The ACLU's Shameful Role in Promoting Antisemitism

By falsely portraying state anti-BDS laws as requiring "loyalty oaths," the ACLU is appealing to latent and blatant antisemitism.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

There is perhaps no more guilty party in the current wave of antisemitic attacks on pro-Israel Americans than the American Civil Liberties Union.

To understand why, one first has to understand that the essence of modern antisemitism is not so much hostility to Jews as individuals, but a conspiracy theory in which Jews, collectively, exercise hidden power over events for the benefit of Jews at the expense of everyone else.

Given this essence of antisemitism, people and organizations who make false or wildly exaggerated statements about the doings of the "Israel Lobby" are contributing to antisemitism, regardless of whether they have any personal animus toward Jews. Consider, for example, those who have made the not-just-wrong-but-utterly-wacky claim that the lobby (a) somehow managed to persuade George Bush, Dick Cheney, 3/4 of the Senate, most of the House of Representatives, and so on, against their better judgement that going to war with Iraq was a good idea, and (b) that the lobby did so on behalf of Israel's interests. These folks are giving aid and comfort to antisemites, regardless of their feelings about Jews. Indeed, but for the latent idea that Jews are disloyal to the U.S. and have special power to pervert national agendas to their own agenda, no one would take this conspiracy theory seriously.

Let's turn to the ACLU. Various states have passed legislation that bans their state governments from contracting with businesses that refuse to do business with Israeli-affiliated institutions and individuals. This could be anyone from the Israeli government itself to American students who study in Israel, and everything in between. These laws are controversial as many people think that political boycotts of this sort shouldn't be penalized in any way by the government. The other side argues that first of all it's quite rich for boycotters to complain about being boycotted, and second that the boycott movement against Israel is both in its origins and in its practical effects antisemitic, making them in effect an adjunct of antidiscrimination laws. We need not resolve that debate here, but simply to note that the ACLU takes the side of the laws' opponents, and has launched both a litigation and public relations campaign against the laws. (I've explained why the ACLU's legal arguments are wrong here.)

There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but there is something wrong with the ACLU publicly arguing that when states require contractors to sign a certification that they do not boycott Israel-related entities, that the contractors are being forced to sign a "loyalty oath" to Israel.

Here are just a few examples:

ACLU political director Faiz Shakir: "And if a state is going to say that we're not going to do business with an American citizen because they refuse to take a loyalty oath, for example, the courts have struck that down."

The ACLU blog reprinting an article stating that the law requires "a loyalty oath to the state of Israel before he can be paid."

An ACLU blog entry: "That means [the government] cannot impose ideological litmus tests or loyalty oaths as a condition on hiring or contracting. This principle was famously tested in the McCarthy era, when many state laws required government employees to declare they were not members of the Communist Party or other "subversive groups" in order to keep their jobs. The ACLU successfully challenged many of those laws on constitutional grounds, and anti-Communist loyalty tests have been mostly relegated to the dustbin of history. The same rule applies when the government asks someone to certify that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel."

ACLU brief in Koontz v. Waston: "There is no plausible justification for … the loyalty oath."

This is complete nonsense. Contractors certifying that their businesses don't boycott Israel-related entities is no more a "loyalty oath" to Israel than certifying that they don't refuse to deal with black or gay or women-owned business, or or that they will deal only with unionized businesses, is a "loyalty oath" to blacks, gays, women, or unions. Contractors who sign anti-boycott certifications are free to boycott Israel and related entities in their personal lives, and they and their businesses are free to donate to anti-Israel candidates and causes, and even to publicly advocate for BDS.

To further illustrate, let's compare a typical McCarthy-era loyalty oath to the certification contractors are being asked to sign.

Here's California 1950s loyalty oath for state employees:

I further swear (or affirm) that I do not advise, advocate or teach, and have not within the period beginning five (5) years prior to the effective date of the ordinance requiring the making of this oath or affirmation, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means, of the Government of the United States of America or of the State of California and that I am not now and have not, within said period, been or become a member of or affiliated with any group, society, association, organization or party which advises, advocates or teaches, or has, within said period, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means of the Government of the United States of America, or of the State of California. I further swear (or affirm) that I will not, while I am in the service of the City of Los Angeles, advise, advocate or teach, or be or become a member of or affiliated with any group, association, society, organization or party which advises, advocates or teaches, or has within said period, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means, of the Government of the United States of America or of the State of California . . .

This is nothing like merely signing a certification that your business does not boycott those doing business with or in Israel. It's also worth noting that while the anti-boycott legislation applies only to businesses contracting with the state, "loyalty oaths" were imposed on individual employees.

By spreading the false meme that no-boycott certifications amount to not just loyalty oaths, but loyalty oaths to a foreign government the ACLU has spread the canard that the pro-Israel (read, overwhelmingly Jewish) organizations and their members want to use the force of the state to require everyone to be "loyal" to Israel.

And this has indeed fueled antisemitic fires, and given credence to antisemitic statements like those Rep. Ilhan Omar regarding how Congress has been bought off to be loyal to Israel. I can't tell you how many times I've read in response to criticism of Omar's claim that American Jews are buying the government's loyalty to Israel, "she's right, what about the anti-BDS loyalty oaths?" For example, here is Paul Waldman in the Washington Post arguing that Omar has been "unfairly smeared," and pointing to imaginary state laws that "literally" require contractors to "pledge [their] loyalty to Israel."

Some commentators, meanwhile, have taken the ACLU's exaggerations and upped the ante. Andrew Sullivan, for example, recently portrayed a federal bill permitting states to refuse to deal with contractors who boycott those doing business with or in Israel entities as a bill that would have "made it illegal for any American to boycott goods from the West Bank, without suffering real economic consequences from their own government."

I understand that ACLU lawyers have a responsibility to their clients to win the p.r. war to help with its legal battle, but the organization has disgraced itself by using the "loyalty oath" canard that it had to know would play on latent and blatant antisemitic sentiment. The real shame is that I don't think that the poobahs at the ACLU care.

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329 responses to “The ACLU's Shameful Role in Promoting Antisemitism

  1. They are just living up to their purpose;
    Anti Christian Lawsuit Union.

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    3. No doubt you believe that this is a Christian country

      1. There isn’t, and can’t be, any such thing as a “Christian country”. But it is a country with a lot of Christians in it.

  2. A lot of obfuscation going on here, David.

    Contractors certifying that their businesses don’t boycott Israel-related entities is no more a “loyalty oath” to Israel than certifying that they don’t refuse to deal with black or gay or women-owned business or nonunion businesses is a “loyalty oath” to blacks, gays, women, or unions.

    This is true only if one were to take for granted that engaging in an anti-Israel boycott is not, in itself, a valid expression of political speech. Which, admittedly, is something you have rejected. But if it is the case that BDS is a valid expression of political speech, then certainly a certification that a company is not engaged in BDS is distinguishable from the other hypothetical certifications you cite, which would not relate to any particular political view. In other words, if engaging in BDS is political speech, then being required to certify that you are not engaged in BDS is tantamount to compelled political speech – i.e., taking a “loyalty oath.” So the comparison holds.

    And I would think that most libertarians, not otherwise invested in promoting Israeli interests, would hold that, in any free society, companies should generally be free to take political positions by boycotting companies with ties to illiberal, corrupt regimes guilty of violating human rights and international law.

    1. “not otherwise invested in promoting Israeli interests”

      Dual loyalty smear alert!

      1. You’re free to explain why libertarians would support using state power to force companies to do business with counterparties they’d rather not engage.

        1. So are you claiming that Israel engages in human rights abuses and is a ‘corrupt regime’?

          1. Yep, but feel free to check with the Israel AG if you have your doubts.

            1. No. Israel is a great country just trying to live peacefully. Unfortunately, they are surrounded by bloodthirsty Muslims ipunimterested in peaceful coexistence. As a progressive, you favor the murderous Muslims instead of the peace loving Jews.

              Typical.

              1. So, anyone who notices that Israel does some wretched things is a Muslim-favoring progressive anti-Semite, to combine your claim and Pref Bernstein’s? It’s just impossible to take note of anything bad Israel does, without loving the Muslims and hating the Jews?

                What a dreadful world you choose to live in.

        2. Nobody is forcing them to refrain from the boycott. They’re simply being told that they can’t expect government contracts if they do.

          1. Right, they’re just conditioning government contracts upon rejecting BDS, an explicitly political statement.

            That’s – ahem – unconstitutional, but I don’t expect you to know anything about that.

            1. No, they could buy billboards all over the country praising BDS, contribute to the organization’s coffers, run TV ads in favor of BDS, and still qualify.They can speak in favor of BDS all they like.

              The only thing that disqualifies them from government contracts is taking part in the boycott themselves.

              It’s the speech/action dichotomy.

              1. Bingo.

              2. You’re right that there is, in First Amendment jurisprudence, this thing called the “speech/action dichotomy.” You’re wrong to apply it in a way that treats actions as somehow independently discernible from speech.

                The first thing to notice, about the “speech/action dichotomy,” is that it is false. All speech is also action, so the point of the dichotomy isn’t to say that there are some things we call “actions” that are regulable, and then other things we call “speech” that are not. Rather, it’s to point to how we distinguish between the two.

                And how do we do it? We look to the action, to see whether it is intended to carry signifying content, and whether it would be reasonably understood by an observer to carry such content.

                Once this is understood, BDS is clearly cognizable as “speech.” It may consist of conduct, but it is conduct motivated by an intent to convey a political message, and it is understood by observers to carry precisely that message. Indeed, that is exactly why legislators are trying to require these anti-BDS certifications. They are not concerned that Israel is being unfairly discriminated against or might suffer economically. They care about the message that BDS sends, and the message that anti-BDS certifications affirm.

                1. Bingo.

                2. All speech is action. Not all action is speech.

                  I can SAY we should steal the money from the rich and give it to the poor. And that’s fine.

                  If I ACTUALLY steal the money from the rich, it’s a crime, and you go to jail. Even if I give it to the poor.

                  1. All speech is action. Not all action is speech.

                    Yeah, I can’t dumb it down any further for you. Sorry, bud.

                    1. You can’t dumb it down because you’re wrong.

                      Speech is a type of action. Not all action is speech.

                      An orange is a type of fruit. Not all fruits are oranges.

                      This is simple stuff.

                      If I close a book, that’s not speech. If I drive a car, that’s not speech. But they are actions.

                      Likewise, an orange is a fruit. A grape is a fruit. But a grape is not an orange, even if it’s a fruit.

                      Feel free to explain otherwise.

                    2. I just read Simon’s comments again. He never said all action is speech. He said all speech is action. He said some action is speech. Exactly what you said, without all the fruit references.

                    3. No, Simon just confused over the difference between speech (a specific subset of action) and action (the set of actions excluding speech).
                      It’s the same as referring to “speech” when discussing writing. Common usage, with a long and clear history.

                      This sort of thing is clear from the usage, context, and logic. The odd off-topic semantic needle threading seems to serve no purpose, as the speech/action dichotomy in law is clearly understood with specific meaning. Making arguments otherwise is… pointless.

                    4. The odd off-topic semantic needle threading seems to serve no purpose, as the speech/action dichotomy in law is clearly understood with specific meaning.

                      I just described how the distinction is drawn, legally speaking. It’s not “semantic needle threading.” It’s how the law works.

                      Fucking morons.

                    5. “Speech is a type of action. Not all action is speech.”

                      “Actions speak louder than words.”

                      Discuss among yourselves.

                  2. “If I ACTUALLY steal the money from the rich, it’s a crime, and you go to jail”

                    That’s not how it works, no matter how well connected you are.

                3. “BDS is clearly cognizable as “speech.” It may consist of conduct, but it is conduct motivated by an intent to convey a political message, and it is understood by observers to carry precisely that message.”

                  Since that’s basically my position on the cake-baker case, I don’t think I could argue against your point here. The only difference is that it should cover actions may not be political but philosophical or religious. (I turn my king over).

            2. You’re against anti-discrimination laws then? This is just anti-discrimination against Israel. And it’s not even a prohibition on discrimination, just a requirement of nondescrimination to be awarded government contracts.

              1. Well, I’m certainly against anti-discrimination laws. I think Goldwater was exactly right about the 1964 Civil rights act: Private discrimination is, properly, beyond the government’s reach, so long as it doesn’t involve otherwise criminal acts.

                That Act was the first step down the “All that’s not forbidden is mandatory” road, which we’ve traveled a long ways down since then. We need to regain the understanding that you can disapprove of something without trying to make it illegal.

                Oh, and I hate shoehorning all liberty into freedom of speech. If there’s a problem with anti-BDS laws, it isn’t that it violates freedom of speech, it’s that it violates economic liberty.

            3. Simon, you should never condescend to anyone. You’re embarrassing yourself when you try.

            4. Simon, you should never condescend to anyone. You’re embarrassing yourself when you try.

        3. These laws ? unlike, say, traditional anti-discrimination laws ? don’t force anyone to do business with anyone.

          1. If you certify that you aren’t boycotting Israel or products of Israelis, you’re swearing that you DO, in fact, do business with at least one of these entities. You get to pick which one, but you don’t get to pick “none of the above”.

            1. Either that, or you can’t be a business which officially espouses a boycott. And how would that not be viewpoint discrimination on the part of the state government?

              1. Either that, or you can’t be a business which officially espouses a boycott. And how would that not be viewpoint discrimination on the part of the state government?

                No; under these laws, if applicable to you at all, you can’t be a business that participates in a boycott. It is free to espouse a boycott.

                One can say, “Hello, world. Nobody should do business with Israel. Of all the countries in the world, everyone should single out Israel, while ignoring Venezuela and China and the Philippines and Saudi Arabia and a host of others. P.S., I am not an anti-semite even though I obviously am.” Hell, one can advocate nuking Israel if one wants. One just can’t engage in a boycott of the country.

            2. If you certify that you aren’t boycotting Israel or products of Israelis, you’re swearing that you DO, in fact, do business with at least one of these entities.

              Both wrong and misses the point I was making. It’s wrong because it’s the fallacy of the excluded middle. I will certify, here and now, that I am not engaged in a boycott of products from Namibia. But I will also swear, here and now, that I do not, in fact, do business with any entity from Namibia. It misses the point because these laws do not forbid entities from boycotting Israel; such boycotts remain legal.

              1. “One just can’t engage in a boycott of the country.”

                Yes, and my point is what exactly does that mean? How do you prove that you aren’t engaging in a boycott of Israel? Suppose you just happen to not have any business with Israel or Israel-affiliated businesses? Must you be actively doing business with Israel to get a state contract? How would one know you are boycotting Israel unless you say that you are?

                And if the answer is that you have to sign a statement saying you aren’t, how is that not viewpoint discrimination? You are certifying that you don’t espouse a boycott of Israel.

    2. And so they are, these anti-BDS laws simply declare that, if you do so, don’t expect to be doing business with the government.

      1. Right. And when Cuomo wanted to do something similar with respect to guns rights groups, your conclusion was…?

        1. You mean, setting aside that gun rights are actually found in the Constitution?

          Cuomo wants the state to enforce a boycott, in this case the government is refusing to do business with companies engaging in a boycott. So, 180 degrees opposite.

          1. How did Cuomo’s actions impact “gun rights?”

            1. They essentially led to the de-banking and de-insuring of the largest gun rights advocacy organization, forcing them to use their cash reserves in order to not go bankrupt. NYC is the center of the American banking industry, and banks large enough to take on the payroll and underwriting needs of the NRA, by necessity, have a presence in the NY State.

              It’s so egregious, that even the ACLU joined the NRA to sue Cuomo on the issue.

              1. So you’re talking about free speech rights, no?

                1. If you’re trying to lead me to some conclusion you’re trying to make, I’m not buying. Please just state your point clearly.

                  That said, if you think that de-banking and de-insuring the NRA doesn’t have large secondary effects on gun rights, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

                  1. Hey, buddy, you’re the one who came into this thread swinging. If you don’t understand how your point was non-responsive to the point I was making, then I’m not going to sit here and patiently spell it out for you. Learn to read.

                    1. So, do YOU understand the difference between coercing financial institutions into boycotting a legal organization under threat of abusive regulatory action, and refusing to contract with institutions that take part in a boycott?

                      One is, literally, the exact opposite of the other.

                    2. It’s only the exact opposite in the sense that you agree with one and disagree with the other. They are both government coercion of a private entity because government disagrees with speech/expressive action of said private entity.

                    3. So, do YOU understand the difference between…

                      Well, I do understand the difference between conditioning government contracts upon private businesses and employees’ certifying that they do not engage in certain legal, constitutionally-protected action, on the grounds that the government disagrees with such action, and “threatening” to enforce state laws against certain regulated contracts.

    3. This is true only if one were to take for granted that engaging in an anti-Israel boycott is not, in itself, a valid expression of political speech.

      But that is true. By its very definition, an economic boycott goes beyond speech into the arm twisting of economic harm.

      Most anti-discrimination relies on that not being pure speech, or most racial and gender anti-discrimination laws could not be passed. Keeping certain people out of your lunch counter is pure speech about how you don’t like them.

      Doesn’t work, does it?

      1. It works, as long as you don’t bend facts and logic to suit your desired conclusion.

        People who segregated their establishments weren’t making some political statement about the separation of races. They were just discriminating. That’s not what BDS supporters are doing.

        1. People who segregated their establishments weren’t making some political statement about the separation of races

          Not sure how you conclude this as separate from “just discriminating”, especially in your context of bending facts and logic to support a foregone conclusion.

          I’m not defending discrimination. I just like mocking the “tangled web we weave” aspect of it.

        2. “segregated their establishments weren’t making some political statement”

          You define “political” so as to support your position only.

          Jim Crow was certainly “political”. Hence the need for voting rights laws.

          1. Bob gets it. This is how SimonP rolls.

        3. So discriminating against Israel connected persons or companies is not discrimination but just speach. Glad you cleared that up.

    4. So you have a first amendment right to boycott Israel, unless of course Israel wants you to bake a cake for them, then you have to bake it.

      1. Let’s be less fantastical about this.

        Say you’re a cake baker. You could put up one of two signs:

        1) “We don’t do business with Jews.”

        2) “We don’t do business with people who support the current Israeli regime’s policies with respect to Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.”

        I would say that (1) is clearly and appropriately proscribed by anti-discrimination laws that a person’s First Amendment rights shouldn’t exempt them from. I would say that (2) might be an example of discrimination on the basis of political viewpoint, which may or may not be proscribed by applicable laws, but would in any case be a genuine expression of your First Amendment right of free speech and entitled to protection thereunder.

        You seem to think they ought to be equally proscribable from a First Amendment perspective. Why?

        1. Because they are both view point speech.

          1. So you have half a thought there. Good job! Let’s try for a whole thought next time!

            1. Oh, I had forgotten your argument style.

              Into the Kirkland pile you go.

              1. You conservatards get real uppity when people don’t fall for your rope-a-dope routine, don’t you?

                1. You’re a progtard. So of course you’re incapable of seeing reason. Your kind also have no moral compass.

        2. Whatever is not forbidden is compulsory.

          Boycotting Israel is a First Amendment right and cannot be infringed.

          Choosing which types of weddings to cater is illegal discrimination and is not protected by the First Amendment.

          1. You know what? I’d agree that the government shouldn’t punish people who boycott Israel. I think boycotting Israel is the economic product of some pretty scurrilous ideas, but, hey, antisemitic bigots have rights, too. (I exempt from my ire anyone who boycotts both Israel AND the Palestinians, in a “pox on both your houses” spirit. They’re idiots, but possibly well meaning, unlike the BDS

            What I won’t agree is that the government punishing boycotting Israel, (Accepting purely for the sake of argument that refusing to contract with a company is a punishment.) is an infringement of the right to free speech.

            We have more rights than just freedom of speech. Punishing boycotts is a violation of economic liberties, not freedom of speech.

          2. What if it’s an Israeli wedding. What then?

            1. Shout “Mazel Tov!” a lot.

        3. 1. We don’t do business with black people
          2. We don’t do business with people who support black people’s right to vote.

          What’s the difference, in your opinion? (BTW, both are horrible).

          1. “1. We don’t do business with black people
            2. We don’t do business with people who support black people’s right to vote.
            What’s the difference, in your opinion?”

            One is a discrimination based on what people ARE, and the other is a discrimination based on what people DO.

            1. Try discriminating against people based on the second one and see what happens.

              1. Ah, did the reference just whiz past your head without even stopping to say hi? That’s the argument offered by (some) people who want to discriminate against gay people.

        4. Your dichotomy is interesting, but it is misleading if you are trying to draw a clear analogy to the cake baker incident.

          To use the actual issues from the cake baker case, the baker’s sign should say that he would be glad to sell bakery products to Jews, but he would not bake a cake that specifically celebrated, say, a Jewish wedding.Then my fiancee and I would take our business elsewhere, and of course we would never use that baker in the future for any type of product.

          You are advocating that a statute should have precedence over a constitutionally guaranteed right, but speech should have (and generally does have) /special/ protection — which is why you are correct on the BDS thing.

    5. You appear to have that ass-backwards Simon.

      Just as a Christian company like Chick-Fil-A can be required to certify that they do not discriminate against GLBT while the owners privately privately support anti-SSM; so too companies can be required to certify that they do not discriminate against Israel while the owners privately support BDS. In both cases the government can require companies doing business with government do not discriminate.

      1. What if they boycott Israel for its gay-friendly policies? Is that protected by the First Amendment?

      2. Israel is a protected class?

        1. If a state makes it one, yes. (“Protected class” is not an inherent thing; it’s defined by statute.)

          1. Understood, I just meant currently. IMHO it seems much easier to justify legally banning discrimination against a protected class of persons within the U.S. versus a foreign country.

      3. “Just as a Christian company like Chick-Fil-A can be required to certify that they do not discriminate against GLBT”

        I don’t think this is correct. If the state has added GLBT to their anti-discrimination statute, then a business can be punished for discriminating against GLBT people. However, I don’t know that it follows from this fact that they can be required to certify anything about GLBT people, individually or collectively.

      4. FlameCCT: “Just as a Christian company like Chick-Fil-A can be required to certify that they do not discriminate against GLBT…. ”

        Not to completely get in the way of your argument, but I don’t believe they can be required to do any such thing. If they were charged by a gay person with having discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation, the person doing the charging would have to demonstrate that such a thing actually occurred, and Chick-Fil-A would then mount a spirited defense — which I guess would be a kind of “certifying.”

  3. If BDS is a valid expression of political speech, then so is boycotting same-sex weddings, refusing to integrate your restaurant and so on. A quite plausible position, imho, but not the ACLU’s position. If the ACLU said, “civil rights laws are generally exempt from free speech concerns BUT if someone truly has a *political* objection to obeying them, then we think this should be protected, then they’d be intellectual consistent.

    I don’t think it’s entirely coincidental that several high-level ACLU officials have tweeted their personal support for BDS.

    1. And regardless, it’s still not a “loyalty oath.”

      1. (1) People defended Ilhan Omar by saying the charge of antisemitism was being used to smear criticism of Israeli policies. Wrong. You can speak against those policies without using historical anti-Jewish dog whistles, just like Trump doesn’t need to use the weighted term “globalist” against Soros. Yes, the charge of antisemitism is frequently misused as a partisan tool – we see that happen in this forum – but that wasn’t the case with Omar. She earned the commendation she received.

        (2) The ACLU’s criticism of anti-BDS laws is not anti-Semitic until Bernstein shows us anything which suggests otherwise. He doesn’t in the post above, despite flinging around the charge of antisemitism with his usual zeal & abandon. Talk of a “loyalty oath” may be exaggeration or rhetorical excess, but that doesn’t make it antisemitism. It would be nice if people couldn’t excuse real antisemitism by pointing to phony accusations, where the charge is made for mere political effect.

