The boycott campaign bears fruit in Israel’s new boycott prohibition law

A piece on Greens Engage.

62 Responses to “The boycott campaign bears fruit in Israel’s new boycott prohibition law”

  1. Paul M Says:

    I’ve finally been able to see a readable English translation of the law, by following Mira’s links (thank you, Mira) until I got here: http://bit.ly/jfqXc4.

    The law, like the left’s response to it, seems to be sheer political theatre. It’s hollow and toothless. The action that breaches the law is this, and only this:

    “Knowingly publishing a public call for a boycott against the State of Israel”

    Don’t like that? Fair enough, I don’t particularly blame you. Here are a few options available to you, then:

    – Challenge it at the Supreme Court. Already underway, with a good chance of success (in my opinion).
    – Challenge it head on, with a new boycott call. Already underway, ditto.
    – Vote out some Likud, Yisrael Beteinu and Shas MK’s and get the law repealed. This one will have to wait a while, but it’s entirely doable.

    But really, it’s as simple as this:

    – Stand up, one after another and say (or write) “I’m not buying anything from the settlements. You should do as your conscience dictates.” You’ve endorsed a boycott without “publishing a public call” for one, shown the law to be a paper tiger, and probably induced more people to boycott the settlements than would have without the new law.

    So why would so many people so much prefer to act as if the sky is falling and the lights are going out all over Israel? Perhaps for the excitement that some folk seem to derive from a bit of political jumping-up-and-down? But if you’re seriously interested in strengthening Israeli democracy and the the hope of peace, perhaps you should think twice. It’s true that the law is a windfall for the anti-Israel mob, who will have a field day with it, but by inflating its significance you are feeding them more ammunition. Then it’s “The Zionist rulers are showing their true face. Don’t take our word for it: See what their friends say.” In doing so, you also feed more ammunition to the Israeli right. They will say, as they are already inclined to do, “See? The left is aligned with Israel’s enemies. We need more restrictions, not fewer. It’s all great fun, but is it worth it? Do you want to pay that price for an entertaining shouting match, or for the righteous feeling that goes with increasing the polarisation and confirming your loathing for the other side? The left likes to accuse the right of continually harming the chances for peace. A little sobriety right now would keep them from doing exactly the same thing.

    • Curious Says:

      “It’s true that the law is a windfall for the anti-Israel mob, who will have a field day with it,”

      But they haven’t have they? The “anti-Israel” mob haven’t gone near it – or rather only those who identify “as a Jew” have gone near it.
      The silence of BDS has been deafening.

      Why is that?
      Is it because its targets, academics and performers, are exactly those that whom they wish to target; and the symmetry between the boycotters and the right in Israel is too clear as to be an embarrassment?

      Perhaps someone can give me a better reason.
      Thanks,

  2. allan siegel Says:

    Indeed! Boycotts are both symbolic AND economic! How else are they to be finally effective.

  3. Toby Esterhase Says:

    “- Stand up, one after another and say (or write) “I’m not buying anything from the settlements. You should do as your conscience dictates.” You’ve endorsed a boycott without “publishing a public call” for one, shown the law to be a paper tiger, and probably induced more people to boycott the settlements than would have without the new law.”

    I disagree with you Paul.

    I don’t know anything about Israeli law, but in England, depending on the context, if a person stands up in public and says that, then I think it would constitute a public call for a boycott.

    That is what the legal advice said about UCU, isn’t it? When they used weasel phrases like “circulate the PACBI Call” the lawyers said that that would constitute incitement to boycott.

    Weasel words are not enough to get Israel out of this hole.

    • Paul M Says:

      I’m no lawyer, Toby, but it seems to me that if you’ve made clear that you’re expressing a personal choice and explicitly not advocating it to others, you should have a valid defence.

  4. allan siegel Says:

    Gee, there’s a anti-Israeli mob, according to Curious. This must mean that there’s a right-wing mob also in Israel according to his analogy. And, BTW try picking up on the latest news: the BDS folks are well aware of the anti-boycott law and its significance. And, and the BDS movement has first been effective because of the economic impact and secondarily because of academics and entertainers… try and keep up.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      But the boycott campaign hasn’t been effective.

      • Paul M Says:

        Are you sure? I thought sales of Israeli couscous, cosmetics and Golan wine spiked upward every time a new boycott target was announced.

        As for the academic boycott, the Jo’burg one was swiftly followed by the announcement of a new project between UJ, BGU and others, and Oxford has just created a new scholarship for BGU graduates and named it after BGU president Rivka Carmi.

        Seems like BDS is changing the course of history. It’s also been very effective in boosting the self-regard of posturers of the neo-fascist left.

      • allan siegel Says:

        Dear Mira, you must be in some form of denial; if the campaign was not effective why would they pass the law?

        • Toby Esterhase Says:

          The Israeli law is nothing to do with the boycott campaign and everything to do with the supporters of the settlers fighting against the Israeli left.

          The boycott campaign takes the same side on these questions as the supporters in the Knesset of the settlers . The boycott campaign agrees with them that there is no politically significant difference between the settlements and Israel. And the boycott campaign agrees with them that the anti-settlement Israeli left needs to be further isolated and further defeated.

        • allan siegel Says:

          Dear Toby
          FYI
          http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/with-israel-boycott-law-passed-rightist-mk-fires-first-salvo-at-meretz-1.373768

          “With Israel boycott law passed, rightist MK fires first salvo at Meretz
          MK Eldad complains to police over Meretz’s campaign to label products made in the territories in stores throughout the country.
          By Jonathan Lis Tags: Israel boycott Meretz Knesset

          MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) filed a police complaint against Meretz secretary general Dror Morag and party activists who launched a campaign to label products made in the territories in stores throughout the country, Sunday.

        • Mira Vogel Says:

          Ah, so we’re not to judge the boycott by what it accomplishes for Palestinians, but whether it pisses off the Israelis. I always supposed that was the purpose, but most boycotters are very insistent otherwise.

  5. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    I’ve made it clear a number of times in these columns that I am not in favour of boycotts. This must be clearly distinguished from a desire on the part of individuals not to willingly or wittingly purchase goods and services from particular sources, whether this be a particular company or a particular country. Thus, when I was a Trustee of my professional association and we were considering the placing of the association’s surplus, we went through a long process of deciding where we _didn’t_ want the surplus invested: armaments, tobacco, etc. Is this a boycott? Possibly, but I’m not sure any company not invested in would have wanted, or would have had a case, to sue us. And, of course, the ethical basis for the decisions were clear.

    All this leads up to saying that saying what “I” am doing as an individual and saying to others that they must do what their consciences dictate is far from calling for a boycott. The case cited by Toby (the UCU Motion to “circulate the PACBI Call”) is clearly a call to boycott because that is exactly what the PACBI Call is: a demand for a boycott on Israel. Anyway, if the Israeli government is silly enough to try and enforce this law, the solution is clear: many opponents of the law need to state loudly and clearly what their position is and insist on their individual day in court. The system would collapse under the load and would soon call a halt to the process: which is exactly what the Kent coal miners (yes, there use to a couple of coal mines in leafy Kent) did when arrested for going on strike in 1940 or 1941, despite a the banning strikes for the duration of hostilities.

    Actually, the Israeli coalition could risk more than they imagine if the Supreme Court decides that the Occupied Territories are _not_ part of Israel proper and that such laws cannot be made to cover them.

  6. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    allan siegel asserts that “And, and the BDS movement has first been effective because of the economic impact and secondarily because of academics and entertainers… try and keep up.”

    How about some evidence? We have a number of unsupported assertions from you with nary a smidgeon of evidence in support. You may not have noticed but Israel is still there, its economy is still extremely healthy, it is still churning out inventions which will help all sorts of people all over the world (how about its continuing water research which the U of Johannesburg has decided South Africa doesn’t need?), and neither do its academics apperar to have missed a beat.

    What “effective” boycott?

    • Lynne T Says:

      Brian: boycotts being rather symbolic things, it’s more appropriate to measure in the context of persons Robin Shepherd refers to as “opinion formers” in his excellent analysis, “A State Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel”.

      I point this out, not because I support the proposed law, but because the effectiveness of political campaigns isn’t easily quantified.

  7. NIMN Says:

    “because of academics and entertainers”
    I was speaking about Israeli artists and academics; and not non-Israeli artists and academics. Do keep up, Allan
    The very same ones both you and the Israeli right wing government are targeting.
    Now, that’s what I call good politics, adopting uncritically the same position as a right-wing government.
    You must be so proud of yourself.

    “This must mean that there’s a right-wing mob also in Israel according to his analogy.”
    D’uh! No shit Sherlock. Only a fool doesn’t distinguish between political positions between citizens of a country. And, talking of fools, people such as yourself (bds) are precisely those who remain blind to thedifference between left and right Israelis.
    To you they are just “Zionists”, a concept that according to your “Boycott all Israelis (by which I assume you mean Israeli Jews)” position erases any and all meaningful political and social distinctions but rests simply on the fact of their passport (unless of course you want them to sign a piece of paper as a ticket for admission)

    Considering you have made your boycott position clear, you have fortfieted any legitimacy to speak on events going in in Israel. You are simply reduced to policing the borders, less some Israeli Jew get through.
    You must be so proud of yourself.

  8. Curious Says:

    Allan,
    I am not sure why you think arrogant sarcasm is the way to respond to those addressing specific questions.
    I think it is very rude, unnecessary and unhelpful. I am sorry that you enjoy reducing conversation to cheap point scoring.
    It is obvious that in the matter of Israel and Palestine, you appear to think that a lack of civility is a badge of honour. It is not.
    Thanks,
    Curious

  9. Questions Says:

    Allan,
    Why should Israel be boycotted?
    Since the bds campaign which you identify with centres only on Israel, why should only Israel be boycotted?
    When and how would and should the the boycott end?
    Just some basic questions that often get lost in these types of debate.

  10. Comment is not free Says:

    Allan,
    You evidently have no truck with antisemitism whatsoever and are a stauch opponent it even, or especially, where it arises in connection with Israel and Zionists.
    In the light of this commitment, what was it about this article on Press TV
    http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2010/02/17/how-israels-lobby-challenges-rule-of-law-in-america-video/
    that you thought worthy of retweeting?

  11. allan siegel Says:

    1. It should be quite obvious that one can be a Jew (which I am) and staunchly against antisemitism (and other forms of racism – which I am) and also an against Zionism (in so far as it is a colonial enterprise); this does not seem to be so complicated and there are many who are in this political camp. The ideologues on this list continuously seem to find this an incomprehensible position; I can only assume that this narrow mindedness reflects a poor understanding of history or simply ignorance.
    2. Boycotts do not work if they are only symbolic; they must also have some economic impact; the boycott campaign is directed at governmental and institutional policies that ENABLE the continued occupation of the West Bank and other forms of repression directed at the Palestinian people. It is not directed at Jews. If it is effective it is because it has an economic impact (which from all the evidence seems clear) and because it calls attention to grave injustices. It was organized because other forms of addressing Israeli/Palestinian issues have failed and have in effect bolstered a neo-colonial enterprise in the West Bank.
    3. Global political realities and movements are not one dimensional; on the surface they sometimes appear harsh but can also be more subtle and nuanced; I am not a commentator on Israeli politics nor do I claim to know all the intricacies of its history. But, as a Jew I try and continuously refresh my knowledge of Jewish history.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Evidence that the boycott is working? Answer came there none, just some repetition of earlier points.

      No change there, then.

    • modernityblog Says:

      Allan Siegel,

      Why do you repost material from a site, sabbah.biz, which hosts the work of documented racists like Stuart Littlewood and Steve Lendman.

      I would expect you to contest that those authors are racist, but you should view the evidence, first:

      Littlewood’s preoccupation with Jews is obvious to anyone with access to Google, but you might want to see his nasty thinking in the piece “Jews are 8 times over-represented in UK parliament”, you can find it on that site via the search facility.

      Steve Lendman’s own blog is evidence enough http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/

      Looking at his links you will see http://www.therebel.org, run by the antisemite Andrew Winkler.
      http://www.uruknet.info, another purveyor of racist material and Ziopedia, run by Winkler and assorted deniers.

      I imagine that even you would be able to see the racist filth and holocaust denial at Ziopedia. Perhaps you might ponder why Lendman finds it so worthy?

      Should you require more data, please just say so. There is plenty of material on Lendman from his weird views on 9/11, defending Holocaust deniers, etc

      Again, why do you post links from sabbah.biz?

      [Apologies to Engage readers and the Engage admin, I have included direct links to racist material as a method of showing Mr. Siegel the error of his ways.

      I hope that you will forgive the presumption, but I think it is important in this case, to show how “anti-Zionists” are often taken in by antisemitic material, as if by osmosis.]

      PS: sabbah.biz also publishes IHR deniel material too.

    • Paul M Says:

      “Boycotts do not work if they are only symbolic; they must also have some economic impact”

      So far BDS has had no measurable economic impact whatsoever. Last year, Israel’s GDP grew by around 4.6% — 50% faster than the US, more than 3 times the UK. (It also beat them in each of the two preceding years, staying above 0 throughout). You can’t touch the sizeable chunk composed of military technology (and even if you could, though you’d be happy to have others do without, if push came to shove I doubt you’re committed enough to pass up the military edge for yourselves). You’re not about to deny yourselves all the Israeli contributions to microprocessor, operating system and application software design, medicine, renewable energy, desalination and other high tech, or affordable generic drugs. Good luck persuading everyone to embargo Israeli cut diamonds. What does that leave? Citrus fruit, cosmetics and some clothing — a very small component of Israel’s economy indeed.

      Since you believe a boycott that has no economic effect does not work, the question has to be asked: Why then do you persist? Spite?

  12. NIMN Says:

    Oh dear,
    1. Allan thinks that those at Engage think that being a Jew and being anti-ZIonist is incompatible. I have no idea where he gets that from (other than his own imagination). People have argued with Allan about the position he has on Israel and the boycott. No one, no one, has talked about his religion or his anti-Zionism per se.
    A familiar straw man.
    2. Allan tweets a reference for an antisemitic “documentary” from an antisemitic TV company because he thinks it has something to say about Israel and Palestine. When this is brought to people’s attention, his argument is familiar. “As a Jew” I am “staunchly against antisemitism, but I am an anti-ZIonist”. Whilst those at Engage recognise the difference, it is obvious that Allan doesn’t or can’t. He thinks either, a. a little bit of antisemitism is not that much of a problem when “criticising” Israel; or b. he can’t recognise antisemitism when it is presented to him.
    3. Allan thinks that in the aftermath of post-war consensus, it is purely coincidental that it is Israel, Jews, that becomes the target of a defeated and demoralised left.
    4. Allan supports and pushes the boycott campaign because he says “it is directed at governmental and institutional policies that ENABLE the continued occupation of the West Bank and other forms of repression directed at the Palestinian people.” Yet, in the next paragraph he says, “I am not a commentator on Israeli politics nor do I claim to know all the intricacies of its history.”
    Admitting that he knows little of the “nunaces” of Israeli politics, he cites his reason for his focus on Israel the fact that he views the matter as “as a Jew”.
    5. Viewing the matter “as a Jew” (whatever that means) he then reduces the political and social realities of the conflict Israel (and Palestine) to a species of “Jewish history” (as if “Jewish history” like being “a Jew” can be understood in isolation from the world in which they and it develops).

    It is interesting to see that that for all is huff and puff, his arrogance, his sarcasm, his insults when Allan is finally pushed to say something serious about the issues involved in a boycott of Israel this is all he can come up with – “As a Jew, I know little about Israel other than the desire to see it boycotted”.

    How very disappointing, how very not surprising.

    • Bill Says:

      “As a Jew, I know little about Israel other than the desire to see it boycotted”

      I think it’s a matter not of wanting to see it boycotted per say but by being seen doing the “right” thing by the bien-pensants. This seems to be very common also among non-Jews who need to establish low-cost bona fides with their bien-pensant peers. Both he and the I-need-to-be-seen-caring-more-than-you crowed who know little of what they are supposed to be doing other than that the other cook kids are doing it.

      • Bill Says:

        To add to the above (and eek, it should be “per se”), I was told once ages ago in my past postal code that my slightly-off-key and less-than-off-the-shelf takes on various issues, including those totally unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, would be “softened” if I’d just criticize Israel more (and more vocally). More importantly, it would make navigating certain waters easier for me since “certain” unnamed people would know then where I stood on other issues, even those devoid if capital- or even small-P politics. Well frack that.

  13. allan siegel Says:

    Dear Mira,
    It is ultimately up to Palestinians to judge whether the boycott is effective (not for Israelis or anyone else) and I’ve not noticed many complaints from that side.

    If you are going to quote me please do it accurately, i.e. ““As a Jew, I know little about Israel other than the desire to see it boycotted”. This is not something I said nor agree with but rather simply a cheap-shot to misrepresent what I have said.

    Without deconstructing all of your various responses point by point, none of which respond directly to what I said but reiterate your twisted logic, it is clear that these discussions (on Engage) revolve both around people’s personal opinions as well as opinions/statements that circulate in other media; at times they interconnect and at other times not; I would have thought that by now you would be able to make this distinction or at least see the different threads.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      “not noticed many complaints from that side”. As I’ve said Allen, that is inadequate.
      In the rest of your comment above, you attribute comments to me that I have not made. Thank you for taking more care in future.

  14. NIMN Says:

    “If you are going to quote me please do it accurately, i.e. ““As a Jew, I know little about Israel other than the desire to see it boycotted”. This is not something I said nor agree with but rather simply a cheap-shot to misrepresent what I have said.”

    Without deconstructing all of your various responses point by point, none of which respond directly to what I said but reiterate your twisted logic,”

    “None of the comments “respond directly to what I said?” Really?
    I think not

    Alan Siegel (AS) “It should be quite obvious that one can be a Jew (which I am) and staunchly against antisemitism (and other forms of racism – which I am) and also an against Zionism (in so far as it is a colonial enterprise); this does not seem to be so complicated and there are many who are in this political camp. The ideologues on this list continuously seem to find this an incomprehensible position; I can only assume that this narrow mindedness reflects a poor understanding of history or simply ignorance.”

    NIMN “Allan thinks that those at Engage think that being a Jew and being anti-ZIonist is incompatible. I have no idea where he gets that from (other than his own imagination). People have argued with Allan about the position he has on Israel and the boycott. No one, no one, has talked about his religion or his anti-Zionism per se.
    A familiar straw man.”

    AS “It should be quite obvious that one can be a Jew (which I am) and staunchly against antisemitism (and other forms of racism – which I am) and also an against Zionism (in so far as it is a colonial enterprise); this does not seem to be so complicated and there are many who are in this political camp”.

    NIMN “Allan tweets a reference for an antisemitic “documentary” from an antisemitic TV company because he thinks it has something to say about Israel and Palestine. When this is brought to people’s attention, his argument is familiar. “As a Jew” I am “staunchly against antisemitism, but I am an anti-ZIonist”. Whilst those at Engage recognise the difference, it is obvious that Allan doesn’t or can’t. He thinks either, a. a little bit of antisemitism is not that much of a problem when “criticising” Israel; or b. he can’t recognise antisemitism when it is presented to him.”

    AS: “the boycott campaign is directed at governmental and institutional policies that ENABLE the continued occupation of the West Bank and other forms of repression directed at the Palestinian people. It is not directed at Jewish is not directed at Jews.”

    NIMN: “Allan thinks that in the aftermath of post-war consensus, it is purely coincidental that it is Israel, Jews, that becomes the target of a defeated and demoralised left.”

    AS: “the boycott campaign is directed at governmental and institutional policies that ENABLE the continued occupation of the West Bank and other forms of repression directed at the Palestinian people.”
    AS: I am not a commentator on Israeli politics nor do I claim to know all the intricacies of its history.”

    NIMN: “Allan supports and pushes the boycott campaign because he says “it is directed at governmental and institutional policies that ENABLE the continued occupation of the West Bank and other forms of repression directed at the Palestinian people Yet, in the next paragraph he says, “I am not a commentator on Israeli politics nor do I claim to know all the intricacies of its history.”

