Flying Blind: Some Airline Employees Refuse to Say the Word ‘Israel’

By

El Al jet in Israel.

El Al jet in Israel. Photo: Wikimedia

True story. Experienced travelers are in an international airport in a major European city preparing to board flight # 816 bound for Tel Aviv, Israel. The boarding pass reads Gate C-3. Experienced travelers that they are, they watch the board for the inevitable gate changes and keep an ear tuned towards announcements that come over the PA system. Gates change all the time.

They hear an announcement. It is repeated three times in a row. A voice is saying: “flight # 816 to Palestine boarding at Gate C-3”

The airport is Nikola Tesla International in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The airline is Serbia Airlines. How is it possible that at Nikola Tesla, in Belgrade, on Serbia Airlines, Israel does not exist?

And it’s not an isolated incident.

In the end, an investigation was conducted. It turns out that the announcement was not made by the airline but by a single employee of the airport who took it upon herself to change company policy of the airline and the airport and the perceptions of the travelers to fit her own. The Israeli ambassador to Serbia was notified and, ultimately, the CEO of Serbia airlines issued an official apology and clarifies that the content of that announcement was not airline policy at all.

Another true story.  A few months ago, as an Iberian Airline passenger jet was beginning its descent into Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel a member of the crew, speaking to the passengers via the PA system, welcomes them to Palestine.

In both these cases it was clear that the actions and announcements did not reflect the policy of the corporation. But people are making these statements, in public, in a voice of authority and with the official status conferred by a public address system.

And another.

Several Israelis were injured in one of the awful, ugly, terror attacks that rocked Belgium. After a few days in the hospital it was decided to transfer the Israelis back to Israel so that they would receive better care.  But in order to move them from the hospital, the Israelis needed to be cleared by the national office in charge of coordinating the investigation and the victims.

The Jewish community took the lead to pave the path to get these Israelis home. A volunteer called the office hot line to confirm that everything was in order for the transfers back to Israel.

In a recorded conversation you hear the voice of the volunteer speak about going to Israel and the official at the other end of the phone saying Palestine.

Here is the transcript of that conversation. It is a translation from a Jewish Newspaper in Belgium called Joods Actueel. The website ishttp://www.joodsactueel.be.

 Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: Good morning. I’m a volunteer for the Jewish Coordination Counsel in Antwerp. We have two Jews who were injured in the attack at the airport.

 Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Yes, go ahead.

 Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: They are ready to be transported to Israel. Our volunteers are making sure that everything is in place, but we received information from the hospital that we need a special permit from the police to get them released from the hospital. Whom do we need to speak with in order to get this permit?

 Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Let me check. They need to go to Palestine.

 Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: (Pause) Not Palestine. Israel.

 Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Yes, but it was Palestine before, of course.

 Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: Can you repeat that for me? What’s your name?

 Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: It’s Palestine.

 Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: Can I get your name please?

 Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Of course. It’s Zachariah.

 Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: And you only recognize Palestine?

 Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Sorry?

 Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer:

You don’t recognize Israel, correct? Only Palestine?

 Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: I only know that the Jews went to live there, that Palestine accepted them, and that there is a war between Israel and Palestine, of course. And the occupation. That what’s always on the news.

 Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: Are you able to assist me with my request?

 Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Yes, of course. They are returning to Palestine and they asked if they can receive a permit. Of course. Here it is.

And the conversation, so to speak, ends.

Even when they are non-intentional gaffes, statements like these become foundations for delegitimizing Israel. And they are becoming pervasive. They are becoming part of a cultural exchange in which it is acceptable to speak as if Israel, quite simply, does not exist.

I love these stories. People all over the world are finally realizing that the “so called” Israel is actually PALESTINE. The Palestinians were robbed of their country and the robbers want to change the country’s name but people all over the world are saying, NOT SO FAST! this country is not yours. You are only occupiers.

Anti-Semetic BDS Movement Shuts Down Pro-Israel Perspectives on Campus

By: Heat Street

In the first case, first reported by the Atlantic, a prominent Israeli filmmaker was uninvited from a conference on Religion and Film at Syracuse University in New York because one of its organizers feared retaliation from BDS supporters on campus.

The filmmaker, Shimon Dotan, was initially invited to the March 2017 conference to screen his film, The Settlers, about the history of the religious settler movement in the West Bank. The film has been widely praised by critics as “one of the first close-up views of the motives and personalities in a group that rarely opens up to outsiders,” said the New York Times.

A few weeks after the invitation went out, however, Professor M. Gail Hamner, a member of the Syracuse University Religion Department, emailed Dotan and said he was not welcome after all.

“I now am embarrassed to share that my SU colleagues, on hearing about my attempt to secure your presentation, have warned me that the BDS faction on campus will make matters very unpleasant for you and for me if you come,” Hamner said in an email to Dotan that was obtained by the Atlantic.

Hamner admitted that she had not even seen the film, but that allowing its screening on campus would cause her to “lose credibility with a number of my film and Women/Gender studies colleagues.”

To the pro-Israelis, every time someone criticizes Israel, they are anti Semitics. It’s OK for Israel to steel people’s lands and resources, destroys their homes and imprisons their people, but if anyone dares to voice their opinion against the Israeli’s ungodly actions, they are to be condemned and called anti Semitic.

Is the BDS movement facing new challenges in the US?

New bills have barred state governments from contracting or funding entities that support the boycott of Israel.


Demonstrators gathered outside New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office on June 9,
2016 to denounce his executive order targeting the BDS movement
By: 

Last April, more than 350 people travelled to Los Angeles, California to attend a conference against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Organised by the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, attendees gathered to strategise how to combat BDS, which advocates for economic action against Israel to pressure the Israeli government over its human rights abuses.

One of the speakers at the event was Noah Pollak, head of the Emergency Committee for Israel. Pollak had a message for proponents of the BDS movement.

“While you were doing your campus antics, the grown-ups were in the state legislatures passing laws that make your cause improbable,” he said.

Pollak’s message referred to an increasingly effective strategy pursued by pro-Israel groups in the United States.

BDS advocates are facing a barrage of bills that condemn the movement as “anti-Semitic” and bar state governments from contracting or funding entities that support boycotting Israel.

The aim of the bills, say pro-Israel advocates, is to prevent state contracts from funding what they see as a discriminatory movement.

“Israel’s diplomatic missions in the US have expressed full support and appreciation for legislative initiatives to boycott the boycotters,” said Shimon Mercer-Wood, spokesperson for the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

“The BDS movement is racist, discriminatory and hostile to freedom of speech. It is ironic that some try to paint anti-BDS decisions as a limitation of freedom of speech, since the movement itself is dedicated to silencing Israeli voices in the public space,” Mercer-Wood added.

Legislation that prohibits state funds from going to pro-BDS entities has been enactedin 10 states and is being debated in many more. However, in some states such as Virginia and Maryland, coalitions of free speech advocates and Palestine solidarity groups have banded together to defeat anti-boycott bills.

Freedom of speech?

The legislative measures are the most significant challenge the BDS movement has faced in the US.

Palestine solidarity activists say that the BDS movement is not anti-Semitic, and that the measures are an attack on free speech and seek to stigmatise action for Palestinian rights. There is also fear that the legislation could chill free speech by making people fearful of punishment if they support the boycott movement.

“The rash of anti-BDS legislation that we’re seeing is really a frantic attempt to stifle the success of the BDS movement,” said Josh Ruebner, the policy director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which has lobbied against such legislation.

The BDS movement started in 2005, when more than 170 Palestinian groups endorsed the call for boycott and encouraged people around the world to join their campaign.

The goal of the movement is to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, to ensure equality for Palestinians living in Israel and implement Palestinian refugees’ right to return to communities they and their families were expelled from in 1948, when Israel was founded.

A woman holds up a sign at a protest on June 9, 2016 against the New York governor for issuing an anti-BDS executive order [Sainatee Suarez/Al Jazeera] [Al Jazeera]

The call to boycott Israel has since been taken up by hundreds of progressive organisations in the US.

It has found success on college campuses, where Students for Justice in Palestine chapters have helped pass student government resolutions that endorse divestment from companies supplying the Israeli military.

It has also found success in academic associations and among churches, some of which have voted to divest pension funds held in companies such as Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard, which sell equipment to the Israeli army.

In 2013, the American Studies Association endorsed the academic boycott of Israeli universities over their complicity in Israel’s control of Palestinians. The move sparked a fierce backlash in the US.

The New York State Senate became the first body to pass a bill to prohibit state colleges from funding academic groups that boycott Israel.

