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

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey