Washington Free Beacon: Congress Hosts First Israel Boycott Forum

The Washington Free Beacon reported Monday that opponents of the State of Israel are scheduled to gather Friday on Capitol Hill for the first congressional forum dedicated to expanding the Left’s economic war on Israel that operates through the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement:

The event is being sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a pro-BDS organization that recently came under fire when it hosted a Democratic member of Congress who referred to Israeli settlers as “termites.”

Senior congressional sources with knowledge of the event told the Washington Free Beacon that the Capitol Hill office in charge of reserving the event room would not disclose the name of the lawmaker sponsoring the event.

The event is being billed by BDS supporters as the “First Pro-BDS Capitol Hill Briefing” in history, according to an invitation to the event obtained by the Free Beacon.

“This briefing will offer Capitol Hill its first opportunity to hear directly from Americans who support BDS and organize BDS campaigns,” the invitation states.

The forum is sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. In July, supporter of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Rep. Hank Johnson (D.-Ga.) said at one of their events that Israeli settlers were “termites” that get into a home and start eating before anyone knows they are there and only get exposed when the home collapses.

Congressional staffers told the Free Beacon that the actual member of Congress who sponsored the event has not been released, but supporters of Israel are working to find out who it was.

In addition to the Capitol Hill event Friday, the campaign plans a conference open to the public, “Which Side Are You On,” Oct. 14 through Oct. 17 in the Washington suburb of Arlington.

The last day of the conference is slated as a “Lobby Day,” when anti-Israeli activists will climb Capitol Hill and make their case to congressmen and senators.

The movement against the Jewish State is similar to efforts to stop Nestle from selling baby formula in Africa or the effort to divest from South Africa that contributed to the downfall of the apartheid system and white-minority control in that country.

According to the BDS  website: “The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”

The movement has been very successful in Europe and is gaining steam in the United States. Examples of its success in Europe are the decision by the Portuguese government to end the partnership between its law enforcement and Israeli law enforcement and the dozens of Spanish cities that have now disengaged the dealings with Israel.

On another front, there is a cultural war against the State of Israel led by artists like 1970s pop star Brian Eno. Eno encouraged protests in Italy against the tour by the Israel dance company Batsheva. The company is the project of choreographer Ohad Naharin, who invented the “Gaga” dance vocabulary.

In an open letter to the dancers, Eno explained that in the war against Israel, artists are not exempt:

I am trying to understand the difficulties that must face any Israeli artist now – and in particular ones like yourselves who have shown some sympathy to the Palestinian cause. I feel that your government exploits artists like you, playing on your natural desire to keep working — even if it does mean becoming part of a propaganda strategy. Your dance company might not be able to formally distance itself from the Israeli government but I can and will: I don’t want my music to be licensed for any event sponsored by the Israeli embassy.

I discussed this with my friend Ohal, an Israeli artist and another supporter of BDS, and I know that she and her Israeli BDS colleagues can understand the need for a boycott. As artists we should be free to choose to respond to the injustices of governments, yours or mine.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Eno

Other boycott fronts are academic, among trade unions, and college student governments.


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