The BDS Movement Maintains Close Contact with Terrorists

Not itself a formal organization, the movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel (BDS) consists of a loose network of groups that support its cause. A number of these, write Jonathan Schanzer and Kate Havard, have close ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), officially considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department since 1997:

Rasmea Odeh, a now-infamous PFLP terrorist who was involved in the bombing of an Israeli supermarket in 1969 . . . is now a cause célèbre for BDS activists in the United States. Boycott advocates have rallied to her defense, raising funds for her while she faces prosecution in the U.S. for immigration fraud (for lying about her time in prison). Odeh’s boosters include BDS-supporting groups like Palestine Legal, Jewish Voice for Peace, and American Muslims for Palestine. . . .

The BDS campaign in the United States broadly identifies itself as a nonviolent social-justice movement. But, its connections to the PFLP, a decidedly violent group, are troubling. Founded in 1967 as a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary organization by George Habash, the PFLP was known for a series of plane hijackings in the late 1960s and 70s. [Its members also] gunned down civilians and hired assassins to massacre passengers at Israel’s Lod airport in 1970. . . .

In 2011, two PFLP members carried out the murder of a family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar (including a three-month-old infant). They were responsible for a 2014 shooting in west Jerusalem that killed five and wounded eight. . . .

Recently, the PFLP sent its most famous member, the first woman hijacker in history, Leila Khaled, on speaking tours worldwide. In April 2016, she visited the German organization Falestin Beytona, the offices of the Communist party of Sweden in Gothenburg, and the Austrian-Arab Cultural Center in Vienna—all organizations that support BDS. Khaled was also the guest of the BDS movement of South Africa in 2015.

Read more at The Hill

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian terror, PFLP


To Undermine Russian and Iranian Influence in Syria, the U.S. Must Go on the Offensive

March 22 2018

When Iranian-lead, pro-Assad forces attacked U.S. allies in Syria last month, they found themselves quickly overwhelmed by American firepower. The incident, writes Tony Badran, makes clear that the U.S. has the capability to push back against the Damascus-Tehran-Moscow axis. By taking a more aggressive approach while working closely with Israel, Badran argues, Washington can at once prevent Russia and Iran from cementing their control of Syria and avoid getting drawn into a wider conflict:

Israeli assets can augment U.S. capabilities considerably. A few days after the skirmish in Deir Ezzour in February, Iran flew a drone into Israeli air space. Israel responded by destroying the Iranian command center at the Tiyas military air base near Palmyra, and then proceeded to bomb a large number of Iranian and Assad-regime targets. The episode again underscored the vulnerability of Iran, to say nothing of the brittle Assad regime. Close coordination with Israel to expand this ongoing targeting campaign against Iranian and Hizballah infrastructure, senior cadres, and logistical routes, and amplifying it with U.S. assets in the region, would have a devastating effect on Iran’s position in Syria.

By going on the offensive, the U.S. will also strengthen Israel’s hand with Russia, reducing Jerusalem’s need to petition the Kremlin and thereby diminishing Moscow’s ability to position itself as an arbiter on Israeli security. For instance, instead of haggling with Russia to obtain its commitment to keep Iran five or seven kilometers away from the Israeli border, the U.S. could adopt the Israeli position on Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and assist Israel in enforcing it. Such a posture would have a direct effect on another critical ally, Jordan, whose role is of high importance in southern Syria and in the U.S. zone in the east.

Assad and Iran are the scaffolding on which the Russian position stands. Targeting them, therefore, undercuts Moscow and reduces its leverage. By merely forcing Russia to respect Israeli and Jordanian needs on the border, the U.S. would undermine Russia’s attempt, more generally, to leverage its position in Syria to make headway into the U.S. alliance system. In addition to adopting a more offensive military posture, the U.S. should also intensify the economic chokehold on Assadist Syria.

Read more at Caravan

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy