Wednesday, August 3, 2016

For the empires of their day

PANEL: Alan Levine, Constitutional lawyer and Donna Nevel, National Board member for Jewish Voice for Peace, discuss both the First Amendment and the moral arguments against Cuomo’s order creating a blacklist of organizations and groups using boycotts for peace and justice in the Middle East.

This panel was one of the best I have attended on the BDS movement and free speech. I cut back on the legal arguments for broadcast because they are difficult for a non-legal audience to follow. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of expression. It is just that the Supreme Court has widened our protections over the last century. Now our government can't intend to threaten or intimidate to keep people from expressing what they want. 

With Cuomo it is easy to understand. He wants to intimidate groups from boycotting Israel because there is so much money to be had being a "friend" of the apartheid state. The Israel Lobby is awash in cash as are several billionaires who have devoted their fortunes to supporting the colonization of Palestine. By creating blacklists, the governor hopes to hurt the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. He will get his payoff by betraying his country's Constitution.

That is why Donna Nevel's talk is so important. Don't do this in my name she implores as a Jewish American. Occupation, imprisonment without rights, and bloody attacks on defenseless civilians in Gaza are not what Judaism is about. In fact, these human rights abuses are the opposite of what she learned from her culture and heritage. 

Jews are being used by the American Empire, just as were the Protestants in Northern Ireland used by the British. Colonizing populations almost always pay the price for ethnically cleansing native peoples for the empires of their day. 

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