What is BDS? (boycott, divestment & sanctions)
BDS is an anti-Israel, anti-Zionism and by extension, anti-Jew bigoted propaganda campaign. BDS’ers advocate:
- boycotting Israeli products, academics and culture
- pressuring companies to stop doing business with and divest economically from Israel, and,
- sanctioning Israel for employing self-defense measures from attacks like the Hamas rocket and missile attacks, and terrorists that blow themselves up in crowded public gathering places
BDS is pro-Hamas and fueled by anti-Semitic rhetoric. The intended result is to eliminate the democratic state of the Jewish people. For this reason, rallying BDS’ers use chants like “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea” which means there would be no Israel or Jews between the Jordan River and Mediterranean. More chants are here.
BDS’ers call Israel an apartheid state, when in fact, many different races and faiths live and worship there. They work to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel and spread misinformation and lies. (See StandWithUs pamphlets for accurate information about Israel.)
BDS is a targeted political movement designed to advance an extremist political agenda. It embeds its objectives in language about social justice and human rights in order to deceive people who have a conscience.
BDSers do not support a two-state solution.
BDS attacks Zionism, the movement that helped to establish the State of Israel. Martin Luther King Jr., often cited by progressives as a symbol for social justice, understood that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. As he said, “When people criticize Zionist, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.”
Law school professor William Jacobson explains, “BDS should being seen for the anti-Semitic movement it is, a movement that demonizes only the Jewish State, holds only the Jewish State to the highest standards no one else meets (certainly not in the Middle East), and seeks the destruction only of the sole Jewish State in a sea of Islamic States.”
Natan Sharansky, a well-known former Soviet Jew and human rights activist, spent 9 years in a Siberian gulag. Upon his release, he immediately became an Israeli citizen, and eventually served in the Israeli Knesset. One of his duties was to monitor anti-Semitism.
He found the newer version of the classical anti-semitism was directed at Zionism and the State of Israel. BDSers self-righteously allege victimization of the Palestinians by Israel but Sharansky exposed what really drives the BDS campaign in his “three D’s” test for anti-Semitism:
- double standards – singling out Israel for criticism while ignoring the more egregious behavior of major human rights abusers in countries like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, North Korea, China, etc
- demonization of Israel – distorting the Jewish State’s actions using false comparisons to Nazis or South Africa’s apartheid regime
- delegitimization – denying only Israel’s fundamental right to exist among all other peoples in the world
Omar Barghouti, a prominent promoter of BDS who works to incite Israel and Jew hatred by groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and American Muslims for Palestine, and who ironically, attends Tel Aviv University in Israel, openly admits that BDS is the public relations path to eliminating Israel as a Jewish state.
“I clearly do not buy into the two state solution,”… This is something we cannot compromise on,… If the [Palestinian] refugees were to return, you would not have a two state solution, you’d have a Palestine next to a Palestine.”
BDS in Tennessee
Some BDS’ers are upfront about their Israel and Jew hatred, while others enable and legitimatize the BDS campaign by making BDS advocates their closest allies. It is a convenient “good cop bad cop” tactic supported by Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, that the “end justifies the means.”
In Tennessee, for example, Islamist Drost Kokoye is a vocal BDS promoter, while her teammate Remziya Suleyman endorses the BDS message by aligning herself with vocal BDS promoters but remaining silent on the issue. Still others, like Hannah Cornfield, with the Jewish Voice for Peace and a member of the Nashville Jewish community, legitimatize the campaign by advocating for BDS. Samar Ali’s father, Subhi Ali chairs the Jerusalem Fund in D.C. whose founder supported radical Palestinian terrorists, and whose director now openly advocates for BDS.
Besides these individuals, the same Family of Abraham (FOA) members that meet in Nashville to assure each other that they alone occupy the moral high ground, is mostly the same group of Abrahamic interfaithers that have organized to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel.
The Israel and Jew-haters in their midst including the Islamists and Arabs, have shrewdly embedded their objectives in the leftist jargon of “human rights,” “minority rights” and “social justice.” This strategy is better known as the “red-green alliance”. It explains why the language of BDSers describes Israel as an “apartheid state” and why they espouse Palestinian liberation theology.
There are four more parts to this series. Part 2 provides more detail about the BDS anti-Israel, Jew-hating “interfaith coalition.” Part 3 exposes the Tennessee “U.S. Campaign” BDS organizations. Part 4 provides details about the Nashville Family of Abraham and their Muslim Brotherhood speaker. Part 5 details more Family of Abraham events and other interfaith initiatives and explains their anti-Israel underpinnings.
The Religious Communicators Council (RCC) will hold their annual convention in Nashville on April 3 – 5. According to their speakers schedule, they won’t be talking about:
- the recent Pew Study findings of Christian oppression in the Muslim majority countries of Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen
- the BDS campaign against Israel being waged by U.S. based Hamas supporters, college campus Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim Students Associations groups
Introductory speaker Remziya Suleyman will likely tell her same old embellished story of how she organized all the Muslims in Tennessee to beat back alleged anti-sharia legislation. She likes to portray herself as having “defeated the bill” when in fact the key provisions are now in state law. Bet she won’t bother to tell her audience that it was actually an anti-terrorism/material support bill based on the jihad murder perpetrated by Muslim convert Carlos Bledsoe. Bet she also won’t bother to explain to her audience that she is the one who equated anti-terrorism and material support with sharia!
For sure she won’t disclose to her audience that before she started her pro-sharia campaign, she admitted that “she never knew the concept of sharia…” In fact, she continues to remind us how little she knows about her own doctrine as she continues to promote the idea that anything violent or negative associated with Muslims and Islam is simply “culture” because it is not taught in the Quran. So how about those verses in the Quran that make wife beating sacred?
Daoud Abudiab is also a scheduled speaker. He is a Palestinian now living in Spring Hill, Tennessee who serves as the President of the Columbia Islamic Center. He will use the left’s double standard to tell the story about how an Islamophobe burned down his mosque like what every other Islamophobe out there would try to do. He’ll paint anyone who questions whether the U.S. should follow the U.K.‘s example of allowing a parallel sharia system to thrive as an Islamophobe. But when a Muslim like Bin Laden or Nidhal Hassan commits murder he characterizes it as a hijacking of the religion.
The RCC will get their victimhood mileage out of both of these speakers because they wear many hats. Both are involved with the progressive leftist organization Religions for Peace USA. Suleyman is the director of the Muslim American Center for Outreach and a CAIR/Muslim Brotherhood promoter. She also keeps her hand in refugee issues that augments her “American Muslim yearning for her Kurdish homeland.”
Abudiab is involved with the Tennessee American Muslim Advisory Council, the far left anti-American TN Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and the open borders group Clergy for Tolerance. It would be interesting to hear Abudiab’s response to the pro-Palestinian student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) newly established at UT-Knoxville, whose sister chapter was recently suspended at Northeastern University and cited for aggressive intimidation of Jewish students at University of Michigan.
The heavy representation in the RCC by the United Methodist Church (UMC) makes it highly unlikely that they will ever take up the issue of the anti-Israel Jew-hating BDS campaign. The UMC has been entangled with Israel hating Islamists not only through Mercy-USA, but also through the cozy “God Box” otherwise known as the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C. In 2012 the UMC General Conference voted to recommend boycotts and sanctions. UMC is a vocal and active participant in boycott initiatives, including the recent one against Soda Stream.
The Newseum Institute, (part of the TN Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt), represented by Gene Policinski, has been a long-time Islamic apologist. The institute has spent considerable resources and used their credibility as an advocate for “unbiased” media while defending the Muslim Brotherhood organizations and their sharia driven agenda. (read parts 1 -7 starting here.)
Bud Heckman from Religions for Peace USA (RFPUSA) will facilitate a discussion about the refugee propaganda film “Welcome to Shelbyville.” It seems fitting that an organization like RFPUSA would be involved with this film because of its own ties to leading Islamist Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the U.S.
The RCC’s convention focus is about Muslim victimhood. Anyone who knows anything about the magnitude of Christian persecution and the Jew-hating anti-Israel BDS campaign knows that these issues are mutually exclusive with Muslim victimhood. In fact, Christian persecution and the anti-Israel BDS campaign are the result of Islamist aggression, a topic the progressive leftists at the RCC wouldn’t want to be caught dead admitting.
What else can you expect from an organization whose Nashville chapter is headed by Scientologist, Rev. Brian Fessler whose religious cult is based the arrival of the extraterrestrial warlord Xenu?
Between new student groups SEAT (Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee) and SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine), UT Knoxville (UTK) is an emerging up-and-comer in the liberal left’s higher education arena.
SEAT promises that will organize and present Sex Week each year at UTK. Last year’s inaugural Sex Week included a sessions on how students could have better sex, oral sex, transgender sexuality, a drag show and a few ……..
Not to be outdone, scattered in between potentially useful info sessions on Women’s Health and Sexual Assault Prevention, this year’s Sex Week also includes Aphrodisiac Cooking Class. the LGBTQ Drag Show and a Condom Scavenger Hunt. Of course no college level program would complete without gratuitous learning about the “Middle East and Sexuality.”
Also in 2013, UTK’s newest anti-Israel student hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization was established. For now, it appears that the UTK SJP is engaging in “soft” BDS. For example, their September 2013, “Occupation, Siege, and the Health Crisis in the Gaza Strip” by its very title, infers the classic anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian as victim bias.
The program announcement for Dr. Mahmoud Daher’s pre-framed the issues around “Israeli authorities have continued to impose a strict blockade on the Gaza Strip.” Did Dr. Daher also explain the reasons a blockade has been imposed since 2007? Did he tell them that in 2001, an Arab terrorist blew themselves up in a Sbarro pizza restaurant, killing15 civilians, including 7 children and a pregnant woman, wounding 130 others? Did he tell them that Hamas claimed credit for the attack?
Did Dr. Daher explain to the students that the 2007 blockade of Gaza was imposed when the militant terrorist group Hamas was voted in to take over the Gaza Strip? Did he detail the years of unprovoked but repeated Hamas missile attacks on civilians? How about Israel’s repeated offers to reach a peace agreement and the Arabs’ repeated refusals?
Doubtful since there is every reason to believe that the real path being laid by the SJP group and its faculty advisor, Brian Barber, will, just like every other SJP group, lead to more overt BDS initiatives on campus.
They may even get some help from Governor Haslam’s UT Board of Trustee appointee, Raja Jubran, an alum of UTK and a member of the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian Ramallah Club of Knoxville. Senator Massey, also from Knoxville, has introduced Senate Resolution 78 that if passed by the Tennessee State Senate, will reconfirm Jubran’s appointment to the Board.
The American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine(AFRP), is the parent organization of the individual state clubs like the one in Knoxville. It describes itself as “the largest Palestinian Organization in the United States.” It even publishes a bimonthly magazine.
Jubran, although raised in Lebanon, identifies as a Palestinian because his father was born in Ramallah. He immigrated to the United States in 1977 to attend the University of Knoxville, and stayed. Despite leaving the MIddle East, he continued his family’s legacy and spent over a year in Washington, D.C. advocating for “Palestinian rights.”
Haslam appointee Samar Ali’s father, Subhi Ali, chair of the Jerusalem Fund in D.C., also immigrated to the U.S. from Ramallah. Subhi Ali’s organization aggressively advocates BDS as a vehicle to destroy the Jewish homeland.
The Tennessee state legislature took action on the UTK Sex Week resulting in a likely university policy requiring an “opt-in” by individual students so that student activity fees can be directed away from what someone might believe is objectionable programming.
Hopefully, the University will examine the policies of the SJP and the student hate group’s funding will go the way of Sex Week’s.
Obama’s pen might be fancier and his phone smarter, but when it comes to Common Core, Governor Haslam also has tools for unilateral rule in Tennessee. They are known as the TN Chamber of Commerce and Speaker Beth Harwell.
This year, education bills seem to have taken over the Tennessee State Legislature. At least nine bills have been filed dealing with the Common Core standards, the PARCC assessments and disclosure of student data. Some deal with Common Core head-on while others deal with some of its tentacles that constitute the Governor’s education reform for the state.
The PARCC is the testing assessment that is aligned to the Common Core standards. Governor Haslam’s Commissioner of Education, Kevin Huffman is on PARCC’s Governing Board. It’s understandable then that the administration opposes bills like HB1696, HB1826 or HB1828, any of which would obstruct the use of PARCC in Tennessee.
One bill was filed on January 21, three were filed on January 22, one was filed on January 30, and one was filed on February 4th. All six bills have arbitrarily been moved to the very last calendar of the House Education Subcommittee.
What makes this decision appear arbitrary, unusual and Obamaesque in its unilateral (ab)use of discretion, is that Tennessee used to have representative government, complete with all three branches. And Rep. Harry Brooks, Chairman of the House Education Committee, even said at the very beginning of February that, “lawmakers could start debating the Common Core bills as early as next week.” Why didn’t this happen? Does that mean that Subcommittee Chair Rep. Mark White is simply following orders from higher up?
The decision to delay these bills is VERY significant. First off, these bills have to go through the subcommittee, the full committee, finance committee, calendar and rules committee and then to the House floor before and if they can become law. Then of course, they have to go to the Governor who can either sign the bill into law, not sign but let it become law without his signature, or veto the bill. A vetoed bill can go back to the legislature for a vote override, but only if the legislature is still in session and can vote and hasn’t been adjourned for the year.
