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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Read more at Volokh Conspiracy

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

 

What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy