s amendment itself, but blocked a VOTE on it. If the vote is blocked, obviously it can’t be passed. And note that this was an amendment that was going to become LAW, not a simple resolution, for which THERE IS NO VOTE and which does NOT BECOME LAW.

            As for Wisegeek, it explains in an oversimplified way how SIMPLE UNANIMOUS CONSENT works. It does not explain how complex unanimous consent agreements work, nor does it address the special role of unanimous consent in adopting simple resolutions — the ones for which there is NO VOTE. For that, you need to consult a primary source (I’m assuming you know what that is). Try this one:

            How Congress Works

            https://books.google.com/books?id=CSVzAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA184&lpg=PA184&dq=Oleszek,+Walter+J.+Congressional+Procedures+and+the+Policy+Process.+8th+Ed.&source=bl&ots=Im6eJGceDs&sig=tjaxgOeRy9q_aRpPypaN-7nwpxU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikhdzcr6DKAhXKlZQKHShgCTkQ6AEIUTAJ#v=onepage&q=unanimous%20consent&f=false

            You can do a search for “unanimous consent,” or just go to p. 108.

            If you want to do a Google search for more examples of the “objections that happen all the time,” make sure the resolution is designated “S.Res.,” and not “S.Con.Res.” or “S.J.Res.” or anything starting with an “H.” By definition, if it’s coming over from the House for approval, we’re talking about a LAW.

          • Zachary Smith
            January 10, 2016 at 10:48 pm

            I’ll confess this is all a mystery to me. I’ve demonstrated that in other cases Senators successfully object to the unanimous stuff.

            http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4504165/s-res-498

            This CSPAN video purporting to show the actual Senate passage of Senate Resolution 498 has the chairperson asking “is there objection?” to the resolution. Why did he ask if nobody could actually object?

            Yes, it’s a mystery.

          • Pat
            January 11, 2016 at 2:56 am

            The cases you found applied to a different type of resolution. It might seem like an unimportant detail, but the rules for how they get passed are different – again, because simple resolutions such as S.Res. 498 do not carry the weight of the law. The rules for passing joint resolutions (S.J.Res. or H.J.Res.) are pretty much the same as those for regular bills, which must be approved by both houses and then sent to the president to sign into law. I do need to correct what I wrote about concurrent resolutions. They have to be approved by both houses but pertain to internal congressional business and don’t go to the president to be signed into law. They typically deal with housekeeping issues such as use of the Capitol grounds (e.g., for unveiling the hideous bust of Dick Cheney).

            S.Res. 498 is in a class of simple resolutions sometimes referred to “sense of” resolutions, because they convey the sense of the Senate on a particular topic – in other words, its opinion. It is a big deal, of course, when the U.S. Senate expresses an opinion that Israel is entitled to bomb the s–t out of Gaza, and evidently there was a discussion going on behind the scenes of how it was going to be worded. That is just a hunch on my part, based on the observation that five different resolutions on the same topic were introduced within days of each other, but only one of them was allowed to come before the full Senate for approval.

            And therein lies the key to the “mystery.” Below is another explanation of complex unanimous consent agreements. It’s older and maybe somewhat outdated (1992) in terms of current Senate practice, but it gives a good sense of what goes on behind the scenes and how much power the Senate leadership has in even allowing a resolution to see the light of day. As you can see, the unanimous consent agreement can include a time and date for final passage. So when the president pro tempore says, “without objection,” there are none (and he didn’t ask, he declared it to be so).

            https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-RIDDICK-1992/pdf/GPO-RIDDICK-1992-139.pdf

            The question shouldn’t be why Sanders didn’t object, but where in this procedural maze he would have had the opportunity to do so. If he was going to object, he would have had to let the leadership know in advance. And how do you think they would have responded? Probably something like, “Too bad, Bernie, you’re way outnumbered.” So then what? Disobey the leadership and violate Senate protocol by objecting without advance notice when the resolution came up for discussion? Even if he had, he would not have been allowed to speak in a tightly controlled debate with pre-arranged time limits and speaking order.

            In any case, he wasn’t there. He was chairing a hearing on healthcare for veterans.

