The giant freakout continues, unabated, part five
Some of you may recall the flap that ensued when it was reported that Washington governor Jay Inslee had signed on to a proclamation in support of Israel; objection was raised in some quarters that it meant that Inslee, who is running for president, was already close-minded on Israel and Palestine. He wouldn’t be the only one of course. But it piqued my curiosity: did a Minnesota governor also sign on to this statement? So I looked it up.
According to the American Jewish Committee (“AJC”) website, Governor Mark Dayton did sign on to the statement. As did every other governor in these Yoo Nighted States!
There are just a couple of problems, though. There is no such proclamation by Governor Dayton in the archive of proclamations maintained by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library. There aren’t any Executive Orders, either. (Hint: just search for the word Israel.) Well, that’s funny. Right?
I made a data practices request to the Office of the Governor and to the Minnesota Department of Administration asking for any documents regarding the request for, consideration of, or the proclamation/statement referred to on the AJC website.
And got nothing. Seriously: nothing.
Just for the record, here’s the proclamation that the AJC says that Governor Dayton signed:
We, the undersigned Governors, reject efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel—America’s democratic ally in the Middle East—through the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The goals of the BDS movement are antithetical to our values and the values of our respective states. They seek to isolate Israel—a pluralistic nation with deep cultural, familial, security, educational, scientific and commercial bonds with our state and with the United States as a whole—rather than recognize the profound mutual benefits of our engagement with it. They malign a trusted ally that, while forced to defend itself against repeated and ongoing attempts to annihilate it, has consistently extended its hand in peace to its Palestinian neighbors and to states across the Middle East and around the world. Significantly, the BDS movement would also undermine peacemaking by suggesting that economic and political pressure on Israel can replace real negotiation. We recognize that a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been painfully elusive, but reaffirm our commitment to the principle of two states for two peoples, existing side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition, and achieved through direct, bilateral negotiations. Israel is a robust democracy with many rights and freedoms that do not exist in neighboring countries—or in much of the world. Yet, while fundamental rights are trampled and atrocities are committed routinely not far beyond its borders, BDS supporters focus only on Israel. Israel’s policies, like the policies of any nation, may be subject to criticism and debate, but the BDS movement’s single-minded focus on the Jewish State raises serious questions about its motivations and intentions. At this critical time, in the face of the virulent movement to promote anti-Israel boycotts both in this country and around the globe, we strongly condemn the BDS movement as incompatible with the values of our states and our country. Likewise, we reaffirm our support for Israel as a vital U.S. ally, important economic partner and champion of freedom.
Naturally, calling Israel pluralistic and democratic in the face of its prime minister declaring it an ethno-state for the Jewish people only is kind of a laugher. Well it would be, if ethnic cleansing and genocide on the installment plan was a laugher. It is a charming piece of propaganda, though, flowing obviously from of the pens at the AJC.
And Israel isn’t reaching out a hand in peace to the Palestinians; it’s keeping the Gazans in a open air concentration camp, and the only “reaching out” on the West Bank and Jerusalem is destroying Arab homes and villages and olive groves and building settlements.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think the whole thing is gag-worthy.
The AJC took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street journal trumpeting the fifty governor signature of the proclamation.
I contacted the AJC and asked, Did our governor really issue a proclamation about this?
Well, he signed the statement and an administrative assistant sent it by email attachment according to the AJC. Here’s a copy the AJC provided to me. There isn’t apparently a hard copy of it anywhere in the records of the State of Minnesota at least that anybody could find.
I don’t doubt that the document is genuine, but jeepers, how did it come to be? Since it has never been published by the governor’s office or the state, it isn’t the act of Governor Dayton as Minnesota’s governor.
If you peruse the index of proclamation by Governor Dayton, you will see he went through the regular process for things like Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Month (my personal favorite), Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome Awareness Day, or American Society of Interior Designers Day, with a fancy font proclamation with a gold embossed seal.
Stick a Shiv in the Palestinians Year merited only a an email attachment to the AJC. It is Stick a Shiv in the Palestinians Year every year, I realize, but this has a clandestine, dark-of-the-night feel, no?
Who was well connected enough to the governor’s office to shove this under his nose, get him to sign it and send it off by email? Without so much as an introductory letter or staff consideration of its merits? I invite your speculation, because the records of the State of Minnesota will never tell us. My own personal speculation is that is had something to do with this, a statement by the AJC on its website:
AJC is the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, with unparalleled access to government officials, diplomats, and other world leaders. Through these relationships and our international presence, AJC is able to impact opinion and policy on the issues that matter most: combating rising anti-Semitism and extremism, defending Israel’s place in the world, and safeguarding the rights and freedoms of all people.
(Just as an aside, AJC, “impact” makes a miserable verb. I am glad you wrote “access” and not “interface.”)
You also have to wonder how many other governors were buttonholed the way Governor Dayton apparently was, obtaining signatures outside of ordinary administrative practice.
This is another great example though, of the influence of the Israeili lobby, not only nationally, but on the state level, too.
N.B. Thanks to Eric Zaetsch for calling the article about Governor Inslee to my attention.
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