Land of the Free – Unless You Want to Criticize Israel

Mint Press News – by Philip Roddis

The map below shows the spread across the USA of laws against support for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. It was compiled by Palestine Legal, an organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Americans who speak out for Palestinian freedom.  

US States with BDS laws

One state with anti-BDS legislation on its books is Texas. Says The Intercept:

The bill’s language is so sweeping that some victims of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Southwest Texas in late 2017, were told they could only receive state disaster relief if they first signed a pledge never to boycott Israel. That demand was deeply confusing to those hurricane victims in desperate need of help but who could not understand what their views of Israel and Palestine had to do with their ability to receive assistance from their state government.

The evangelical author of the Israel bill, Republican Texas state Rep. Phil King, said at the time that its application to hurricane relief was a “misunderstanding,” but nonetheless emphasized that the bill’s purpose was indeed to ensure that no public funds ever go to anyone who supports a boycott of Israel.

Here’s what Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, had to say as he signed King’s bill into law on May 2, 2017:

Now meet Bahia Amawi, a speech therapist in the lone star state. Having lost her job for refusing to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel, she’s suing the state of Texas in a bid to repeal the law which compelled an Austin school district to fire her for so refusing.

Says the Times of Israel:

Amawi worked with the local Arabic-speaking community at the Pflugerville Independent School District since 2009, on a contract basis. She told the news site that the district renewed her contract each year without incident, but when she received the documents for the 2018-19 school year in August, Amawi said it included a new clause requiring that she “not boycott Israel during the term of the contract,” and refrain from any action “that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel, or in an Israel-controlled territory.”

Washington Post has Pflugerville District, which alongside State Attorney General Ken Paxton is in the firing line of Amawi’s lawsuit, saying:

This language is required by the State of Texas for all school districts in Texas, along with other governmental entities. Unfortunately … all Texas school districts are at the mercy of the state and the regulations printed into law, and in situations such as this, we are forced to spend time on state political issues and not on our core mission — educating students.”

Nor is Bahia Amawi the only one suffering here. The Intercept tells us that:

Because Amawi, to her knowledge, is the only certified Arabic-speaking child’s speech pathologist in the district, it is quite possible that the refusal to renew her contract will leave dozens of young children with speech pathologies without any competent expert to evaluate their conditions and treatment needs.

The Intercept goes on to quote Amawi directly:

If I [signed the pledge] I would not only be betraying Palestinians suffering under an occupation that I believe is unjust and thus become complicit in their repression, but I’d also be betraying my fellow Americans by enabling violations of our constitutional rights to free speech and to protest peacefully.

… the point of boycotting any products that support Israel is to put pressure on Israeli government to change its treatment, the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people”

Three comments. One is that though the hard left was in the main always opposed to the Israeli State, or at any rate its policies on the Palestinians, the liberal left tended, mindful of recent European history, not only to support it but give it a blank cheque on whatever it deemed had to be done. That began to change after the Shatila and Sabra camp massacres in Lebanon, 1982. Since then its acts have seen the weight of liberal and center-left opinion steadily tilting away from Israel, to the point where the Jewish State is approaching a position once the preserve of South Africa. Israel is vulnerable, despite the support of Western ruling elites, to grassroots boycott. Recognition that, for all its hasbara, Israel is losing the propaganda war is the context in which anti-BDS legislation within its ally and primary underwriter should be seen.

Another is that this shift is analogous to that much wider change which has seen mainstream Western media slowly losing their grip on our hearts and minds. Thanks to the rise of the internet – with its triple whammy of vastly extended choice of news sources, many-to-many social media and, related but distinct, a threat to revenues for corporate media’s two-hundred-year-old business model – a ruling class monopoly on opinion formation and manufactured consent is weakened. This poses problems for a status quo loaded massively in favor of the few against the many. (All the more so when, as now, war drums are beating.) Like those anti-BDS laws, the war on fake news is best understood as early skirmish within conflicts greater, more fraught and ultimately more far-reaching in significance.

But one of capitalism’s many dialectics is that for all its terrifying instability, it is extraordinarily adaptive in its Borg-like ability to accommodate all – or at any rate most – opposition. Not to mention its own crimes. Which brings me back to the issue at hand. Given more confidence in the survival of our species – and liberal democracy – I’d offer generous odds on Bahia Amawi being granted, half a century from now, Rosa Parks status.

Top Photo | Protesters demonstrate against a state-sanctioned backlash against the movement for Palestinian human rights. New York City, June 9, 2016. Erik McGregor | Pacific Press/ Sipa

Philip Roddis has been a scribbler for some sixty years, and for fifteen a photographer too. Roddis began blogging in the early nineties by inflicting film reviews on an unsuspecting public. Soon he was doing the same with illustrated writings on wanderings in Asia and Africa. He writes “to help me think, and because I like to be read”, and finds photography’s problem-solving aspects “a break from those of writing, as well as an aid to writing and to reflective travel.”  He blogs at Steel City Scribblings.

Source | Off-Guardian

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14 thoughts on “Land of the Free – Unless You Want to Criticize Israel

    THIS IS WHAT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS,”2Th 1:7  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 
    2Th 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that KNOW NOT GOD, and that OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ: (caps mine)
    2Th 1:9  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 
    ev 21:7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 
    Rev 21:8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. 