    AS: “I am not a commentator on Israeli politics nor do I claim to know all the intricacies of its history. But, as a Jew I try and continuously refresh my knowledge of Jewish history.”

    NIMN: Admitting that he knows little of the “nunaces” of Israeli politics, he cites his reason for his focus on Israel the fact that he views the matter as “as a Jew”.
    Viewing the matter “as a Jew” (whatever that means) he then reduces the political and social realities of the conflict Israel (and Palestine) to a species of “Jewish history” (as if “Jewish history” like being “a Jew” can be understood in isolation from the world in which they and it develops).

    It is interesting to see that that for all is huff and puff, his arrogance, his sarcasm, his insults when Allan is finally pushed to say something serious about the issues involved in a boycott of Israel this is all he can come up with – “As a Jew, I know little about Israel other than the desire to see it boycotted”.

    Allan, what all your words, minus the arrogant bullshit, boil down to is that Israel is involved in a “neo-colonial project in the West Bank”.

    It is for that reason that you say that want to boycott Israel.

    But that is not the reason that you want to boycott Israel.

    You want to boycott Israel because you are an anti-ZIonist which you define as “simply a legitimate political (and moral) position?” https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/howard-jacobson-on-his-new-novel-the-finkler-question/

    So, as an “anti-ZIonist” (and what is an anti-ZIonist if not someone who thinks the idea of a Jewish national-state in the Middle East is mistaken, flawed, illegitimate) it is not this or that policy that you object to, Allan, but, Israel as a legitimate state that you object to. It is Israel that you think is a “neo-colonial project” and not just its occupation of lands that will become the basis of a Palestinian national state.
    It is as an “anti-ZIonist” that you support BDS and not as a “critic” of Israel policies.

    If that is your position, fine. People will agree or disagree with you.
    If it is not your position, then no doubt you will offer clarification.

    But, whichever it is Allan, just cut the crap.
    If you cannot show respect to your interlocutors then don’t be surprised that people treat you like the troll that you have presented yourself to be in this thread.

    If you want a serious discussion, then fine.

  15. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    allan siegel: “But, as a Jew I try and continuously refresh my knowledge of Jewish history.” Then you have a funny way of showing it. On previous comments threads, against all the evidence, you claimed that the Bund were more effective at (the attempt of) resisting the Nazis than the Zionists. No evidence, no acknowledgement of the counter-evidence we pointed you to. You attempted to state that Ben Gurion had ignored the plight of European Jews, and showed no interest in taking on board our evidence, such the Dina Porat book I referenced.

    In other words, mere rhetoric, and no substance.

  16. allan siegel Says:

    Dear Mira,
    besides your skill with the copy and paste function on your computer you otherwise display a remarkable lack of clarity as I find no clear thread in anything you’ve said. Skipping merrily over the fact that you misquoted me I fail to see what it is you actually believe in or your vision regarding a resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Review the thread, Allen, I have not quoted you nor misquoted you, nor have I attempted to argue with you at length. I think rather than concentrating on these non-existent wrongs, you’d do better to answer Modernity’s good question above, Jul 18th, 6.40pm.

  17. Noga Says:

    “The general assumption seems to be that the Israeli street support the law and don’t want their tax shekels to fund any kind of boycott, even one to weaken the settler economy. I’m not so sure – I speculate this perceived support might be a case of demagoguery by politicians …”

    The Israeli street is fully aware that when boycotters speak about “settlements” they do not make any distinction WHATSOEVER between settlements and settlements. There is a consensus in the Israeli street about which settlements are no longer settlements and which settlements can be regarded still as settlements. Jerusalem neighbourhoods, the townships and villages that thicken the Green Line, Gush Etzion, the Golan Heights, all these “settlements” are not regarded, in the mind of the Israeli Street, as settlements. This is not the result of any demagoguery by politicians but a grass root support for these places of residence and an instinctive aversion to anyone or anything which would designate their population as something criminal or illegitimate. The term “settler economy” which intends to draw a line of demarcation between what is good Israel from bad Israel is not a term that the Israeli Street would be familiar with, or would have much patience for.

    I suggest that people apply allan siegel’s profound wisdom when he says “It is ultimately up to Palestinians to judge whether the boycott is effective (not for Israelis or anyone else) and I’ve not noticed many complaints from that side.”, to the other side of conflict: that it is ultimately up to Israelis to judge whether they support the law against boycott of “settler economy” and I’ve not noticed many complaints from Israelis against the logic of the law. Most of the criticisms I’ve encountered come from people who contend with the advisability of passing such a law, from the point of view of PR and considering that the actual details of the law will be lost more or less on everyone.

    Israeli Journalist Ben Dror Yemini as usual, has some sharp insights to impart on this matter:

    “1. A boycott is a legitimate means…. The struggle against the boycott supporters ought to be conducted in the public debate arena. It is not a simple matter. The industry of lies is working overtime. But we must see that it is far from winning the day. The boycott supporters’ achievements are limited. Part of the Israeli Right seems intent on strengthening their hands. As far as this Right is concerned, the law would serve as an additional ammunition in its bag of tricks.

    2. That being said, there are clauses in the law that are justified. Those are the clauses that disallow benefits for organizations that support the boycott. Whoever maintains the position that Israel deserves to be boycotted does not deserve any benefits from the state. Just as in the case of the first, and discarded, version of the “Nakba Law”, which suggested that those who commemorate the Nakba be censured, the final bill which passed, and rightly so, denied any funding for such commemorations by the state.

    Israeli ethos has fostered a very special type of entitlement. As in the case of the painter who joined a Canadian campaign of boycott against the city of Tel Aviv; he returned home to receive an award from the city of Tel Aviv for his artistic achievements. And like hundreds of artists from the same political persuasion who demand money from the state to explain to the world that Israel is a pariah state. They are free to speak and preach as much as they like, but not at our expense.”

    http://www.nrg.co.il/Scripts/artPrint/artPrintNew.php?channel=1&channelName=channel_news&ts=14042008120049

    (Hastily translated by noga)

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Thanks for this Noga.

      “The term “settler economy” which intends to draw a line of demarcation between what is good Israel from bad Israel is not a term that the Israeli Street would be familiar with, or would have much patience for.”

      Yes, the difference between some of the blocs and others has been recognised in various accords as a matter for land swaps. There is also a problem with expanding the settlements which are currently thus recognised, which goes against the spirit of the accords (though I understand that the growth exploits a wooliness in terms – can’t cite my sources for that right now and may have got it somewhat wrong).

      However, the fact remains that the passage of this bill outlawed any boycott of any settlement, thereby denying any Israeli the opportunity to participate in organised action to weaken the settlement economy.

