Monday, August 12, 2019

The most prominent BDS-related story of the last month is Congresses 398-17 vote to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions “movement,” an overwhelming (and bi-partisan) tally reaffirming a long-standing trend within the most representative body of American politics (Congress) to support the Jewish state against efforts to attack it militarily and economically.

In an age of partisan fervor where We vs. They defines most political commentary, it was natural that this vote be characterized along the Left-Right axis that colors all our conversations.  This included a focus on the most vociferous voices against the measure (represented by “The Squad” of Democrats who have generated considerable controversy related to Jewish issues over the last six months). 

While not ignoring the filters that color so many political conversations, it is important to keep in mind some practical matters regarding Congress taking such a strong stand against efforts to harm Israel economically.

First, this vote was one of a series that shores up measures taken by more than half the US states which impose penalties on companies participating in anti-Israel boycotts in the form of refusing to do state business with such companies.  While claims that these anti-BDS state laws were an infringement on free speech proved impossible to support (unless one is ready to throw out the entire anti-discrimination legal apparatus), there was a genuine issue regarding whether states should be allowed to pass measures that imply a role for the states in America’s foreign policy, given that, constitutionally, foreign policy is the responsibility of the federal government.

But that same federal government is allowed to specify what political activity performed by other parts of government are allowed and not allowed, including ones that relate to interaction with foreign nations.  So, with regard to recent Congressional BDS actions, these votes were meant to declare that state are allowed to apply anti-discrimination law to those who participate in discrimination against the Jewish state.

Keep in mind that the federal government has had rules in place for decades that make it a crime for American companies to participate in the century-long Arab boycott of Israel.  What made new rules necessary, at both the state and federal level, was the migration of anti-Israel boycott activity from the Arab states to non-governmental organizations (notably the UN) over the last several decades.  With the UN and allied organizations preparing blacklists of Israeli companies that member states would be asked to comply with, it was only natural that US anti-boycott rules needed to change to take this changed world into account.

In other words, those who have been advocating for boycott measures up and down the NGO landscape have only themselves to blame for America’s natural reaction to their activity.
And by “America” I mean every state and federal representative body that has voted to condemn BDS as a form of bigotry and punish those who participate in this discriminatory “movement.”  Several commenters on recent BDS-related votes have described them as “largely symbolic.”  Putting aside the practical impact of these measures described above, their symbolic value cannot be ignored – especially in the context of the propaganda wars that BDS is part of.

To understand what I mean, consider how the BDSers themselves have treated any attempt to get a representative body to pass one of their boycott or divestment measures.  The tiniest of successes (like a small district in Scotland banning Israeli books) or temporary or failed measures to get local governments to pass divestment measures (as in Somerville) are treated as staggering triumphs, paving the way to ultimate victory for the forces of BDS.  Given such behavior, one can only imagine the celebrations that would be exploding across the globe if a single US state passed anything that could be construed as mildly supporting this or that BDS talking point.

Yet here we have more than half of the states in the country, backed up by a Congress representing the country as a whole, joining in one voice to declare BDS a form of bigotry that must be fought and sanctioned.  If we had the same mindset as our political enemies, we would spend the next twenty years shoving these votes into the boycotters’ faces and declaring they represent the opinion of the nation against their squalid little movement and insisting they recognize it as such.

For better or for worse, we are not our enemies which means we are more likely to focus on the 17 representatives who voted against the recent anti-BDS vote, or engage in arguments on our enemy’s terrain (such as those involving free speech), rather than demand the boycotters live by their own rules and recognize their project as a form of bigotry, and a failure.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

Support EoZ by shopping!

search eoz



follow me

Follow by Email


Share on Whatsapp


For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs


#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent coexistence Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia Marc Lamont Hill max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion Opinon oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Best posts of the past 12 months

Nominated by EoZ readers

The EU's hypocritical use of "international law" that only applies to Israel

Blog Archive