Will this allow Haslam to subvert the legislative process? Timing really is everything.
Is this the process that the state’s political leadership has set up? Surely the Governor’s support for Common Core and his personal stamp of approval on PARCC wouldn’t influence the process??? What about the $400,000 Gates Foundation grant (bribe?) to the TN Chamber of Commerce to push for Common Core? Will Chamber of Commerce lobbyist David McMahan and his business partner, Leslie Hafner who is Haslam’s director for legislation (oh really?) be upset if these bills were allowed fair hearing and fair procedural treatment? Probably.
What Could Speaker Beth Harwell Do?
The Speaker of the House is a very powerful position. The Speaker appoints the House committees and the officers of the committees. The House Rules even allow her to set up additional committee meeting times if warranted, especially in the case of controversial bills like these. Speaker Harwell showed up in a committee hearing to ensure that wine-in-grocery-stores, got passed.
It’s a fair guess that Speaker Harwell could “persuade” House Education Chairman Rep. Harry Brooks to move the Common Core bills up from the last calendar date to ensure sufficient time for hearing, possible passage, and a Governor’s veto override, if necessary.
Tennesseans who understand the Common Core debate oppose it two-to-one. The cost to implement it is forcing local school districts, including Speaker Harwell’s district to borrow the money for it. It imposes a disproportionate burden on the rural school districts. But with elections coming up, Speaker Harwell may have priorities other than ensuring full and fair process and the representation of Tennessee citizens.
Not long ago, Haslam attended a White House dinner. Is that where Obama showed Haslam how to use a pen and phone?
Rep. Jim Cooper, (D – Tennessee), who has been endorsed by the J Street-PAC, will be earning his keep stumping for J Street on March 31, 2014 at the Temple Congregation Ohabai Sholom in Nashville led by Islam apologist Rabbi Mark Schiftan.
In 2010, Rep. Cooper signed the bi-partisan Hoyer-Cantor letter that reaffirmed “our commitment to the unbreakable bond that exists between our country and the State of Israel…Our valuable bilateral relationship with Israel needs and deserves constant reinforcement. As the Vice-President said during his recent visit to Israel: ‘Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the U.S. and Israel when it comes to security, none. No space.’”
(It’s interesting that Tennessee’s other J Street enthusiast, Jewish Democrat Congressman Steve Cohen, did not sign the letter).
What a shame that Rep. Cooper’s understanding about the security needs of Israel is so easily compromised by the promise of J Street dollars. Does Cooper know what J Street stands for?
For example, “The organization is known for taking a critical stance against Israel and pressuring Washington to do the same. J Street has opposed building in Jewish areas of East Jerusalem, spoke out against Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, and refused to condemn the famously-biased Goldstone Report following the operation, which American Jewish groups largely unified against. In January, the group called on the U.S. government to not veto the UN Security Council resolution condemning continued West Bank settlement construction, an action that prompted U.S. Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) to break ties with the group and call their campaign ‘the befuddled choice of an organization so open-minded about what constitutes support for Israel that its brains have fallen out.‘“
“Indeed, a look at its record of actions reveals positions more aligned with the so-called moderate Palestinian Authority rather than mainstream Israeli political positions. For example, this month J Street urged U.S. House members not to vote on a Congressional letter calling on the Palestinian Authority to root out incitement against Jews and Israel.” (emphasis added)
More recently, a just released documentary “The J Street Challenge” makes the compelling case best summarized by Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz: that J Street is “neither pro-Israel nor pro-peace.” As he so aptly states, “truth in advertising requires that it [J Street] no longer proclaim itself a friend of Israel, a friend of peace, a friend of truth, or a friend of the Obama Administration.”
J Street’s funding by Israel-hating George Soros, it’s collaboration with advocates of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel and J Street’s own consistent criticism of Israel’s government and its policies, is all presented in the “The J Street Challenge,” raising very reasonable questions about J Sreet’s misguided agenda.
Rep. Cooper should not be involved in J Street’s goal of dividing the Jewish community. Does he even know whether J Street represents a majority of the Jews in his district – or the Jews that support him? Has he read about J Street’s anti-CUFI and anti-Evangelical support for Israel?
Cooper should question how his support for Israel squares with J Street, but do so with more objective information. J Street may be a natural match for The Temple given its extreme leftist affiliations and apologist outreach to Muslim Brotherhood Islamists. If that is how Cooper defines his support for Israel, better that voters in his district know now.