Sunday, June 21, 2015

The anti-BDS movement

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement wants you to believe that more and more people are supporting its economic war against Israel. That may in fact be correct on college campuses, where Leftist and anti-Israel sentiment may be stronger than anyplace else in America.
But that anti-Israel sentiment isn’t universal across America. In fact, among the people in America who count—those who  make the laws we must obey—BDS has never been weaker.
For example, the Washington State Supreme Court has rejected as unconstitutional a law that would protect pro-BDS decisions by companies in Washington state. In Washington, DC, provisions are pending in new trade legislation that would require free trade agreements with the European Union to impose anti-BDS goals in all documents (William Jacobson, “Boycott the boycotters – NY State Assembly condemns BDS”, Legal Insurrection, June 19, 2015).
State legislatures in Illinois and South Carolina have made BDS illegal—in some manner--in their respective states (ibid). The US House of Representatives has passed a non-binding Resolution condemning BDS activity (ibid). The same thing has happened in Tennessee and Indiana (ibid).
Now, the New York State Assembly has joined this list of anti-BDS condemnation. It has passed its own non-binding anti-BDS Resolution (bid).
In addition, Jewish Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn, NY) has promised to introduce anti-BDS legislation, to make BDS attempts illegal (in some manner) in New York State (ibid).
Last week, The Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin) called on the Coca-Cola Company to cancel its affiliation with the holder of the Coca-Cola franchise in the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine National Beverage Company, run by Zahi Khouri, because he (Khouri) supports the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement against Israel and has made incendiary comments against the Jewish state (Press Release, Shurat HaDin, June 16, 2015). The head of Shurat HaDin, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said in a letter to Coca Cola, that the BDS movement is inherently racist, anti-Semitic, biased and prejudicial and has an extremist agenda that unfairly singles out Israel and Jews (ibid). The BDS movement’s goal, she added, is the destruction of the State of Israel and its Jewish community (ibid). She warned Coca Cola that BDS represents unlawful discrimination under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and is illegal also under numerous U.S. state and federal statutes (ibid).
Shurat HaDin reminds Coca Cola that it is required to comply with US law. That law prohibits US companies from participating in any international boycott not sanctioned by the U.S. government (ibid). If Coca Cola continues to do business with the Palestine National Beverage Company, Shurat HaDin will seek redress through legal action against Coca Cola.
Shurat HaDin has already gone to US Federal court to sue—and win—cases against Iran and the Palestinian Authority. Its threats are not frivolous.
This anti-BDS story is simple: the actions noted here represent a shot across the bow of all who support BDS: when initiated by US individuals and US companies, BDS is illegal by US law. State legislatures are waking up to this fact; and Shurat HaDin is educating corporate America about this fact.
This is good. It is good for Israel and, because America is still the land of law, it is also good for America.
The anti-BDS movement has begun. It is a movement based upon US law. It’s a movement that pits the law against raw hate.
Who will win, the law or the hate? Stay tuned.

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