            FWIW, at least one member of the Senate has complained about the secretive nature of unanimous consent agreements. Not sure if this will help or add more confusion, but I’ll just throw it out there…

            (politifact.com)/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jun/17/jim-demint/demint-says-94-percent-bills-are-passed-unanimousl/

          • Pat
            January 11, 2016 at 3:23 am

            P.S. Just re-read the piece on DeMint and saw that Politifact doesn’t know what a unanimous consent agreement is, or at least they didn’t five years ago. Aaargh. But it reinforces the point I’ve been making for months here and on other sites that “unanimous consent” is not what common sense tells us it should be. And that being the case, even though DeMint inflated his numbers, his argument had more merit than the little bit they gave him credit for.

    • Pat
      January 10, 2016 at 7:56 am

      The description Mr. Davidson depicts is a gross oversimplification, in my opinion, and should be corrected.

      I agree, except you are too kind in calling it an “oversimplification.” Davidson never misses a chance to take potshots at Sanders. He’s in good company on this site, too, which I find difficult to understand.

      That said, I will concede that no matter how many times I watch that video, I cringe at his telling a constituent to shut-up. BUT, it wasn’t without cause, and he wasn’t anywhere near as disrespectful to them as they were to him. That one guy looked drunk.

      Also — and Davidson apparently missed it — the woman at the beginning of the video complimented Sanders for not signing a pro-Israel resolution in the Senate. There were a few others, too, including the one that approved of Israel’s assault on Gaza. More than three-fourths of the Senate signed it, and he was one of the hold-outs. All the yapping about Bernie the Zionist, “always sides with Israel,” blahblah, is just mindless repetition of articles like this.

      So I guess that makes two grumps.

  9. January 9, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Re “mostly by practicing ethnic cleansing against Palestinians”

    http://36.media.tumblr.com/a19f8d71c3d3b75079e8af006dbf3b38/tumblr_nw5lmzSqzL1r29p1do1_500.png

    The Secret Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians

    by Khaled Abu Toameh

    According to the researcher, many Palestinians captured by Shiite militias in Iraq have been brutally tortured and forced to “confess” to their alleged involvement in terrorism. Since 2003, the number of Palestinians there has dropped from 25,000 to 6,000.
    Most interesting is the complete indifference displayed by international human rights organizations, the media and the Palestinian Authority (PA) toward the mistreatment of Palestinians in Arab countries. International journalists do not care about the Palestinians in the Arab world because this is not a story that can be blamed on Israel.
    The UN and other international bodies have obviously not heard of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Arab world. They too are so obsessed with Israel that they prefer not to hear about the suffering of Palestinians under Arab regimes.
    PA leaders say they want to press “war crimes” charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court. However, when it comes to ethnic cleansing and torture of Palestinians in Arab countries such as Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, they choose to look the other way.
    An Arab killing or torturing an Arab is not an item worth publishing in a major newspaper in the West. But when a Palestinian complains against the Israeli authorities or Jewish settlers, many Western journalists rush to cover this “major” development.

    Keep reading: http://blog.eretzyisrael.org/post/126406874330/the-secret-ethnic-cleansing-of-palestinians-by

  10. January 9, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Re “illegally colonizing conquered lands”

    The only owners of the land of the League of Nations mandate for Palestine, under International Law, are the Jews. Thus, the quote above is manifestly ridiculous.

    The “Mandate for Palestine,” an historical League of Nations document, laid down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in western Palestine, a 10,000-square-mile area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an entitlement unaltered in international law and valid to this day.
    The legally binding document was conferred on April 24, 1920, at the San Remo Conference, and its terms outlined in the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10, 1920. The Mandate’s terms were finalized and unanimously approved on July 24, 1922, by the Council of the League of Nations, which was comprised at that time of 51 countries.
    The Mandate weathered the test of time: On April 18, 1946, when the League of Nations was dissolved and its assets and duties transferred to the United Nations, the international community, in essence, reaffirmed the validity of this international accord and reconfirmed that the terms for a Jewish national home were the will of the international community, a “sacred trust.”
    Some may confuse the “Mandate for Palestine” [The Trust], with the British Mandate [The Trustee]. The “Mandate for Palestine” laid down the Jewish legal rights in Palestine. The British Mandate, on the other hand, was entrusted by the League of Nations with the responsibility to administer the area delineated by the “Mandate for Palestine.” Great Britain, the Mandatory and Trustee, turned over its responsibility to the United Nations, as of May 14, 1948.
    However, the legal force of the League of Nations i.e. the “Mandate for Palestine” was not terminated with the end of the British Mandate. Rather, the Trust was transferred over to its predecessor [sic] – the United Nations.

    http://36.media.tumblr.com/e461775f40d6688e74c782d59b6490e7/tumblr_o07mqkScmq1rsfqpro1_400.png

    Source: http://varimail.com/asp/broadcast/ILIST/mandate-2015.pdf

  11. January 9, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Re “… [Israel is] launching massive assaults against its neighbors”

    As of now, the Three times nations tried to annihilate their neighbour (AKA massive assaults) were the Arabs in 1948, 1967, and 1973. All other war Israel conducted were in response to (mainly) terrorist attacks.