        (3) Professor Bernstein still says the BDS movement – with its scores of different organizations & groups – tens of thousands of adherents – “must” be anti-Semitic because of something said at one conference almost twenty years ago. That Bernstein relies on such a crude phony “proof” to deny the BDS movement is about Israeli policy suggests the opposite is true.

        1. The BDS’s central motive is the “Right of Return” which is designed to destroy the Jewish people in Israel.

          That’s what makes it antisemitic

        2. I’m not sure I completely agree with Prof. Bernstein here, but he is very careful in his wording. He says the ACLU is “promoting” and “playing into” anti-Semitism, he does not say that the ACLU is anti-Semitic.

          1. I think David is as guilty of calling the ACLU anti-Semitic as the ACLU is guilty of “promoting” anti-Semitism.

            1. If I understand you correctly that it is not guilty on both counts, then I agree!

    2. If BDS is a valid expression of political speech, then so is boycotting same-sex weddings, refusing to integrate your restaurant and so on.

      First, BDS isn’t about discriminating against Israel-qua-Israel, or about discriminating against Jews-as-Jews. (I realize there is such a thing as anti-Semitic BDS, which I reject as unacceptable; it is only non-anti-Semitic BDS that I am “defending” here.) BDS is about taking a political position on the current Israeli government’s approach to the Palestinian issue, effected through specific economic decisions. In this it is similar to decisions we make all the time about what corporate practices we choose to support in our daily economic decisions.

      Second, you’re ignoring the “public accommodations” rationale that supports anti-discriminatory laws and whatever exception they may continue to enjoy these days. We didn’t ban anti-black discrimination in hotels and restaurants because we were outlawing anti-black views from public expression; we banned them because of the broader social impact those decisions had. That is why we will soon need to do something about RFRA-like rights being invoked by pharmacists, doctors, and other providers who refuse to treat LGBT people or provide access to contraception. The case is less compelling when it comes to wedding vendors, but the rationale is the same.

      1. “BDS is about taking a political position on the current Israeli government’s approach to the Palestinian issue.” No it’s not. The BDS movement was started in 2001, at the antisemitic Durban conference. Israel had just offered the Palestinians two deals, at Camp David and Taba, within int’t parameters. Arafat rejected them both, launching the Second Intifada instead. The BDS movement, in other words, was launched as an adjunct of a terrorist war against Israel and in opposition to a two-state solution. Now it’s true that there may be individuals who want their businesses to boycott Israel for reasons of personal conscience that have nothing to do with the organized BDS movement. But let’s not pretend, as all-too-many reporters reporting on this have, that the organized movement encompassing the vast majority of boycotters is about “current Israeli policy.”

        Imagine, for example, an organized Nazi-led movement was boycotting the British circa 1939. And states passed laws stating they would contract with those boycotting Britain. This would have, for example, impacted Irish nationalists who wanted to boycott Britain for reasons other than trying to help the Nazis. But it would be foolish to pretend that the laws were aimed at Irish nationalists, rather than at Nazi sympathizers trying to destroy the UK.

        1. “The BDS movement was started in 2001, at the antisemitic Durban conference.”

          Yes, there can be no “non-anti-Semitic BDS” because the entire movement is about Jew hating.

          1. The ease with which people join up is a bit concerning.

            Similarly, hard socialism and communism are not about useful idiots being brought on board so the dictators have an increased support network for their kleptocracy.

            Even though billions around the world continue to suffer exactly that.

            1. Your link to socialism is interesting.

              Following the 1967 war, in which Israel was attacked by neighbors and properly defended itself, it decided that the best way to defend itself from similar attacks in the future was to occupy and control the neighboring lands, so would-be attackers would have to go through the occupied territories first, in order to reach Israel itself.

              This is pretty much the same approach that Russia took following WWII. To make sure the Allies didn’t invade Russia, they kept the eastern-European client-states as a buffer.

              In either case, a fairly reasonable approach by the previously-invaded country to protect itself, but not-so-great with regard to the freedom and self-determination of the territory occupied.

              Russia eventually let the client-states go free, even the part of Germany they kept after the war. They even let go of the Baltic states and the central asian republiks, and most of Ukraine.

        2. And this is exactly like arguing that because Margaret Sanger was pro-eugenics, every current supporter of Planned Parenthood must be too. Which is absurd.

          1. Considering someone doesn’t have to affiliate with Planned Parenthood, no, it isn’t an absurd comparison at all. Guilt by association is perfectly valid when you’re voluntarily associating with a questionable group, hence the name. Guilt by association is a fallacy when it’s falsely attributed, not when it’s a legitimate observation about the continued nature of a group.

            1. Right, all Americans are pro-slavery. It’s guilt by association and origin, you see.

        3. Genetic fallacy. Moving on.

        4. But let’s not pretend, as all-too-many reporters reporting on this have, that the organized movement encompassing the vast majority of boycotters is about “current Israeli policy.”

          It’s about the current Israeli policy of existing.

        5. Prof. Bernstein, that may all be true, but do the state laws in question direct state governments not to award contracts to businesses who specifically support BDS, or businesses who are boycotting Israel for any reason? If it is the latter, than your history of BDS wouldn’t appear to be relevant. After all, that would be a “basket of deplorables” argument.

          1. I think if the laws focused on the motivation behind the boycott that might in fact be viewpoint discrimination and unconstitutional

          2. I think if the laws focused on the motivation behind the boycott that might in fact be viewpoint discrimination and unconstitutional

            1. Ah, interesting. I’ll have to mull that over. Thanks for the response!

      2. Correct.

        I don’t support BDS, but it could go away tomorrow with a change in Israeli policies. The objects of racial or anti-gay discrimination can’t change things.

        1. No it can’t, unless by “a change in Israeli policies” you mean Israel handing the keys to the Knesset over to Hamas and evacuating all the Jews to… well I’m not sure where.

          1. No it can’t, unless by “a change in Israeli policies” you mean Israel handing the keys to the Knesset over to Hamas and evacuating all the Jews to… well I’m not sure where.

            It’s amazing that even the mere suggestion of criticism of Israeli policies results in hyperbolic reaction from the author. His true colors really shine here.

            1. The unvarnished goal of the BDS movement is to destroy Israel. What’s really amazing is how often partisans of the Palestinian cause say “we want to destroy Israel,” and the reaction from progressives is, “cool, we also oppose the Netanyahu gov’t’s policies.” IMHO, one indisputable lesson from the 20th century is that when people say they want to engage in genocidal policies against Jews, we should believe them.

              1. From a tweet:

                This week in politics:

                Leftist antisemites: We’re going to rip off your Zio Jew-heads and crap down your Zio Jew-necks.

                Jewish “allies”: We hate Netanyahu, too! But maybe tone down the rhetoric slightly.

              2. The unvarnished goal of the BDS movement is to destroy Israel.

                I suspect you are over-generalizing. While there may be some BDS’ers who feel that way (and no doubt some who would like to destroy Israel were attracted by BDS) I doubt it’s fair to characterize all supporters that way.

                And whatever the ideas of some, I think there are in fact changes in Israeli policy which would vastly reduce support for BDS, so that it would cease to be meaningful.

                1. I agree that it’s the goal of the movement, not of all individuals who want to boycott. I already said as much. I predict that if Netanyahu loses the election, almost no one of the left who claimed their hostility to Netanyahu and his polices was the main source of their hostility to Israel will actually exhibit less hostility to Israel. But I hope I am proved wrong. (And I hope Netanyahu loses regardless).

                  1. I predict that if Netanyahu loses the election, almost no one of the left who claimed their hostility to Netanyahu and his polices was the main source of their hostility to Israel will actually exhibit less hostility to Israel.

                    If Gantz meaningfully reverses Israel’s policies on settlement building and fortification in the West Bank, pursues true legal equality for Israeli Arabs and other non-Jewish minorities, and plots a real path toward resolving the Palestinian issue (that doesn’t implicitly involve starving them to death and hoping they self-deport), then in my view it would be hard to seriously maintain support for any hostility towards Israel.

                    But, to be clear, I’m not sure there’s much chance of that actually happening. The most likely outcome seems to be a reversion to the status-quo-ante-Netanyahu, which was an unsustainably volatile “equilibrium” with some lip-service about a “two-state solution.”

                    1. “then in my view it would be hard to seriously maintain support for any hostility towards Israel.” And yet the BDS movement was launched after Israel had offered the Palestinians a state in two separate offers that even many high-level Palestinian negotiators (but not Arafat) though they should take. It’s almost as if the hostility isn’t actually about transient Israeli policy…

                    2. ” It’s almost as if the hostility isn’t actually about transient Israeli policy…”

                      The vibe you’re giving off is that it’s almost like you don’t want it to be.

                      The problem is that you want to argue the BDS arguments, but you don’t have anyone who will actually articulate them, so you have to supply them yourself.

                      Here’s the point of view of a neutral observer: Both sides of the conflict have behaved badly. Some individuals VERY badly, and some only slightly badly. I have sympathy for the people who got hosed because they happened to live near, and kind of look and sound like, the people who were behaving very badly.

                      I am anti-bad-behavior, whoever happens to be doing it. If you think that makes me an anti-Semite, well… that’s an outright confession on your part that the Semites are behaving badly.

                    3. “then in my view it would be hard to seriously maintain support for any hostility towards Israel.” And yet the BDS movement was launched after Israel had offered the Palestinians a state in two separate offers that even many high-level Palestinian negotiators (but not Arafat) though they should take. It’s almost as if the hostility isn’t actually about transient Israeli policy…

                    4. And yet the BDS movement was launched after Israel had offered the Palestinians a state in two separate offers that even many high-level Palestinian negotiators (but not Arafat) though they should take.

                      Again with the genetic fallacy.

                      I’m not pro-PLO. I recognize that they’re a corrupt, anti-democratic, and illiberal organization in their own right. Whole generations of Palestinian leadership have made bad decisions that impacted the course of their history. We need to figure out a way to deal with that, too.

                      But none of that changes my views on what Israel itself is doing, which is treating the OT like a prison camp. You can defend yourself from terrorism without arbitrarily detaining Palestinian men and boys, choking off the Palestinian economy, shooting unarmed civilians, seizing their land, prohibiting their free movement, etc.

                    5. Oh, please stop with the “prison camp.” Here are a couple of pics downtown Ramallah, for the P.A.’s website. Look like any “prison camp” you’ve ever seen? https://www.welcometopalestine.com/destinations

                      [delete spaces]

                      /ramallah-al-bireh/ramallah-city/

                      Same for Bethlehem, Jericho, etc.

                    6. Oh, please stop with the “prison camp.” Here are a couple of pics downtown Ramallah,…

                      I find it striking that you would (i) seek to prove your point about Ramallah not being in a “prison camp” by pointing me to a website designed to promote international tourism and (ii) do so even though the site itself cannot avoid mentioning the various ways Israel has made life hard in the OT.

                      From their link on “Getting in” to the West Bank:

                      There are many online forums and accounts of people who, upon mentioning their intentions to enter the West Bank, have endured hours of interrogation or been disallowed entry altogether and sent home. Whilst it is important to be aware of this, Welcome To Palestine recommends being honest about intentions to visit the West Bank when questioned at the border control in Ben Gurion airport or anywhere else. Don’t forget, entry to the West Bank for foreign nationals is legal and increasingly popular.

                      Doesn’t sound like a prison camp at all!

                    7. Further:

                      Both Palestinian territories ? the West Bank and Gaza ? are confined by a large, military separation wall which allows Israeli forces to control what, and who, goes in and out. If you wish to enter or exit either of the territories, be you foreign or Palestinian, you will first have to successfully pass through checkpoints controlled by the Israeli military. There are no direct flights to either the West Bank or Gaza. In 2000 the airport at Qalandia was closed for civilian travel and the Israeli Defence Forces took over control.

                      Sounds just like Trump’s “summer camp” for detainees at the border!

                    8. Gaza needs to STOP SHOOTING ROCKETS AT ISRAELI CIVILIANS. Until they stop that, Israel is completely justified in controlling Gaza’s borders, and stopping them from smuggling in more parts for Rockets to…shoot at Israeli civilians.

                      That what any responsible country should do for it’s civilians

                    9. Gaza needs to STOP SHOOTING ROCKETS AT ISRAELI CIVILIANS. Until they stop that, Israel is completely justified in controlling Gaza’s borders, and stopping them from smuggling in more parts for Rockets to…shoot at Israeli civilians.

                      They are doing far, far more than that in Gaza. They are exacting collective punishment on all Gazans.

                      If this were about stopping rockets, they would seek to boost the Gazan economy, find a political resolution to the Hamas/PLO split, and strike a different balance between zero tolerance for terrorist attacks and human rights. But as it is, Gaza is just some punching bag that Netanyahu returns every time he needs to show his constituency that he’s strong. He’s waiting for Gaza to die.

                    10. This is about stopping rockets. This is about stopping innocent Israeli civilians from dying, being injured, and the responsibility of the Israeli government towards protecting their citizens.

                      As long as Gaza continues to shoot rockets at innocent Israeli civilians, the blockade stays. To do otherwise would be folly, and just allow more rockets to be brought in, and more Israelis to die.

                      Hamas’s charter is the literal elimination of Israel from the face of the earth. That can’t be negotiated with. Israel has a right to exist. If you think otherwise…well…

                    11. If this were about stopping rockets, they would seek to boost the Gazan economy, find a political resolution to the Hamas/PLO split, and strike a different balance between zero tolerance for terrorist attacks and human rights.

                      You forgot “cure cancer,” “end global warming,” and “make nickelback’s music good” as long as you’re picking realistic things Israel can do to prove its bona fides to you.

                    12. “That what any responsible country should do for it’s civilians”

                      America should stop shooting people. Sign you up for gun confiscation?

                    13. You can do google images for any of the West Bank Palestinian cities, including Hebron outside the zone near where the Jews live and see that they are all normal cities with normal activities that don’t resemble prison camps in the least. If you actually care to know the truth.

                    14. You can do google images for any of the West Bank Palestinian cities, including Hebron outside the zone near where the Jews live…

                      *ahem* You mean the illegal settlements, right?

                      …and see that they are all normal cities with normal activities that don’t resemble prison camps in the least.

                      Right, just like summer camp. Totally normal, not-prison-camp cities, that you get to by traveling through military checkpoints and arbitrary border processing, just like any normal city.

                    15. “Both Palestinian territories ? the West Bank and Gaza ? are confined by a large, military separation wall which allows Israeli forces to control what, and who, goes in and out.”

                      Why is it so hard for people to remember that the Gaza has a border with Egypt?

                      I suppose because, if you want to call the Palestinians prisoners of the Israelis, it’s a bit inconvenient to notice that border.

                    16. “Why is it so hard for people to remember that the Gaza has a border with Egypt?
                      I suppose because, if you want to call the Palestinians prisoners of the Israelis, it’s a bit inconvenient to notice that border.”

                      East Germany had a border with West Germany, too, while the Russians wanted to keep them separated. North Korea has a border with South Korea.

                    17. Considering that these actions result from counterterrorism and not some arbitrary policy, no, you actually can’t defend yourself from terrorism without these things occurring.

                  2. So the left opposes Netanyahu due to his policies, not due to some Netanyahu derangement syndrome. That’s pretty mature of them, considering how much hay Netanyahu has made explicitly cozying up to the American right.

                  3. I predict that if Netanyahu loses the election, almost no one of the left who claimed their hostility to Netanyahu and his polices was the main source of their hostility to Israel will actually exhibit less hostility to Israel. But I hope I am proved wrong. (And I hope Netanyahu loses regardless).

                    It’s not just a matter of a new PM, but of the policies the new government follows.

                    1. Like I said, it’s not about Netanyahu. If it’s true that 80% or so of the Israeli public supports policies resembling the current policies, perhaps that’s b/c Israelis have rightly concluded that there is no chance of peace with the current Palestinian leadership, so the status quo is the best they are going to do.

                2. He’s actually not.

                  The stated goal of the BDS movement is the “Right of Return”, which if implemented as uniquely stated by the BDS would destroy the Jewish people and Israel.

                  1. I just went to bdsmovement.net and read about their beliefs concerning Palestinian right of return. Now please explain to me how this would destroy “the Jewish people.”

                    1. Did you see the Jewish community in Iran? How about Iraq? Syria? Libya? Egypt?

                      Now ask what happens if the Jewish community becomes a minority in another Arab country.

                      Do the math.

                      Bonus, what happens if/when Hamas wins the election?

                    2. Ah, so you are talking specifically about the Jewish community in Israel. I didn’t understand your comment to mean that. You said “the Jewish people and Israel” and I took that to mean two different things.

                      It’s like the stand-up who had the bit: “I played golf for the first time and beat my wife.”

                    3. “I didn’t understand”….

                      Of course you didn’t…. Deliberate misunderstanding. Then diverting the conversation.

                      “Oh I didn’t know you meant the Jews in Poland when you were talking about the concentration camps and the mass genocide”

                      Go back to the original point. But you won’t.

                    4. Or alternatively, you are unable to express yourself clearly. Your first two comments were about Israel, that people are shooting rockets at them. Your next comment was:

                      “The stated goal of the BDS movement is the “Right of Return”, which if implemented as uniquely stated by the BDS would destroy the Jewish people and Israel.”

                      Because of the poor way you worded that, I thought you meant that the BDS position would destroy the Jewish people everywhere, and also the country of Israel. That’s what “and” does, joins two DIFFERENT things.

                      Now, because you sort of clarified your position with rhetorical questions, I understand that you meant the Jewish people IN Israel. So instead of accusing me of whatever you are accusing me of, perhaps just communicate more clearly. That would be great.

          2. To the sea, I assume.

      3. Simon,
        Discrimination is discrimination regardless of the target.

    3. “If BDS is a valid expression of political speech, then so is boycotting same-sex weddings”

      OK. You get the invitation, but you don’t go. When does the state step in, and require you to certify that you will be going?

  4. American Civil Liberties Union- history

    “Communism is the goal. ”

    “I saw in the Soviet Union many opponents of the regime. I visited a dozen prisons ? the political sections among them. I saw considerable of the work of the OGPU. I heard a good many stories of severity, even of brutality, and many of them from the victims. While I sympathized with personal distress I just could not bring myself to get excited over the suppression of opposition when I stacked it up against what I saw of fresh, vigorous expressions of free living by workers and peasants all over the land. And further, no champion of a socialist society could fail to see that some suppression was necessary to achieve it. It could not all be done by persuasion.”

    Roger Nash Baldwin- quotes

    Sometimes the goals of Communists to destroy America are best served by acting like your organization values some civil rights while ignoring constitutional rights, like under the 2A.

  5. Meanwhile, there is this.

    Maybe Bernstein would care to comment on the matters mentioned. Antisemitism is not found only on the left, and the deadlier versions – Pittsburgh, Charlottesville – seem to be on the right.

    1. Maybe you want to get your own blog? BTW, if you think Trump complaining about the Jewish vote is antisemitic, then you are saying that Jimmy Carter is grossly antisemitic, given that it’s well-known that he not only resented Jews not giving him sufficient credit for Camp David, but blamed Jews (in particular Jews for donating to Ted Kennedy’s primary challenge) for for his defeat in 1980.

      1. Not to mention Barack Obama’s well-known… impatience with Jews who opposed his Iran and other policies.

      2. No. I just find your complaints about antisemitism on the left a bit one-sided.

        And yes, I do think Trump is antisemitic, not just because of those complaints, and provokes antisemitic acts, by all those “fine people.”

        Let us know when the ACLU starts shooting up synagogues.

        1. The antisemitic right is much more violent than the antisemitic left, and a bit more violent that the antisemitic Islamists that the left often apologizes for. The latter have already murdered American Jews, and have been arrested before several plots to shoot up or bomb synagogues could come to fruition. Not to mention that antisemitism appears to have been a significant motivating factor in the 9/11 hijackers choosing to attack the WTC, thinking that the Jews control NYC (and around 10% of the victims were Jews, less than the attackers thought, but more than enough to make that, not Pittsburgh, the worst example of antisemitic violence in American history).

          1. Well, I thought we were discussing American antisemitism. I mean, how many American Jews died in the European theater in WWII? A lot more than on 9/11.

            Anyway, I’m glad you agree that the antisemitic right is quite violent, and does not include “fine people.”

            1. But sometimes will show up at the same events as said “fine people”, just as the Antifa will show up at the same events as “fine people” on the left.

              1. Who were the fine people in Charlottesville, chanting about Jews?

                Some of your old militia buddies?

                James Shields? I know you think he was innocent, because you’ve said so. Fine guy?

                1. Hell, some of my old militia buddies WERE Jews.

                  What is the problem here? Can you simply not wrap your head around the idea that everybody who’s not on your side isn’t a legion of cardboard cutouts marching in lock-step?

                  Because that’s the only way your comment makes any sense. You don’t really think every last person there was chanting, do you?

                  1. Brett,

                    Everyone who decided to attend a Unite the Right rally knew who the organizer was, and, if they had half a brain, knew it was going to be a gathering of racists and antisemites, some of whom would undoubtedly be violence-prone.

                    It doesn’t matter if they were chanting or not. They came to attend a meeting of assholes.

                    If I go to a rally organized by antifa to protest some policy, and violence breaks out, is it reasonable for me to claim that I had no reason to expect that?

                    (Not to mention that fans of Lee are in general pretty dubious.)

                    1. Yeah, I know you’ve got excuses for treating the opposition as an undifferentiated mass.

                      That’s all they are, excuses.

                    2. “Yeah, I know you’ve got excuses for treating the opposition as an undifferentiated mass.”

                      It’s not like there’s anything going on that would suggest commonality of purpose amongst all these different groups, or any sort of unity or attempt to unify them. Wait…

                    3. I notice that you have no response to my point.

                      When you show up at a rally organized by neo-Nazis it’s fair to assume you have some sympathy for their cause. So, not an undifferentiated mass – some are tall, some ar short, some fat, some skinny – but they do have in common a decision to be there.

        2. I see Prof. Bernstein like FIRE. Just because they don’t look where I’d like them to doesn’t mean they aren’t finding dirt.

          Now, I might have some issues with making mountains out of molehills, but while it’s natural to just completely turn away from partisan criticism of your side, it’s not healthy. Especially not if you’re coming to the Conspiracy!

          1. I almost pity the ACLU; who have been used and abused by the Progressives just like #Occupy, BLM, etc.; becoming just another Progressive propaganda outlet.

            1. “Almost”

              They made this choice. They got lots of money, and it swayed them away from their core morals.

            2. becoming just another Progressive propaganda outlet.

              Nope – that’s just the right discarding anyone that isn’t FOX News as a tool of some progressive cabal and thus not worth listening to.

              1. When the ACLU started arguing against due process and against policies that “inappropriately supported the rights of the accused”, it died. It betrayed its core ethics and morals.

                1. “When the ACLU started arguing against due process”

                  Arguing about what process is due and arguing against due process are two things that can be differentiated.

                  “against policies that ‘inappropriately supported the rights of the accused'”. Meh. I can think of a few policies that might be argued “inappropriately” support the rights of the accused. Let’s see if I can spell one out in less than 1000 characters.

                  Accused criminals have a right to a speedy trial. I read that somewhere.
                  So, a political party sweeps and unusually-large number of legislative seats, plus the executive seat(s). Then, they announce a policy that any and all prosecutions for election fraud will be dropped if they aren’t ready to go to trial within 72 hours of the election. Because, you know, people accused of election fraud have a right to a speedy trial.

        3. Trump never called those people “fine people” and the more you insist that he did, the more you reveal your hyperpartisanship and ignorance about the alt-right.

          At the time, and still today, the alt-right isn’t a congruous body. There’s a lot of infighting and disagreement over who and what is alt-right. It isn’t entirely anti-Semitic and the white nationalist types have existed in separate organizations for a long time. To suggest that some of the people who showed up there, who were nothing more than protesters who didn’t support removing the Robert E Lee statue, were neo Nazis is like claiming that every left-wing protester who showed up is part of Antifa.

          If you want a more down to earth and street level analysis of the kinds of people who showed up, I strongly recommend Tim Pool. He’s a great resource for actual facts for all sorts of rallies where people are frequently generalized to fit societal narratives.

          1. Trump never called those people “fine people” and the more you insist that he did, the more you reveal your hyperpartisanship and ignorance about the alt-right.

            Sure. He only called some of them fine people.

            To suggest that some of the people who showed up there, who were nothing more than protesters who didn’t support removing the Robert E Lee statue,

            Yeah. Nothing more than that.

            1. Yes, he only called some of them fine people. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.

              He keeps hammering this point: … “and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally ? but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats ? you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.”

              “No, no. There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call ’em. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know, I don’t know if you know, but they had a permit. ”

              It’s almost hilarious the degree to which the reporter he’s answering refuses to accept what Trump is saying.

              1. but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay?

                But since he’s lying about that, I’m not sure why you’re citing it as thought it’s an exculpatory statement on his part. It was a Neo-Nazi rally, specifically organized as such. There is no evidence that there were any fine people there. (If they were fine, why would they be demonstrating in favor of a statue to a murderous slaveholding traitor? Were there art historians who oppose the movement of statues for any reason who just accidentally happened to wander into a neo-Nazi rally? That Trump happened to “see” in some magic way?)

                But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know, I don’t know if you know, but they had a permit. “

                Interesting that you cut it off there, because the next sentence just shows the further depths of Trump’s affinity for Nazis. “The other group didn’t have a permit.” This was a lie; the other group did have a permit. But Trump was desperate to moral-equivalence the groups, for some inexplicable reason. (I kid; the reason was very explicable.)

              2. “Yes, he only called some of them fine people”

                Are these the SAME fine people as the ones who come from Mexico, who aren’t rapists and drug dealers?

            2. The problem with the “fine people” remark is that (a) even if they weren’t neo-Nazis, surely the Lee fans had many racists among them; and (b) once they saw they were mingling primarily with neo-Nazis, you think that would have been enough to make them go home. But it’s also true that Trump is consistently criticized for calling the neo-Nazis themselves “very fine people,” which isn”t true. And if you’re anti-Trump and trying to persuade those on the fence to agree with you, consistently repeating as something especially damning something that is not quite accurate and easily verified as such not only won’t persuade them, but will likely lead them to ignore accurate and valid criticism. Just sayin’

              1. I’m not as “surely” as you are about this one. I know the alt-right in a lot more depth than I’m comfortable with and while there are certainly lots of reprehensible people there who are genuinely deluded about Jewish conspiracies, I also know that statue removal has a lot of moral grey areas and there were people at the event who weren’t going to let the negativity of the Unite the Right rally distract from an otherwise legitimate issue. The problem is that “mingling” and “being in the same geographic proximity” is difficult to differentiate because there was a lot of unrest and violence between armed militias and Antifa. All I know is that from the on-the-ground reporting, I saw enough “fine” people to consider Trump’s remark accurate.

                1. Also, in defense of potentially ignorant people who were just there for the Lee statue, consider some of the groups who showed up, such as the Traditionalist Workers Party and Identity Europa. Reality check: 99% of Americans never heard of these groups prior to Charlottesville and most Americans still have no idea who they are, primarily because they’re irrelevant. Even I have to admit I hadn’t heard of some of the groups who showed up even though I was already familiar with the former groups. Is it not plausible that many of the Lee protesters, who were simply unfamiliar with the expected level of violence, accepted the defense from militia groups? I’ve never attended these events myself, but I’ve seen lots of footage of street level violence and it’s absolute chaos during these rallies. People are outright brawling with 2x4s, tire irons, bike locks and low grade explosives. It’s a miracle that full on urban warfare hasn’t broken out yet and that so few people have died, especially with all the hits to the head and people knocked unconscious during street brawls.

                  1. Part of the problem here is that not many “fine people” are admirers of Lee.

                    Another is that fine people don’t participate in demonstrations organized by the likes of Jason Kessler, which brings together hate groups from all over the country.

                    I mean, maybe there were one or two deluded admirers of Lee who didn’t know what this was all about, but that’s the limit.

                    That it was to turn out to be a convention of racists and antisemites should not have come as a surprise.

              2. “The problem with the “fine people” remark is that (a) even if they weren’t neo-Nazis, surely the Lee fans had many racists among them; and (b) once they saw they were mingling primarily with neo-Nazis, you think that would have been enough to make them go home.”

                So, how is it not possible to flip this around and apply it to the counter-protesters? Even if every last one of them weren’t technically violent communists who were only there to start a fight, surely once the counter-protesters arrived, they should have seen the Antifa, known what was up, and fled.

                I don’t think you can actually insist that “fine people” have an obligation to leave as soon as they see that there are disreputable people present.

                1. The difference is photographs and deaths, and the optics associated therewith.

                  The left didn’t kill anyone, and didn’t get pics taken protesting against Jews.

                  Certainly there were some liberal yahoos, but for better or worse the yahoos appeared in the driver’s seat on one side, and not on the other.

                  Trump say the same stuff we did, and reacted as he did. Which was telling.

                  1. It was pure luck the left didn’t kill anyone, they arrived bearing weapons, and used them.

                    You can call people who show up dressed in black, wearing masks to avoid being identified, and commit assault “yahoos” if you like, but all it says is that you’ve got too much tolerance for thugs who happen to be on your side.

                    1. “You can call people who show up dressed in black, wearing masks to avoid being identified, and commit assault ‘yahoos’ if you like,”

                      Are you describing a film negative of a KKK rally? Because the only difference seems to be the color of the clothing (OK, I get why the KKK don’t dress in black, but still…)

                      There are people who riot and destroy things because their sports team won a game. The ones who destroy things and the ones who just watched a sports game are readily differentiated; I just did it. Both the political left and the political right are similarly situated.

                2. “I don’t think you can actually insist that ‘fine people’ have an obligation to leave as soon as they see that there are disreputable people present.”

                  You make your choice about with whom you would like to be associated when you make a decision about with whom you are choosing to associate with.

                  If you walk into a Red Sox bar wearing a Yankees hat, you won’t be greeted and welcomed as a fellow baseball fan.

                3. I don’t think you can actually insist that “fine people” have an obligation to leave as soon as they see that there are disreputable people present.

                  This is what’s known as sophistry. Nobody is saying that one has to leave a demonstration if one sees someone there who is bad; if that were the principle being espoused, it would be a heckler’s veto of a sort.

                  This was not a pro-statue rally organized by a group of (the imaginary class of) people who support Lee statues despite not being bigots, who only found out when they arrived that there were neo-Nazis ? or, as you want to call them, “disreputable people” ? who happened to be there. This was a rally organized by neo-Nazis. So anyone who knew about the rally’s existence knew in advance that there would be “disreputable people” there.

      3. David,

        If you don’t understand that Trump is antisemitic, you’re not paying attention, or you are letting your partisan affinities blind you.

        Here is one point of view.

        1. Trump’s daughter is Jewish. How deranged do you have to be to conclude Trump is against his own daughter and his son-in-law Jared Kushner?

          The idea is self-evidently stupid, no matter how many out-of-context quotes and “refusals to denounce” you string together.

          1. Things you disagree with are obviously deranged and self-evidently stupid. *Sigh*

            Do you know how many counter-examples there are of your assertion that people with Jews in their family can’t be anti-Semitic? Take Gilad Atzmon. Not just his family, but he himself is Jewish. Do you want to tell me it’s self-evidently stupid and deranged to suggest he just may be an anti-Semite?

            Though Trump has indisputably committed and/or defended acts of anti-Semitism, I’m agnostic as to his sentiment toward Jews. I don’t read minds. I can tell you though, that whichever way one comes down, yours isn’t a serious argument.

            1. In some minds innuendo tells the truest tale and actions speak not at all.

              You should write down some more out-of-context quotes and add on some guilt-by-association once or twice removed. That’ll outweigh the obvious value the man holds for his daughter and son-in-law.

              I only say it’s self-evidently stupid because that’s the case here.

              And just for reference, I don’t care if you think you can find one or three examples out of fifty million people throughout history where your argument might fit. That doesn’t make it less foolish and unjust this time.

          2. “Trump’s daughter is Jewish. How deranged do you have to be to conclude Trump is against his own daughter and his son-in-law Jared Kushner?”

            Yeah. Nobody ever dislikes their in-laws, right? That’s self-evidently stupid.

            (The late-night talk-show joke would be that Donnie is jealous of Jared, because Jared actually gets to sleep with her instead of just fantasizing about it. That’s why Donnie keeps piling more and more jobs with more and more travel onto J to the K… he’s trying to get him out of the picture.)

          3. wer ein jude ist bestimme ich

            Trump, among other things, apparently just assumes dual loyalty since, when speaking to a Jewish audience he described Israel as “your country.”

  6. I don’t conflate antisemitism with criticism of Israel.

    Conflating them simply cuts off any critical discussion of Israel.

    I agree that the ACLU statements are wrong (and am really scratching my head why they would make such statements), I will never agree to conflate antisemitism with criticism of Israel.

    YOU are being dishonest when you do so.

    1. Show me where I conflated antisemitism with criticism of Israel? If you are talking about Omar, she literally did not say a word critical of Israel, only of pro-Israel Americans and their allies in Congress.

      1. “people and organizations who make false or wildly exaggerated statements about the doings of the “Israel Lobby” are contributing to antisemitism”

        “the boycott movement against Israel is both in its origins and in its practical effects antisemitic”

        Do you not view boycotts or exaggerated statements as criticism? You are assuming a lot in these statements and provide no evidence.

        Not all loyalty oaths McCarthy-era. Sometimes they are the states showing their loyalty by requiring businesses sign an oath that they remain loyal (provide constant support/business) to a specific group. Do you not view loyalty as providing constant business to someone?

        1. The ACLU has specifically analogized the “no boycott” certifications to McCarthy era loyalty oath, making it clear that this is precisely what they are referring toi.

          1. I believe they are referring to parts of the McCarthy era loyalty oath that required you sign and declare something in order to get or keep a job, even when you do not agree. Instead of the government blocking you from doing business with who they don’t like they are forcing you to do business with who they do like. Both require you sign an oath that you are loyal to the state’s cause before it will give you a job.

            This could just as easily be an oath to ban doing business with Iran or Syria however we already do that using economic sanctions so there is no point.

            1. If that’s all they mean, then a business having to certify that it will cater same-sex marriages (which it would if it has to certify compliance with certain state and local civil rights laws) should be at least as troubling, especially because those laws apply to all businesses, not just ones that want to contract with the government. But the ACLU doesn’t take that position. Also, the ACLU wouldn’t be suggesting that the “loyalty oath” is to the state of Israel. They could calling a “loyalty oath” to the anti-BDS movement I suppose, but even that’s stretching things quite a bit linguistically. Note also that Shakir suggests that the state is refusing to do business “with an American citizen,” when it’s actually refusing to do business with a business, another prevarication.

              1. They are a “loyalty oath” to government/state’s cause(s) and not any specific group.

                “then a business having to certify that it will cater same-sex marriages (which it would if it has to certify compliance with certain state and local civil rights laws) should be at least as troubling”

                I agree it is, and so are economic sanctions. They are just different ways of accomplishing the same thing, forcing people to do business with our allies or to not do business with our enemies. Sometimes they are countries and sometimes they are specific groups of people. In all case it violates freedom of speech and association.

                1. “I agree it is, and so are economic sanctions. They are just different ways of accomplishing the same thing, forcing people to do business with our allies or to not do business with our enemies. Sometimes they are countries and sometimes they are specific groups of people. In all case it violates freedom of speech and association.”

                  The power to regulate commerce with foreign states is an enumerated power of the Congress. Of course, a business that doesn’t do international business HAS no commerce with foreign states, and thus doesn’t fall under that power. But going the other way, the federal government has the power to command people and businesses subject to U.S. jurisdiction to not do business with an enemy nation.

                  Now… when a STATE claims the authority to require you NOT to avoid spending money in a foreign nation… where did that power come from?

                  If I choose, as a business owner, to do business only with U.S. owned and controlled businesses, am I “boycotting” Israel? What if I’m a defense contractor, and required to source from U.S. production?

                  1. States don’t need enumerated powers, they have plenary power if not limited by federal or state constitution, and they especially don’t need enumerated powers to put conditions on their own contracts. Even at the height of the liberty of contract era circa 1900, SCOTUS held 7-2 that states could put restrictions on their own contracts they couldn’t put on private contracts.

                    1. “States don’t need enumerated powers, they have plenary power if not limited by federal or state constitution”

                      What’s the heading of Article I, Section 10? Are states allowed to practice diplomacy with foreign powers?

  7. Some quick Googling shows that the ACLU talks about loyalty oaths real and figurative a great deal.

    Certainly they should be more careful, but it’s certainly not worth this fulmination that degrades the term antisemitism into a partisan cudgel.

    1. People on the left, which would include the modern ACLU, tend to be exquisitely careful about the language they use if they know the language in question may encourage racism or play on racist memes. They also tend to be extremely critical of those who are less than exquisitely careful. Unless the underlying group targeted by the racism happens to be Jews, who score low on the intersectionality scale, and regarding whom loose language that might encourage racism is A-OK. I mean, it’s not like 1/3 of the world’s Jewish population was murdered within living memory because people believed that Jews were apt to control the world’s political system for their own benefit of anything…

      1. And btw, if you are correct it’s not exactly to the ACLU’s credit if they are constantly exaggerating other things they object to into “Loyalty oaths” when they are not.

      2. Jews scoring insufficiently high on the ACLU’s intersectionality scale (which I think is a fair cop) is not the same as being the primary guilty party promoting antisemitism.

        FWIW, I won’t disagree that the Jews’ being currently relatively prominent and powerful compared to, say, transgenders, illegals, and Muslims, does not mean anyone should rest on their laurels and ignore the rhetoric growing on the fringes of both parties. This is indeed an area of oversight on the left. Understandable perhaps, as the crises lie elsewhere, but shortsighted and perhaps indeed a shameful.

        But you are way overplaying your hand when you argue the ACLU is some prime mover when it comes to antisemitism.

        1. They are a respectable organization playing footsie with antisemitism as much, if not more, than the Trump campaign and team did with the alt-right.

          1. Please. The ACLU is wrong here, but there’s nothing that remotely approaches what Trump and his campaign did. Let me know when the ACLU refuses to condemn Twitter mobs inundating Jews with images of their heads being stuffed in ovens.

      3. Jews scoring insufficiently high on the ACLU’s intersectionality scale (which I think is a fair cop) is not the same as being the primary guilty party promoting antisemitism.

        FWIW, I won’t disagree that the Jews’ being currently relatively prominent and powerful compared to, say, transgenders, illegals, and Muslims, does not mean anyone should rest on their laurels and ignore the rhetoric growing on the fringes of both parties. This is indeed an area of oversight on the left. Understandable perhaps, as the crises lie elsewhere, but shortsighted and perhaps indeed a shameful.

        But you are way overplaying your hand when you argue the ACLU is some prime mover when it comes to antisemitism.

        1. Let’s be precise. Of course the ACLU isn’t the primary source of antisemitism. What I wrote was, “There is perhaps no more guilty party in the current wave of antisemitic attacks on pro-Israel Americans than the American Civil Liberties Union.”

          1. No, it isn’t. But the ACLU is staffed by hardcore leftists who despise Israel, and many who despise Jews in general. Tha is the left. That is how they are.

            1. You mean “That is how THEY are”, you know, “those people” who say vague and seemingly hostile things about people they don’t even know, based on their membership in some group or another.

      4. People on the left, which would include the modern ACLU, tend to be exquisitely careful about the language they use if they know the language in question may encourage racism or play on racist memes. They also tend to be extremely critical of those who are less than exquisitely careful. Unless the underlying group targeted by the racism happens to be Jews….

        And people who are not on the left tend to be pretty critical of the tendency to critique those who are not exquisitely careful about language that has some conceivable connection to racist tropes. You can say that the ACLU is being hypocritical by exempting Jews from that, and you will be met by wide agreement. But that’s beside the point.

        In order to say that the ACLU is promoting anti-Semitism, you would have to show that the left is correct to be extremely critical of those who are less than exquisitely careful about language that has some conceivable connection to racist tropes. I’m not aware that you have argued that they are correct in general. And you haven’t persuaded here.

        Rather than promote censorship envy, one should model good behavior by reading the ACLU’s language charitably. Doing so would allow one to more effectively address the nuances of the ACLU’s legal arguments.

        1. The problem with the ACLU’s “loyalty oath” language is not that it effectuates antisemitism; if it were true, and that were the result, the ACLU would be hypocritical in not being concerned about the consequences, but I wouldn’t attack them for promoting antisemitism. The problem is that claiming that a certification that your business certifying that it doesn’t boycott Israel-related entities amounts to a loyalty oath is not defensible. If you are promoting antisemitism as an adjunct of your p.r. campaign AND what you are saying is false, then I think there is indisputably a problem beyond hypocrisy.

          1. The problem is that claiming that a certification that your business certifying that it doesn’t boycott Israel-related entities amounts to a loyalty oath is not defensible.

            Perhaps this is the heart of the disagreement, then. While using the term “loyalty oath” is neither the most accurate, nor the most advisable, thing to do, I think it is still perfectly apparent what kind of argument they are making, and it is a valid argument, even if it may ultimately fail on the merits. It is eminently defensible — far more so than many statements a court sees routinely.

          2. The problem is that claiming that a certification that your business certifying that it doesn’t boycott Israel-related entities amounts to a loyalty oath is not defensible.

            I invite you to draft a zealously-argued brief in support of someone claiming that an anti-BDS certification requirement violates their First Amendment rights, based on a series of cases having to do with “loyalty oaths,” without trying to make them seem substantially like the same kind of thing.

            Think like a lawyer, in other words.

            I’ve looked through the materials you’ve cited, and I’m convinced that the ACLU at no point describes the anti-BDS certification requirement as an actual “loyalty oath.” They draw comparisons to the loyalty oath cases, repeatedly and point-by-point, but they consistently refer to the laws they’re challenging as imposing a “certification requirement,” not a pledge of allegiance. The only example you’ve cited where the laws were described as actually imposing a “loyalty oath” was the editorial reprint you linked, not a statement by any ACLU lawyer.

            It’s hard for me to see how you make the case against anti-BDS certification requirements, from a constitutional-lawyer perspective, without talking about loyalty oaths. Is that what you’re saying they should do?

            1. There is no plausible constitutional case to be made, any case that goes to SCOTUS will be governed by Rumsfeld v. FAIR and the ACLU will use. So I’d say the ACLU is making an intentionally inflammatory argument b/c it knows it can’t win in court ultimately, but it might flim-flam a few daft district court judges and use that and the inflammatory claim to win in the court of public opinion.

              1. So you’re saying they’re engaged in exactly the kind of advocacy you’d expect them to?

    2. I suspect that they speak about “loyalty oaths” because that’s what the relevant case law refers to, and it refers specifically to “loyalty oaths” in a very different kind of context.

      It takes about three steps of conflation and obfuscation to get from anything that the ACLU has said about “loyalty oaths” and David’s claims about anti-Semitic dog-whistling.

      This is almost painfully evident when he describes Omar’s statements about “dual loyalty” not by quoting her directly but paraphrasing: “If you are talking about Omar, she literally did not say a word critical of Israel, only of pro-Israel Americans and their allies in Congress.” Omitting, of course, that it was clear she was speaking of non-Jewish Americans.

      1. Relevant case law hasn’t referred to loyalty oaths for several decades. Its not the kind of argument that will be compelling to the Breyer-Roberts-Kavanaugh caucus (hell you probably lose Kagan & Ginsberg with this bad of a legal argument despite its leftwing roots).

        And even more embarrassing it does not try to appeal to the people that would actually help them win the case: A Thomas + Gorsuch libertarian and maximalist free speech rule.

  8. I want to see Serena Williams beaten like a drum. I want to see the Amercian women’s soccer team captained by a ‘woman’ with testicles. I want to see the WNBA MVP won by a dude. I want to see every LPGA tour event won by the former male NCAA golf champion. Eff you, feminists. You helped create this monster, now let it devour your heroes one by one.

    1. Wrong topic, friend.

      1. There are no wrong topics. Just wrong ideas, and the wrong people who think them.

        MAGA!!!111!!Q!!

      2. Don’t interrupt, he’s on a roll.

  9. From a tweet:

    This week in politics:

    Leftist antisemites: We’re going to rip off your Zio Jew-heads and crap down your Zio Jew-necks.

    Jewish “allies”: We hate Netanyahu, too! But maybe tone down the rhetoric slightly.

    This is how Bernstein is characterizing anti-Netanyahu Jews.

    This comes dangerously close to arguing that to oppose Netanyahu is automatically antisemetic. Which devalues the term a great deal by making it partisan and thus ignorable.
    Especially given that the rhetoric attributed to ‘leftist antisemites’ is quite real but occurs both on the far right and the left.

    1. That’s a very strange misunderstanding of the point. So for the record, here we go: leftists who are antisemitic engage in blatantly antisemitic anti-Israel rhetoric. You acknowledge these people exist. Their “allies” on the left (a much smaller group than “anti-Netanyahu Jews,” which would, for example, include me), rather than condemning their antisemitism, reinterpret it as not reflecting hostility to Jews, or even to Israel, but solely to the policies of the current Israeli government and/or Netanyahu himself. In doing so, they excuse the antisemitism. Got it?

      1. Thanks for the clarification.

        But now we have a no-true-scottsman problem with who are these Jewish allies of antisemitism.

        A similar problem with the discussion of the sins of the ‘far left’ where anyone not thusly sinning is not on the far left.

        I don’t think such circularity does much to prove your condemnation of the whole of the ACLU and the BDS.

        1. I’ve seen the “Great, we’re also against Netanyahu” response to blatant antisemitism so often…. there is definitely some self-delusion afoot.

          1. I guess. Still seems a well-tailored group to target.

      2. ” leftists who are antisemitic engage in blatantly antisemitic anti-Israel rhetoric. You acknowledge these people exist.”

        Are there leftists who are anti-Semitic? Absolutely positive that this is the case. Right-wingers, too. And quite a few who are not aligned in any meaningful way, politically.

        But, since you’ve come out and explained that one doesn’t actually have to be ACTUALLY anti-Semite for you to feel correct when you apply the “anti-Semite” label, you’ve destroyed it as a useful label, because it is no longer descriptive in an absolute sense. It just describes what YOU feel, not anything about THAT GUY that you’ve decided is anti-Semite today.

        It’s like when I decide you’re, say, anti-left-handed people because the only thing that defines whether or not you’re anti-left-handed is what I feel at the moment, and I feel you’re anti-left-handed right now. Maybe, in an hour or so, I’ll change my mind and decide you’re not anti-lefthander after all, but no promises, you anti-lefthander, you. I don’t owe you any kind of evenhanded fairness because you’re an anti-lefthander.

        Once you’ve decided that “anti-Semite” doesn’t mean “anti-Semite” any more, it loses any effect, even when applied to ACTUAL anti-Semites. It’s just noise.

    2. I have no idea what this tweet is about, or who it came from.

  10. The intersectional stack always collapses on itself. Cucked whites are so in awe of a callous Muslim Somali refugee that they accept and celebrate her blatant hatred of Jews because telling her off would make them oppressors too. Moral handwashing meets isolationism and NIMBYism.

