BDS Linked to Terrorist Organizations

 

The Boycott-Divest-Sanctions (BDS) Movement has a fairly recent history in the US for its ugly organized hatred of Israel. The organization wrongly characterizes Israel as an apartheid state and spreads lies about Israel’s history and right to the land. Most people who are critical of the BDS movement are aware that it is also an anti-Semitic organization.

Recently, the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs released a report that shows BDS is not only actively working against Israel, but it has infiltrated NGOs (non-government organizations) in order to take actions against Israel and to raise funds for its activities. The report describes 100 specific alleged links between BDS and terrorists, particularly Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP):

This approach is an evolutionary development in the tactics of the terror organizations against the State of Israel. The terror groups have realized that armed conflict is not achieving its objective and is perceived as illegitimate by the majority of Western society. As a result, Hamas and PFLP operatives have infiltrated and adopted seemingly benign NGOs in the Palestinian Authority, Europe, North America and South Africa, for the purpose of advancing their ideological goal: the elimination of the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. Moreover, it appears that terrorist organizations view NGOs in the West as a convenient means for raising funds which they could not otherwise obtain.

The ties manifest in different ways. In some cases, individuals are active in an NGO and terror organization; sometimes joint public campaigns are held and there are financial ties as well. A recently elected member of Congress, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–MN), sees no difficulty in supporting BDS:

I believe and support the BDS movement and have fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized. I do, however, have reservations on [the] effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution.

Since the Israeli report was just released, we don’t know if the information on terrorist ties will change her view.

Coincidentally, Marco Rubio has submitted a bill to empower states and local governments to take action against entities that support BDS:

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are leading a bipartisan group of 19 senators in introducing the Combating BDS Act (S. 170), a bill to fight back against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement’s economic warfare against the Jewish state of Israel. The bill, which updates last year’s legislation proposed by Manchin and former Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), increases protections for state and local governments in the United States that decide to divest from, prohibit investment in, and restrict contracting with companies knowingly engaged in commerce-related or investment-related BDS activity targeting Israel.

Here is the actual bill.

It is scheduled to be voted on later this week; it must be voted on and passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President. There is a great deal of opposition since some say it challenges freedom of speech. It appears that they think states acting against companies who support BDS would be limiting the free speech of those companies, although it’s unclear whether they think other free speech issues are involved.

A number of questions can be raised about the report from the Israeli ministry, the legitimacy of the proposed bill, and the intersection of the two:

  • Is the bill a legitimate federal protection for the states who want to act against companies who support BDS?
  • Does the bill impede free speech?
  • Does the Israeli report, which has evidence of links between terrorist groups and BDS, change the picture at all?
  • Will the Israeli report change the views of those organizations that support BDS activities, such as college campuses?

As much as I despise BDS and its malignant activities, I wonder if the proposed bill might violate the Constitution.

What are your thoughts?

Published in Islamist Terrorism
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There are 13 comments.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Update: the Senate scheduled their vote yesterday and passed the bill. Unfortunately the House Democrats will be split, so Pelosi likely will not put it to a vote.

    • #1
  2. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Susan Quinn: As much as I despise BDS and its malignant activities, I wonder if the proposed bill might violate the Constitution.

    I heard Marco Rubio on this on Hugh Hewitt. Anyone in government or any governmental entity can say anything they want about being pro-BDS or not. What the law does is protect governmental entities that don’t want to do business with pro-BDS entities. It’s constitutional.

    • #2
  3. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: As much as I despise BDS and its malignant activities, I wonder if the proposed bill might violate the Constitution.

    If it puts limits on speech, then it violates the Constitution.

    If it links BDS to terrorist organisations, then the government can and should investigate the degree of involvement of businesses, organizations, and individuals.  But government must be care, because so many of these three entities are “useful” idiots; it’s the ones knowingly aiding and abetting terrorism we want to go after . . .

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: As much as I despise BDS and its malignant activities, I wonder if the proposed bill might violate the Constitution.

    If it puts limits on speech, then it violates the Constitution.

    If it links BDS to terrorist organisations, then the government can and should investigate the degree of involvement of businesses, organizations, and individuals. But government must be care, because so many of these three entities are “useful” idiots; it’s the ones knowingly aiding and abetting terrorism we want to go after . . .

    The companies that support BDS could speak all they want, but they’ll be penalized in some way by states if the states know they are supporting BDS. It’s not clear just what “supporting” means, but I suspect it is refusing to do business with Israel, or punishing others who wish to do business with Israel by not working with them. And I’m not willing to let anyone off the hook. If someone is found to support BDS and the state calls them on it and they don’t change their actions, I say fine ’em. The bill provides for way to deal with these situations and there must be proof against the companies.

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    It’s not clear just what “supporting” means,

    I think supporting means supplying money, or (Heaven forbid) actual weapons, secure hideouts, training, etc.

    • #5
  6. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    If I understand this correctly, the BDS movement has no problem getting businesses , governments, and organizations to boycott Israel. However, the BDS movement seems to have a problem with businesses, governments, and organizations boycotting BDS.

    No double standard there….🤔🤔🤔

    • #6
  7. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    From:

    https://theintercept.com/2018/12/17/israel-texas-anti-bds-law/

    One common misconception is that the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech only bars the state from imprisoning or otherwise punishing people for speaking, but does not bar the state from conditioning the receipt of discretionary benefits (such as state benefits or jobs) on refraining from expressing particular opinions. Aside from the fact that, with some rare and narrow exceptions, courts have repeatedly held that the government is constitutionally barred under the First Amendment from conditioning government benefits on speech requirements — such as, say, enacting a bill that states that only liberals, or only conservatives, shall be eligible for unemployment benefits — the unconstitutional nature of Texas’s actions toward Bahia Amawi should be self-evident.

    ////

    Dangerous precedent to set.  IMHO. 

    • #7
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    More info on BDS

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    From:

    https://theintercept.com/2018/12/17/israel-texas-anti-bds-law/

    One common misconception is that the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech only bars the state from imprisoning or otherwise punishing people for speaking, but does not bar the state from conditioning the receipt of discretionary benefits (such as state benefits or jobs) on refraining from expressing particular opinions. Aside from the fact that, with some rare and narrow exceptions, courts have repeatedly held that the government is constitutionally barred under the First Amendment from conditioning government benefits on speech requirements — such as, say, enacting a bill that states that only liberals, or only conservatives, shall be eligible for unemployment benefits — the unconstitutional nature of Texas’s actions toward Bahia Amawi should be self-evident.

    ////

    Dangerous precedent to set. IMHO.

    Zafar, I’ve been thinking about your comment all morning (I had to go out early) and I think you reflect my uneasiness about the federal law. I know that I’m quite disturbed by the Texas actions and feel they are a violation of free speech. And I’m having a hard time justifying actions of the States against companies. I hope some people will weigh in because I see your point!

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    More info on BDS

    Thanks, @dougwatt. A little more information is always important, although I’m still uneasy about the Federal law empowering the states (see my comment above).

    • #10
  11. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    I just can’t keep up with the times.  For example, when I was younger BLM stood for a despicable organization (at least where I lived at the time), the Bureau of Land Management.

    Now BDS is a big acronym, but I always thought that stood for Bondage, Discipline and Sadomasochism.  And I just can’t convert over.  What — were 3-letter acronyms handed out in earliest times, some signifying something good and some evil, and then have to be recycled every generation or two as a new need arose?  Does every tin can of indignity have an expiration date?

    • #11
  12. Justin Hertog Inactive
    Justin Hertog
    @RooseveltGuck

    I don’t know whether the report will change the fate of the legislation in Congress or in the courts. But if a group like BDS has to defend its existence by defending the First Amendment—then it’s still a pretty good day. It alters the debate from “this is a group which is being attacked for its message of love and justice” to “this is a hateful, lousy, rotten, ‘basket of deplorables’ (to coin a phrase) whose speech we must allow because of the First Amendment.” That’s not bad. In fact, it’s a W.

    When BDS defends themselves by defending the First Amendment, either in the court of public opinion or in the courts of law, they defend the right of everyone to speak his mind. They defend my right to express what I hope will never become as unpopular a point of view as BDS’s is. And they do it on their dime. So, long live the First Amendment!

    • #12
  13. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Yes, but which side of the debate does this place in opposition to the First Amendment?   Will that have any impact on how the different arguments are more generally viewed, not least in terms of basic principles?  Logically it shouldn’t, but it probably will.  

    The best way to defeat a bad idea is not with suppression of expression but with a better idea.  Resorting to suppression of expression makes it look like no such better idea can be convincingly prosecuted.  

    It seems very short sighted.  Or at least with an election cycle event horizon rather than anything longer term.  Iow: this is not how the culture is won.  

    They suppressed expression – for the best of intentions – in India following Partition, and maybe it did keep the peace for a bit. But in the long run it was truly ruinous.

    • #13
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