The New York measure ultimately did not become law. But since then, a wave of anti-BDS legislation has swept across the country.

Twenty states have considered anti-BDS laws. Nine have enacted the legislation, and in June, the governor of one state – New York – issued a first-of-its-kind executive order against the movement, according to a count by Palestine Legal, a group that defends the right to advocate for Palestine.

The number of anti-BDS laws debated and passed in the past year is unprecedented in scale, said Rahul Saksena, a staff attorney at Palestine Legal.

“Organizing that’s happening on the ground is not just gaining momentum but winning the hearts and the minds of people in this country,” said Saksena. “Israel advocacy organisations are seeing that, and it’s alarming them.”

While some of the bills are mere resolutions that put a state on record as being against BDS, others have more teeth to them.

States such as Illinois, New York, South Carolina and others have enacted measures that prohibit state pension funds or state contracts from going to companies or institutions that support BDS.

These measures require the state to compile (PDF) a public list – called a “blacklist” by pro-Palestine activists – of institutions that support the boycott. These entities could range from banks that have pulled investments out of the occupied West Bank to church groups that have voted to divest holdings in companies that contract with the Israeli army.

Attacking BDS

Civil liberties groups say that these measures are unconstitutional attacks on the right of activists to boycott Israel, and note that the US Supreme Court has upheld boycotts as protected advocacy under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

But Eugene Kontorovich, a legal scholar who has helped to write some of the anti-boycott laws, told Al Jazeera: “The laws in question do not prevent or punish anyone for engaging in any speech. It is well established that states can require that companies that receive state money do not engage in what the state views as discriminatory activity, even when that activity is motivated by sincere beliefs.”

The dispute over whether anti-BDS bills are constitutional will most likely end up in a US court, Kontorovich said.

READ MORE: BDS is a war Israel can’t win

Meanwhile, the US Congress has also joined the attack against BDS.

Last year, Congress passed a trade law that includes language requiring the US to discourage European boycotts of Israel.

And in February 2016, Democrats and Republicans introduced legislation, backed by the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that would authorise states to take funding away from companies that boycott Israel.

Ruebner, the policy head of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, expects that more anti-BDS bills will be introduced in the coming months, especially since 2016 is an election year.

Introducing pro-Israel legislation could curry favour with some voters and donors. But, he added, Palestine solidarity activists will continue to advocate and lobby against anti-BDS measures.

“Palestine solidarity activists, First Amendment rights activists, are fighting back against these bills, in many cases successfully,” said Ruebner. “We’re not going to allow our legislations to try to punish civil society for responding to a call for social justice.”

Movement for Black Lives Accuses Israel of Genocide

BY P. DAVID HORNIK AUGUST 11, 2016

The Movement for Black Lives, which encompasses a slew of organizations associated with Black Lives Matter, has issued its platform.

The platform, essentially a Marxist screed, states:

We are a collective that centers and is rooted in Black communities, but we recognize we have a shared struggle with all oppressed people; collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.

A section of the platform called “Invest-divest” deals, among other things, with U.S. foreign policy issues. Not surprisingly, this section features the Palestinians as one of the “oppressed people[s]” with which the Movement for Black Lives claims to have a “shared struggle.”

Calling Israela state that practices systematic discrimination and has maintained a military occupation of Palestine for decades,” this part of the platform asserts:

The US justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people…. Israel is an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people. Palestinian homes and land are routinely bulldozed to make way for illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli soldiers also regularly arrest and detain Palestinians as young as 4 years old without due process. Everyday, Palestinians are forced to walk through military checkpoints along the US-funded apartheid wall.

“Genocide,” “apartheid,” “apartheid wall,” and other allegations of monstrous Israeli behavior are, of course, staples of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) and other movements across the world that seek to delegitimize and ultimately dismantle Israel.

One can only hope. That day will come!!

If one looks at the record, Israelis appear to be inept genocidists. In 1967, when Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza as a result of the Six Day War, there were about half a million Palestinians living in these territories; today there are three to four million.

Do you attribute the increase of population to the generosity of Israel. Or perhaps you credit Israel for not killing them.

As for “apartheid,” the Arabs of Israel enjoy full democratic rights and say Israel is the only country they want to live in; the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza were offered statehood in 2000, 2001, and 2008 and each time turned the offer down flat.

