Supporters of the foreign government of Israel are using their influence in local governments to bully and intimidate and label critics of Israel as “anti-Semitic,” introducing laws that undermine the American Constitutional right of free speech of Americans who challenge Israel’s extremist policies that oppress Christian and Muslims in Israel and in the Occupied West Bank and Occupied Jerusalem. Their efforts are undermining peace and strengthening the extremism of the Netanyahu government which opposes peace.
By Ray Hanania
A bill that would prohibit state managed monies from being invested in any company or organization that supports criticism or the boycott of Israel, a foreign country, is snaking its way through the Illinois General Assembly.
Several legislators I spoke with said that there is a “bullying fear” that is being used to intimidate any elected official who challenges the bill as it moves through the cumbersome review process.
The bill was introduced by two pro-Israel minions who have put Israel’s interests above the Constitutional rights of Americans, State Senator Ira Silverstein and State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz.
It’s modeled after similar bills drafted up by Israel’s powerful lobby, AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), and has been expanded to include similar sanctions against anyone that invests in Iran or Sudanese “restricted companies.”
The expansion was intended to make it more palatable to punish Americans who “dare to speak out” against Israel’s violence and terrorism in the occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the 1948 Palestinian lands that now constitute “Israel” where 2 million Christians and Muslims also suffer racism and government sanctioned discrimination.
It’s hard not to understand the fear that grips many members of the Illinois General Assembly.
Anyone who dares to criticize Israel is denounced as “anti-Semitic.”
Look at President Jimmy Carter, the man who singlehandedly helped bring former terrorist and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin together with Egyptian Dictator Anwar Sadat to begin a peace process that Israel quickly corrupted to prevent compromise on Palestinian lands.
You see, legislators and officials are told, Israel wants peace but it’s those “terrorist” Palestinians whom Israel brutally expelled in 1948 and again in 1967 because they were non-Jews (Christians and Muslims) who insist on demanding their rights. And if those Christians and Muslims are given their rights under international law, Israel would cease to exist.
Cease to exist, yes, as a racist and discriminatory state for sure. But recognizing Palestinian rights would make Israel a true Democracy, something most Israelis do not want. Most Israelis want their own state that is ethnically cleansed of Palestinians, where Christians and Muslims are expelled and cast into a modernday system of Apartheid.
Americans have a Constitutional Right to protest
against Israel, a foreign country, without being falsely
labeled “anti-Semitic” by Silverstein and Feigenholtz
As I wrote last week, Carter who was once hailed as a “hero” in Israel is now considered a traitor by Israelis. Carter has since recognized that Israel wants peace with the Arab World but not with the Palestinians because making peace with the Palestinians requires compromise — returning lands it stole in 1948 and 1967 from Christians and Muslims who were living in Palestine.
Carter detailed the changes Israel has experienced since he helped usher in peace in the late 1970s in a book he titled “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.”
The Israelis hate that “A-word” which references their policies which single out both citizens of Israel and residents under its military occupation not based on legal conduct but on the basis of race and ethnicity. Israel imposes discriminatory polices in Israel and in the occupied territories, one policy for citizens who are “Jews” and another for citizens and occupied residents who are “Christian” or “Muslim.”
Israel can get away with violating human rights, and bullying American legislators into supporting its political agenda, because it has the backing of a large number of pro-Israel journalists who have embraced Israeli Apartheid.
That is an important consideration. Many of these journalists are fair and objective and professional when writing about every other topic. But when it comes to Israel, many of these journalists have a religious affinity with the Jewish State or embrace racist views of “Arabs.”
In reality, the biggest reason for the pro-Israel action is just like the case of members of the Illinois Legislature. Journalists fear being bullied, too. And no one is a bigger bully in America than Israel and its rightwing extremist lobby, AIPAC. Journalists who “dare to speak out” are singled out for harassment and bullying.
The system is corrupted because Israel bullies the journalists who then bully the elected officials, writing stories about anti-Semitism, and twisting facts to make Israel look good and the Palestinians look bad. The Lobby argues the reason there is no peace in Palestine and Israel is because the Arabs, not Israel (which has the power, controls all the land, operates the only armed military and armed civilian terrorist network called settlers), reject peace.
So Silverstein and Feigenholtz will push through their racist undemocratic legislation because members of the Illinois General Assembly and the mainstream American news media who are afraid to stand up and tell the truth that this bill violates the rights of Americans and is unconstitutional.
More importantly, the bill will pass in the Illinois Legislature because the American Arab community is led by a bunch of incompetent losers who couldn’t argue their way out of a paper bag. That’s why so many American Arab and Muslim leaders spend more time attacking their critics than they do addressing the real issues.
Even the Arab community and American Muslim leadership is bullied and cowardly.
It’s easy street for Silverstein and Feigenholtz to violate the rights of Americans by saying that they can’t criticize a foreign country. One particular foreign country, Israel.
And it’s easy to bully the journalists and enlist affinity support among American Jewish journalists to defend the violation of American freedoms because we’re not just talking about any country in this discussion. We’re talking about Israel.
And in this country, America, Israel is more important than Americans.
Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist managing editor of The Arab Daily News at www.TheArabDailyNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @RayHanania.
To find out more about Ray Hanania and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
To read one of the few mainstream media stories on Silverstein’s and Feigenholtz’s bullying, click here.
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