In Falsifying the Nature of Anti-Boycott Laws, the ACLU Is Abetting Anti-Semitism

March 13 2019

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has decided to mount legal challenges to state laws that prohibit state governments from doing business with corporations that boycott Israel, and likewise opposes the bill now before Congress that will protect such laws. In support of its position, the ACLU’s political director, one of its legal briefs, and several entries on its website have all claimed, erroneously, that these laws require businesses to take a “loyalty oath” to Israel. David Bernstein writes:

Contractors’ certifying that their businesses don’t boycott Israel-related entities is no more a “loyalty oath” to Israel than is certifying that they don’t refuse to deal with black- or gay- or women-owned business, or that they will deal only with unionized businesses, is a “loyalty oath” to blacks, gays, women, or unions. Contractors who sign anti-boycott certifications are free to boycott Israel and related entities in their personal lives, and they and their businesses are free to donate to anti-Israel candidates and causes, and even to publicly advocate for boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning Israel (BDS). . . .

By spreading the false meme that no-boycott certifications amount to not just loyalty oaths, but loyalty oaths to a foreign government, the ACLU has spread the canard that the pro-Israel (read, overwhelmingly Jewish) organizations and their members want to use the force of the state to require everyone to be “loyal” to Israel.

Some commentators, meanwhile, have taken the ACLU’s exaggerations and upped the ante. Andrew Sullivan, for example, recently portrayed a federal bill permitting states to refuse to deal with contractors who boycott those doing business with or in Israel entities as a bill that would have “made it illegal for any American to boycott goods from the West Bank without suffering real economic consequences from their own government.”

I understand that ACLU lawyers have a responsibility to their clients to win the public-relations war to help with its legal battle, but the organization has disgraced itself by using the “loyalty-oath” canard that it had to know would play on latent and blatant anti-Semitic sentiment. The real shame is that I don’t think that the poobahs at the ACLU care.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Politics & Current Affairs

Despite What the UN Says, the Violence at the Gaza Border Is Military, Not Civilian, in Nature

March 22 2019

On Monday, a UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry issued its final report on last spring’s disturbances at the Gaza border. Geoffrey Corn and Peter Margulies explain why the report is fatally flawed:

The commission framed the events [in Gaza] as a series of demonstrations that were “civilian in nature.” Israel and its Supreme Court, [which has investigated some of the killings that occurred], framed the same events quite differently: as a new evolution in Israel’s ongoing armed conflict with the terrorist organization Hamas. Consistency and common sense suggest that the Israeli High Court of Justice’s framing is a more rational explanation of what occurred at the Israel-Gaza border in spring 2018.

Kites, [for instance], played a telltale role [in the violence]. When most people think of kites, they think of a child’s plaything or a hobbyist’s harmless passion. In the Gaza confrontation, kites [became] a new and effective, albeit low-tech, tactic for attacking Israel. As the report conceded, senior Gaza leaders, including from Hamas, “encouraged” the unleashing of waves of incendiary kites that during and since the spring 2018 confrontations have burned thousands of acres of arable land within Israel. The resulting destruction included fires that damaged the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which conveys goods and gasoline from Israel to Gaza. . . .

Moreover, the incendiary-kite offensive was an effective diversion from the efforts encouraged and coordinated by Hamas last spring to pierce the border with Israel and attack both IDF personnel and the civilian residents of the beleaguered Israeli towns a short distance from the border fence. . . .

The commission also failed to acknowledge that Hamas sought to use civilians as an operational cover to move members of its armed wing into position along the fence. For IDF commanders, this increased the importance of preventing a breach [in the fence]. Large crowds directly along the fence would simplify breakthrough attempts by intermingled Hamas and other belligerent operatives. The crowds themselves also could attempt to pour through any breach. Unfortunately, the commission seems to have completely omitted any credible assessment of the potential casualties on all sides that would have resulted from IDF action to seal a breach once it was achieved. . . .

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Laws of war, UNHRC, United Nations