Have you ever visited the occupied Palestinian land or talked to the Palestinians who live there? You should do that before writing such a stupid statement.

The demonization of Israel is, however, a shibboleth of worldwide radical-left movements, and the Movement for Black Lives clearly aligns itself with those.

Demonizing Israel is not a hateful statement. It’s the truth, and comparing Israel to the demons is an insult to the demons.

 

Boycott Campaigns Should Be Commended Not Punished

  • Ariel Gold CODEPINK staff
  • ELIJAH GOLD
    Protestors outside the the New York State Capitol building in Albany

    Last Wednesday around 200 protesters descended on the New York State Capitol building in Albany to demand that Governor Cuomo repeal his executive order requiring New York State to create a blacklist of companies and organizations that engage in or promote boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Opponents of the BDS movement claim that it is anti-semitic and unfairly targets Israel. Contrary to that, however, the BDS movement is rooted in an anti-oppression framework, opposing all forms of racism, including anti-semitism. It utilizes similar tactics to those that were successful in dismantling South African apartheid and is firmly within the tradition of American Civil Rights Era campaigns, such as the Montgomery bus boycott. Rather than seeking to destroy Israel, the BDS movement seeks to leverage economic pressure to influence Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its siege on Gaza. The most well known and widespread BDS campaigns are those that strategically target companies involved in egregious human rights abuses and violations of international law, including the detention and abuse of Palestinian children; stealing of land, water, and other resources; restricting Palestinians’ freedom of movement; maintaining an apartheid systems of different roads, schools, and laws for different people; and  the support of Israeli settlements, which are entirely illegal under international law. Below are five examples of why Governor Cuomo should be applauding the BDS movement rather than attacking it:

    Remodel RE/MAX

    The Remodel RE/MAX campaign asks RE/MAX LLC to set standards prohibiting their franchises from selling, renting or advertising properties on illegally seized land in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, and to establish that members of the RE/MAX network should not refer clients to agents and brokers who are involved in such activities. On July 29, 2015 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated that Israeli settlements are “an impediment to peace, and cannot be reconciled with the Government of Israel’s stated intention to pursue a two-state solution.” A January 2016 report from Human Rights Watch entitled“Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights,” directly indicted RE/MAX LLC, stating:

    By advertising, selling and renting homes in settlements, both the Israeli franchise of RE/MAX and RE/MAX LLC, the owner of the global franchise network, facilitate and benefit from the transfer of Israeli civilians into occupied territory and the associated human rights abuses, contravening their rights responsibilities.

    The Remodel RE/MAX campaign encourages RE/MAX shareholders to pressure the company to abide by international law and organizes protests at RE/MAX offices, shareholder meetings, and conventions.

    Stolen Homes

    In January 2016 a coalition of organizations, including CODEPINK, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace, US Palestinian Community Network, and others, formed to demand that Airbnb stop listing vacation rentals in Israel’s illegal settlements. Aswith RE/MAX’s sale of these homes, Airbnb’s listing of these properties directly profits from and contributes to Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. Airbnb’s website states that they “prohibit content that promotes discrimination, bigotry, racism, hatred, harassment or harm against any individual or group.” They have recently reiterated their commitment to disallowing racism. However, by listing vacation rentals in illegal Jewish-only settlements, Airbnb is directly violating its own policies and assertions.

    The Stolen Homes coalition collected over 150,000 signatures that were delivered to Airbnb’s headquarters on a March day of action and to Airbnb major investor Fidelity Investments on a  June day of action. Internationally renowned nonviolent human rights defender Issa Amro, of the West Bank city of Hebron, voiced his support for the Stolen Homes campaign, saying, “As a Palestinian activist struggling to end Israel’s half-century occupation of our land, it is profoundly disturbing to know that Airbnb would seek to profit from our misery through rentals in illegal Israeli settlements.

    Stolen Beauty: Boycott Ahava

    On March 9, 2016 after a seven year long BDS campaign, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories announced that they will be moving their factory from the West Bank to within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Ahava, an Israeli cosmetics concern with its main manufacturing facility and visitors center located in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, labels its goods as “product of Israel” when they are in fact made in the occupied West Bank. Ahava pillages mud from occupied shores for use in its products. The announcement that Ahava will be moving its factory out of the West Bank has been applauded by human rights and international law advocates around the world, although the boycott campaign will continue until the facility in Mitzpe Shalem is shuttered and there is proof that Ahava no longer plunders occupied natural resources..

    Boycott Soda Stream

    As with Ahava, the Israeli home beverage company SodaStream chose to locate its main production facility in an illegal Israeli West Bank settlement while labeling its product “made in Israel.” By placing their factory in the industrial zone of Mishor Edomin, the company was able to exploit a captive Palestinian labor force and take advantage of inequitably distributed water, cheap land, tax benefits, and lax regulation of environmental and labor protection laws. After a coordinated and persistent boycott campaign by many organizations, SodaStream saw it revenues drop and was forced to yield to pressure, finally moving their factory within the 1967 boundaries of Israel.

    G4S

    Global security giant G4S Secure Solutions has contracts with the Israeli prison system where Palestinian children as young as 12 are tried in military court, denied access to lawyers and their parents, detained in adult prisons, and abused at the hands of guards and interrogators. In 2013 UNICEF reported that the maltreatment of imprisoned Palestinian children is “widespread, systematic and institutionalised”. G4S is known for maltreatment of prisoners and fiascos around the world as well.  There have been numerous reports of sexual abuse and use of excessive force at their Florida Juvenile Justice facilities. Between 2010 and 2012 they were investigated in the UK for the death of Jimmy Mubenga who died at the hands of G4S guards while being deported. Recently they have come under fire for having been the employer of Orlando, FL shooter, Omar Mateen.

    In June 2014, the international campaign to stop G4S was successful in getting the Gates Foundation to divest the entirety of its $170 million holdings in the company. During the same month in 2014, the US Methodist Church voted to divest from the company. As a result of BDS campaigns G4S has lost numerous contracts with universities, charities, and others, including a contract with UNICEF in Jordan. On March 9th, 2016, G4S announced that for the purpose of “extracting itself from reputationally damaging work” they would be selling their Israeli subsidiary.

    Any day now the UN is expected to release a database of companies involved in Israel’s settlement enterprise. Both RE/MAX and Airbnb will surely be on this list and the campaigns against them will continue. It remains to be seen whether G4S will actually follow through with their announcement that they will sell their Israeli subsidiary. If not, the campaign against G4S will continue with renewed strength and persistence.

    Gov. Cuomo’s executive order will not stop the work on BDS campaigns such as these. This executive order will likely be challenged in court, as boycott is a constitutionally protected form of speech, association, and assembly. But more than a first amendment right, the BDS movement is something that should be commended, supported, and furthered. It is nonviolent change in action, placing those who participate in it on the right side of history.

    Father of Tel Aviv terrorist victim attacks Israeli government; creating ‘despair’ and ‘hatred’

    By Martin Smith

     Family and friends mourn by the body of Ido Ben Ari, 42, during his funeral in Yavne, Israel, June 9, 2016. Ido Ben Ari died after being shot during a terror attack inside a restaurant in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night after two Palestinians opened fire killing four and wounding sixteen. Israeli security arrested the two Palestinian gunmen who were in Israel illegally from the West Bank.
    YAVNE , Israel, June 10 (UPI) — The Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians has been heavily criticized by the father of one of the victims of Wednesday’s attack in Tel Aviv.

    As he buried his son, the father of Ido Ben Ari said Thursday that Israel was not doing enough to resolve the conflict, and he accused his country’s government of provoking Palestinians with its hard-line approach.

    “The leaders we elect at democratic elections are supposed to find a strategic solution, which demands far-reaching vision, concessions, a creative solution, and not mantras and laundered words,” the father, whose name was not published, said at the funeral in Yavne, which was attended by hundreds of people, including deputy minister Ayoub Kara.

    “Last night, after the attack, the prime minister and two of his ministers arrived and yet another security cabinet issued decrees — not to return corpses, to put up barriers, to destroy houses, and to make lives harder. These solutions create suffering, hatred, despair and [lead] to more people joining the circle of terror,” he said.

    “What’s needed is a solution rather than saying all the time that there’s nobody to make peace with. We chose you to stop the cycle of blood, already 49 years you’ve been trying to solve things tactically and you haven’t succeeded. The time has come for a strategic solution.”

    Ido Ben Ari was one of four people killed when two Palestinians opened fire at the Sarona Market in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

    The 42-year-old Coca-Cola executive and former IDF elite commando unit fighter was dining with his wife and two children at the Benedict Restaurant at the time of the attack. His wife was also injured.

    “Ido served in [the elite commando unit] Sayeret Matkal. He went through [the] Lebanon [War] and all the horrors of the army, and yet it was over this nonsense that he was taken,” his sister Reut Fishman told The Times of Israel.

    The two gunmen, who had been posing as customers at the market’s Max Brenner cafe, were caught shortly after they went on their deadly rampage. They are cousins who came from the Palestinian town of Yatta in the southern West Bank. At least one was reportedly injured in gunfire.

    Within hours of the attack, Israel announced that it was suspending 83,000 Palestinian entry permits, which will prevent those living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from visiting relatives in Israel, attending Ramadan prayers in Jerusalem and from traveling via Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

    The Max Brenner restaurant in Tel Aviv returned to normal just hours after two Palestinian gunmen carried out the attack on Wednesday night, killing four and wounding sixteen. Israeli security arrested the two Palestinian gunmen who were in Israel illegally from the West Bank. Photo UPI
    Meanwhile, the scene of Wednesday’s shootings returned to normal Thursday morning as shops, bars and restaurants at Sarona Market reopened.

    The blood, broken glass and bullets had been cleared away, along with the belongings of the people who had died, reports The Times of Israel. And customers and workers returned to the various businesses, as if nothing had happened.

    Charles Peguine, the owner of Le Palais des Thes, a tea shop in the market, said that it was the third terror attack in Tel Aviv that he and his family narrowly avoided since the start of the year.

    “This is our life,” says Peguine, who grew up in Belgium. “Unfortunately four people died; but there haven’t been fewer customers today. We are used to this.”

    Here are some of the comments on this article.

    Kevin Mardesich ·California State University Maritime Academy

    Awwww… jews steal Palestinian land and resources for decades, oppress them and then cry when the Palestinian’s resist and fight back.
    Have a tissue.

    Robert Johnson

    What a brave and honest man. My heart goes out to him for his loss and my admiration for his objectiveness and honesty. The violence in the Middle East is religious violence. Israel claims God gave all of that land to them. It’s time to move beyond ancient myth and embrace reason. As Albert Einstein said regarding Israel, “Should we be unable to find a way to honest cooperation and honest pacts with the Arabs, then we have learned absolutely nothing during our 2,000 years of suffering and deserve all that will come to us.” ( http://deism.com/einstein.htm )

    We need to take the advice of the Deist Thomas Paine who wrote in The Age of Reason that we need a revolution in religion based on our innate God-given reason and Deism. This will eventually put an end to religious violence.

    Chidambaranadar Jeyabalan ·

    Collective punishment is an inducement to convert a normal person into an agitated person, who then transforms into a militant, then terrorist.

    For all backward progress in Israel, the present leadership is totally responsible. I have plenty of Israel friends who live in US and Israel. Whoever visits Israel, they feel insecured.

    The mentally corrupt politicians are responsible for the bitterness among the brothers (Israelites and the Palestinians). I condemn the present stupid Israel leadership first before I do the terrorists.

    ARE ANTI-ISRAEL BOYCOTTS LEGAL? DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT

    This article was recently published on the YAHOO website. A comment is posted after each paragraph.

    BY

    05_19_Israel_Boycott_01
    Israelis celebrate Israel’s 68th Independence Day with fireworks in the southern city of Ashkelon. The author argues that attempts by educational nonprofits to boycott Israel breaks the law that nonprofits’ funds from members cannot be used to push a political agenda that has nothing to do with the association’s mission.

    Israelis try very hard to stifle the voice of freedom not only in the land of Palestine but also in the United States and anywhere in the world they can. We should encourage everyone, specifically college students, to speak their minds and get their opinions heard. But, as the Israelis see it and want everyone to see and believe it that when people’s opinions and the truth is not to the Israelis liking, it’s against the law.

    Boycotts against Israel are making headlines again. The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is voting this month on whether to boycott Israel. If the resolution passes, AAA will be the largest and oldest academic association to do so.

    The AAA is doing the right thing, and boycotting Israel is the right thing to do. The Israelis need to know that their lies and intimidation are not as effective as they used to be. People in this country are waking up and realizing the reality in the Middle East which’s driving the Israelis off the wall.

    In response, many heads of U.S. universities, including MIT, the University of Chicago and all 10 University of California campuses, recently reaffirmed their opposition to academic boycotts, specifically citing ones targeting Israel.

