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AIPAC speakers say the enemy is BDS, while ‘biggest Jewish-led protest’ surges outside

Young Jewish demonstrators from IfNotNow outside AIPAC conference yesterday

Young Jewish demonstrators from IfNotNow outside AIPAC conference yesterday

This morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by video to the Israel lobby group AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) in Washington. He bragged about his warm relationship with President Trump to great applause, and said that many states in his region were turning to Israel in the fight of modernism against medievalism. He said it was time for Palestinian Authority to “above all, once and for all, recognize the Jewish state.”

Netanyahu also addressed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement aimed at Israel, saying Israel will defend itself on the “moral battlefield… We’ll defend ourselves against slander and boycotts.”

Last night Vice President Mike Pence was introduced as an enemy of BDS. He told the AIPAC conference, “The president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv,” to huge applause. He then called on the next ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a supporter of settlements, to stand. He also got a warm reception.

Martin Indyk took a jaundiced view of Pence’s promise, saying that George W. Bush had seriously considered the move for eight years, and Trump will still be seriously considering in another four years. “We’re freiers [suckers] to think otherwise.”

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog called on AIPAC’s followers to opposed the BDS movement. While former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper said that BDS was the most serious threat to Israel and merely the latest form of classical anti-Semitism.

“The third threat to Israel is the one we actually need to take the most seriously as Canadians and Americans, and that is the BDS movement… One can disagree with the Israeli government’s policies in this aspect or that, but the BDS is not about that. The BDS movement is about translating the old ideology of anti-Semitism into something acceptable to a new generation.”

The theme was echoed by AIPAC officials.

Democratic political consultant Paul Begala said this morning on the AIPAC stage that he was thinking of making “aliyah” to Israel because of political developments in Washington but affirmed: “I have never worked for someone who is anti-Israel and I never will… How could I and be true to my progressive values?”

As for progressive values: there was a large demonstration yesterday outside the Washington convention center by the “Jewish resistance,” led by IfNotNow. A few demonstrators from IfNotNow managed to get inside the hall and drop a banner protesting the occupation. While hundreds of others in the resistance group led a march to the convention center in an effort to stop the conference. Ben Norton said it’s the “biggest-ever Jewish-led protest” of AIPAC. Bigger than Neturei Karta.

Here’s Ahmed Shihab-Eldin’s thorough video coverage of the demonstration for AJ+.

One organizer says what makes this anti-AIPAC demonstration different is that it’s the 50th year of occupation, and these young people are not going to let AIPAC speak for the Jewish community anymore. Others emphasized the crisis inside the Jewish community. Among the soundbites:

Fifty years is too long. It’s a moral crisis for the Palestinians, it’s eroding our community. AIPAC does not speak for American Jews.

The Trump administration is forcing the American Jewish community to pick.

AIPAC stands for endless occupation. We are the Jewish Resistance.

I’m here fighting for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians, and a Jewish community that stands up for those things.

Jews can’t have liberation if Palestinians don’t.

We refuse as Jews and humans to be part of the American Jewish establishment…. I feel heartbroken that it’s taken our community so much to move…. We have a long way to go.

At Minute 20 you can see a dozen demonstrators forming a human chain outside the convention doors.

Shortly after, a group said to be part of the Jewish Defense League attacked the demonstration.

Some shouted at IfNotNow, “sharmouta,” Arabic for prostitute.

Shihab-Eldin asked why no one from JDL was arrested.

Thanks to Annie Robbins. 

 

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Al Jazeera Investigations – The Lobby P1

“Jewish Brigade” email threatens BDS activists

A number of Palestine solidarity activists have received a threatening email from a group calling itself “Brigade Juive,” French for “Jewish Brigade.”

Anyone receiving this or a similar email should not click on any links in it and should not open any attachments.

These emails may contain malware – malicious programs that are used to harm computer users and compromise networks.

They should report to local authorities anything they consider a threat.

The email begins in French with the words “Dear boycotter.”

It then says in English, “We have are [sic] a very particular set of skills, skills We [sic] have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make us a nightmare for people like you.”

It concludes in French, “In brief, you boycotters should understand, now we will scalp you one by one, group by group, association by association.”

The email contains a link to a website for the Brigade Juive, an extremist Jewish group that purports to defend Israel and Jewish communities. The website also purports to “expose” activists with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for allegedly nefarious activities.

The group’s name appears to be a reference to the Jewish Brigade that fought with British forces during the Second World War and whose members helped colonize Palestine as part of the Zionist movement.

On its Facebook page, Brigade Juive claims to have sent the email to more than 8,000 addresses.

The group also claims that its violent threat of “scalping” activists is “used in the figurative sense.”

The harassment comes as Israel’s government has ramped up its own threats and intimidation against activists.

Given the history of violence by far right-wing Jewish groups, the apparent threat is being taken seriously.

The Electronic Intifada has been sent independent reports of the email being received by activists in Europe, some of whom are reporting it to authorities on the basis that it constitutes a threat of violence.

Association France Palestine Solidarité, an advocacy group for Palestinian rights, also sent an alert to members urging them to report the threatening email to DICRA, the French interior ministry’s body to combat racism and anti-Semitism.

Extreme anti-Palestinian groups in France have a history of using online attacks against their targets.

Gregory Chelli, the former Jewish Defense League hacker known as Ulcan, in 2014 reportedly launched a cyber attack against the website of Rue89 after French reporter Benoît Le Corre wrote a critical profile of him.

Ulcan is known to have been involved in several malicious attacks targeting BDS activists in France, one of which possibly precipitated the death of Le Corre’s father.

Practice good security

Activists, journalists and others should make it a priority to always practice good online security.

Here are some resources:

Covertly, Israel prepares to fight boycott activists online

FILE – In this April 20, 2015, file photo, an Egyptian man shouts anti-Israeli slogans in front of… Read more

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel is using its world-leading expertise in cyber security to take on the growing threat of the global pro-Palestinian movement to boycott Israel.

The Israeli government recently allotted nearly $26 million in this year’s budget to combat what it sees as worldwide efforts to “delegitimize” the Jewish state’s right to exist. Some of the funds are earmarked for Israeli tech companies, many of them headed by former military intelligence officers, for digital initiatives aimed at gathering intelligence on activist groups and countering their efforts.

“I want to create a community of fighters,” said Sima Vaknin-Gil, the director general of Israel’s Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, to Israeli tech developers at a forum last month dedicated to the topic.

Initiatives are largely being kept covert. Participants at the invite-only forum, held on the sidelines of a cyber technology conference, repeatedly stood up to remind people that journalists were in the room.

Among the government officials involved in the efforts are some of Israel’s top secret-keepers, including Sima Shine, a former top official in the Mossad spy agency, and Vaknin-Gil, who recently retired as the chief military censor responsible for gag orders on state secrets.

Israel has established itself as a world leader in cyber technology innovation, fueled by graduates of prestigious and secretive military and security intelligence units. These units are widely thought to be behind some of the world’s most advanced cyber-attacks, including the Stuxnet virus that attacked Iran’s nuclear energy equipment last decade.

Each year, these units churn out a talent pool of Israelis who translate their skills to the corporate world. Now Israel is looking to harness their technological prowess for the fight to protect Israel’s international image.

Vaknin-Gil said her ministry is encouraging initiatives to expose the funding and curb the activities of anti-Israel activists, as well as campaigns to “flood the Internet” with content that puts a positive face on Israel. She said some of these actions will not be publicly identified with the government, but that the ministry will not fund unethical or illegal digital initiatives.

Established about 10 years ago, the pro-Palestinian “BDS” campaign is a coalition of organizations that advocate boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Inspired by the anti-apartheid movement, BDS organizers say they are using nonviolent means to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence.

The movement has grown into a global network of thousands of volunteers, from campus activists to church groups to liberal Jews disillusioned by Israeli policies. They lobby corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with Israel.