    • Zachary Smith
      January 9, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Good Lord! Looks like somebody has had nothing but hasbara schooling. The 1967 Land Grab was a planned theft from the git-go.

    • dahoit
      January 10, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Serial liars like serially,about everything and anything.

  12. January 9, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Re “In Israel, religious-based discrimination is the law.”

    Funny that you not one iota of evidence to support your wild claims. Goebbels would have been proud.

    • Zachary Smith
      January 9, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      “Funny…”

      Nothing like a zionist propagandist with a sense of humorl

      Israel’s Discriminatory Practices Are Rooted in Jewish Religious Law
      By Dr. Israel Shahak

      http://www.wrmea.org/1995-july-august/israel-s-discriminatory-practices-are-rooted-in-jewish-religious-law.html

      See also this older essay about Apartheid in the murderous & thieving little shithole of a nation-state.

      hXXps://journals.iupui.edu/index.php/iiclr/article/viewFile/17379/17509

      Here is what happens to you if you try to Preach Jesus in Israel:

      On Dec. 29, 1977, Christians in Israel and the occupied territories protested a new law passed by the Israeli parliament making it illegal for missionaries to proselytize Jews. Protestant churches charged that the law had been “hastily pushed through parliament during the Christmas period when Christians were busily engaged in preparing for and celebrating their major festival.” The law made missionaries liable to five years’ imprisonment for attempting to persuade people to change their religion, and three years’ imprisonment for any Jew who converted. The United Christian Council complained that the law could be “misused in restricting religious freedom in Israel.”

      Nonetheless, it came into force on April 1, 1978, prohibiting the offering of “material inducement” for a person to change his religion. A material inducement could be something as minor as the giving of a Bible.

      Finally, universal recognition of Israel as a “Jewish State” was one of the demands head dingleberry Netanyahu has made of the Palestinians, and was arm-twisting Kerry to include in talks.

      hXXp://www.juancole.com/2014/01/recognizing-israel-saying.html

      • Peter Loeb
        January 10, 2016 at 7:54 am

        I UNDERSTAND DR. ISRAEL SHAHAK BUT…

        The religious hierarchy originally was opposed Zionism
        on religious grounds but later became central to it.

        Instead of Dr. Shahak’s focus on religion,
        I would urge a concentration on TRADITIONS
        such as the “land tradition”. These traditions
        in particular are central in Michael Prior’s
        analysis. Prior also analyzes other aspects.

        I referred to a few relevant sources
        in my comment “The Demise of Free Speech?”
        comment which appears above.

        The contrast between the Old Testament and
        the Church (Christianity) are of interest. Some
        references to plunder etc. were Christian in origin
        but as Americans well know, even the most Christian
        of Christians (the Puritan colonizers for example)
        relied heavily on the “OT” for justification.

        In a casual reading, it seems as though most
        religious works which claim divine provenance
        also have considerable violence, punishments
        and the like. (Incidentally the medeival interpretation
        of Christianity was much more extreme in its
        description of hell etc. And wearing a cross
        on your breast as in the Christian Crusades justified
        any torture, beheading and the like. It was in God’s/Christ’s
        name….As on July 15, 1197 when the Franks (Crusader’s)
        overran Jeruselum and jubilantly drenched its streets in
        the blood of the “infidels”.

        Reading the sources earlier mentioned would correct many
        of the errors of Dr. Shahak. Obviously this writer is not competent
        analyze all religions or even centuries of so-called “human”
        behavior.

        —Peter Loeb. Boston, MA, USA

        • Zachary Smith
          January 10, 2016 at 2:14 pm

          As on July 15, 1197 when the Franks (Crusader’s)
          overran Jeruselum and jubilantly drenched its streets in
          the blood of the “infidels”.