  18. Noga Says:

    “… thereby denying any Israeli the opportunity to participate in organised action to weaken the settlement economy”

    The only type of settlement that would justify such activities would be the settlements deemed illegal by Israeli Law. And unfortunately for the would-be (Israeli) boycotters there is not much economic activity to speak of in those settlements. And of course they disagree with the Israeli Law’s limited definitions in this regard.

    And another point: Where do you draw the cut-off line on what is “settlement economy”? Is it a geographic line or a temporal line? Is it a Palestinian line or an Israeli line? For the Arab street, all of Israel’s economy is “settler economy” on which there has been an Arab economic boycott on Israel since 1945:

    “The Arab boycott was formally declared by the newly formed Arab League Council on December 2, 1945: “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” All Arab “institutions, organizations, merchants, commission agents and individuals” were called upon “to refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods.” As is evident in this declaration, the terms “Jewish” and “Zionist” were used synonymously by the Arabs. Thus, even before the establishment of Israel, the Arab states had declared an economic boycott against the Jews of Palestine.”

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Arab_boycott.html

    And the BDS campaign is nothing but a relatively new mutation of these anti-Zionist measures. I don’t regard these campaigns as the descendants of the anti-apartheid boycott. I regard them as the uglier cousins of these original boycotts, and whose motivating sentiments are exemplified in something like this:

    “(Nothing incenses me or provokes me like watching scenes of “tourist” promotion for the enemy state of Israel: I scream in my inside. The stones are not yours. The flowers are not yours. The beaches are not yours. The clouds are not yours. The blueness of the sky is not yours. All will return to their owners. Then, everything will be more beautiful and more
    splendid.)” (Prof. AbuKhalil, of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at UC, Berkeley.)

    I haven’t quite figured out, Mira Vogel, where exactly it is that you and your fellow-Engagees stand on this matter. I understand that you are against the boycott, but you do not exactly disagree with the premises of the boycotters. Or am I wrong about that?

    There is a shoe store in Montreal that was being practically persecuted by these boycotters for selling shoes made in Israel. Clearly the boycotters couldn’t care less whether these shoes were manufactured in Tel Aviv or on a hilltop in Samaria. Ironically, what finally made them suspend this relentless hounding campaign was the fact that their idea was found to be attractive and worthy of emulation by a Right-wing- Quebec -separatist group that advocates racism, anti-immigrant beliefs and revolutionary violence. Incindentally, Quebec Separatist extremists hark back to Lionel GROULX, out of whose savage denunciations, in the 1920’s and 30’s of the Jews, came the “Achat Chez Nous” movement, an attempt to boycott all Jewish businesses in the province, in order to force the Jews to leave.

    Ah, yes, “Un système où tout se tient”. Just note how smoothly the line runs uninterrupted from the pre-Holocaust anti-Jewish boycotts of the twenties and thirties, to the Arab boycotts against the Zionists in the forties to the Arab countries’ economic boycotts after 1948 to the present day anti-Israeli boycott. At each station they have the best reasons for inciting these boycotts,

    Please also note that what has influenced the Montreal BDSers to suspend their campaign was the fear that their initiative may trigger, or be associated with, another boycott campaign against people who would be mighty upset if it came to pass, maybe some among their own avid members, like Anglos and other foreigners.

    http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110127/mtl_shoes_110127/20110127/?hub=MontrealHome

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Noga, probably the reason it’s hard to figure out where we stand on this matter is that we rarely stand on this matter on Engage (Greens Engage is a different matter since it is supposed to be responding to the excessive and hostile Israel policies of a political party – but the conversation seems to be happening here, so I will continue here though with some trepidation).

      “I understand that you are against the boycott, but you do not exactly disagree with the premises of the boycotters.”

      Basically all the evidence says that the boycotters are at best incoherent about Israel’s existence, but the boycott architects and main proponents frequently reveal that they hope to cancel Israel. I object to this premise on grounds of rampant and outrageous exceptionalism. No sane anti-nationalism starts with Israel.

      I make a distinction between the prevalent form of boycott (i.e. no distinction between boycott of products from the occupied territories and Israel) and a boycott of settlement products only. I have also raised questions here in the past about how to distinguish between the settlements recognised in various accords as belonging in Israel under final status agreements, and those not. This site (which I covered earlier) is as good as it gets, but I find it unsatisfactory for that reason: it does not match the settlement to the accords. I feel the least that boycotters can do is be very careful and very individualised. I am not sure where this positions me in your estimation Noga – and I can’t speak for other Engage people either, nor do they need to take a position. We have no wish to perform for those watching this site who stupidly (and in fact treacherously) urge us to more conspicuously criticise Israel in order to be taken seriously about antisemitism.

      One thing I feel disrupts my own distinctions between settlement and settlement is the fact that the Israeli government doesn’t seem to distinguish between settlements either. It has gone soft on the outposts for many years, and continues to build within the boundaries of current settlements. The difference in amenities between West Bank Israelis and Palestinians is stark. For example Israel (which controls the water) does not permit West Bank Palestinians access to water from the Jordan so they rely on a far slower mountain aquifer extraction on a rota basis. Consequently the World Health Organisation assesses Palestinians as having less than half the per capita minimum access to water for hygiene. The other thing is the negotiations to date, all of which are clear that growth of settlements is an obstacle to peace (I’m persuaded by Benny Morris that it is not the only, or even most important, obstacle, but it is nevertheless an obstacle within Israel’s control). For example the Mitchell Report on the second intifada found that all construction activity should stop.

      So I am not sure that settlement boycotters should distinguish between settlement and settlement.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        Noga, I can speak only for myself. I am against boycotts on principle, because they are, by their very nature, blunt instruments. No society consists only of “guilty” (however defined) people, and a boycott against that society punishes all. However, this does not mean that I am therefore obliged to buy whatever goods and services are on offer, irrespective of the country of origin. I reserve the right to buy or not buy on whatever basis I choose: I am biased, for example, in favour of Israeli products, because of being Jewish and a Zionist. I refused to wittingly or willingly buy South African products between 1960 (and the Sharpeville massacre and the release of Nelson Mandela in 1991. I also, until the death of Franco and the establishment of a parliamentary democracy, avoided Spanish products. However, I will not join an organisation that wishes to promote such an action. On that basis, I am against an organised boycott of the “settlements”, even though I might prefer, on an individual level, not to buy any such products if such purchases are likely to delay any final two-state settlement.

        What, of course, is wrong with BDS movement is that it fits into the category I wish to avoid, but, further, the claimed reasons for having such a boycott fit other societies far better than they do Israel, and we can all write such a list in our sleep. Even if Israel does fit into the claimed category, it is so far down the list of offenders that one can only conclude that many, if not most, BDSers are guilty of using antisemitic tropes, however unwittingly. And even if Israel were to be the _only_ country in the category, I would still resist joining any such campaign.