The movement has made inroads. U.S. and British academic unions have endorsed boycotts, student governments at universities have made divestment proposals, and some famous musicians have refused to perform in Israel. The BDS movement also claims responsibility for pressuring some large companies to stop or modify operations in Israel. In its latest push, it has urged top Hollywood actors to reject a government-paid trip to Israel being offered to leading Oscar nominees.

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, said “quite a few web pages” that BDS websites linked to have mysteriously disappeared from the Internet.

“We assume Israel’s cyber sabotage is ongoing, but we are quite pleased that its detrimental impact on the global BDS movement has been dismal so far,” he said.

Israel says the movement is rooted in anti-Semitism and seeks not to change Israeli policies, but ultimately to put an end to the Jewish state.

Many online activists driving anti-Israeli campaigns on social media are tech-savvy, second- and third-generation Muslims in Europe and the U.S. who have grievances against the West and also lead online campaigns against European and U.S. governments, said Elad Ratson, who tracks the issue for Israel’s Foreign Ministry and spoke at last month’s cybersecurity forum.

He said they often create code that allows activists to blast thousands of messages from social media accounts — creating the illusion that many protesters are sharing the same anti-Israel or anti-West message online.

Israeli officials lobby Facebook to remove pages it says incite violence against Israelis, and there has been talk of advancing legislation to restrict Facebook in Israel. A Facebook representative met with Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan in Israel last week about the matter.

Ratson said social media giants are beginning to close inciting users’ accounts. Twitter said in a statement this month that since mid-2015, it has closed more than 125,000 accounts that were “threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIS,” the Islamic State group. But he said Islamist activists are simply moving to “Darknet” sites not visible on the open internet.

Some Israeli tech companies are starting to build sly algorithms to restrict these online activists’ circle of influence on the “Darknet,” so activists think their message is reaching others when in fact it is being contained, Ratson said.

Other Israeli companies work on forensic intelligence gathering, such as detecting digital or semantic signatures buried in activists’ coding so they are able to track and restrict their online activity.

Firewall Israel, a non-profit initiative sponsored by the Reut Institute, an Israeli think tank, is building an online platform to help pro-Israel activists around the world communicate about anti-Israel activism in their communities. At a recent event the initiative held at Campus Tel Aviv, a Google-sponsored event space for entrepreneurs, an Israeli web expert taught young activists how to mine the internet for BDS activities.

“Delegitimizers are engaged in a Disneyland of hate,” Igal Ram of Firewall Israel told seminar participants. “We want to act against the people who run the Disneyland … and the useful idiots who help.”

Inspiration, an Israeli intelligence analysis company founded by Ronen Cohen and Haim Pinto, former military intelligence officers, launched a technological initiative some months ago to collect intelligence on BDS organizations in Europe, particularly Scandinavian countries, the U.S., and South America, Cohen said. He said the initiative aims to dismantle the infrastructure of groups he said were responsible for incitement and anti-Semitism against Israel. He declined to give specifics.

“It’s no different than an operation, which you sometimes read about in the newspaper, in Syria or Lebanon,” Cohen said. “It’s the kind of thing that, if you want to do it in the future … you can’t work in the open.”

_source__

Follow Daniel Estrin on Twitter at www.twitter.com/danielestrin

Help the BDS movement reach new heights in 2015

Fearing divestment from Israel, Jewish orgs oppose divestment to halt global warming

Richard Foltin

This is priceless, and reads like parody. “Jewish Groups Push Back in Fight for Divestment From Fossil Fuel Companies; Fear Tactic Could Be Used in Israel Debate.” Great reporting by Hody Nemes and Nathan Guttman at the Forward.

Global warming? Chopped liver. Iran’s more of a problem.

[I]n interviews with the Forward, Jewish institutional leaders saw the issue as secondary to other global and social issues.

“We should be thinking of divestment only in terms of very extreme threats of the kind that Iran poses,” said Richard Foltin, director of national and legislative affairs at the American Jewish Committee. Foltin was referring to mainstream Jewish communal support for divestment from companies doing business with Iran, whose development of its nuclear capabilities is viewed as a cover for developing nuclear weapons that would pose an existential threat to Israel.

Reality check from the youth:

Kara Kaufman, a 2012 graduate of Brown University and committed climate activist, sees this perspective as one bound to alienate younger Jews…

What’s the big fear? That divestment would be legitimized as a tool, and would be turned on Israel. BDS really is marching.

Jews urging such a move [divesting from fossil fuel companies] on national organizations face a formidable hurdle: the fear of legitimizing divestment as a tactic, considering its use by pro-Palestinian groups against Israel.

In 2003, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, an important mainstream Jewish umbrella group, adopted guidelines for judging boycott or divestment initiatives that urged avoiding them in most cases. The guidelines, which are still viewed as the communal standard for judging these initiatives, recommend avoiding boycotts, divestment and economic sanctions because such measures could “deny the Jewish community the higher moral ground in opposing boycotts against Israel or Jewish interests.”…

Nemes and Guttman notice the hypocrisy:

In the past, however, the Jewish community did not hesitate to use these very same investments as a tool to advance communal goals. Groups stood behind legislation imposing trade restrictions on the Soviet Union until Jews were allowed to leave the country; some supported counter-boycotts against companies that adhered to the Arab boycott against Israel and, more recently, Jewish groups led calls to divest from Sudan because of genocide the Khartoum government was accused of committing in the country’s Darfur region. Most noticeable today, however, is the campaign supported by a wall-to-wall coalition of Jewish groups to divest American funds from Iran.

The difference this time?

Some groups argue that fossil fuel is not a clear-cut case compared to previous campaigns and that chances of it succeeding in bringing down carbon-emitting fuel companies are, at best, slim. But the concern about legitimizing the use of divestment, one of the three pillars of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement targeted at Israel in recent years, is ever-present.

That association got some traction recently during a debate over fossil fuel divestment at Swarthmore College. “Last year, there was a lot of agitation for companies to support Palestine and stop investing in companies having to do with Israel,” Swarthmore board chairman Giles Kemp told The New York Times, explaining one factor in his school’s rejection of the tactic. “Those students were as fervent in their cause as these students are in theirs.”

So the planet can go down the tube. Again we see how corrupting Zionism is, destroying Jewish activism on a central issue for the human species:

JCPA [Jewish Council for Public Affairs] also operates the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, but the council has yet to adopt a policy on fossil fuel divestment.

Jared Feldman, the council’s Washington director, expressed skepticism on the tactic’s efficacy. “Instead of talking about divestment, we should see how we can support development of alternative energy sources,” Feldman said.

I don’t know what to say. But this wasn’t in the Onion.

source

 

Zionist lobby helps growth BDS profile

Antony Loewenstein


Thank you Zionist lobby for helping grow BDS profile

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 09:51 PM PDT

Interesting article in yesterday’s Australian explaining how typically ham-fisted, bullying and clueless media attacks by the Israel lobby is helping to draw public attention to the rise of boycotts against Israel. No kidding:

A Jewish association has branded the racial discrimination case against University of Sydney’s Jake Lynch counter-productive, saying it has only raised the profile of his support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel.

Since the Israeli legal activist group Shurat HaDin launched the lawsuit in the Federal Court, Professor Lynch’s stand has become a cause celebre in sections of the academic community, claiming the right to freedom of speech and academic expression is under attack.

In the Federal Court in Sydney on Thursday, judge Alan Robertson rejected allegations Professor Lynch was a leader of the global boycott campaign in Australia.

Two new groups have been established to support him and the global BDS movement, including one among university staff. One of the organisers of the Sydney Staff for BDS group, lecturer Nick Riemer, said he and other staff decided to create it “because of what’s happened to Jake’’.

