Note to Social Media Companies: Antisemitism is Hate Content

 People get much of their news and information from social media. As such, it is refreshing to learn that the largest social-media companies have policies against hate speech on their popular platforms, and have taken it upon themselves to remove anti-LGBTQ, anti-black and Islamophobic content when they become aware of it.

Why then are they negligent in ensuring that discriminatory and hateful anti-Semitic speech is not removed as well?

As the frequency and levels of violence of anti-Semitic acts soar in the United States and throughout the world, we expect that social-media companies will do their part to remove this dangerous content from their platforms, and take stronger actions in the future to monitor and purge such hate speech of their own volition.

Zachor Legal Institute has recently sent letters to FacebookYouTube/Google and Twitter, updating them about anti-Semitic postings that are present on their popular platforms. These postings violate their own hate-speech regulations, and we have asked them to remove this content immediately. To date, we have received no response whatsoever from any of these companies.

Countries throughout the world are adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which includes both the age-old hatred targeting Jews, as well as the more modern venom aimed at Israel as a proxy for Jews.

The inclusion of the newer form of anti-Semitism targeting Israel is critical for the following reasons:

  • On university campuses where anti-Semitism is so prevalent, the primary form this takes is discrimination aimed at Israel and Jews who support Israel.
  • Anti-Semitism targeting Israel, rather than Jews directly, is more nefarious, as it is regularly claimed that the attacks are legitimate criticisms of Israel and often even disguised as Palestinian human-rights expressions, when in reality the organized movements targeting Israel openly admit that their goal is to eliminate Israel as a Jewish nation.

What the IHRA definition does is distinguish between legitimate criticisms of Israel that are protected free speech and expressions that cross the line into unprotected anti-Semitic hate speech. Adoption and implementation of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is as legitimate an anti-discrimination measure as the use of similar laws and regulations that prohibit other forms of discrimination, including LGBTQ and gender discrimination.

In the United States, the State Department has adopted the IHRA definition, and the recent Executive Order Combating Anti-Semitism instructs the Department of Education to consider IHRA when evaluating Title VI Civil Rights Act complaints of discrimination against federally funded academic institutions and programs.

What is critically missing is acceptance and enforcement in the online and technology sectors, where anti-Semitism is today most prevalent and spreads quickest. For instance, we referenced in our report “The New Anti-Semites” an ADL study that “reported 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets on Twitter in 2017 alone. This means that over the course of the study, throughout 2017, an average of 81,400 anti-Semitic tweets were generated per week.”

In our letters to the leading social-media companies, we identify specific content that violates their own internal hate-speech regulations using the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. Examples include comparing Israel’s legitimate reactions to Palestinian terror with the Nazi regime, as well as cases calling for Palestine from “(Jordan) River to (Mediterranean) Sea,” a code for the elimination of the State of Israel.

The United Nations is well-known for applying negative double standards in their treatment of Israel. We are concerned that social-media companies are applying a similar double standard as far as how they treat anti-Israel anti-Semitism compared to all other forms of hate content.

All of the tools are in place for social-media companies to accurately define, monitor and remove anti-Semitism from their platforms, and make the world a safer place. The only thing needed is the will of the online companies to do so.

Ron Machol is the COO of Zachor Legal Institute, an organization using the law and activism to combat antisemitism. He can be reached at ron@zachorlegal.org.

Link to JNS Article.

Groups on far-left, far-right co-opt Black Lives Matter movement to target Israel

Efforts to link police brutality in the United States with the Israel Defense Forces maintaining security against Palestinian attacks have flooded the Internet and been used as propaganda by the BDS movement.

 Groups on the far-right and far-left, including pro-Palestinian organizations with links to terrorism, have been engaged in a campaign to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement to target and delegitimize Israel.

“The cynical use of the Black Lives Matter by groups backed and controlled by foreign terror movements is nothing less than a repeat of the many other times that terror groups have used human shields to push their violence and hate,” Mark Greendorfer, president of the Zachor Legal Group, told JNS.

A “civil-rights movement (Black Lives Matter) has been hijacked by extremists to push an agenda focused on promoting hate, in the form of anti-Semitism, rather than seeking justice,” he said.

Last week, it was widely reported when several Jewish institutions were targeted during protests in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, which included vandalism to Jewish businesses and synagogues, such as Congregation Beth El, which was vandalized with graffiti stating “Free Palestine” and “F*** Israel.”

https://www.jns.org/groups-on-far-left-far-right-co-opt-black-lives-matter-moves-to-target-israel/

Anti-Semitism in US linked to BDS movement, new NGO-backed report finds

EXCLUSIVE — A new report, obtained Sunday by Fox News, has exposed what it called “unprecedented similarities between the BDS [The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movement and far-right groups to propagate anti-Semitism in the United States.”

Original article here.

The 120-page report, titled “The New Anti-Semites,” is scheduled to be released on Monday and is backed by 23 Jewish and Christian American non-governmental organizations.

The report warned that “this bigotry does not end with the Jewish people; it threatens to dismantle American values and result in mass violence,” one of the report’s authors, StopAntiSemitism.org director Liora Rez, told Fox News.

Last week, in Jersey City, N.J., Mayor Steven Fulop said the shooting that unfolded at a kosher market was a “targeted attack,” in what he called an act of hate. Two shooters sparked a chaotic scene of gunfire; six people died, including a police officer, the shooters and three bystanders.

The shooters had been linked to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a militant group whose members believe they’re descendants of the ancient Israelites and who have been known to rail against white and Jewish people.

“What we are seeing is a phenomenon amongst all the radical movements, with BDS being one of the leaders, and making anti-Semitism mainstream to incite hate against Jews,” Rez said. “I think that the BDS movement has put anti-Semitism in the spotlight with a massive megaphone that they have been granted on college campuses. It basically opens the Pandora’s box.”

StopAntisemitism.org and the Zachor Legal Institute authored the report. The authors said the report detailed how the BDS movement “directly drives anti-Semitism and radicalizes public discourse in Western democracies,” documenting more than 100 examples in the United States and around the world.

Zachor Legal Institute founder Marc Greendorfer,  a co-author, told Fox News the research began two years ago. He said what prompted him to start putting together the report was his involvement in supporting state anti-BDS laws.

“We knew, because we have done other work, we had done research, where BDS was formed, how it was formed, who supported it, and what we found was that there was a very strong terror organization component to the founding and management of BDS,” Greendorfer told Fox News.

He said he then talked to other organizations and asked them if they had specific examples of BDS “both making very blatantly anti-Semitic statements and affiliating with hate groups.”

“All the groups consolidated their information and we prepared the report from that,” Greendorfer added.

The report uncovered “an increasingly public intellectual and philosophical alliance between the BDS movement and far-right groups,” according to the authors. They also said it “brings to light numerous incidents in which the anti-Semitic rhetoric used by far-right groups and white supremacist networks has been embraced by left-wing BDS leaders and activists.”

The report said the “delegitimization campaign” has been anti-Semitic, as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA]: bigotry against Jewish people often used by the U.S. government and other governments.

“This report builds on the idea that BDS is backed by terror, but specifically it investigated the burgeoning ties between extreme left and extreme right anti-Semitism,” Greendorfer told Fox News. “We compiled an analysis of examples of anti-Semitism that has been spread over the years going all the way back to the Middle Ages, really, and to the Nazi regime and then anti-Israel activism once Israel was established as a state.”

The report said, “The BDS movement and its agenda against Israel is also being promoted by the more ‘mainstream’ and center-stage white supremacists of the United States.” One example: former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s “newfound support.”

It provided examples from Duke’s Twitter account.

“For the first time we are seeing David Duke changing his vocabulary. Rather than using ‘Jews,’ he is spotlighting ‘Israel’ and ‘Zionism.’ And, in my opinion, this is a direct result of the radical BDS movement coming into play,” Rez told Fox News.

Greendorfer said the report reached two major conclusions.

“The groups today that spread anti-Semitism are using the same style, message and sometimes even images that have historically been used by anti-Semites,” Greendorfer said. “The second part is the intersection of the extreme left and the extreme right, that they are now united in spreading these messages.”

