Poland and “Israel” are currently butting heads over Warsaw’s new law which forbids the use of the phrase “Polish death camps”, while also criminalising the denial of Ukrainian fascist crimes against humanity during the 1940s. Tel Aviv has slammed the law, as “Israel” preposterously seeks to blame Poland for the crimes of the occupying Hitler regime, that illegally constructed death camps on Polish soil. Most absurdly, some are saying that the Polish law constitutes “denial of the Holocaust”, even though the law does no such thing. In reality, the Polish law, simply seeks to protect Polish dignity against charges that Hitler’s Holocaust had anything to do with the Polish people, who themselves were victims of Hitler’s aggression.
But while Europe is embroiled in debates over the Polish law and while European free speech advocates continue to oppose any laws banning the denial of the Holocaust and other atrocities like the Armenian Genocide, the United States has quietly passed many laws at a state level which attempt to use government sanctioned economic blackmail to censor the present and control peaceful discourse for the foreseeable future.
Several US states, beginning with South Carolina where current US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was Governor, have passed laws saying that any individual or business that supports the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which encourages the boycotting of the “Israeli” economy, will not be allowed to sign contracts for work with governmental bodies.
In reality, this would manifest in the following way: Jim owns a paving company. Jim also is a supporter of BDS. Jim’s contract to pave highways for the state of South Carolina has been terminated based on his support of BDS. If that doesn’t sound bizarre enough, questions of enforcement are also dubious. If someone who has never heard of BDS but has never bought an “Israeli” product because he doesn’t find them useful – is he subject to sanctions under these laws? What about an artist who was invited to perform in Tel Aviv, but decided not to do so because it was not economically viable to his musical tour – is he too guilty? What about someone who openly supports BDS, but accidentally buys a product with “Israel” made components? Is he in violation of the law, or has he been redeemed? Finally, what about someone who likes a BDS Facebook page not knowing what it is but has no opinion whatsoever about Israel and Palestine – what is his position under the new Draconian law? The madness of this legislation’s inability to be accurately enforced is as blatantly offensive as the very concept behind the laws.
Far from being an isolated pet-law for Nikki Haley, 24 of 50 US states have passed similar legislation. At the same time, Federal legislators in the US are attempting to pass anti-BDS laws that would cover interstate commerce.
The very notion that local, state and possibly federal government in the US should instigate its own boycott of American citizens and American businesses, in order to please and effectively serve the “Israeli” regime is unconscionable. There is nothing violent, racist or discriminatory about BDS as it targets a regime rather than any self-identifying group of individuals in the US or elsewhere. The anti-BDS laws of US politicians like Zionist fanatic Nikki Haley, are a disgrace to both the US tradition of free enterprise and to the First Amendment of the US, guaranteeing free speech of all individuals in the US. Anti-BDS laws could also violate various federal and state civil rights acts which prohibit the discrimination of Americans based not only on their race, ethnicity, religion and gender, but also on the bases of their peaceful political beliefs or membership in a labour union.
It beggars belief that these draconian laws which effect people’s ability to speak out and peacefully boycott based on events in the present are ignored by the mainstream media, while European laws concerning speech on the past continue to make headlines. While I personally find it absurd to deny any past atrocity, I find it equally absurd that people think censorship of heterodox views on the past will somehow change the past. No offensive remark about the past will kill someone in the past, anymore than a positive remark could revive someone who has already been killed. A child could understand these concepts which many politicians pretend to be oblivious to. Furthermore, there has never been any scientific evidence that holding heterodox views of the past automatically makes a society ‘repeat history’. In any case, there is no push for a new Holocaust or a new Armenian Genocide, even in countries where one can legally deny the existence of both atrocities.
But the American anti-BDS laws are not only absurd, they are in fact dangerous. The anti-BDS laws are harmful to those living in the present day. First of all, the law is harmful to Palestinians who themselves founded and created BDS in 2005. It is furthermore, harmful to the apolitical Palestinian children whose lives could be saved if the BDS movement grows, thus shinning a light on the reprehensible behaviour of the “Israeli” regime, just as boycotts of the Apartheid South African regime helped shine a light on the racist attitude of the former regime in Pretoria. Finally, these laws are harmful to the small businessman, the freelancer and the worker who wants to get an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, but without compromising his or her integrity.
There has been some good news however, an American judge has just ruled that an anti-BDS law in the US state of Kansas is unconstitutional. As legal expert Glenn Greenwald reports,
“A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that a Kansas law designed to punish people who boycott Israel is an unconstitutional denial of free speech. The ruling is a significant victory for free speech rights because the global campaign to criminalize, or otherwise legally outlaw, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement has been spreading rapidly in numerous political and academic centers in the U.S. This judicial decision definitively declares those efforts — when they manifest in the U.S. — to be a direct infringement of basic First Amendment rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution”.
Because this was a federal ruling, it gives hope that a precedent will be set that will eventually strike down similar BDS laws in other states, while forcing US Congressmen and Senators to think twice about putting “Israel” first and America last.