The groups have helped raise about $20,000 towards Professor Lynch’s legal defence, he has been invited to address BDS public meetings around the country, and one recent BDS event in Sydney in his support drew about 200 people.

One of the pro-Lynch speakers at the Sydney fundraiser, Jewish Israeli academic Marcelo Svirsky who is a lecturer at the University of Wollongong, says he will walk from Sydney to Canberra later this year to raise awareness of the BDS campaign.

Dr Svirsky said he would stop in towns along the way to deliver public addresses and then lodge a submission in parliament calling on the government to back BDS.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim said Shurat HaDin’s legal action against Professor Lynch was “the wrong way to oppose BDS”.

“Regardless of the outcome, the Shurat HaDin court case would give a very marginal BDS campaign in Australia undeserved exposure and a shot in the arm,” Mr Wertheim said. “Our organisation’s strategy has been to expose the aims and methods of the BDS campaign in the marketplace of ideas.”

Shurat HaDin launched the lawsuit against Professor Lynch after he declined to support an application from Israeli academic Dan Avnon for a visiting fellowship at the university.

It claims his action and BDS generally breach the Racial Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Act because they discriminate against a class of people — Jewish Israelis.

Dr Svirsky, a political scientist who grew up in Argentina but moved to Israel after being conscripted during the Falklands War, said “there is increasing support for Lynch because of this particular case in court”.

“For me the BDS is about not just ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, but also the rules of the apartheid in Israel,” he said.

On anti-Semitism, BDS, Palestine and justice

essay by Antony Loewenstein in New Matilda is here:

As the BDS cam­paign starts to gain trac­tion, ac­cu­sa­tions of anti-semi­tism should be treated gravely – whether from pro-Pales­tine ad­vo­cates or Is­rael’s de­fend­ers, writes Antony Loewen­stein

The charges of racism were se­ri­ous. Uni­ver­sity ori­en­ta­tion weeks, re­ported Ru­pert Mur­doch’s news­pa­per, The Aus­tralian, in early March, “have been marred by a se­ries of al­leged anti-se­mitic in­ci­dents”.

So­cial­ist Al­ter­na­tive stood ac­cused, ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Union of Jew­ish Stu­dents, of ex­press­ing hate­ful com­ments to­wards Jew­ish stu­dents, prais­ing Hamas and call­ing for “death to the Zion­ist en­tity” at the Aus­tralian Na­tional Uni­ver­sity and the Uni­ver­sity of New South Wales.

The re­li­a­bil­ity of the al­le­ga­tions of anti-semi­tism has not yet been as­sessed but, if they are found to be true, those re­spon­si­ble must be op­posed. A spokesper­son from So­cial­ist Al­ter­na­tive tells me that his or­gan­i­sa­tion cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nies all of the al­le­ga­tions.

Fed­eral Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Christo­pher Pyne, a man who never misses an op­por­tu­nity to fight a cul­ture war he can’t win, ac­cused back­ers of the boy­cott, di­vest­ment and sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment against Is­rael of mak­ing anti-semi­tism “a fash­ion­abil­ity among highly ig­no­rant sec­tions of the far Left”. He wanted uni­ver­si­ties to “step in and take a very firm line” against racism on cam­pus. “Free speech does not ex­tend to ugly threats and phys­i­cal ha­rass­ment,” he ar­gued.

It’s time to call this co-or­di­nated cam­paign of the local Zion­ist lobby and the Mur­doch press for what it is; a cheap­en­ing of real anti-semi­tism and a clear at­tempt to brand all crit­ics of Is­rael as Jew haters. It’s a tac­tic im­ported from Amer­ica and Eu­rope, ar­tic­u­lated from Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu down, that aims to neuter op­po­nents of the Jew­ish state’s bru­tal, mil­i­tary oc­cu­pa­tion as de­luded and anti-se­mitic.

The rhetoric is in­creas­ing as BDS scores im­pres­sive wins glob­ally — count­less Eu­ro­pean firms are chang­ing their busi­ness prac­tices to­wards Is­rael in re­ject­ing the oc­cu­pa­tion — and has en­tered the main­stream as a le­git­i­mate tool to op­pose Is­raeli poli­cies.