He added, “There is a terrorist element behind this and that’s what we are trying to expose and now the left and right are uniting in anti-Semitism.”

Rez said, “For far too long, BDS has been able to masquerade as a social justice movement in America, while spreading vile Jew-hatred and inciting hate and violence.” She added, “By exposing the history, methods, and networks of the new anti-Semites, we are empowering the American people to effectively combat it.”

The report is scheduled to be released five days after President Trump signed an executive order targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses. The order broadened the federal government’s definition of anti-Semitism to include the IHRA’s definition, which can include criticism of Israel, and instructed it to be used in enforcing laws against discrimination on college campuses under Title VI.

Under the order, the Department of Education could withhold funding from schools that it found in violation of Title VI.

“The president did exactly what this report was encouraging,” Greendorfer told Fox News. He also said Trump “did exactly what he had hoped for, but it would be much more comprehensive if Congress also acted.”

The report called on federal and state governments to incorporate the IHRA’s definition into “clear, enforceable laws.”

These measures would include increased social and academic education on modern anti-Semitism and legislation “preventing social media sites from serving as a platform for anti-Semites to spread their hatred,” according to the report’s authors.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee, which, according to its website, is the coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations that leads and supports the BDS movement, did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

We Urgently Need State Laws Against Anti-Semitism

 According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), anti-Semitic acts in the United States have skyrocketed, doubling from 2015 to 2018 (1,879 incidents). The high-profile anti-Semitic violence in New York during the summer is an indicator that things may be getting even worse.

To counter this disturbing chain of events, two states, South Carolina and Florida, have recently passed laws that define and accordingly regulate anti-Semitic crime and discrimination in the state’s public education system. These laws are critical in stemming the rising trend of anti-Semitic incidents throughout the United States.

This legislation uses a definition of anti-Semitism similar to that of the U.S. Departments of State and Education and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. A consistent and comprehensive definition is critical to success in these efforts, encompassing not only the age-old demonization of Jews but also the more contemporary anti-Israel diatribes, including delegitimizing Israel and/or holding Israel to a double standard.

It is crucial to note that the authors do not define criticism of Israel to be anti-Semitic, as long as the criticism is similar to that leveled against other countries.

These state laws use the agreed upon definition of anti-Semitism to target one particular environment where such incidents are most prevalent: public schools and universities.

State laws defining and combating anti-Semitism close an often-exploited loophole whereby anti-Israel expressions are used to convey an anti-Jewish message. The ever-present dilemma faced by university presidents is whether to acknowledge anti-Semitism or downplay it as a matter of protected criticism of Israel.

Too often, the subjective whims and self-interests of university administrations become operative factors. Sadly, the majority of cases are thus swept under the table, with no actions taken to penalize the offenders and stop such events from reoccurring, and eventually leading to an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and harassment for Jewish students.

Pro-Israel groups throughout the country are demanding that universities and state governments adopt better definitional tools for addressing anti-Semitic crime and discrimination.

Florida and South Carolina have decided to take legislative action to define anti-Semitism, thereby protecting students and sending a strong message of public policy and moral clarity.

Of course, anti-Semitism is a nation-wide phenomenon, and such laws are needed as soon as possible in other states as well.

For instance, a complaint was made to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights against UCLA in California for hosting the Students for Justice in Palestine national conference, in which anti-Semitic statements and activities occurred, creating a hostile atmosphere for Jewish and pro-Israel students. The lack of the state’s preparedness to deal with such an urgent problem highlights the wisdom of Florida and South Carolina’s proactive approach.

K-12 grade schools are by no means immune to the specter of anti-Semitism. There was a recent high-profile case in California where an ethnic-studies K-12 curriculum was submitted with a strong anti-Israel bias. In this case, public uproar caused the curriculum to be rejected. Nonetheless, such instances have occurred in a variety of states’ school districts in the past years, and without strong state laws in place, the ability to defeat such measures is much more difficult than it needs to be.