  2. What do you expect from Governor Wheels? He’s a modern day Texas FDR.

    Instead of Pearl Harbor being blown to bits, he’ll help blow up the Southern border by creating a false flag just to help bring in more Commie invaders, go to war for Israel and usher in the North American Union.

  3. “The evangelical author of the Israel bill, Republican Texas state Rep. Phil King, said at the time that its application to hurricane relief was a “misunderstanding,” but nonetheless emphasized that the bill’s purpose was indeed to ensure that no public funds ever go to anyone who supports a boycott of Israel.”
    There’s no misunderstanding at all. It’s very clear actually, you have no freedom of speech or right to do with your money as you see fit and just. Submit to israel or lose all livelihood and even assistance for a natural disaster from your own land. From the taxes stolen from you that paid for it in the first place. Israel’s law is supreme, and you worthless goyim had better get in line or lose everything and starve in your own streets.
    To know who rules over you find out who you aren’t allowed to criticize. I can’t say it any clearer.

  4. I was gonna send this in earlier, but my issues with the hijab stopped me. So much important info here, and with the speech teacher, even though she speaks some truth, I couldn’t be around it because to me the hijab is a symbol of control. I know she has a right to wear what she wants to but I also have a right to not like it and to point out the force involved with that garment and that in some countries to remove it is to face death. So I don’t want this to become part of the norm in America. I want it always to be a reminder that control will go as far as it wants to unless the people stop it. And any eyes can see in the “multicultural circus” that the hijab-wearers are being given places of prominence in government and other big flashy institutions. What that really means is that they are there to beef up the lie, uphold the communistic objectives. The hijab is not only stomach-turning, but a also a visual warning of where they can take us if it suits their “Total Control” goal.

    No way!!:


  5. For those reading this post, I highly suggest you goggle Zionism vs Israel. Like in most religions, the tenets of Jews are based upon peace in a complicated world. Basically, the Jewish religion does equate with Zionism. Zionism is a political movement where Judaism is a religious movement. If you do not understand the difference you will never understand the people of Israel. I love Jews, being raised a Catholic where every teaching in your early life was based on quilt that we both share very much in our upbringing. I am not very religious myself, but early on I understood the religion as a way of conforming to your parents beliefs. Do not get me wrong, religion served a good purpose for my parents but it did not resonate with me, when I observed political interests pushing their agenda for self-interest reasons over the religion people they practiced.. Like us of many religions that promote peace and co-existence with others, I will not fall for those that co-opt a religion for their own self-serving political interests. The Jews are a great people, just as Muslims and many other faiths, The question we all really have to ask ourselves is why are we at perpetual war about religion when almost every religion promotes peaceful co-existence.

    1. William, I have to disagree slightly with the argument of Zionism being a solely political movement. I agree that true Judaism does preach peace and God’s word as Christianity and Islam as well. But long before there was a movement of Zionism, there was the Talmud. The Talmud is a collection of teachings and preaching that did not come from God but from the vanity and wants and will of the Jews who turned against God. It is the same with the hadith of the Muslims and the edicts and preaching of popes and priests for Christians. There would be no Zionism if there were no judasim. After all its not Zionism that came up with the teachings that gentiles are beasts, and made to serve Jews, or the multitude of other vile teachings and slander of Jesus and Mary. That all comes from the Talmud, again long before Zionism as a movement. They don’t believe in Jesus as the messiah and await a false messiah that they believe will allow them to do what zionists are doing today. All of what the zionists do is allowed by the talmud. All the Zionist movement did was do it without their so called messiah. Every religion could coexist if it weren’t for the corruption of the God’s message that came from man. Everyone could believe and practice in their own way if we lived in a society based on a bill of rights. Hmm, sure wish we had one of those!

    2. “I love Jews, being raised a Catholic where every teaching in your early life was based on quilt that we both share very much in our upbringing.”

      That’s why catholicism was created.

  6. William, maybe some followers are for peace, but it is not a religion of peace. It’s earliest writings point to murder, theft, pillage, and worst of all, an exaggerated sense of supremacy, attempting to make all others less than they. This does not set well with freedom-loving people who refuse subservience.


  7. As for William’s comment–While Zionism is political and Judaism is religion, they work together as politicians and rabbis work together (for instance, Netanyahu and Talmudic settler rabbis both supported the assassination of Israeli PM Yitzak Rabin by settler yeshiva student Talmudist Yagil amir.). But even anti-Zionist rabbis (Nuturei Karta) support the Talmud (though they call it Torah…the Hebrew one that leaves out prophecies about the coming of Christ such as Isaiah 53). Further, most religions DO NOT SUPPORT PEACE, especially amongst co-religionists (Shia vs Sunni, Catholic vs Protestant, and even Buddhist vs. Buddhist (early China, China vs. Tibet before China became Communist),, just another reason I do Christ, not religion. When one mixes religion and politics, all one is doing is dividing and turning away from God and any good religion does. And most of the Talmud–created by the Pharisees Jesus denounced–is nothing but mixing religion and politics. And was Christ ever political? I don’t think so!

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