    The pressure and intimidation still works on those heads especially when added to the lack of morality on their part. Those heads should be chopped off and replaced by more reasonable and encouraging ones to the freedom of fact finding and opinions’ expression. 

    Fierce debate has surrounded boycotts since the American Studies Association (ASA) endorsed an Israel boycott two years ago. Are boycotts antithetical to the mission and values of academia? Do boycotts violate academic freedom?

    Boycotts do not violate academic freedom. In fact they have nothing to do with academic freedom. They are a matter of opinions’ and should not be associated with academic value in any way.

    Others questioned: Why the obsession with Israel?  Considering all the non-democratic, non-feminist and non-free religion, free speech and free press countries, why Israel? Israel is the only country in the Middle East to provide equal rights to women and all members of the LBGTQ community, to guarantee freedom of press and religion and to safeguard the opportunity to vote, regardless of ethnicity. In fact, Jews, Christians and Muslims all serve in Israel’s government. North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, Sudan, Myanmar, Russia and many other recidivist human rights violators are not singled out for boycott. Among the 196 nations in the world, why is the only Jewish state being singled out? Are boycotts of Israel really thinly veiled anti-Semitism?

    It is typical of the Israelis and their allies to try to divert the attention of the facts and discussion matter at hand. What does the treatment of women and members of the LBGTQ have to do with boycott of Israel? and why Israel is comparing itself to those counties? We are not discussing any of those countries or  their democracies, we are discussing Israel and it’s illegal occupation of the Land of Palestine and demolishing the homes of Palestinians which prompted the call for boycott of Israel. Incidentally, the statement above is not true. The so called democracy in Israel applies to the Israelis only, not the Palestinians. And only to the Jews, not Christians or Muslims.

    Putting those concerns aside, though, there is a new question gaining much traction in legal circles: Are such boycotts even legal? Law professors Eugene Kontorovich and Steven Davidoff Solomon on the Wall Street Journal opinion page recently concluded they are not. And days ago, a group of distinguished American Studies professors and longtime ASA members, two of whom were recipients of the highest ASA award for outstanding teaching and program development, sued their Association.

    Boycott of Israel is not only legal but necessary. I challenge all those so called Law Professors to show me where it’s stated in the law that it’s illegal to boycott Israel. The Israelis need to know that the days of suppressing the truth and forcing their lies on the American people are over. Those so called professors prove that not only goods can be bought, people can be as well.

    The American Studies professors describe how a handful of radicals, including founding members of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, hijacked their academic association to ram through a personal and political mission having absolutely nothing to do with American Studies. This new legal question is probably the most relevant.  Let me explain. Nonprofits incorporated in D.C. are governed by the D.C. Non-Profit Corporations Act. It provides that an organization is limited to the terms of its charter. Knowing that nonprofits are often run by a handful of active members, the law was created to protect the entire membership from officers and directors who abuse their positions and coopt an organization for political purposes.

    Let me ask you a question “Mr. know it all”, if those so called, according to you, announced their unconditional support to Israel, would you call them radicals, and more importantly, would you call them “Law Brakers”? and in your opinion, would they be abusing their positions for political reason? Of course not. That’s the divination of hypocrisy which Israel and its supporters demonstrate on daily bases.  

    Funds from members cannot be used for purposes beyond activities authorized in the charter. Activists cannot legally trade on an academic association’s reputation to push a personal political agenda that has nothing to do with the association’s mission. At the time the boycott was initiated, ASA’s constitution clearly stated that “[the object of the association [is] the promotion of the study of American culture through the encouragement of research, teaching, publication…about American culture in all its diversity and complexity.” According to the American Studies professors, for 60 years, ASA has been an association focused on American Studies. It is not a social justice organization, nor is it a foreign policy organization. Indeed, according to the professors, boycotting a foreign nation has absolutely nothing to do with ASA’s mission and is therefore illegal.

    How much does it cost for someone to endorse someone else or agree with an idea or a philosophy? When a political candidate is endorsed by someone or some group or organization, does the endorser start packing to move into the poor house? Or does he or do they have to spend any amount of money for the endorsement? Of course not. So, why are you accusing the ASA of misappropriating the organization’s funds for the purpose of pushing a personal political agenda? You know something, even if they were, it will be well worth it using those funds to promote the boycott. Whether you admit it or not, the US is very much involved in the Middle East and this falls in the category of American studies.