        To the extent that other commenters to Engage agree with this position, then that is why we take the position we
        do.

  19. modernityblog Says:

    Allan Siegel,

    I appreciate you find it hard giving a candid answer to this point, but why do you read and post links from a racist web site, sabbah.biz?

    • allan siegel Says:

      dear modernityblog,
      no problem, since you asked, I look at lots of blogs and websites; some turn out to be racist, uninformative or simply stupid; if I post something it is because of specific content and not an endorsement of the website and I specifically do not post material which is racist or antisemitic.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      And why don’t you reply to direct questions and other points directed towards you, allan, instead of pretending that you are talking only to Mira? You have been requested several times on this thread to provide evidence of your assertions and to refute any arguments you disagree with – again with evidence.

      So far, all we hear is a profound silence. You may prefer to ignore the fact that you are being evasive, but we won’t.

      • Noga Says:

        “if I post something it is because of specific content and not an endorsement of the website and I specifically do not post material which is racist or antisemitic.’

        Do I take it you knowingly post excerpts from material you find on blogs you are aware publish antisemitic material, while being careful to remove, or avoid, any content that could be seen as “racist or antisemitic”? Has it occurred to you that the material you do reference is tainted by virtue of being part of a blog which is known to indulge in antisemitic content? Would you consider “Mein Kampf” to be a reliable source of information, if the issue discussed might be valid and factually correct, and nothing to do with Jews? .

      • allan siegel Says:

        Sorry Brian, I am not pretending to be talking to Mira – I really am nad this is because it is the focal point of the current discussion not something from months ago.
        And, no I do not knowingly post materials from blogs or other sites that publish offensive and disputable content
        And, until a few years ago the role of AIPAC and the Israeli lobby was a taboo subject in the U.S. For those of you not following the news it is no longer taboo. This mean that AIPAC like other lobby groups seeks to influence U.S. policy in favour of Israel.. It does this in a variety of ways – this all seems quite obvious. Money is a big factor in this process such as it is with other lobbying groups.

      • modernity Says:

        Allan Siegel,

        So basically what you are saying is that, you’d post any old material (with an implicit endorsement) from a racist web site, should it suit your whim?

        Can’t you see the obvious problem with that approach, as an anti-racist?

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          And allan siegel still fails to reply. Just above, he merely talks about AIPAC, which no-one here has referred to the organisation. How about a response to modernity, just above this comment? To Noga? To me? I asked days ago” How about some evidence?” in response to your claim that “And, and the BDS movement has first been effective because of the economic impact and secondarily because of academics and entertainers… try and keep up.”

          All we’ve had from you is a link to an antisemitic site, some further (and irrelevant) extensions of your thoughts, but nothing substantive in reply to your critics. We can only assume that this is because you have nothing to say in reply, because you have no evidence. And if you cite people in support, to ensure that the references are trackable. During your claims about the Bund you provided only untraceable references and people.

          Poor show.

  20. Comment is not free Says:

    “I specifically do not post material which is racist or antisemitic.”

    Well that’s plainly not true is it Allan?
    This from the book description of Grant F. Smith, the interview which you linked to.
    “Israel and its American lobby have committed audacious but generally unknown crimes against the United States”
    “Spy Trade provides strategies for ending criminal immunity and restoring American governance.”
    “Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C., discusses how Steven Rosen’s lawsuit disclosures are shining a light on the highly-secretive inner workings of AIPAC; the pro-Israel media’s focus on the “injury of the United States” part of the Espionage Act while ignoring the “advantage of a foreign nation” part; why Attorney General Eric Holder would rather prosecute WikiLeaks than AIPAC; Rosen’s violation of court proceeding rules that may get his case dismissed; and the 1700 or so generous donors to AIPAC – many of whom also support Israel’s Likud Party – who essentially dictate US foreign policy in the Middle East.”
    “Grant F. Smith
    The overarching problem is the Israel lobby’s subversion of American governance through election fraud, the evasion of tax regulations and laws regulating foreign lobbies, and the systematized, ongoing infiltration of operatives into key government posts to advance the interests of a foreign state.”
    “and the 1700 or so generous donors to AIPAC – many of whom also support Israel’s Likud Party – who essentially dictate US foreign policy in the Middle East.”

    So Allan, you believe that AIPAC “dictates US foreign policy in the Middle East”.
    You believe in an “Israel Lobby” that acts “against” US interests.

    And you have the gall to say,”I specifically do not post material which is racist or antisemitic”!!

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Just to add that Google’s algorithm means that linking to any page has the effect of promotion, whether intended or not. The linked page will be promoted by Google as a result of receiving links and visits. Modernity has recommended on various occasions that if you want to link to a racist page while avoiding helping its search engine ranking, one way is to search for it in Google and then link to its cached page.

  21. Bill Says:

    no problem, since you asked, I look at lots of blogs and websites; some turn out to be racist, uninformative or simply stupid; if I post something it is because of specific content and not an endorsement of the website and I specifically do not post material which is racist or antisemitic.

    This is pretty much the Jenna Delich excuse, as applied to her “benefit” by her apologists (with colleagues like that…). That one didn’t fly either. And of course we were told not to talk about it and not even file it with all the other antisemetic episodes that happen again and again that we are also not supposed to talk about or file.

    As Mira says linking is promoting it in the google/bing/yahoo search engines and caches. Being one of the designated “authentic” “as-a-Jews” in your eyes doesn’t make it ok. Promoting antisemetic websites and memes is promoting antisemitism, period, just as a lipstick lesbian posting raunchy nudies and telling sexist jokes in the copy room with “the boys” is promoting sexism, likewise period, and is, likewise actionable. But wait! There’s more! In the case of the UCU/EUMC vote and aftermath we now have explicit language from BDSers where the driving out of the “bad jews” in favor of their fellow “right thinkers” was explicitly and jaw-droppingly celebrated, so I’d file your need to linking to known antisemites and their resource, “for the articles” so to speak, that pass the Reasonable Person test for racism/antisemitism as part of that spectrum. It’s call “clearing the hive” in some H/D training lingo and the etymology and context of that mixed metaphor should be obvious. And like the hypothetical character in the copy room scenario, the remaining queen bees (and their like-minded minions) have their numbers diluted so when the sexists tell one dirty joke too far, she-and-hers will have no support — and neither will, “as-a-Jew,” you. So enjoy your ostrich’s perspective on this while you can, your Freedland moment awaits.

  22. Comment is not free Says:

    “And, until a few years ago the role of AIPAC and the Israeli lobby was a taboo subject in the U.S. For those of you not following the news it is no longer taboo. This mean that AIPAC like other lobby groups seeks to influence U.S. policy in favour of Israel.”

    Yes, Allan, antisemitism was taboo until a few years ago when people like you legitimise it under the facade of “criticism of Israel”.
    Something else that you must be very proud of.