          I’d like to point out that 1197 was over eight centuries ago. In the here and now the Palestinians are the ones being slaughtered. And Christians, though not yet casually murdered, are getting plenty of abuse.

          Headline:

          Jerusalem priests report constant spitting attacks by ultra-Orthodox

          Headline:

          Christian Center Set on Fire, Vandalized in Jerusalem Hate Crime Attack

          Headline:

          Sea of Galilee church where ‘Jesus fed 5,000,’ torched in suspected hate attack

          Regarding the Palestinians, it’s getting to be like the American Frontier when the only good indian was a dead indian.

          Headline:

          Israeli settlers kill Palestinian toddler in arson attack

          Followup Headline:

          Jewish Extremist Suspected of Jerusalem Arson Released After Five Months Mordechai Meyer, 18, of the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, was put under administrative detention in August but never formally charged.

    • Figaro
      January 14, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      You would be wise not to bring up Nazi references when discussing Israel. Their treatment of the Palestinians is uncomfortably close to what those Nazis practiced against the Jews themselves.

  13. January 9, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Re “That project in dispute is BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, promoted by civil society throughout the Western world. BDS is directed at Israel due to its illegal colonization of the Occupied Territories and its general apartheid-style discrimination against non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular.”

    Ahh, the precious BDS. A few notes on the BDS:

    It is dedicated to end Israel’s existence under the false pretense of being a peaceful organization.

    They don’t wish to kill the Jews, they just want to make sure Jews don’t have a state – and be at the mercy of others.

    None of the organizations leaders supports a peaceful two state solution,

    They use the washed term peaceful “coexistence” … under one state, which is bulls*it and de-facto – means ending Israel’s existence.

    So, in their own words:
    ________________________________________
    “Going back to the two-state solution, besides having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with. We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia.“
    -Omar Barghouti (founder, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)
    ________________________________________
    “Israel is the oppressor, not the settlements.”
    -Hind Awwad (National Coordinator, BDS Committee)
    ________________________________________
    “Good riddance! The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can all move on and explore the more just, moral and therefore enduring alternative for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Mandate Palestine: the one-state solution.”
    -Omar Barghouti
    ________________________________________
    “(The one state solution means) a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”
    -Omar Barghouti
    ________________________________________
    “I am completely and categorically against bi-nationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.”
    -Omar Barghouti
    ________________________________________
    “Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself…BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state. But can’t I see the value in reaching across the aisle, so to speak? The movement may be burgeoning but remains too small. Why shouldn’t we indulge in ad hoc partnerships to get things done? Richard Silverstein, Richard Goldstone, and many other self-proclaimed Zionists have done an immeasurably positive amount of work in skinning the Zionist cat (That’s a deliberate analogy. I don’t kid myself about how difficult it must be for a Jewish person to criticize the Zionist state), shouldn’t they be asked to join the BDS movement?
    To be sure, I’m not dogmatically against cooperating with people whose views I find objectionable. If it came down to it, I’d be happy to work with the racist up the street to get the city to fix a neighborhood pothole.”
    -Ahmed Moor (Pro-BDS Author)
    ________________________________________
    “BDS represents three words that will help bring about the defeat of Zionist Israel and victory for Palestine.”
    -Ronnie Kasrils
    ________________________________________
    “[Israel] was Palestine, and there is no reason why it should not be renamed Palestine.”
    -Omar Barghouti
    ________________________________________
    “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”
    -As’ad AbuKhalil
    ________________________________________
    “Peace-or better yet, justice-cannot be achieved without a total decolonization (one can say de-Zionization) of the Israeli state.”
    -Michael Warschawski (BDS activist)
    ________________________________________
    “[Palestinians have a right to] resistance by any means, including armed resistance. [Jews] aren’t indigenous just because you say you are….[Jews] are not a people…the UN’s principle of the right to self-determination applies only to colonized people who want to acquire their rights. ”
    -Omar Barghouti
    ________________________________________
    “I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist.”
    -John Spritzler (Pro-BDS Author)
    ________________________________________
    “BDS’s stated goals (ending the Occupation, equality for non-Jews and Jews, and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees) logically imply the end of Israel as a Jewish state….The “state of the Jews” is actually an instrument by which a Jewish elite ruling class of billionaires and generals and politicians secures its oppressive grip on ordinary Jews in Israel…This is why there should not be a Jewish state.”