To make matters even more complicated, pro-Palestinian and certain anti-Semitic groups on campus are suspected of being funded by foreign sources. A court case in Texas is now aimed at determining whether the tens of millions of dollars that Qatar has transferred to Texas A&M are being used to finance anti-Semitic/anti-Israel groups on campus. State anti-Semitism laws would provide additional tools to stop foreign governments from supporting campus activity that threatens student safety and rights.

Anti-Semitism, whether home-grown or imported from abroad, is an age-old scourge. The more tools that states and universities have available to combat it, the more able we will all be to study, work and simply live in environments free of discrimination and intimidation.

Ron Machol is the Chief Operating Officer of Zachor Legal Institute.

Zachor Legal Institute Working to Stop Terror Recruitment on University Campuses

Groups with ties to foreign terror organizations were recently found to be recruiting students on U.S college campuses, including from Duke University. These groups are sending American students to areas in the Middle East controlled by the designated terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) for the purpose of radicalization. Examples of these recruitment events are described below. These incidents were documented by the Haym Salomon Center.

Zachor Legal Institute has informed the North Carolina Attorney General’s office of this matter and outlined the potential violations of law involved, including providing material support to terror organizations as part of a racketeering enterprise in violation of North Carolina’s “RICO” statute.

Providing material support, including non-violent organizational assistance and advocacy in support of terror organizations is prohibited by federal law.

Zachor believes that these activities also violate North Carolina law. In particular, under North Carolina’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (N.C. Gen. Stat. §75D), racketeering includes any activity that is described in 18 U.S.C. 1961(1) (see N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75D-3(c)(2)). One of the federal crimes under 18 U.S.C. 1961(1) that is incorporated into North Carolina’s RICO Act is 18 U.S.C. 2339B, providing material support to terrorist organizations. Zachor believes that the activities of the organizations operating on American campuses to facilitate meetings between students and terror groups overseas constitute, among other things, the provision of material support to designated terror organizations under 18 U.S.C. 2339B in violation of federal law and are thus subject to prosecution by the Attorney General’s office under the North Carolina RICO Act.

Students recruited at these events, such as the ones described here, are likely unaware that they are being culled by radical operatives to travel overseas to train with terrorists for the purpose of their own transformation. Also left in the dark about on-campus terror recruitment are well-meaning parents who entrust college administrators to safeguard their children. Campus anti-Israel groups are now going beyond inciting hate – they appear to be providing material support to foreign terror organizations.

April 3, 2019 Event at Duke University:
On April 3, 2019, during “Israel Apartheid Week” at Duke University, groups known as Eyewitness Palestine (formerly Interfaith Peace Builders) and Coalition For Peace With Justice made presentations at events that were sponsored by the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and promoted via Duke online groups. At this event, a panel of students and other delegates spoke at “Movements for Black Palestinian Lives” where the students acknowledged that they had extensive, in-home meetings with representatives of groups that have been designated as foreign terror organizations by the United States government, including the PFLP.

Students were invited to travel to the Middle East to meet with leaders of terror groups and informed that student trips to meet with representatives of designated foreign terror groups are paid for by Coalition for Peace with Justice. This group has actively recruited students for such trips at UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, and at North Carolina Central University.

April 5, 2019 Event at Duke University:
The Duke University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, together with representatives from Eyewitness Palestine and Palestinian Youth Movement, held the final event for Duke’s “Israel Apartheid Week.” During the presentation, the Palestinian Youth Movement recruiter falsely claimed that Israel targets black people for death and torture. Students were urged to organize with other extreme movements and the recruiter compared the anti-Israel movement today with the radical Black Panther and the Palestinian Liberation Organization movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Specific calls to violence included comparisons of anti-Israel activism on campuses to Palestinian terror groups and lauding the Palestine Liberation Organization’s violent “resistance” against Israel that has resulted in the deaths of innocent Americans and Israelis. The recruitment event ended with a video presentation promoting Eyewitness Palestine trips and the distribution of applications for future delegations.

Summary of Issues:
One of the groups recruiting North Carolina college students to travel overseas explicitly requires participants to advocate on behalf of the foreign terror organizations that they have met with overseas when they return to the United States. Other similar groups are believed to advocate in North Carolina on behalf of terror groups for initiatives such as blocking law enforcement cooperation between local police and their Israeli counterparts.