    Actually, the interview you linked to does not argue that, ” that AIPAC like other lobby groups seeks to influence U.S. policy in favour of Israel.” (Which is something nearly all of us would agree with).

    It claims that “the Israel Lobby” is unlike any other lobby group and goes beyond what is legitimate for Lobby groups to do.
    It states rather that the “the Israel Lobby” “essentially dictates US foreign policy in the Middle East.”
    It states rather that, “the systematized, ongoing infiltration of operatives into key government posts to advance the interests of a foreign state.”

    I appreciate that, as you yourself say, you’re not that good at intricacies or details, but arguing that a contemporary reworking of the Protocols says something abut US politics is clearly posting “material which is racist or antisemitic””.

    Again, someone claiming to be “staunchly antisemitic”and an “anti-ZIoinist” is quite happy, indeed, proud, to be pushing antisemitic material in the cause of their anti-Zionism.
    The connection is not natural or automatic; but it is one that you, Allan, have chosen to make.

    Something else that you must be very proud of.

  23. Saul Says:

    I have always found it noteworthy that those who wish to reintegrate antisemitic myths into the mainstream speak of their being “taboo”; as if the reason for their exclusion from civilised debate has nothing to do with the fact that racism has no part in those debates, but rather, that raising anti-Jewish fables, carries with it some sort of political, social and moral akin to incest. Implicit in this view is the idea that, when it comes to antisemitism (which is often inverted into “really” being about “the Jews”), something else is at play to ensure that people don’t resort to antisemitism. As such, the term “taboo” when applied to antisemitism/”the Jews” often includes the ideas of Jewish priviledge and Jewish power; that if it wasn’t for the policing of such a taboo, people would be “free” to speak truth to power, to say what “everyone knows” and what everyone “wants to say”. In this way, the resort to antisemitism is seen as “progressive”, as “revolutionary”, as “rebellious”, as breaking with the ennui of bourgeois values rather than what it in fact is, an attempt to legitimise Jew hatred. The language of taboo and its breaking is, in reality, an attempt to divide the world into “antisemitic gentiles” and “powerful Jews”; a division that is not only pure fantasy, but a libel on both Jews and non-Jews.

    Some examples,
    “Breaking the taboo on Jewish ritual murders” by Israel Shamir, (David Duke’s site)
    From another site,
    “Why is it taboo to ask why Obama’s cabinet is so Jewish?”
    “Why is it so taboo to ask why Jews seemingly control the media and Hollywood?”
    From another,
    “why is it so fucking taboo to say anything against jews”
    and another,
    “Rick Sanchez firing: Racism or violation of Jewish taboos?”
    “The Jewish-Nazi Connection (taboo subject)”
    “Vanity Fair’ Breaks Taboo on Discussing Jewish Rise and WASP Decline”
    And above,
    “And, until a few years ago the role of AIPAC and the Israeli lobby was a taboo subject in the U.S. For those of you not following the news it is no longer taboo.”

  24. Gideon Swort Says:

    Time for a “Reality Check”.
    If you think that the claims of the BDS movement regarding the effects of their boycott campaign are true than kindly explain the following facts:

    * Foreign investment in Israel has never been higher.
    * Exports are peeking.
    * Tourism rates in the past 5 years have risen considerably.
    * Israeli economy is booming.
    * Property prices are at an all time high.
    * Universities are receiving more foreign private donations than ever, with a steady increase in joint research with foreign universities.

    I could go on, but it would be a worthless exercise. The BDS movement and its proponents are tripping at best, deluded at worst.

  25. Absolutely Observer Says:

    Saul,
    Interesting point.
    Apparently, claiming that “Zionists” “essentially dictates US foreign policy in the Middle East.”
    and reference to “the systematized, ongoing infiltration of operatives into key government posts to advance the interests of a foreign state” is no longer good old fashioned antisemitism (Jews control the press, Jews control the policy of the most powerful nation on earth” but revamped as breaking a “taboo” and, as such, the “exercise of a freedom” hitherto denied; and denied by whom? why, of course, the Jews and/or those in thrall to their power

    The only thing I would add is that it is entirely in keeping with the nature of antisemitism – that it is those pushing antisemitism who appear as the victims (of being silenced by a “taboo” and “the Jews” – the object of Jew-hatred, the keeper of the taboo – who is seen as the oppressor, as the silencers.

    Just a thought.

  26. allan siegel Says:

    The Forgotten Incentive of Settlement Businesses = http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hagit-ofran/the-forgotten-incentive-o_b_903575.html?ref=fb&src=sp#sb=696857,b=facebook

    FYI insofar as far as AIPAC is lobbying in the interests of a foreign interest it does act outside U.S. law in that should be registered as an agent of a foreign government the way similar lobbying groups for foreign governments do; it was just such an evasion of the law that brought AIPAC into existence (for those of you fact checkers out there this is easily accessible information available on many untainted websites – or books).

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      1. What is your point in linking to the Huffington Post article?

      2. If, as you allege, “insofar as far as AIPAC is lobbying in the interests of a foreign interest it does act outside U.S. law in that should be registered as an agent of a foreign government the way similar lobbying groups for foreign governments do…”, why isn’t it? why does it act as it does? what law are you talking about? and why isn’t this true of all lobby groups that attempt to supportn foreign governments to which they wish to export, such as the oil lobby, the armaments lobby, the civil aircraft lobby?…

      Or are you just flying yet another of your kites?

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      “insofar as far as AIPAC is lobbying in the interests of a foreign interest it does act outside U.S. law in that should be registered as an agent of a foreign government”

      That is a big “insofaras”. When the Walt & Mearsheimer book came out the London Review of Books webcast a panel discussion including Shlomo Ben Ami, part of said “foreign government”. He pointed out that AIPAC can only be said to represent themselves.

      • Bill Says:

        And once again, we have the lobby meme/kite. I’ve addressed it “As-an-American” here and here. “The Lobby,” any successful lobby (including those that represent other governments), triangulates to fit prevailing opinion, they don’t steer it. Otherwise we’d not only have Big Jews but also Big Iran walking the floors of the Capitol.