    1. Cucked whites

      Get outta here with that 4chan BS.

      1. When you hate yourself to the point that you invite millions of people who don’t share their values and then celebrate your own destruction, it’s hardly BS to call such a person a cuck.

      2. It’s not just 4chan, it’s mainstream now, and for a reason (agree with it or not).

        1. It also doesn’t really matter if an idea comes from there or not. The fact that I’ve been there since 2007 even though I’m Jewish probably has already confused him enough because /pol/ is Stormfront lite, except when it isn’t.

          In general, I just don’t like when people talk about things they haven’t experienced themselves. Cuck went mainstream because it’s a fantastic insult that does a great job representing the irrational self hatred that leftists feel when they import third worlders whose ideas would be considered backwards and reprehensible if a white person shared them.

          1. The Chinese have a word for it, called baizuo. But yea, just like ideas used to take a generation to filter out from academia to culture and then politics, due to the meme culture of the internet, these things go mainstream fast.

            So Sarc, the “cuck” insult is mainstream. It’s used on the righty blogosphere now and again where appropriate. And I have heard it on Rush Limbaugh, in that he reports it was an epithet used from some rock-ribbed conservative to describe some pro-immigration never-Trumper.

          2. “In general, I just don’t like when people talk about things they haven’t experienced themselves.”

            So you’ve been cucked?

        2. ” it’s mainstream now”

          In the sense that one group of people likes to throw it around, while the other side mostly thinks it’s hilarious.

          There are certain words that unmistakeably sum up the mindset of the person using it far more than the person(s) they’re applying it to. This is one of them.

          1. The term “white privilege” is just as lame/stupid/unsupported by actual evidence as existing in realy life as the epithet “cuck”. Like everyone who wants more Haitian immigration really gets his rocks off having one of said immigrants bang his wife. That said, you’re outrage is noted, if misapplied.

            1. *what’s funny, aside from that, is that Sarcastro seems himself as some kind of standards arbiter for the VC just because he’s been around here a long time. I’ll leave that to Prof. Eugene V., should he want to get involved at that level.

              1. I’m not speaking for the Conspiracy, but for myself.

                Cuck is weird, but indeed common slang on the right and indeed somewhat on the left these days.

                Cucked whites though? That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms. And it’s bad, and the poster should feel bad.

            2. Yeah. I’m non-partisan, so the fact that one party does something I don’t like doesn’t imply that I like everything the other party does.

              (Speaking of “misapplication”)

              1. So, the pot calling the kettle black is told the he is the pot calling the kettle black is what now, misapplication? uh huh.

                1. In this story, are you both the pot and the kettle?

          2. “There are certain words that unmistakeably sum up the mindset of the person using it far more than the person(s) they’re applying it to. This is one of them.”

            Normies love to say things like this, but the lack of self awareness is deafening. Trolling has been mainstream for decades now and you’ll still haven’t learned to not reply.

            1. “Normies love to say things like this, but the lack of self awareness is deafening.”

              Srsly? SRSLY?

              ” Trolling has been mainstream for decades now”

              Jerkholes have been around for millennia now. This is not a recent development.

      3. In case you’re not aware, that descriptor is far more widespread than just 4chan…

      4. It’s just another word for race traitors, or n-lovers or whatever other ugly rhetoric you’d care to mention.

        Anyone saying it’s gone mainstream is revealing perhaps more about their social circles than they’d care to.

        1. Cucked whites that is. Cuck is weird, but not gonna get my dander up on it’s own.

          1. Yah, I meant main stream on the Internet. That you thought I meant in my social circle is an incorrect assumption on your part.

  11. Contractors certifying that their businesses don’t boycott Israel-related entities is no more a “loyalty oath” to Israel than certifying that they don’t refuse to deal with black or gay or women-owned business or nonunion businesses is a “loyalty oath” to blacks, gays, women, or unions.

    I continue to find that analogy uncompelling. When I see a law requiring a business to certify that it doesn’t refuse to deal with black or gay or women-owned businesses, I can fairly assume that this little bit of compelled speech is largely incidental to the primary prohibition. And I can fairly assume that the prohibition itself is born from substantial concerns. In other words, it was the non-discrimination that was the point all along.

    When I see a law requiring a business to certify that it doesn’t refuse deal with Israel, often I cannot fairly assume that this is incidental. I assume that most of the people certifying this would never have had the opportunity to refuse (or accept) to deal with Israel. And I can’t fairly assume that the prohibition on refusing to deal with Israel is born from any substantial concern that Israel is going to be harmed by the objectors’ desire to refuse. Instead, I can assume that the declaration itself was the point all along. The issue is that some people have political opinions that the legislature disfavors, and the intention was to burden the holders of those opinions by having them engage in compelled speech.

    1. None of which undermines Bernstein’s point that there is no “loyalty oath” involved. There are plenty of First Amendment violations that occur that have nothing to do with loyalty oaths.

      And, frankly, your distinction is one I find hard to understand. At what point does it become common enough that the certification becomes subordinate to the main issue of non-boycotting?

      Suppose I run a sole proprietorship — or I have a one-man corporation. I might be require to certify that I won’t discriminate in employment on the basis of race (or whatever). But in fact I have zero employees, so I never have occasion to employ anyone. Does that mean there is a First Amendment violation — let alone a loyalty oath?

      1. 1. Comments are character-limited, so I wasn’t attempting to tackle the “loyalty oath” portion of the argument here. I refer you to comments above where others have explained why that term was employed.

        2. The distinction I am making is whether there is a strong connection between the means employed and the ends proffered. If that connection is strong, we infer that the proffered legitimate end is the true purpose of the legislation. If the connection is not strong, we infer that the true purpose is something other than the proffered legitimate purpose. That’s the theory underlying any form of heightened scrutiny — including the O’Brien test. It’s also something courts look at when analyzing other doctrines raised in particular anti-BDS cases (from what I recall of skimming them).

        In your hypothetical, I would ask what the sweep of the law is. For example, is it under-inclusive or over-inclusive? For instance, if the law only applied to a zero-employee companies, then it would be suspect as under-inclusive. And if it applied broadly, including to companies that the State already knew were zero-employee companies, then there might be circumstances in which it was suspect as over-inclusive.

    2. It’s a “loyalty oath” to the government and its causes. The oath is to the government, not these specific groups. What’s in the oath is irrelevant.

      It’s a terrible analogy and a terrible article.

      1. State contractors sign certifications to abide by dozens of different government policies. To my knowledge, no one refers to these as oaths.

        1. When I was a state contractor, I only had to sign two… that my hiring was in accordance with state law regarding non-discriminatory hiring practices, and that I had complied with Selective Service Registration.

  12. Making support of immoral right-wing Israeli belligerence a left-right divider in American politics seems counterproductive for those who want to help Israel.

    I guess I can understand why some conservatives (many American evangelicals) engage in and applaud this conduct. To them, Israelis are performing a role in a religious aspiration — and are to be promptly cast toward eternal damnation when the curtain closes on that element of their fantasy.

    For Israelis with a self-preservation instinct (and their supporters), however, this seems daft unless they wish to see how Israel operates without American political, economic, and military support.

    Mr. Netanyahu’s recent comments about a two-tier society also seem destined, if not calculated, to lessen many Americans’ support for Israel.

    Most Americans don’t support right-wing belligerence or superstition-based government at home; why would they agree to subsidize it elsewhere, especially if that works against their domestic political preferences?

    1. I dunno, the basis of my general support of Israel comes from a more visceral and emotional level. I see one group actively trying to genocide another group, and I side with the group trying not to get genocided. Honestly, before I started to read this blog, I never put much thought into it beyond that, and I suspect that given Americans’ political ignorance in general, that they feel much the same way for the much the same reason. All nuance aside.

    2. FFS Arty, change it up a little. You’re just tired and unoriginal. It’s just too boring to respond to.

    3. Arty, of course you hate Israel,, every progtard does. If you had your way the ovens would be fired up and/or the Jews pushed back into the sea.

      Your greatest aspiration is a new Jewish holocaust.

      1. I hate Israel so much I would consider offering it statehood.

        I hate Israelis so much I would likely offer every Israeli American citizenship and an opportunity to move to the United States.

        Other than that, great comment.

        1. That’s a great idea. If you and I were “co counsel” Romanesque dictators, I would trade you all Israelis for an equal deduction in immigration #s from any other nonwhite group. Then we could bargain again about the South African farmers.

          1. I believe immigration — including that involving “nonwhite” people — has helped to make America great and will continue to improve America. Why not invite the Israelis without diminishing “nonwhite” immigration?

            1. Just note that I wouldn’t concede the premise that Isreal has no right to exist in order to begin the bargaining, but for the point of the debate, I’ll assume that something unlikely happens and the sun rose from the West and the dysfunctional Palestinians were able to put Isreal to flight.

              You *believe* that nonwhite immigration has, to put make a turn of phrase, “made America Great”, but respectfully, that’s your opinion. Since you make the claim, might I ask that you provide some proof?

              1. “Just note that I wouldn’t concede the premise that Isreal has no right to exist in order to begin the bargaining,”

                So… you plan to hold on to this premise, then?

                1. While you think you’re being witty by deliberately misreading something, it just comes off as sad, really.

                  1. “While you think you’re being witty by deliberately misreading something”

                    Were you thinking you were witty when you deliberately miswrote it?

        2. Aside for you to march them into ovens here, eh Arty?

    4. Making support of immoral right-wing Israeli belligerence a left-right divider in American politics seems counterproductive for those who want to help Israel.

      Concern troll is very concerned.

  13. Rev., don’t you get tired of repeating the same thing over and over? Why not just post “The usual” and save your fingers the extra typing?

    1. If it were not for “the usual,” Professor Bernstein, this blog wouldn’t exist.

      I gather the Conspirators are familiar with the practice (favored by Hall of Fame sports announcers) of repeating the score every minute or two even if the score hasn’t changed for two hours. That line of thinking seems relevant here.

      1. It isn’t. You are ridiculously repetitive. Uncreatively and boringly so.

        So simple, thick, and dull.

        1. TBH, your trolling is not always of the highest possible quality.

    2. Professor DB, its always a mistake to respond to Kirkland.

      My advice, never do it.

      [That advice goes to everyone here. If we all ignore him, eventually he will go away.]

      1. Feel free to ignore me. I will be content watching my preferences be imposed on you.

    3. Don’t engage. It’s a mistake. The Rev. Kirkland feels he’s superior to all poorer, less educated people, and in a position to dictate what they should be doing instead.

      1. I don’t impose anything.

        The liberal-libertarian mainstream, however, does, should, and likely will continue to make the judgment calls for our society.

  14. Bernstein’s “to do” list on any day he makes a post about this topic doesn’t get anything crossed off except “Make post on VC”.

  15. There is perhaps no more guilty party in the current wave of antisemitic attacks on pro-Israel Americans than the American Civil Liberties Union.

    I’d venture to say the guy who killed 11 people at Tree of Life Synagogue is more guilty, but YMMV I guess.

    1. Prof. Bernstein seems to disagree.

    2. That attack was on Jews for being (perceived as) pro-immigration, not pro-Israel but same general antisemitic idea: I don’t like a particular government policy (Israel, immigration), I find it mysterious that other people do, it can’t be that people just disagree, it must be that a Jewish conspiracy is controlling the government. The shooter and Omar have far more in common than her supporters would care to admit.

      1. The shooter and Omar have far more in common than her supporters would care to admit.

        Bullshit. Double bullshit. Triple bullshit.

        And I don’t like Omar.

  16. “anti-Communist loyalty tests have been mostly relegated to the dustbin of history.”

    A gigantic mistake, and a great victory for the progressives. There should be no place in this country for any Marxist. Except as a dark footnote in history.

    1. “A gigantic mistake, and a great victory for the progressives. There should be no place in this country for any Marxist. Except as a dark footnote in history.”

