"ILLEGAL TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL" BILL ENTERS CONGRESS
By Rev. Ted Pike
12 Feb 14
A bill that would outlaw academic boycott of Israel by U.S. universities, under penalty of loss of federal funding, was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives last Thursday by congressmen Peter Roskam and Dan Lipinski. H.R. 4009, Protect Academic Freedom Act, is virtually identical to a New York State bill I discussed last week. (See NY Bill Defunds Colleges which Boycott Israel) Its stated purpose is "to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to prohibit an institution that participates in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions or scholars from being eligible for certain funds under that act."
This bill reacts to continuing efforts by the prestigious American Studies Association to withdraw U.S. academic cooperation with Israeli educational institutions (but not individual academics) that defend Israel's injustices.
In a video before the House of Representatives, Rep. Roskam described such an effort as "anti-Semitic." His bill says the U.S. has the duty to protect "the principles of academic freedom guaranteed by the United States." Roskam evidently believes the U.S. government's First Amendment protections should extend to academics of a foreign country!
Like similar legislation in New York and Maryland, this bill attempts to portray academic boycott as a violation of Israeli human rights. In punishing the boycotting universities, their staffs, or even students who have presumed to influence Israel with more than just words, H.R. 4009's penalties could be very great. Johns Hopkins University receives more than a billion dollars annually in federal aid. Even more calamitous would be the chill on free speech as universities and colleges are coerced to cooperate or close their doors.
Yes, it is unpleasant for Israeli educational institutions to be restricted because they support Israeli policies of discrimination, harassment, land seizures, arbitrary imprisonment and denial of basic human rights, etc. against the Palestinians. Yet such inconvenience pales before the sufferings and deprivations Israel continues to impose on innocent Palestinians, especially in Gaza but also the West Bank.
An academic boycott simply says to Israel: "Allow freedom and full human rights and dignity to the Palestinians, and American academic institutions participating in our boycott will restore free academic cooperation."
This is unacceptable to Israel and those who propose H.R. 4009. They contend Israel should be allowed to bulldoze Palestinians' homes, seize their land, divide their orchards and farms with concrete, and enforce a state of continuing siege against Gaza. It is Israel's prerogative to rack up enough human rights violations, even war crimes, to place her among the "rogue" nations of the world, with no cessation of the academic privileges Israel has always enjoyed with the U.S. (See "International Law, Israel and Palestine," ifamericansknew.org) In other words, since Israel is America's special "ally in the war on terror," she should be granted a special international criticism-free zone.
Where H.R. 4009 Can Take Us
If private efforts to restrain Israel's injustices through academic boycott are now regarded by our government as violating some legal right of Israel to academic privilege, the next step is easy to see. It will be to criminalize those unflattering "anti-Semitic" words that cause even more discomfort to Israel. Such legislation may even describe critics of Israel as seditionists, undermining the joint U.S./Israel "war on terror."
Such words of criticism might, in fact, by their cutting penetrating truth have much more power to damage Israel than academic boycotts. Legislation following passage of H.R. 4009 could well be patterned after ADL-inspired hate crimes laws already on the books in many nations. These define a "hate crime" as holding up members of a protected group to "hatred and contempt." The only difference will be that Israel will become the protected group.
This bill is designed to take America toward Israel's ultimate dream: outlawing criticism of Israel anywhere on earth. As I pointed out in my article about the similar New York bill, Jewish supremacism already has made it illegal in much of Europe to question the accuracy of the alleged six million victims of the Holocaust. The penalty for doing so, even supported by scrupulous research, has been for some, such as Germar Rudolph and Ernst Zundel, deportation to Germany for up to six years’ imprisonment. David Irving, World War 2 historian, was similarly imprisoned in Austria. These political prisoners found the penalty also included serving much of their sentence in solitary confinement.
We have seen over the past 50 years that Zionists and Jewish supremacists are particularly eager to silence speech that can effectively expose their misdeeds and even atrocities. Recently, the Knesset of “democratic” Israel is moving rapidly to strip its own citizens of much of their free speech by outlawing any comparison of Israeli actions to Nazi atrocities. This includes comparison to particularly Nazi-like actions in Israel’s past-- for example, Israel’s Deir Yassin and Shatila massacres of Arabs and blowing up the British King David Hotel, as the Nazis attempted to burn down the Reichstag. Perhaps the very worst atrocity ever committed by Israel was the uprooting of 800,000 Arabs in 1948 into concentration camps. Israel’s blitzkrieg attack on American surveillance ship USS Liberty and present Nazi-like enclosure of 1.5 million Gazans in what has been described as the world’s largest open air concentration camp remain distinctively Nazi-like in their oppressions.
It is up to all lovers of freedom to immediately and loudly protest to their members of the House of Representatives. You may call your Representatives toll free at 1-866-220-0044 or 1-877-762-8762. If you do not know the name of your House members, the operator will take your ZIP code and quickly direct you to their offices. Tell them: "Please do not support H.R. 4009, the Protect Academic Freedom Act. It denies academic freedom of speech and action to American universities and scholars."