      • allan siegel Says:

        Well, well, well
        Brian always wants facts yet does seem to have the time to do any homework and would prefer someone else does it for him; the act I am referring to (in relation to AIPAC is the Foreign Agents Registration Act which all lobbying groups that act in behalf of a foreign government are required to register under. The AZC was ordered to register under this but then changed course to avoid registration.
        Mira Vogel once again proves adept not only at misquoting but also very selectively quoting the LRB panel but here are some other quotes for your elucidation:

        “Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor to U.S. President Jimmy Carter, wrote: “Mearsheimer and Walt adduce a great deal of factual evidence that over the years Israel has been the beneficiary of privileged — indeed, highly preferential — financial assistance, out of all proportion to what the United States extends to any other country. The massive aid to Israel is in effect a huge entitlement that enriches the relatively prosperous Israelis at the cost of the American taxpayer. Money being fungible, that aid also pays for the very settlements that America opposes and that impede the peace process.”[37]

        “Mark Mazower, a professor of history at Columbia University, wrote that it is not possible to openly debate the topic of the article: “What is striking is less the substance of their argument than the outraged reaction: to all intents and purposes, discussing the US-Israel special relationship still remains taboo in the U.S. media mainstream. […] Whatever one thinks of the merits of the piece itself, it would seem all but impossible to have a sensible public discussion in the U.S. today about the country’s relationship with Israel.”[98]

        Criticism of the paper was itself called “moral blackmail” and “bullying” by an opinion piece in The Financial Times: “Moral blackmail — the fear that any criticism of Israeli policy and U.S. support for it will lead to charges of anti-Semitism — is a powerful disincentive to publish dissenting views…Bullying Americans into a consensus on Israeli policy is bad for Israel and makes it impossible for America to articulate its own national interest.” The editorial praised the paper, remarking that “They argue powerfully that extraordinarily effective lobbying in Washington has led to a political consensus that American and Israeli interests are inseparable and identical.” [99]
        Oh my goodness, Prof Mazower has used the word TABOO what could the subtext possibly be?

        • modernity Says:

          Allan Siegel,

          How long have you been reading and obviously enjoying sabbah.biz?

          Their constant theme of “Zionists controlling America, etc” seems to echo in your own take on this subject.

          Is that purely coincidental?

  27. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    allan siegel is so smart it’s a wonder he doesn’t cut himself – and stop patronising me. It’s not clever and it’s not funny; it merely suggests that the patroniser has nothing else to say. Which, as I note below, appears to be the case.

    allan siegel says “Brian always wants facts yet does seem to have the time to do any homework and would prefer someone else does it for him;” It appears to escape his attention that _he_ is the one making the claims (in this case about a US law, which, as a UK citizen and resident, I am unlikely to know anything about), not me. Why I should do _his_ homework for _him_. He reminds me of the person, a couple of years ago who expressed what appeared to be genuine astonishment when asked for evidence, and asked in return what evidence this might be. Almost endearing, given that he was making the claims, not us. Not endearing in someone who has been told the nature of the evidence required and, by continually ignoring these calls, makes themselves look like a troll.

    Actually, Mira provides the answer above, with her reference to Shlomo Ben Ami. AIPAC is acting on its own behalf and on behalf, as it sees it, of the Jewish population of the USA, _not_ on behalf of Israel. Not even Walt & Mearsheimer claim that what they see as “The Lobby” is actually an Israeli organisation. And what is AZC? We could all throw alphabet soup about and ridicule those who don’t know what they stand for.

    And allan siegel _still_ hasn’t replied to the other points raised with him.

    I take this as evidence of the lack of evidence to substantiate his assertions.

  28. SnoopyTheGoon Says:

    Good post, Mira, if I am allowed to say so. As for :- Vote out some Likud, Yisrael Beteinu and Shas MK’s and get the law repealed. This one will have to wait a while, but it’s entirely doable.” – never happens here. Usually stupid laws like this one are shot down by the High Court of Justice – or get quietly buried in the avalanche of other stupid laws…

    More about the same subject:

    http://simplyjews.blogspot.com/2011/07/legislative-fervor-not-issue-of-right.html

  29. Comment is not free Says:

    Engage was set up to illustrates the way that antisemitism sometimes, not always, attaches to discussions about Israel and Israel and Palestine.
    Allan Siegel provides readers with a classic example of this unfortunate phenomenon.

    He states that “for those of you fact checkers out there this is easily accessible information available.”
    Seems fair to me.

    So,
    CLAIM: ”I specifically do not post material which is racist or antisemitic”
    FACT: That claim is false

    FACT: You did not tweet at site about aid to Israel,
    FACT: you did not tweet to a site that argued “it would seem all but impossible to have a sensible public discussion in the U.S. today about the country’s relations with Israel”.
    FACT: you did not tweet to a site that put forward the idea that “any criticism of Israeli policy and U.S. support for it will lead to charges of anti-Semitism”
    btw, for every one of these beliefs, counter-arguments can be found. However, in the present context this is not relevant.

    What is relevant in the present context is that,
    FACT: Allan tweeted to to a site that says,
    AIPAC “dictates” US foreign policy
    FACT: Alan tweeted to to a site that says,
    “that ongoing infiltration of operatives into key government posts to advance the interests of a foreign state.”

    FACT: Allan thinks that the idea that Jews control US foreign policy, that Jews “infiltrate” foreign governments, says something worthy of hearing concerning the conflict in Israel and Palestine.

    FACT: Allan thinks that antisemitic worldviews are a “legitimate” component of discussions about Israel and Palestine.

    In this thread,
    FACT: Allan admits he knows little about Israel (alhough he has some interest in “Jewish history”).
    FACT: Allan admits that the links to antisemitic and racist sites.
    FACT: Allan thinks that antisemitic myths are a valid aspect of discussions about Israel.

  30. Absolutely Observer Says:

    I found this old exchange relating to the site Siegel tweeted to,

    In that thread, I mistakenly attributed ownership of the Sabbah site to Siegel (the mistake arose because with googling “Allan Siegel”, this was one of the first links).

    He responded by saying that,
    “I don’t post anything on this site nor have I ever quoted anything from it.”
    (the site contains the cartoon version of the conspiracy theory Siegel is currently pushing.)

    The tweet cited above is dated 17th February 2010 (six months before the following exchange).

    As Siegel notes, “For someone so concerned with facts this is rather shoddy”

    Indeed it is Allan, indeed it is.

    Here is the exchange,

    https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/howard-jacobson-on-his-new-novel-the-finkler-question/

    “Absolute Observer Says:
    August 16, 2010 at 4:54 pm
    http://sabbah.biz/mt/page/2/
    Your site or not? Yes or no?

    (scroll down for the Latuff cartoon along with an image of the Pentagpon with a star of David imposed over it.)
    The quote from an essay above is also reproduced on the site.

    Whether it is or is not, I refer to my previous comment.

    “Of course, I could be wrong (a phrase that Allan may have to look up the meaning of) and it is not his site at all. Alternatively, if it one wonders why he’s pushing antisemitic conspiracy theories so hard. No doubt he will expain it all.”

    Reply
    allan siegel Says:
    August 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm
    sorry, A.O. why you think I have I have anything to do with this website is beyond me; I don’t post anything on this site nor have I ever quoted anything from it. For someone so concerned with facts this is rather shoddy. Of course I protest against antisemitism and other forms of racism like the anti-Roma violence (in which people are being murdered).


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