Rock’n’roll BDS-hole Roger Waters has an op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times. And as you’d expect, it is full of lies and disingenuousness.
For example, he writes
Members of Congress are currently considering a bill that threatens to silence the growing support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian freedom and human rights, known as B.D.S. This draconian bill, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, threatens individuals and businesses who actively participate in boycott campaigns in support of Palestinian rights conducted by international governmental organizations with up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
By endorsing this McCarthyite bill, senators would take away Americans’ First Amendment rights in order to protect Israel from nonviolent pressure to end its 50-year-old occupation of Palestinian territory and other abuses of Palestinian rights.
This is a mischaracterization of the bill, which is an update the 1979 Export Administration Act prohibiting American corporations from cooperating with boycotts against Israel (a response to the Arab oil embargo and economic blackmailing of companies doing business with Israel). It specifically targets commercial activity and is based on current law that has been constitutionally upheld.
It is not a First Amendment/freedom of speech issue at all. Per a recent Jerusalem Post piece
Senators Portman and Cardin responded to the ACLU, writing, “Nothing in the bill restricts constitutionally protected free speech or limits criticism of Israel… it is narrowly targeted at commercial activity and is based on current law that has been constitutionally upheld.”
Let’s be clear: the right to express one’s point of view, no matter how contentious or odious, is a constitutionally protected right.
However, the attempt to expand the meaning of speech to include commercial transactions is a transparent maneuver to stop this particular piece of legislation that would bar economic discrimination against Israel.
According to Scholars for Middle East Peace, “Legal analysts have shown… the amendment only… prohibits actual commercial boycotts… The distinction between expression, which cannot be regulated, and commercial conduct, which can be, is vital.”
Furthermore, by describing the bill as McCarthyite, Waters is suggesting it involves unfair investigatory or accusatory methods in order to suppress opposition – otherwise he is simply misusing the term.
I am not sure if any of this is a result of Waters’ ignorance and inability to comprehend legislation and multi-syllable words, or if he is being deliberately dishonest. But when it comes to his reference to the “50-year-old occupation,” I am sure he is deliberately lying; as I have shown in the past, his issue (and that of his fellow BDS proponents) is with 1948 Israel proper.
Criminalizing boycotts is un-American and anti-democratic. Boycotts have always been accepted as a legitimate form of nonviolent protest in the United States. In 1955 and 1956, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., incited by the protest of Rosa Parks and others, became one of the foremost civil rights struggles against segregation in the South.
This is a dishonest comparison. The bus boycotts targeted those responsible for discriminating against African-Americans, while BDS targets people who need have nothing to do with the alleged discriminatory practices – it targets all Israelis.
In these cases, progressives lauded these boycotters as champions of equality. So why do national lawmakers — including supposedly progressive Democrats — want to make an exception for those who support equal rights for Palestinians?
The issue really is not about equal rights for palestinians. It is about support for palestinian rights over those of Israelis, given BDS-holes, like Waters, really advocate for Israel’s destruction and a palestinian state set up in its place.
Pro-Israel groups have for years attempted to demonize supporters of B.D.S. — trust me, I know. I am currently in the middle of a 63-date tour of the United States and Canada. Audiences of tens of thousands are coming together at our “Us + Them” shows, which embrace love, compassion, cooperation and coexistence and encourage resistance to authoritarianism and proto-fascism. These appearances have been greeted by a few sporadic protests by right-wing supporters of Israel.
Waters complains about supporters of BDS being demonized, as he continually demonizes Israelis (and, when he slips up, Jews). Note also how he characterizes protesters as “right-wing”. Not everyone who objects to Waters’ antisemitism is “right-wing” at all.
These protests would be of no consequence, if they did not occasionally have truly negative consequences. For instance, the city of Miami Beach prevented a group of school children from appearing onstage with me after pressure from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. I understand that city officials have a democratic right to disagree with my opinions, but I was shocked that they were willing to take it out on kids.
Oh please. BDS is “taking it out” on all Israelis – including the youth and kids when you consider the acts they have pressured to cancel concerts here.
So once again we see Roger Waters making a mockery of the truth. And the New York Times is there to provide him with the platform.
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