    John Spritzler
    ________________________________________
    “I mean we have to be honest, and I loathe the disingenuousness. They don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever; they call it their three tier. We want the end of the occupation, the right of return, and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what, what is the result? You know and I know what the result is. There’s no Israel!
    “They say no they’re not really talking about rights. They’re talking about they want to destroy Israel. And in fact I think they’re right I think that’s true. I’m not going to lie. But this kind of duplicity and disingenuous, “oh we’re agnostic about Israel.” No you’re not agnostic! You don’t want it! Then just say it!
    “The moment you go out there Israel will start to say ‘What about us?’ and ‘They won’t recognize our right’ and in fact that’s correct. You can’t answer the Israelis on that because they’re making a statement that’s factually correct. It’s not an accidental and unwitting omission that BDS does not mention Israel. You know that and I know that. It’s not like they’re ‘oh we forgot to mention it.’ They won’t mention it because they know it will split the movement. Cause there’s a large segment of the movement that wants to eliminate Israel.”
    -Norman Finkelstein (BDS activist)
    ________________________________________
    “There’s no Israel. That’s what it’s really about.”
    -Norman Finkelstein
    ________________________________________
    “The goal of #BDS is the full restoration of Palestinian rights, not an agreement to create an artificial mini-state in order to save Zionism”
    -Ali Abunimah (BDS activist)
    ________________________________________
    “Zionists complain [that BDS] demands spell the end of the “Jewish state.” They are correct. A “Jewish state” is by definition dedicated to the supremacy of Jews over non-Jews in Palestine, and is therefore irreconcilable with the justice advocated by BDS.”
    -David Litwin (BDS activist)
    ________________________________________
    “Any call for boycott, divestment, or sanctions, for whatever motive (even on behalf of the settlers!) is seen, rightly, as a blow against the legitimacy of Israel… it will be rightly perceived by the pro-Israel crowd as a threat, even an “existential one,” to use Prime Minister Netanyahu’s characterization of all BDS.”
    -Jeremiah Haber (BDS supporter)
    ________________________________________
    “The ‘two state solution,’…as dictated by Israel, omits basic Palestinian rights…[and] would be yet another act of British complicity in bestowing legitimacy on Israel’s unjust order.”
    -Omar Barghouti
    ________________________________________
    “[The two state solution] was a charade to begin with, and has played itself out.”
    -Kumars Salehi (BDS supporter)
    ________________________________________
    “A Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically….Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”
    -Omar Barghouti [5:50]
    ________________________________________
    “Bringing down Israel will really benefit everyone in the world and everyone in society, particularly workers,”
    -Lara Kiswan (executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, BDS activist)
    ________________________________________
    “I think the end-all of BDS is to weaken Israel, to isolate Israel, and give the global community a role in the liberation of Palestine and support the resistance on the ground in Palestine.”
    -Lara Kiswani
    ________________________________________
    “We’re resisting colonialism in Palestine, and colonialism entails all of occupied Palestine, from Haifa, to Jerusalem, to Ramallah…”
    -Lara Kiswani
    ________________________________________
    “You can’t have coexistence with Zionists. Their purpose of Zionism is discrimination, elimination and ethnic cleansing of a group of people, so if you want to talk about coexistence, I’m not talking with you because you’re going to try to kill me. I’m Muslim.”
    -Azka Fayyaz (BDS leader at UC Davis)
    ________________________________________
    “You cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two state solution….a return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. A two-state solution was never moral and it’s no longer working.”
    -Omar Barghouti
    ________________________________________
    “[Jews] did not suffer in Arab countries. There were no pogroms. There was no persecution.”
    -Omar Barghouti
    ________________________________________
    “We need to wipe out Israel.”
    -Anna Baltzer, pro-BDS activist
    ________________________________________
    “I clearly do not buy into the two-state solution.”
    -Omar Barghouti
    ________________________________________

    Credit to the good people at BDS Cookbook for collecting this hate speech.

    Agree with them, disagree with them. Just don’t try and sell anyone on this “pro” and “peaceful” myth,

    This organization is all about “anti” and “hateful”.

    It’s always good for a laugh, seeing headlines on channels like Russian RT showing “Peace activists” chanting “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea”.
    The “river” is the River Jordan,
    The “sea” is the Mediterranean sea…
    In between they DON’T want Israel.

