The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Rich Siegel’s Statement on Anti-BDS Bill

Posted on July 27th, 2017 at 11:34 pm by

Senator Menendez of New Jersey (where I reside) and Senators Gillibrand and Schumer of New York (where I was raised and where I often work), are co-sponsors of a bill which would put people in jail for boycotting Israel. So I have this to say to them: I’m a Jew and I will go to jail gladly rather than forfeit my constitutional right to boycott Israel, or to boycott anyone.

This bill would be astonishing if it were not consistent with so much history of Zionist entitlement and exceptionalism in America. In 1947 America delayed the Palestine partition vote at the UN, bullying client states to vote for a resolution that violated the terms of the fledgling UN’s own charter. In 1948 America recognized Israel minutes after it declared independence, and while Zionist terrorists were committing massacres, rapes and military forced mass expulsions. In 1967 the USS Liberty was attacked by Israel causing the deaths of 34 American servicemen and 172 injured, a casualty rate of 70%. The official American policy towards this attack was that it was an accident, a case of mistaken identity, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In 1973, when Israel was on the verge of being defeated in a war with Egypt, America bailed Israel out with a massive military airlift. America always looks the other way when Israel attacks the Palestinians or attacks neighboring countries. America participates in pretend peace processes, which are designed to be permanent processes without resolution while settlements expand in violation of international law. And America gives Israel billions and billions in aid, ever increasing, while our economy is hurting and our infrastructure crumbling at home.

What excuses are given for our support for the criminal entity Israel? It is said that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. But Israel is not a democracy at all. It can’t be both a Jewish state and a democracy. And it certainly can’t be a democracy while millions of its rightful citizens, rightful voters, the refugees and their descendants, are kept outside of Israel in defiance of international law, in order to maintain an artificial Jewish majority. Another reason often given is because Israel is our only ally in the Middle East. Quoting Father John Sheehan, “Every time anyone says that Israel is our only friend in the Middle East, I can’t help but think that before Israel, we had no enemies in the Middle East.”

Growing up Jewish in America I was often told that everyone hates Jews for no reason. One of the “Anti-Semitic canards” I was taught that “Goyim” (non-Jews) say about Jews is that we only care about ourselves, that we are disloyal to countries where we live, and we manipulate others to act in our interests. Wanting desperately to believe that this is indeed just an “Anti-Semitic canard”, it is undeniable that we have seen just this aspect of Jewish behavior played out in America’s relationship with Israel. Clearly Jewish influence has been active behind the scenes, in ways that don’t even represent all Jews, as there have always been Jews who opposed Israel, and increasingly, there are Jews who were raised supporting Israel, like myself, who have changed our minds.

We have seen, for many decades, America’s support for the settler colonial entity which is Israel, we have seen America’s support for Israel’s apartheid policies which violate every standard of morality and basic human decency, we have even seen America excusing an attack on our own Navy vessel. Now we are seeing America willingly sacrificing the rights of its own citizens, rights protected under the first Amendment of the constitution, for Israel. If this bill passes we will serve jail time for boycotting a foreign country. Are we going to stand for that?

Rich Siegel

2 Responses to “Rich Siegel’s Statement on Anti-BDS Bill”

  1. Michael Rabb

    Right (as in civil and human) on, Rich Siegel. what would Martin Luther King say about a country that criminalized the right to boycott against a country that is practicing apartheid ?

  2. Anonymous

    Bottom line:

    Foreign Jews had the same right to Palestine as Irish Catholics and Mexican atheists, i.e., none whatsoever!! Therein lies the root of the conflict.
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