These terror-recruitment activities put North Carolina students, and the safety of the public, at risk. Also, these activities aid foreign terror organizations, violating federal and state laws. In fact, the United States Department of Education recently sent inquiries to several large American universities to determine whether the universities have properly screened foreign groups on campus for ties to terror – checking for violations of the federal prohibition on providing material support to terror.

Ron Machol, COO of Zachor, noted “this is a clear case of in-your-face glorifying and recruitment of terrorist groups directly on campuses. Rather than offer safe environments, universities are inviting groups with dangerous agendas to masquerade as civil rights organizations, using public funding to entice students to make contact and then subsequently advocate for radical causes contrary to US public interests. This issue urgently needs to be highlighted and stopped.”

We urge the appropriate authorities to begin an investigation into the terror-recruitment operation described above taking place on North Carolina campuses.

About Zachor Legal Institute:
Zachor Legal Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, uses the law to defend against anti-Semitism and delegitimization of Israel, with a focus on opposing BDS. To learn more, please visit http://www.zachorlegal.org/.

Zachor Legal Institute Submits Amicus Brief in Support of State of Arkansas’s Anti-Discrimination Law at 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

Press Release – For Immediate Release
June 6, 2019

Media Contact:
Ron Machol
ron@zachorlegal.org

 

Zachor Legal Institute Submits Amicus Brief in Support of State of Arkansas’s Anti-Discrimination Law  at 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

JUNE 6, 2019

(Red Level, AL) – Zachor Legal Institute submitted its amicus brief to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the State of Arkansas’ anti-discrimination (anti-BDS) law, Act 710.  In earlier proceedings, the district court in Arkansas followed the legal theories set out in Zachor’s founder Marc Greendorfer’s law review articles to uphold the law and Zachor urges the Eighth Circuit to affirm the lower court’s order.

The challenge to the Arkansas law is being led by the ACLU and supported by a number of notoriously anti-Semitic organizations, including one group that was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror financing prosecution and a number of others which Zachor alleges have direct ties to foreign terror organizations.  These parties make the ludicrous claim that anti-Semitism is not discrimination and seek the imprimatur of federal courts to continue their bigotry against Jews.

Zachor’s brief explores the history of the so-called “BDS” (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) movement and details how BDS was formed by, and functions to support the agenda of, a coalition that includes groups designated by the United States government as foreign terror organizations.  Zachor’s brief further reminds the judges of the Eighth Circuit that discriminatory boycotts of Jews can be traced back thousands of years and BDS is simply the latest incarnation of that hate-filled ideology.  Act 710 doesn’t prevent speech critical of Israel, but it does allow the state of Arkansas to not be a financial party to discriminatory acts and ideologies.

Zachor’s brief also explains that BDS, in addition to being a front for foreign terror organizations, is a movement that seeks to disenfranchise Jews of their right to self-determination in their historic homeland.  Arkansas, and other states with anti-discrimination laws, have an obligation to withhold financial support for those who choose to engage in discriminatory acts.

Under globally accepted definitions, BDS is raw anti-Semitism and thus a form of racial and national origin discrimination.  Zachor argues in its brief that Arkansas’ law is a valid exercise of state powers to keep the state from funding anti-Semitism and is the type of law that the ACLU has supported as recently as last year.  Zachor’s brief shows that the ACLU’s arguments that purport to distinguish Act 710 from all other anti-discrimination laws hinge on the discredited claim that there is not a Jewish nation, a line of argument that is nothing less than science and history denial.  If the ACLU’s arguments are accepted, all other state anti-discrimination laws that protect minority populations will necessarily have to be struck down as well.

Marc Greendorfer, President of Zachor, described the brief as “part history lesson, part cautionary tale about the risks of ignoring history.”  Greendorfer further explained that “while anti-Semites like to accuse Israel of being an apartheid state, the truth is that BDS is an apartheid movement that seeks to strip Jews and other minority populations in the Middle East of the right to their own homeland.  Indeed, if one looks at the founding charter of BDS, as well as the words and acts of its adherents, it’s clear that the goal of BDS is to ethnically cleanse the Middle East of Jews, a violation of international law and human rights norms facing Christians throughout the Middle East as well.  If BDS succeeds in its goals, the only country on Earth that exists to protect Jews and allow them to live securely will be eliminated and replaced by yet another Arab country where Jews, Christians and other minority groups are second class citizens.”