    I agree, which is why my organization has assembled a team of lawyers to represent these esteemed American Studies professors in this significant and pivotal case.The question of whether an arguably anti-Semitic academic boycott of Israel violates academic freedom continues to be debated. But whether it violates the law seems pretty clear.

    Yes it is. It clearly does not violate the law in any form or fashion.

     

    Venezuelan ambassador to U.N. comes under fire for comparing Israelis to Nazis

    Published May 12, 2016

    • Rafael Ramirez Israel.jpg
      (PHOTO BY MICHAEL CARONNA-POOL/GETTY IMAGES)

    Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations Rafael Ramírez sparked a diplomatic war of words with Israel last week after making comments during a Security Council meeting comparing Israeli policy toward Palestinians to that of the Nazis in Europe during World War II.

    “What is Israel planning to do with the Palestinians?” Ramírez asked during the meeting. “Do the Israelis want the Palestinians to disappear? Is Israel preparing a ‘final solution for the Palestinians similar to what was done to them?”

    The comment, which occurred the day after Holocaust Remembrance Day, was quickly condemned by officials in Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

    “This statement by the Venezuelan Ambassador is clear Anti-Semitism against the Jewish state,” Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon said in a statement. “His remarks are a direct continuations to the Palestinian representative’s statement a few days ago comparing Israel to the Nazis. The Palestinians are bringing Antisemitism into the halls of the UN and are legitimizing racists and crass language in the parliament of nations.”

    Ramírez’s comments also earned him the criticism of the person who previously hold his job.

    “Instead of contributing to the subject, the representative of Venezuela chose to attack the Israeli state in such a miserable way that he has prompted a very serious international reaction, “Diego Arria, the former Venezuelan ambassador to the U.S said.

    Ramírez has since apologized for the comment, saying that he was sorry to the “Jewish people if they were offended by the remarks,” but added that Israel had made a “disproportionate response” to his comments.

    “We want to clarify that our country has no position against the Jewish people, no position against the Israeli people,” he said. That statement “was politically used there is an entire lobby [effort] aimed at turning our words into something we don’t feel.”

    This Ramirez fellow, doesn’t he know that when it comes to Israel he is not suppose to tell the truth or speak his mind? The Israelis don’t like it when someone has the guts to tell it like it is if it’s not in their favor, therefore if you think it, don’t say it. However, if your criticism is directed toward the Palestinians, feel free to announce it to the world.

    Thousands of Arabs march for Palestinian return in Israel

    Rahat (Israel) (AFP) – Thousands of Arab Israeli protesters marched in favor of a right of return of millions of Palestinians on Thursday, the same day Israel celebrated its independence.

    When has negotiating with Israel ever helped the Palestinians?

    Readers React
    Netanyahu has a face that’s begging to be slapped and powerfully punched

    To the editor: Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, writes that “the modern history of Israeli-Arab peace-making has taught us that only direct negotiations between the two sides can actually achieve results.” (“Israel’s U.N. ambassador: Direct diplomacy is the only way to peace,” Opinion, April 25)

    Exactly the opposite is true. Past peace “processes” have resulted in Israel confiscating even more Palestinian land. Nothing positive has ever happened for Palestinians.

    Yes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “extended himself … in his pursuit of direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority,” but he has also said that he would never allow a Palestinian state. So what is the point of negotiations except to pretend that something positive is being done?

    Palestinians would be insane to subject themselves to yet another peace “process.” Their only hope appears to be with the United Nations and the success of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) initiative.

    And why does Danon refer to “Israeli-Arab” negotiations instead of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations? Palestinians are, for the most part, an Arab people, but they are a separate people who have inhabited Palestine for many centuries and have hopes and aspirations of their own apart from other Arab countries…

    To the editor: Danon blames Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the failure to hold more peace talks. But he curiously neglects to mention the rapid growth in Jewish-only, illegal settlements under Netanyahu.

    When Israel carves out more and more land from the West Bank for Jewish-only developments, how can anyone believe its government is serious about allowing for a Palestinian state?

    No wonder Abbas and supporters of Palestinian rights have turned to the BDS movement to pressure Israel to abide by international law.

    Mandy Erickson, San Mateo, Calif. 

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