Is­rael sup­port­ers have long be­lieved that bet­ter PR will solve its prob­lems, as if, for ex­am­ple, there’s any way to pos­i­tively spin dozens of Is­raeli teens an­nounc­ing their re­fusal to serve in the IDF due to its dele­te­ri­ous ef­fect on Is­raeli so­ci­ety and Pales­tin­ian lives.

It’s a small but deeply coura­geous step in a so­ci­ety that still idolises a human rights abus­ing army (Amnesty’s new re­port de­tails count­less ex­am­ples of the IDF killing Pales­tin­ian civil­ians in cold blood).

None of these pro­found shifts should es­cape the de­bate in Aus­tralian, where the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment re­fuses to con­demn il­le­gal Is­raeli colonies in the West Bank.

The es­tab­lish­ment Zion­ist lobby has tried for decades, with a de­gree of suc­cess, to in­su­late the Jew­ish com­mu­nity from the re­al­i­ties of oc­cu­py­ing Pales­tine.

The ad­vent of the in­ter­net and so­cial media, along with a more crit­i­cal young pop­u­la­tion who won’t be eas­ily bul­lied into sup­port for Is­rael be­cause of the Holo­caust, are chang­ing the land­scape. Hence the need to use old, tired tac­tics. Par­rot­ing Ne­tanyahu’s fear-mon­ger­ing over Iran and Arabs is in­creas­ingly treated world­wide with the con­tempt it de­serves.

The old men who run the Jew­ish com­mu­nity may catch on one day that it isn’t enough to run an hack­neyed style en­e­mies list against op­po­nents; count­less jour­nal­ists and ed­i­tors will tell you of the bul­ly­ing calls, let­ters and emails em­ployed by the Zion­ist com­mu­nity against crit­i­cal cov­er­age. It only some­times now works.

It’s a fail­ing style even called out by The Aus­tralian’s Mid­dle East cor­re­spon­dent John Lyons in a re­cent, ro­bust de­fence of his stun­ning ABC TV 4 Cor­ners story on Pales­tine, ac­cus­ing dis­tant, self-ap­pointed Zion­ist lead­ers of being lit­tle more than blind de­fend­ers of Is­raeli gov­ern­ment pol­icy. Pun­dits take note: when­ever quot­ing such peo­ple re­mem­ber to whom they pledge par­tial al­le­giance and ask about their fund­ing sources.

Any form of racism must be com­pletely con­demned, whether it’s di­rected at Jews, Mus­lims, Chris­tians or other mi­nori­ties. But the way in which a state and com­mu­nity deals with racism is a more press­ing the ques­tion. After years of falsely ac­cus­ing crit­ics of Is­rael of anti-semi­tism — Syd­ney Uni­ver­sity’s Jake Lynch is the lat­est per­son to face the pre­dictable and costly wrath of an Is­raeli-gov­ern­ment en­dorsed legal case against his eth­i­cally jus­ti­fied back­ing of BDS — the or­gan­ised Zion­ist es­tab­lish­ment lacks cred­i­bil­ity in cry­ing about op­pos­ing racism, when it so fla­grantly en­cour­ages de­mon­i­sa­tion of Is­rael’s crit­ics along racial lines.

They have a morally com­pro­mised voice by being oc­cu­pa­tion back­ers them­selves. How dare they claim to cry over an al­leged rise in real anti-semi­tism (mostly on­line) while at the same time shed­ding croc­o­dile tears against the grow­ing BDS move­ment? Per­haps they should learn some hu­mil­ity and recog­nise what their beloved state has be­come known for glob­ally: re­press­ing Pales­tini­ans.

Po­lit­i­cally, the Ab­bott gov­ern­ment has pledged to re­move sec­tion 18C of the Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion Act in an at­tempt, in their words, to in­crease free speech (a po­si­tion loudly backed by The Aus­tralian).

