Friday, December 20, 2013

Israel news: BDS, the Israel Law Center, the new NGO law.

Here are some headlines you might have missed in the last few days. Let’s take a fresh look at them.

Today’s selection—and comments--comes from December 15-18, 2013.

The war against Israel

- Livni: Israel's Legitimacy is Under Global Attack (12/16/13, Arutz Sheva

- Sirens wail in southern Israel as rocket fired from Gaza (12/15/13, Times of Israel)

-U.S. academic group votes to boycott Israel (Haaretz, 12/16/13)

- Schooling the ASA on boycotting Israel (Times of Israel, 12/15/13)

The war against Israel didn’t rest during this news cycle. The delegitimization of Israel moved forward (“ Livni: Israel's Legitimacy is Under Global Attack”). Sirens continued to wail in southern Israel.

Even the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) industry got its licks in against Israel: the American Studies Association (ASA), a 5,000 members American academic organization, voted overwhelmingly (by a 66+ per cent margin) to boycott all Israeli academic institutions (“U.S. academic group votes to boycott Israel”). The ASA said it did this to fight for Peace in the Middle East.


As a consequence of their vote, one of Israel’s great modern heroes (heroines), Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, wrote an essay for the Times of Israel (“Schooling the ASA on boycotting Israel”). You should remember this woman’s name. She an Israeli who has founded an NGO called, Shurat HaDin—the Israel Law Center.

During her tenure, she has done something no one before had ever done: she successfully sued terror states for hundreds of millions of dollars (the total now is over a billion dollars). She uses the court system to hold to account terrorist organizations and the regimes that support them. She has also begun to fight against discrimination and boycotts through her own ‘lawfare’ strategies.

She is no amateur. She is no fool. She is not a naïve innocent tilting at windmills. 

You should remember her name: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.

She knows her law—and she knows how to drag anti-Israel haters into court. She knows how to put a price on attacking Israel.

She now writes (ibid) that the ASA will become a priority because, she explains, its boycott vote violates international, federal and state law in the United States. That vote, she says, leaves the ASA and its membership open to both civil and criminal liability (ibid).

To get a sense of her ability to use the law to fight, recall another recent BDS lawsuit of hers—in summer 2013, in Australia. There, she filed a class action complaint over an Australian professor's participation in and public support of boycotts of Israel (Rina Tzvi, “Shurat HaDin files class action complaint over Australian professor's participation and public support of boycotts of Israel”, Arutz Sheva, July 31, 2013). Her complaint was filed under the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975, the Australian Human Rights Commission.  Her complaint alleges that, under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 with the Australian Human Rights Commission, the boycott activities undertaken by the named Australian University professor had been specifically outlawed.

In her essay on the ASA, she pointed out that the New York State Legislature has made illegal such boycotts as the ASA has passed. She then wondered aloud how many of the voting professors worked in New York State.

She reminded these professors that the Ribicoff Amendment to the Tax Reform Act of 1976 makes it a federal violation to “participate in or cooperate with an international boycott.”

She pointed out that their boycott is potentially subject to lawsuit under anti-boycott legislation through Export Administration Regulations—and she advises the ASA to prepare for their future by reading the International Convention On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination, which the United States ratified on October 21, 1994.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, of Shurat HaDin—Israel Law Center—is a lawyer who knows how to defend Israel with a big stick. She has already used that stick to inflict more than a billion dollars’ worth of damage against Israel’s enemies.

May she continue to file against Israel’s enemies. May she continue to succeed.

Here’s hoping she files her lawsuit. Here’s hoping also that she sues as well individual professors from the ASA.

It’ll be good for them. It’ll give them an education. It will teach them that bigotry and hate can be expensive—and humiliating.

The Leftist war against Israel

- Haifa University Rejects Nobel-Winning Professor Over [his pro-Israel] Politics (12/15/13, Arutz Sheva)

-Ministers Endorse NGO Taxation - Livni to Appeal (12/15/13, Arutz Sheva

-AG Opposes NGO Law (12/15/13, Arutz Shev)

- NGO bill approved by ministers despite controversy (12/15/13, Ynet)


While the BDS battle unfolded above, Israel watched another Israeli Leftist attack against Israel. The provocation for the Left this time was legislation to tax all NGOs which bring money to Israel in order to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish state. The Left called this legislation narrow-minded and anti-democratic. Israel’s Leftist Attorney General said the bill was unconstitutional.

That was a funny thing for Israel’s Attorney General to say. Know why that’s funny?

Israel doesn’t have a constitution.

Here are key elements of the bill. You tell me if the bill hurts Israel’s democratic status—or if it helps to make Israel strong enough to continue to remain democratic.

The bill proposes a 45% tax to be charged on nonprofit foundations and organizations that receive foreign donations and then take part in the following activities:

•Advocating the boycott, divestment, or sanctioning of Israel or its citizens.

•Calling for the trial of IDF soldiers in international courts.

•Denying Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state.

•Inciting to racism.

•Supporting armed struggle against the State of Israel by an enemy state or terror organization.

Today, dozens of anti-Israel NGOs come to Israel. They spend more than 35 million NIS a year to demonize and attack Israel. But for those who voted for it, this bill represents a way for Israel to protect itself.

Does Israel have the right to do this?

You decide.

The Arab Middle East

- Syrian Army Drops Explosive Barrels on Aleppo (12/16/13, Arutz Sheva

- NGO: Death toll in Syrian bombing raid on Aleppo rises to 76 (12/16/13, Ynet)

- Attacks across Iraq kill at least 29 people (12/16/13, Ynet)

While Israeli Leftists cried out against Israel’s desire to protect itself from its enemies, no Leftist anywhere had a single word to say about the horrid killings that occur daily in Syria or Iraq. No Israeli Leftist spoke out. No member of the ASA (story above) has been quoted as speaking out about anything other than boycotting Israel.

Now, the Syrian government drops explosive barrels into its population (“Syrian Army Drops Explosive Barrels on Aleppo”). The barrels killed at least 36 people—including 15 children. No one seemed to care. The only thing that mattered was the damn Jews.

What must the G-d of Israel think of these people?


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