A BDS Wordle
by Steve Timmer
Feb 14, 2019, 4:00 PM

The giant freakout continues, unabated, part two

Update, February 22nd: The Prime Minister of France, Emmanuel Marcron, wants to criminalize anti-Zionism at hate speech. That’s what Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand tried to do in 2017. But not only them (they are the senators from New York, which is why they were referred to specifically in the linked article from New York) but 41 other senators did, too.

Read part one here. To recap, for the sin of telling the truth about the Congress being caught in the jaws of AIPAC, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar was Talked To by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others and required to perform an auto-de-fé. This not the first time that Rep. Omar has been Talked To, though.

From a David Orrick article in the Pioneer Press:

Ilhan Omar has been talked to about this before.

Last year, before she was elected to the House of Representatives, before she emerged from a crowded Democratic field in Minnesota’s liberal 5th Congressional District, leaders of Minneapolis’ Jewish community fashioned what could be described as an anti-Semitic intervention of Omar, a rising star of the left whose remarks had made many fellow Democrats in the Jewish community uncomfortable.

This is relevant because Omar, a freshman member of Congress, has come under fire this week after suggesting on Twitter that supporters of Israel in Congress are bought and paid for by a bipartisan pro-Israel lobbying group. To many, the remark went beyond a critique of money’s influence in politics and evoked the anti-Semitic myth that Jews seek to control the world via money.

“Talked to” is such a charming — but nevertheless entirely accurate — way to describe the woodshedding delivered to Rep. Omar by leaders of “Minneapolis’ Jewish Community” (and recently by Speaker Pelosi). And you have to wonder if a kindly primer on Israel was the only message delivered.

I don’t think Rep. Omar was evoking a myth about Jews seeking to control the world with money; she was talking about the reality of AIPAC controlling the Congress with money. As you’ll see if you follow the link, AIPAC not only admits it but brags about it.

Even though former Meet the Press host David Gregory once introduced Bibi Netanyahu as the “leader of the Jews,” he is not; he is the right-wing prime minister of the nation of Israel, just another national leader with criminal charges hanging over him.

Israel ≠ Jews, and AIPAC ≠ Jews.

AIPAC wants you to think there is an identity (in a logical sense) between Jews and Israel. It’s important that AIPAC and other supporters of Israel to be able to use charges of anti-Semitism as a cudgel against anybody who questions the behavior of Israel towards the Palestinians, and that most certainly includes anybody in Congress.

It’s a titanic act of legerdemain. But the jig is up, really.

I wrote in part one about the bill that just passed in the U.S. Senate to allow the states to punish businesses for BDS activities. (BDS means Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions against Israel in an effort to isolate it.) AIPAC and the Israelis are freaked by BDS with good reason; it is gaining traction.

In order to understand the reach of AIPAC, you need to realize that the Minnesota Legislature didn’t even wait for Congress to give a go ahead to the prohibition of BDS activity. We passed a law in 2017. Several states have them. Here’s ours:

Subdivision 1.Discrimination by vendor.

(a) A state agency may not enter into a contract with a vendor that engages in discrimination against Israel, or against persons or entities doing business in Israel, when making decisions related to the operation of the vendor’s business.

(b) For purposes of this section, “discrimination” includes but is not limited to engaging in refusals to deal, terminating business activities, or other actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel, when such actions are taken in a manner that in any way discriminates on the basis of nationality or national origin and is not based on a valid business reason.

Subd. 2.Exemption; commissioner may waive.

(a) This section does not apply to contracts with a value of less than $50,000.

(b) The commissioner may waive application of this section on a contract if the commissioner determines that compliance is not practicable or in the best interests of the state.

Subd. 3.Relation to existing law.

This section does not prohibit a vendor from engaging in free speech or expression protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the state of Minnesota.


2017 c 21 s 3; 1Sp2017 c 4 art 2 s 51

There is a companion section that requires contractors to provide a certification that they comply with this law.

The Legislature said, We don’t prohibit First Amendment speech or expression. But it sure does chill it. The attempt at a saving clause is laughable. The ACLU says anti-BDS laws are blatantly unconstitutional:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a state law that requires government contractors to certify they are not engaged in boycotts of Israel, the ACLU said.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of four Texans, argues the law “forces them to choose between their livelihoods and their First Amendment rights.”

The government of the State of Minnesota is using our tax money to interfere with the constitutional free speech rights of some of our citizens in order to to protect a foreign, colonial, apartheid regime. How do you like that?

Remember the woodshed described by David Orrick? Well, Sen. Ron Latz owns the woodshed. He was a supporter of the bill. Sadly, an overwhelming number of members of the Legislature did (it passed, after all). There were eight senators who didn’t support it, including John Marty and Jim Carlson.

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