    These people are not about pre 67 (Which actually would mean Palestinians under Egyptian and Jordanian occupation, but they are a bit weak on history): they are about pre 48 – before Israel.

    Some of them do this because they ARE Jew-haters, some just hate Israel.

    It’s a truly fascinating two headed pseudo intellectual monster that brings together the extreme right wing and extreme left wing in a disgusting treaty of hateful solidarity.

    It is an organisation full of hypocrites, self righteous and blind to anything other than blaming Israel and only Israel on pretty much everything.

    It is also a pathetic joke with practically zero effect. And a good thing too.

    (Source and URLs for above quotes: http://falkland-islands.tumblr.com/post/135184100885/is-boycott-divest-and-sanctions-bds-a-movement)

    • Zachary Smith
      January 9, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      “Zionists complain [that BDS] demands spell the end of the “Jewish state.” They are correct. A “Jewish state” is by definition dedicated to the supremacy of Jews over non-Jews in Palestine, and is therefore irreconcilable with the justice advocated by BDS.”
      -David Litwin (BDS activist)

      THAT one I like. Turns out the Jewish State has way too many thieves and murderers. And totally crooked “law and order” with different rules for God’s Favorite People and those who aren’t.

      “We need to wipe out Israel.”
      -Anna Baltzer, pro-BDS activist

      Researching this one was an eye-opener. Anna Baltzer is a 37-year-old Jewish American woman, so it stood to reason this “quote” was some sort of lie, or at the very least wrenched out of context. At first all I could find of was it within the loads of hasbara spam which was dumped on assorted forums, but then I started seeing it mentioned alongside something called a “BDS Cookbook”.

      http://www.stopbds.com/

      Just another of the Spamming For Dummies instruction manuals out there for the lazy troll-guys of Holy Israel.

      • Pat
        January 10, 2016 at 6:47 am

        Zachary, I don’t claim to have your knowledge of hasbara, so I’ll have to take your word for the origins of the “BDS Cookbook.”

        However, I don’t understand why you think the quote attributed to Anna Baltzer is so far-fetched, or that it was some kind of “eye-opener” that you found it on a site you suspect of being a hasbara operation. She does in fact have some strong views, which you can find in her own words in articles she has written. She questions the validity of the Jewish State and says that it by definition can’t exist on the same land with people who aren’t Jewish. According to this anti-Zionist group, she was pretty clear during a talk she gave in 2007:

        We welcomed Anna to our anti-Zionist ranks based on her response to a question during her presentation at Ann Arbor’s First Presbyterian Church on Nov. 16, 2007. When asked if she agreed with Rabbi Dobrusin in supporting Israel’s claimed right to exist as a Jewish state, Anna quickly and clearly replied “No”.

        http://blog.deiryassin.org/2010/12/12/report-on-beth-israel-vigil-12-04-10/

        Not quite the same as saying Israel should be wiped out, but it’s not hard to understand how the Israelis would see that as saying Israel doesn’t have a right to exist. A veritable feast for your “hasbara trolls.”

        • Zachary Smith
          January 10, 2016 at 2:27 pm

          However, I don’t understand why you think the quote attributed to Anna Baltzer is so far-fetched…

          Didn’t you examine the crap link the troll provided? A person was expected to listen to many minutes of the propaganda in order to hear Baltzer utter a single phrase which had clearly been ripped out of a much larger speech.

          Totally dishonest, but that’s the way they roll. BTW, the Zionists are also ok with murder and stealing, so lying would clearly be an irrelevant issue for them.

    • January 9, 2016 at 11:18 pm

      boycotting, divesting, and sanctioning zionism is meant to put an end to the zionist state of israel, this is true.
      BUT … if israel ceases to exist, the Jewish faith will still be around. there are over 200,000 practitioners in Argentina alone. practitioners of the Jewish faith abound across Europe and the Americas. there are even practitioners of the Jewish faith all across the Russian Federation. there will still be practitioners of the Jewish faith in Palestine even after the zionist project comes to an end.
      nobody in their right mind hates people because of their faith, race, or ethnicity anymore. especially not in the Americas, or Europe. those who do, are small-minded, and are sidelined by polite society.
      what is being opposed is an agenda of genocide and colonization, IN THE 20th & 21st CENTURIES!!!! that is UNACCEPTABLE!!!!
      it is about putting an end to israel … but not the Jewish faith.

Comments are closed.