Fed­eral At­tor­ney George Bran­dis said on ABC TV’s Q&A this week, de­fend­ing his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pro­posed changes that are op­posed by the Jew­ish com­mu­nity and many other eth­nic groups, that the cur­rent draft­ing in sec­tion 18C re­stricts the rights of all peo­ples to speak and be of­fen­sive. Now that there are signs that Bran­dis may be back-track­ing on a com­plete re­peal of the sec­tion, it’s re­ally only the Mur­doch press that bangs on about “free speech” while deny­ing the same rights to many of its crit­ics.

De­spite all this, I’ve ar­gued else­where, in op­po­si­tion to many on the Left who be­lieve the leg­is­la­tion should re­main un­changed, that al­though all speech has lim­its, a ro­bust democ­racy should legally tol­er­ate in­sults over race. But the vast bulk of “dis­cus­sion” over 18C has been at a desul­tory level.

Take the re­cent Aus­tralian Jew­ish News ar­ti­cle by Fer­gal Davis, a se­nior lec­turer in law at the Uni­ver­sity of NSW. He backed main­tain­ing the cur­rent 18C leg­is­la­tion and then wist­fully ar­gued that the Ab­bott gov­ern­ment could be the cham­pi­ons of human rights be­cause “we must con­vince Aus­tralians that human rights are not ‘left wing’; they are at the heart of the fair go.” Nice sen­ti­ments, but ut­terly re­moved from re­al­ity. Davis ig­nores the new gov­ern­ment’s shock­ing treat­ment of asy­lum seek­ers and re­fusal to se­ri­ously con­demn abuses at the UN by al­lies Sri Lanka, Is­rael and Egypt.

The real ques­tions for the Mur­doch press, Zion­ist es­tab­lish­ment, Ab­bott min­is­ters and other sup­posed de­fend­ers of open speech are as fol­lows: will you fol­low the path of many politi­cians in the US, both De­mo­c­rat and Re­pub­li­can, who are in­creas­ingly try­ing to crim­i­nalise civil­ian back­ing for BDS? How se­ri­ous is your com­mit­ment to free speech? How will­ing are you to preach tol­er­ance and ac­cep­tance while be­liev­ing that cer­tain is­sues, such as le­git­i­mate crit­i­cisms of Is­rael (de­fined by whom will al­ways be the ques­tion?) are be­yond the pale and anti-se­mitic?

Away from the huff­ing and puff­ing of self-de­scribed friends of Is­rael lies the real lim­its of in­su­lat­ing Is­rael from crit­i­cism. Try­ing to stop BDS, through the courts, laws, par­lia­ment or defam­a­tory at­tacks, will change noth­ing on the ground for Pales­tini­ans, and count­less peo­ple around the world now know it. Is­rael and its dwin­dling band of Zion­ist back­ers in Aus­tralia and world­wide are des­per­ately hang­ing onto 20th cen­tury tac­tics to fight mod­ern op­po­si­tion to a racially based state.

source

Israeli government wants to unleash war against BDS backers

February 12th, 2014

Wel­come to the smell of fu­til­ity. The last months have seen an avalanche of Zion­ists, lib­eral Zion­ists, colum­nists and fear-mon­gers claim­ing that boy­cotts against Is­rael are dan­ger­ous, yet of­fer­ing noth­ing to end the oc­cu­pa­tion.

The lat­est, via Haaretz, is the Ne­tanyahu gov­ern­ment po­ten­tially spend­ing huge dol­lars on at­tack­ing BDS back­ers. There’s one small prob­lem (as usual): it’s about spin and does noth­ing to end daily vi­o­lence against Pales­tini­ans:

Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu con­vened a meet­ing Sun­day evening to dis­cuss how to cope with the grow­ing threat of the eco­nomic boy­cott on Is­rael in light of con­tin­ued oc­cu­pa­tion and set­tle­ment con­struc­tion in the West Bank.

