Abby Martin Beats the Israel Lobby | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Abby Martin Beats the Israel Lobby

Abby Martin’s efforts must be applauded for she has won a major victory in the struggle to maintain freedom of speech in the United States.

Many Americans who follow developments overseas would concede that Israel and its supporters in the United States exercise a fairly high level of control over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Some are also aware of Congressional attempts to introduce legislation that would define criticism of the Jewish state as a federal hate crime. That would narrow the options for discussion, infringing on First Amendment free speech rights, and further tighten the grip on policy. It would also make violators of the new law subject to fines and even imprisonment at the hands of the Department of Justice, which has traditionally responded favorably on issues of concern to Israel and its supporters.

Still fewer Americans, however, are aware of the ability of the Lobby to promote legislation favorable to Israel and its perceived interests at state and local levels. Possibly the most insidious program being advanced by the friends of Israel is the attempt to make boycotts and public criticism of Israel a punishable offense. Legislation is now in place in many states that requires prospective recipients of government jobs, services or compensation to agree not to participate in boycotting or otherwise seeking to damage the Israeli economy. The details on how the legislation works and what exactly it covers varies from state to state, but the intention is to create disincentives for anyone who seeks to harm Israel as defined by Israel itself. It particularly targets the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is popular on many university campuses. And the prohibition goes beyond just sanctioning those who are taking action personally, as in a number of states one also cannot publicly or even privately encourage others to take action that might be damaging to the Jewish state. In some U.S. states, the recipient must even sign a legal document under oath indicating that he or she will not engage in anti-Israeli activity.

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