The Dictator

Philip Weiss: The role of Jewish Democrats in bill that could imprison Israel boycotters for 20 years

In a recent post on the Mondoweiss website, Journalist Philip Weiss examines the Israel Anti-Boycott Act that would punish those boycotting Israel with a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison. The legislation is being sponsored by both conservatives and liberals. 

Mondoweiss, founded by Weiss in 2006, explains on its website that it “grew inside the progressive Jewish community.”  In his post Weiss is commenting on an Intercept article by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim about the legislation.

Weiss says that the Israel lobby is responsible for the legislation and indicates that it is Jewish Zionists, not Christian Zionists, who are the main wielders of power on the issue.

He writes: “Ultimately, this is a story about the fight inside Jewish life over Zionism and support for Israel. I believe we will win this fight, and that this legislation will help us. The legislation will shock many civil-liberties-loving Jews. The Intercept story will force legislators to redraft the legislation.” 

Weiss reports that “a year ago Stephanie Schriock of Emily’s List and JJ Goldberg of the Forward described the ‘gigantic’ and ‘shocking’ degree of the Democratic Party’s reliance on Jewish wealth for campaign contributions.”

Below is an excerpt from Weiss’s article:

Bill making it a federal crime to support BDS sends shockwaves through progressive community.

…This bill is the work of the Israel lobby. It was drafted by one of the lead Israel-support groups, AIPAC– “one of the most powerful, and pernicious, lobbying forces in the country,” as the Intercept puts it. Greenwald and Grim raise the issue of the American people’s interest:

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“In what conceivable sense is it of benefit to Americans to turn them into felons for the crime of engaging in political activism in protest of a foreign nation’s government?

I would answer that question frankly by explaining that the bill is about the Israel lobby’s presence inside the Democratic Party, and therefore of the role of conservative Zionist Jews inside the Democratic Party. The efforts by many to claim that the Israel lobby is also evangelical Christians (lately Paul Pillar at Lobelog) is pure deception when it comes to the Democratic Party. Evangelical Christians don’t tell Schumer and Gillibrand how to vote on stem-cell research or abortion, and they don’t tell them how to vote on Israel either. No, the organized Jewish community does.