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Lendman: House Opposes the Constitutional Right to Boycott Israel

Boycott Israel Sign

By Stephen Lendman

America’s First Amendment prohibits congressional actions against speech and press freedoms — the most important ones in all societies.

Without them, all other rights are jeopardized, where things are heading in increasingly totalitarian America — notably when it comes to criticizing Israel, what I call a personal obligation.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) earlier called efforts to suppress legitimate criticism on Israeli viciousness “the Palestine exception to (free) speech.”

Suppression of advocacy for Palestinian rights in the US has chilling implications for constitutionally guaranteed speech, media and academic freedoms, including an assault on higher education against teachers and students critical of Israeli ruthlessness.

On July 23, bipartisan House members overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution by a 398 – 17 margin, condemning BDS activism, increasingly gaining traction, why Israel, the Jewish lobby, and Jewish state backers are worried. 

Below are the 17 congressional profiles in courage members on this issue, supporting the right of everyone to criticize Israel openly and freely, including the right to boycott, divest, and sanction the Jewish state for its high crimes:

Earl Blumenauer

Andre Carson

Debbie Dingell 

Jesus Garcia

Raul Grijalva

Pramila Jayapal

Barbara Lee

Thomas Massie

Betty McCollum

Gwen Moore

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ilhan Omar

Chellie Pingree

Mark Pocan

Bobby Rush

Rashida Tlaib

Bonnie Watson Coleman

No 2020 presidential aspirants opposed the measure, including Tulsi Gabbard — supporting what demanded condemnation.

Congressional Progessive Caucus member Ayanna Pressley also backed it, destroying her credibility in the process.

The measure effectively considers Israeli critics anti-Semites despite no relation whatever between BDS activism and hostility toward Jews.

The initiative is the single most effective way to hold Israel’s feet to the fire for its apartheid rage, its persecution of an entire population for not being Jewish, its contempt for the rule of law, its preemptive wars of aggression, and enormous threat it poses to regional and world peace.

Unlike numerous anti-BDS state and local measures, HR 246 imposes no penalties on individuals or entities engaged in boycotting Israel or supporting these efforts.

Yet House members backing the measure expressed opposition to the constitutional right of free, unobstructed expression no matter how differing from consensus, or offensive to some people, on any issues.

Measure supporters publicly went on the record against “the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) targeting Israel, including efforts to target United States companies that are engaged in commercial activities that are legal under United States law, and all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel.”

They falsely claimed that BDS activism “undermines the possibility for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by demanding concessions of one party alone and encouraging the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure” — a bald-faced Big Lie.

They “urge(d) Israelis and Palestinians to return to direct negotiations as the only way to achieve an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Along with the US global war on terrorism, supporting the scourge proponents pretend to oppose, the Israeli/Palestinian peace process is the greatest hoax in modern times.

It’s been a failed initiative for nearly half a century because the US and Israel oppose conflict resolution. Achieving it undermines their regional imperial aims.

For Israel, it’s all about controlling all valued Judea and Samaria land, dispossessing Palestinians from what’s been rightfully theirs for millennia. For the US, it’s to control the most oil-rich part of the world unchallenged — Israel acting as a cop of the beat for US imperial interests and its own.

Both nations pursue their aims by brute force, contemptuous of peace, equity, justice, and the rule of law.

Opposing HR 246, Rep. Betty McCollum issued the following strongly worded statement for the Congressional Record, saying in part:

“Peaceful dissent and the protesting of injustice are the right(s) of all Americans guaranteed by the Constitution. It’s called freedom of speech.”

“H Res 246 renounces the peaceful promotion of human rights, self-determination, and justice on behalf of Palestinian people living under (unlawful) Israeli military occupation.”

“(T)his resolution completely ignores the Netanyahu government’s brutality, dehumanization, and subjugation of Palestinian people at the root of this peaceful movement.”

“Under…Netanyahu, Israel is engaged in a systemic, violent, and repressive strategy to annex Palestinian lands and permanently displace the Palestinian population, not seek a negotiated peace and a two-state resolution.”

“Actions by Congress, like passing H Res 246, which ignore reality and effectively support military occupation, violations of international humanitarian law, and the subjugation of the Palestinian population, does not strengthen Israel, but it does damage the standing of the US House in the eyes of the world.”

“It is time for Congress to exercise real American leadership…(supporting the right of) the Palestinian people (to) justice, equality, and an end to Israeli repression and occupation.”

“H Res 246 offers nothing but the perpetuation of the status quo, repression, and conflict.”

Imagine if a majority of congressional House and Senate members, dare I suggest overwhelming numbers, passed White House supported binding legislation, condemning Israeli actions with language similar to the above — while ending US military and other support for the Jewish state, along with the world community holding it accountable for its high crimes.

What an extraordinary moment in history that would be, turning the tables in historic Palestine, supporting the right of its people for the first time in the modern era.

It would be step one toward ending Israel’s illegal militarized occupation, along with moving toward granting long-suffering Palestinians self-determination they’ve been illegally denied since creation of the Jewish state.

Its ruthlessness is a cancer infecting the Middle East, a scourge threatening everyone and everything it touches, a force for pure evil, not good — what everyone everywhere should strongly oppose.

A Final Comment

On Saturday, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sharply criticized Israel, his truth-telling almost never heard from high-level Western officials.

Calling Israel “a state of robbers,” he stressed that if “we take action to stop (its) injustice perpetrated on the Palestinians, I think there will be less terrorism or no terrorism all over the world.”

Malaysia has diplomatic relations with all nations except Israel. Earlier he said “(w)e are not against Jews, but we cannot recognize Israel because of its (illegal) occupation of Palestinian land. You cannot seize others’ lands, and form a state.”

That’s precisely how the US was created — from “sea to shining sea” on stolen Native American land, a high crime by all nations and wannabe ones by stealing land belonging to others.

VISIT HIS NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

Also see his newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

READ MORE ISRAEL NEWS: 21st Century Wire Israel Files




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