Se­nior Is­raeli of­fi­cials said prior to the meet­ing that the plan was to try to de­cide on a strat­egy and de­ter­mine whether to launch an ag­gres­sive pub­lic cam­paign or op­er­ate through qui­eter, diplo­matic chan­nels.

The dis­cus­sion had been sched­uled to take place last week, but can­celed at the last minute due to the po­lit­i­cal row be­tween Ne­tanyahu and Econ­omy Min­is­ter Naf­tali Ben­nett. Sun­day’s meet­ing will take place amid a dif­fer­ent con­fron
tation – this time be­tween Ben­nett and For­eign Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man.

The pre­vi­ous dis­cus­sion was sup­posed to in­clude a broad forum of min­is­ters. The Sci­ence Min­istry asked to sep­a­rate the dis­cus­sion on the eco­nomic boy­cott threat from a dis­cus­sion on the aca­d­e­mic boy­cott threat, since there is al­ready a strat­egy for the lat­ter, while the for­mer has yet to be dealt with.

The dis­cus­sion, sched­uled to begin at 5:30 P.M., will only in­clude Lieber­man, Ben­nett and Strate­gic Af­fairs Min­is­ter Yuval Steinitz, who is ex­pected to pre­sent a plan his min­istry has been work­ing on.

Ac­cord­ing to plan, Is­rael should be proac­tive in its op­po­si­tion to or­ga­ni­za­tions who pro­mote boy­cotts against Is­rael. The plan pro­poses to in­vest sub­stan­tial re­sources in or­ga­niz­ing a pub­lic cam­paign.

Min­is­ter Steinitz is de­mand­ing a bud­get of 100 mil­lion shekels for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the plan, which would in­clude PR ma­te­ri­als and ag­gres­sive legal and media cam­paigns against pro-boy­cott or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The For­eign Min­istry has a dif­fer­ent ap­proach. Diplo­mats think the non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions push­ing for a wide-rang­ing boy­cott against Is­rael and not strictly against the set­tle­ments are rel­a­tively mar­ginal and that a pub­lic cam­paign against them will only play into their hands, bol­ster­ing them.

The For­eign Min­istry thinks the pub­lic re­sponse to
or­ga­ni­za­tions pro­mot­ing a boy­cott against Is­rael should be con­stricted. It wants to focus on less pub­lic diplo­matic ac­tiv­ity to com­bat such ini­tia­tives and be­lieves ad­vanc­ing the peace process with the Pales­tini­ans will stave off a large por­tion of the boy­cott threats.

One of the is­sues to be dis­cussed at the meet­ing is whether to file legal suits in Eu­ro­pean and North Amer­i­can courts against or­ga­ni­za­tions that are pro­po­nents of the boy­cott di­vest­ment and sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment. Min­is­ters will also con­sider whether to take legal ac­tion against fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions that boy­cott set­tle­ments, or boy­cott Is­raeli com­pa­nies that are some­how op­er­at­ing in or con­nected to the set­tle­ments.

An­other con­sid­er­a­tion is whether to ac­ti­vate the pro-Is­rael lobby in the U.S., specif­i­cally AIPAC, in order to pro­mote leg­is­la­tion in Con­gress against the eco­nomic boy­cott of Is­rael, akin to the leg­is­la­tion that was passed in the 1970′s against the Arab boy­cott.

One of the is­sues that will be raised dur­ing the dis­cus­sion is that there is a lack of knowl­edge and in­ef­fi­cient track­ing by Is­raeli in­tel­li­gence of pro-BDS or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The Strate­gic Af­fairs Min­istry has pro­vided the Is­rael De­fense Forces’ in­tel­li­gence de­part­ment a bud­get of sev­eral mil­lion shekels for the pur­pose of bol­ster­ing mil­i­tary sur­veil­lance of such or­ga­ni­za­tions. How­ever, the need for the prime min­is­ter to in­struct the Shin Bet Se­cu­rity Ser­vice and the Mossad on the ef­forts is likely to come up.

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