Legislation to be introduced this year in the New York State Assembly gravely threatens the fresh winds of truth about Israel on American university campuses. It would deprive New York public and private colleges and universities of state funds and bonding privileges if they associate with organizations that advocate academic boycott of Israel. Senate Co-Leader Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) accuse the American Studies Association (ASA), a national anti-Israel group, of "targeted discrimination" against Israel in American higher education.
These Jewish legislators say ASA “betrays the values of academic freedom that we hold dear.” They claim ASA denies Israeli academics full exchange with American counterparts while in support of Israel's policies against the Palestinians. Passage of their bill in Albany would give state higher educational institutions 30 days to sever all ties with any group that advocates such boycott, or lose state funding. With announcement of this bill, dozens of colleges and universities, including Harvard and Yale, have condemned the American Studies boycott.
Not everyone agrees. New York University professor Lisa Luggan, president elect of the American Academic Association, said, "My guess is that they [Klein and Hikind] will get nowhere and would fail in the courts in any event."
“This legislation would violate the First Amendment's protections for freedom of speech, freedom of association, and academic freedom… And, of course, it reflects another round of baseless legal bullying to silence criticism of Israeli policy.”
Liz Jackson, an attorney for the group entitled Palestinian Solidarity, said, Does the bill have a chance? Couched as an antidiscrimination bill, easiest of all state legislation to pass, and put forward in the most Jewish-dominated state in the Union, I think it does.
This bill is unique and troubling in that it creates bias crime, not against Americans but against a foreign power. Israel and Israeli academics and educational institutions become the victims of "discrimination" from boycott by U.S. academics and their U.S. institutions. The State of New York becomes the defender of mistreated members of the State of Israel, severely punishing American academia.
Thus, bias crime becomes internationalized, with the offenders being both individuals and institutions, and the judge is not the UN or Hague tribunal but one of 50 U.S. states.
Considering that New York and its judicial system and legislature are highly controlled by pro-Zionist Jews, I fear this bill, if passed, has great potential to begin a legislative thrust to outlaw criticism of Israel not just in academia, but everywhere. As with ADL's blatantly unconstitutional hate crime laws, it would be next to impossible, especially in New York's corrupt appeals system, to overturn it.
Clearly, ADL, behind all anti-bias legislation, wants to restrict the anti-Zionist boycott sentiment rampant on college campuses in America. Zionists strain to find ways to preserve the illusion of free speech yet destroy it--to be "tolerant" yet intolerant of the "intolerance of anti-Semitic hate speech." This includes "institutionalized bias against Israel."
Jewish supremacists want to find out if radically pro-Israel, free speech-destroying legislation can be passed on the state level, laying a foundation for federal passage. Ten years from now it may well be that what is left of this 50 United States of America will have made it an act of sedition to criticize our "ally in the war on terror," Israel, in the same way that questioning the six-million figure of Jewish Holocaust dead is now a hate crime in countries like France and Germany. Anti-communists used to warn of "creeping socialism." Klein's and Hikind's legislation may well provide a judicial foundation for "creeping Zionism" more ominous than anyone imagines. It is vital that, from the very onset, legislation as dangerous as this be criticized by lovers of freedom worldwide. Together we can stop this bill.
In 1999 Dr. D. James Kennedy sounded a national alert, alarmed by what seemed an easy victory for ADL's Hate Crimes Prevention Act in Congress. Rep. Roy Blunt and a contingent of feisty Republicans in Congress quickly blocked it in Conference. Although Dr. Kennedy did not actively take up any subsequent anti-hate bill fights, our National Prayer Network did. As detailed in many articles in Truthtellers.org archives, along with thousands who responded to our appeals for action, we played the definitive role in thwarting it five times. Only the nearly complete collapse of opposition from the Christian/conservative community allowed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act to be passed by only one vote. (See "Possible Hate Bill Vote Monday, Dobson Fails Us In the Battle!")
There's no reason Klein and Hikind's bill cannot be similarly held back - except by the apathy of free people who decide to do nothing. It is not too early, especially for New York patriots, to call their state representatives and raise a howl of protest.
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.
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