About Zachor Legal Institute: Zachor Legal Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, uses the law to defend against anti-Semitism, with a focus on opposing BDS. To learn more, please visit www.zachorlegal.org.

 

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Zachor Legal Institute is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

 

Thwarting ‘Terrorists in Suits’ in the Israel Boycott – Washington Times

– – Tuesday, May 21, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Israeli government earlier this year released an alarming report, “Terrorists in Suits” on the campaign to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel, known as the BDS movement. The report documents the movement’s significant and widespread connections to designated terrorist organizations, and demonstrates that rather than the feel-good civil rights campaign described as such by its founders and decision-makers, BDS is actually a front for terror.

As the report indicates, the primary goal of BDS, along with the terrorist groups that supply them directly with financial resources and personnel, is the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

For anyone still deciding whether to support a boycott of Israel, understanding the incestuous relationships between terrorist organizations and BDS may give you cause to reconsider the motivations of this movement.

A terrorist connection also opens the door for the federal government to take legal action against this discriminatory organization forcing its foreign policy on America.

Twenty-six states already have anti-BDS legislation on the books, distancing themselves from commercial relationships with those that advocate for an anti-Israel boycott. This is a defensive tactic — a way to publicly oppose doing business with a movement that brazenly violates anti-discrimination principles. However, anti-BDS laws do not target the source of BDS, those that hide in the background, providing the financing and ultimately calling the shots.

With the exposure of the relationship between BDS and designated terror organizations, a new legal strategy is possible to hit the movement where it really hurts.

That is, using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to penalize BDS movement founders with ties to terrorism.

RICO was enacted to target mafia bosses, offering the U.S. government a way to hold organized criminal kingpins responsible for crimes committed by their underlings but initiated by the leader’s instructions.

In the ensuing years, RICO has been used not only against organized criminals, but also against a variety of organizations in which the leadership keeps a distance from those in their enterprises that are committing illegal acts.

The BDS movement is an ideal structure for using RICO prosecution, as laid out in a scholarly legal article: “The BDS Movement: That Which We Call a Foreign Boycott, by Any Other Name, Is Still Illegal” (pages 95-120).

RICO enables the government to hold accountable the BDS leaders that are managing the movement. These individuals and groups with associations to terrorist organizations would otherwise be free from legal responsibility, since rather than participating directly in criminal activity, they are directing others to perform their bidding. They are a bridge between terrorism and those on the ground in the U.S. and other countries spouting anti-Israel hate.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terror attacks against the United States, RICO was amended to broaden its scope significantly and to provide the government with a wide-ranging weapon against global terrorist organizations.

RICO enables criminal prosecutions initiated by either the federal government or states, with penalties including prison time and/or significant monetary fines. In addition, RICO civil cases can be brought by the government or a private party (company/individual) redressing losses due to BDS-advocated actions.

The Zachor Legal Institute (where I am COO) has submitted a detailed legal analysis and evidentiary support to the Department of Justice on this very topic. The request outlines the RICO case against BDS, along with detailing BDS ties to terrorism, and asks the Department of Justice to open an investigation. Only with the full weight of the government can all those truly responsible for BDS be held criminally liable.

In the meantime, because many states have RICO laws similar to those of the federal government, I expect that a state will soon decide to initiate RICO criminal proceedings against a BDS organization with terrorist ties in their state. In addition, companies that have experienced financial loss due to BDS can be expected to bring civil RICO cases against terror-associated BDS affiliates responsible for that loss.

With the support of the public and their representatives in government, I believe that before the end of 2019, we will see the first case of a BDS organization with ties to terrorism in court, having to answer for promoting terror and hate in the United States. Certainly governments and organizations supporting BDS will financially reward convicted supporters of terror, as is their normal mode of operation, but let’s see how these terrorist financiers and leaders hold up in jail. I have doubts whether terrorists in suits will transition well into prison garb.

• Ron Machol is the chief operating officer of the Zachor Legal Institute, a legal think tank.  He can be reached at ron@zachorlegal.org

Originally published in the Washington Times: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/may/21/thwarting-terrorists-in-suits-in-the-israel-boycot/.

Judicial Watch Assists Zachor Legal Institute in Texas Court to Obtain Information on Qatari Government’s Funding of Texas A&M, a Public University

Press Release – For Immediate Release
May 10, 2019

Media Contact:
Ron Machol
ron@zachorlegal.org

 

Judicial Watch Assists Zachor Legal Institute in Texas Court to Obtain Information on Qatari Government’s Funding of Texas A&M, a Public University

MAY 10, 2019

(Washington, DC) – Zachor Legal Institute announced today that Judicial Watch filed a petition to intervene on our behalf under the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA), seeking information about potential influence by the Qatar government’s funding of certain Texas A&M University programs and a Texas A&M campus in Education City, Al Rayyan, Qatar (Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development v. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General (No. D-1-GN-18-006240)). Further information about this case can be found at the Judicial Watch website, www.Judicialwatch.org.

Zachor Legal Institute is a U.S.-based advocacy group dedicated to combating the spread of anti-Semitism. Zachor made requests under the TPIA for information about the funding or donations made to Texas A&M by the government of Qatar and agencies and subdivisions of the government of Qatar. Qatar controversially has aligned itself with Islamic terrorists and extremists which has placed it at odds with the United States, Israel and other U.S. allies in the Middle East.

Zachor initially filed a public information request with Texas A&M in 2018 to determine, among other things, whether Qatar and its affiliates provide funding for anti-Semitic programs and activities at public universities. Rather than provide this information, which public universities are obligated to report under federal law, Texas A&M alerted the Qatar Foundation of our request and refused to provide the information we requested.

Zachor believes that foreign entities are actively recruiting American students to provide support to anti-Semitic campaigns, including the terror-backed “BDS” movement, and further believes that these hate groups are financially supported by Qatar. Zachor has submitted a request, complete with evidence and a detailed legal analysis, to the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the ties between foreign terror organizations and BDS activists, details of which are available on Zachor’s website: www.ZachorLegal.org. In October 2018, Qatar filed suit to prevent disclosure of its funding information. Judicial Watch contends that neither the Qatari government nor any of its agencies are protected by Texas Public Information Act exceptions and that federal law “expressly makes the requested information public.”

The university claims the records can be kept from the public because disclosure would reveal confidential donor information. Judicial Watch points out the law only protects private donors, not donations from a foreign government body, specifically the Qatar Foundation. The Qatar Foundation “was created by the Emir of Qatar, is Chaired by his consort, and is sponsored and supported by the government of Qatar, a monarchy. At no point did the Qatar Foundation demonstrate that it is not an agency or subdivision of the government of Qatar.”

“Judicial Watch and the Zachor Legal Institute are battling in court for the truth about how the foreign government of Qatar lassoed Texas A&M into setting up a campus in a country run by a government known for its promotion of terrorism and extreme anti-Israel and anti-Semitic policies,” said Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch.

Marc Greendorfer, President of Zachor Legal Institute said, “We are grateful for the assistance of Judicial Watch in intervening on our behalf. We were surprised that the Qatar Foundation sought to suppress the production of information that is required to be reported under federal law and look forward to finally receiving the documents from Texas A&M so we can continue our work researching the influence of malign foreign actors on American campuses.”

About Zachor Legal Institute: Zachor Legal Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, uses the law to defend against anti-Semitism, with a focus on opposing BDS. To learn more, please visit www.zachorlegal.org.


 

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Zachor Strikes a Nerve in Arizona House of Representatives

Please take a look at this 60 second clip from an Arizona State House Representative opposing her state’s anti-BDS law during this week’s Arizona House session, with specific reference to Zachor.

You know that you’ve struct a nerve when BDS Supporters refuse to rebut what you’ve said and instead attack you for being a “phobe” of some sort.

BDS Propagandists clearly don’t like the fact that Zachor Legal Institute is forcefully and effectively exposing BDS as a front for foreign terror. We will continue to expose BDS and its ties to terror in upcoming court briefs.

Maryland’s Anti-BDS Law Prevents Discrimination Against Israel

Md’s BDS law prevents discrimination against Israel

By Ron Machol, Joseph Sabag

Maryland’s anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) law opposing discriminatory commercial boycotts against Israel is being challenged in court, with incorrect suggestions that it violates the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech.

The pro-Israel community fully supports the First Amendment of the Constitution. Anti-BDS laws are narrowly tailored anti-discrimination laws similar to many other anti-discrimination laws that protect women, racial minorities and LGBTQ individuals, among other categories of people. All of these laws highlight the critical distinction between commercial activity and the exercise of free speech, which comes into sharp focus in the course of carrying out the government’s obligation to protect classes of people from discrimination.

In a January ruling, an Arkansas federal judge agreed with our analysis, dismissing with prejudice a challenge made to that state’s anti-BDS law.

There is a long history of laws in the U.S. prohibiting discriminatory commercial activity targeting Israel. More than 40 years ago, in response to the Arab League Boycott of Israel, amendments to the Export Administration Act and the Tax Reform Act of 1976 were implemented to prevent entities from imposing misguided foreign policy in the U.S. They apply to both individuals and companies and prohibit unauthorized commercial boycotts against foreign nations.

In response to BDS discrimination against Israel, Maryland and other states enacted state level prohibitions that generally protect their economic and trade interests by prohibiting the state from spending taxpayers’ money to contract with or invest in businesses that engage in BDS commercial discrimination against Israel. More than two dozen states currently have anti-BDS laws, and additional states are considering adopting similar laws.

Anti-BDS laws do not restrict a person’s right to speak against Israel, and, contrary to the inflammatory claims of those who oppose such laws, they do not require state residents to take “oaths” in favor of Israel. Rather, these laws simply target the discriminatory commercial conduct of the BDS boycott campaign.

Furthermore a long line of Supreme Court cases support the fact that state anti-BDS laws do not infringe upon the First Amendment.

Those who argue that state anti-BDS laws violate the First Amendment generally cite the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware, which protected the rights of African-American citizens to engage in a commercial boycott against white business owners in Mississippi who were directly discriminating against them in violation of the U.S. Constitution, including the 14th Amendment. However, this U.S. Supreme Court case does not represent the BDS boycott model. In the Claiborne case, those who were boycotting were the injured parties, and the businesses that were being boycotted were the ones doing the damage — thus making that boycott a primary boycott to vindicate the boycotters’ Constitutional rights.

The conflict between Israel and Palestinians does not involve the United States Constitution, and those who engage in BDS activity in the U.S. are participating in a secondary boycott to influence U.S. foreign policy. The Supreme Court case International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO v. Allied Int’l, Inc., involved a secondary boycott where workers refused to unload Soviet cargo to protest the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment did not protect the workers, since neither they nor the ship’s owners nor the American consumers that were being penalized by the boycott were a party to the foreign dispute.

The State of Israel recently released a report, Terrorists in Suits, which extensively details the material connections between those that head and finance the BDS Movement and designated terrorist entities. Anti-Israel terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were involved in the formation of BDS and continue to manage BDS activity worldwide. While a person has a First Amendment right to express a political opinion, the Supreme Court has ruled that this does not include the right to engage in advocacy that constitutes material support to terror.

The BDS campaign’s discriminatory nature is evident as BDS holds Israel to a double-standard, and BDS advocates actions that would lead to the end of Israel as the nation/state of the Jewish people. When combined with the close association between BDS and terrorist organizations, it is no wonder that so many states have distanced themselves from BDS. Implementing constitutionally-protected anti-BDS legislation is a decision that allows states to express loud and clear the will of their citizens. We have no doubt that a judge will uphold Maryland’s.

Ron Machol (ron@zachorlegal.org) is the COO of Zachor Legal Institute. Joseph Sabag is the director of policy and government relations at IAC for Action.