      Fabulous. And then let’s let someone who already has power ALSO have the power to declare whose thinking is “Marxist”. That should clear up all our anti-freedom problems!

      1. How about pro mmarxist public speech, and the advocation of policies that infringe on our constitutional rights,? Or even policies that outright enslave us to a Marxist state?

        Those people run the media, th unvisersities, and Hollywood now. Pretty much lock stock and barrel. They also have a chokehold on civil service jobs. All areas of investigation for Joe McCarthy. And he was correct in his suspicions. His efforts should never have been stopped.

        You progressives are the enemy within. Period. And you need to go.

        1. That comment I made about some of your trolling, not being the highest quality? This. Is. Crap.

          Try again, you can do better.

          1. That comment I made about some of your trolling, not being the highest quality? This. Is. Crap.

            Try again, you can do better.

            All true, except the last sentence.

            1. No, no, Shitty is an experienced troll. The quality ranges from very poor to occasionally clever. Don’t underestimate him.

              1. I easily have ten times your brainpower. You are a dullard. Perhaps you’re too stupid to understand that.

                You have no real argument against anything I say. How could you? Progressivism is indefensible at best. And really, you’re the troll here. No on likes you and you’re really just a loathsome pile of offal. Just a snarky useless loser hoping your master’s socialist schemes are successful so you can take from those of us who are productive.

                1. I easily have ten times your brainpower.

                  Such second grade insults are always the sign of a smart man.

                2. See? There’s some creativity here, when Shitty chooses to put forth some effort in his trolling.

  17. Agreeing not to overthrow the government, or help those who do, seems like a reasonable inference from a public official’s promise to respect the federal constitution (to say nothing of the state constitutions in the case of state officials).

    The only problem would arise if the government gets witnesses that some organization’s leaders were secretly plotting to overthrow the government while rank-and-file members naively thought the group was simply about fairness and justice and puppies.

    1. “Agreeing not to overthrow the government, or help those who do, seems like a reasonable inference from a public official’s promise to respect the federal constitution”

      The Constitution includes provisions for changing it. And our government is intentionally designed so that the possibility for overthrowing it occurs every two years. Loyalty oaths are for fraternities, not governments.

      1. Are you that dumb, or just play dumb on TV?

        1. Coming from you, that’s high praise. Thank you.

          1. Let me put it this way, when you insinuated that by “overthrow the government” I meant elections, you stated what was false.

            1. No, dimwit. When I wrote that “overthrow the government” is something that can be done by election, I stated something true.

              I said precisely nothing that “insinuated” what you “meant”.

              You’re just not that bright, so when you complain about not understanding what I wrote, it’s a compliment, and taken as such.

              1. “I said precisely nothing that “insinuated” what you “meant”.”

                You know this to be false, yet you said it anyway.

                1. Keep the compliments coming, Eddy.

                  1. You consider yourself to be a great wit, and indeed you are half right.

                    1. More. Original next time, not copied from somebody else.

                    2. Every time they try to retire that joke, someone like you renews its relevance.

                    3. I see you couldn’t actually come up with anything original. Well, maybe next time, huh? Best of luck!

                    4. Original? Don’t flatter yourself, you don’t exactly inspire originality.

                    5. Well, maybe NEXT next time, then.

                    6. There’s no need to be original when Scott Adams captured you very well:

                      https://dilbert.com/strip/2018-07-08

                    7. (The guy with the beard is you)

  18. “one first has to understand that the essence of modern antisemitism is not so much hostility to Jews as individuals,”

    No.

    It absolutely is, not even hostility, but an existential hatred of Jews. In some ways similar to leftist hatred of Christianity, but not Islam, which the progressives have embraced.

    Which is another reason for the left’s bile and venom toward Judaism, and especially the representation of Judaism, the state of Israel. That over a billion Muslims would love to the extermination of the Israelis, and all,Jews for that matter, is just icing on the anti Semitic cake.

    Why else is Omar so popular with her constituents, and progressives in general? They love it, and the love her for expressing her hatred. Which the average progressive has to restrain. So they openly hate vicariously through her.

    1. Good luck to you and to Prof. Bernstein with respect to your efforts to persuade other Americans to adopt your views.

    2. ” leftist hatred of Christianity, but not Islam, which the progressives have embraced.”

      I can’t, and don’t claim to, speak for anyone else.
      I don’t hate Christianity. But I am resistant to evangelism, and American Christians seem to think they have the right to evangelize me, and if I won’t come to them, they’re more than happy to coopt the machinery of government to come to me. No, thank you. After the first time, no more “thank you”, and after the 20th, 50th, 1000th try, you get some hostility. You can establish your own relationship with God as you see fit, without any complaints. But leave me out it. I neither need nor want your “help” working out what to believe.

      American Muslims have never tried to evangelize me, nor any of the other world religions. Would that be true if I lived somewhere else? No, obviously not. But I live here.

      1. A stupid argument from a stupid little man.

  19. I would point out that over the years since 1948 the Arab League has had in effect a boycott of Israel and any one who deals with Israel. These measures are to some extent a reaction to that. The effectiveness of the Arab League Boycott has waxed and waned over the years as have the efforts by Arab countries at enforcement. Today it’s mostly symbolic although there continue to restrictions on people who have traveled to Israel entering certain Arab countries as well as other anti-Israel actions.

    1. “I would point out that over the years since 1948 the Arab League has had in effect a boycott of Israel and any one who deals with Israel. These measures are to some extent a reaction to that.”

      So, there’s an argument for boycotting the Saudi government, too… over their murdering of prominent critics, conduct in the war with Yemen, and, oh, yeah, the fact that most of the 9/11 terrorists who attacked us were Saudis.
      It’s possible to support boycotting both sides, or parts of both sides. The fact that a person favors a boycott of one side does not mean they are part of the other side. Israelis have done bad things to Arabs have done bad things to Israelis. Nobody would care, if A) so many world religions hadn’t sprung from the area, and B) also a lot of oil.

  20. “Given this essence of antisemitism, people and organizations who make false or wildly exaggerated statements about the doings of the ‘Israel Lobby’ are contributing to antisemitism, regardless of whether they have any personal animus toward Jews.”

    When you redefine “anti-Semitism” such that it doesn’t require any actual anti-Semitism to qualify, you really water down the product.

    1. So if someone writes, falsely, that 98% of rapes are committed by black people, they aren’t contributing to racism?

      1. If you redefine racism such that it doesn’t require any antipathy towards any particular race, then racism doesn’t mean much any more.

        If you redefine anti-Semitism such that it doesn’t require any actual anti-Semitism, then anti-Semitism doesn’t mean much any more.

        AFAIK, you only did one of these things.

      2. (regardless of whether they personally have animus toward black people?)

        1. Are you trying to cover both racism AND anti-Semitism, or just clumsy?

          1. There is a subtle but meaningful distinction, which apparently elides you, between accusing someone of “antisemtiism” or “racism,” and accusing someone of *contributing to* antisemitism or racism by repeating lies that appeal to antisemitic or racist worldviews. The latter doesn’t have to be a result or animus, it could be pure political calculation shorn of concern about the consequences, or blissful ignorance of either the underlying racist worldview or the way the lie/exaggeration will appeal to that worldview. Given, however, that the ACLU’s leadership are sophisticated actors, I find it harm to presume that they are entirely unaware that spreading the notion that pro-Israel groups are imposing “loyalty oaths to Israel” via friendly legislators will play on latent or blatant antisemitic intuitions.

            1. (But that still doesn’t mean their motive is antisemitic, it means they want to win the pr/legal battle and are either indifferent to the fact that they are misrepresenting the laws and this will encourage antisemitism, or they think that winning this battle is more important than the consequences of encouraging antisemitism.).

              1. David, you’re wasting your intellectual energy on this turd Pollock. You surely have far better options available to you.

                1. At least he has some intellectual energy to waste, Shitty, unlike you.

            2. “There is a subtle but meaningful distinction, which apparently elides you, between accusing someone of “antisemtiism” or “racism,” and accusing someone of *contributing to* antisemitism or racism by repeating lies that appeal to antisemitic or racist worldviews.”

              Condescension, when not merited, reflects poorly upon you.

            3. it could be pure political calculation shorn of concern about the consequences

              If it is simply based on political calculation it is antisemitic, racist, etc., IMO. Consider a Jim Crow era southern politician who avidly defended segregation, and racial discrimination in general. Even if he privately thought the whole thing was nonsense, he would still be a racist.

              1. I’d say he’d be an opportunist who is indifferent to the evil he is promoting.

  21. Pres. Trump says Democrats hate Jews and Israel (after a vividly documented run of multifaceted intolerance, including the ‘very fine people’ contribution to the ‘Jews will not replace us’ episode).

    Prof. Bernstein comments on the issue of anti-Semitism by . . . going after the lefties.

    Right-wingers deserve everything that is coming to them, which is just more of what they have taken from the liberal-libertarian mainstream for the most recent 60 or 70 years.

  22. Pres. Trump says Democrats hate Jews and Israel (after a vividly documented run of multifaceted intolerance, including the ‘very fine people’ contribution to the ‘Jews will not replace us’ episode).

    Prof. Bernstein comments on the issue of anti-Semitism by . . . going after the lefties.

    Right-wingers deserve everything that is coming to them, which is just more of what they have taken from the liberal-libertarian mainstream for the most recent 60 or 70 years.

  23. “Contractors certifying that their businesses don’t boycott Israel-related entities is no more a “loyalty oath” to Israel than certifying that they don’t refuse to deal with black or gay or women-owned business, or or that they will deal only with unionized businesses, is a “loyalty oath” to blacks, gays, women, or unions.”

    You seem confused by your strawman. The “loyalty oath” is made to government to support its cause(s) and not to any specific group.

    1. You nailed it. If it were an anti-discrimination provision, it would ban boycotts of ANY countries, except for specific approved reasons, e.g. designated state sponsor of terrorism, countries violating trade agreements, etc.

      It’s more a like a small town banning boycotts of Smith’s Hardware, but not mentioning any other store. It would be reasonable for a newly elected councilwomen, even one with a hijab, to ask what’s so special about Smith’s Hardware, or even to question the motives for the ban.

  24. Understanding what makes certain criticism of Israel antisemitic. Look for the 3 Ds. Look to see if any is crossed.
    1. Delegitimization. Those actions that seek to delegitimize or destroy the israeli state, and support thereof, especially based on the assumption that Jews don’t have a right to self determinization. Look for key words like “Zionist” and invectives related to it.
    2. Demonization. Criticism of Israel that crosses into standard antisemitic tropes and negative stereotypes. For example “Jews controlling the money of the world” or “a vast Jewish Consipiracy” or “Jews are evil”
    3. Double Standards. Treating Israel and the Jewish people to a standard no other group is held to. For example, criticizing Israel heavily, while ignoring the Chinese in Tibet, Morocco in Western Sahara, or Turkey in Cyprus.

    How the BDS movement crosses these lines. Generally, #3. Where’s the BDS movement for Morocco? Turkey? China? Conspicuously absent.

  25. Also, look at what the BDS movement wants…the so called “Right of Return”. This crosses both line 1 and 3. What other group has actually had a right of return? The Hindus who fled Pakistan in 1947? The Germans expelled from Czecheslovakia in 1947? The Jews who were expelled from any number of Arab countries since 1947? Or even the Palestinians themselves…from Jordan, where many were citizens. None of this is advocated for or granted. A double standard. Adding to this, the right of return for people who never lived a day of their life in Israel? Another double standard.
    The crossing of line 1 is more insidious. What it seeks is a massive influx in palestinians in order to make Jews a minority in Israel. Then the same fate which hit the Jews in every other Arab country can hit again. Thus trying to destroy the Jewish people.

    Lastly, let’s talk about Boycotts. As an individual, you can boycott whoever you want. Don’t like black people? You don’t have to buy from black owned businesses. That’s your right, as horrible as it is. But as a BUSINESS you don’t have that right. You can’t not take money or buy from black people as a business. And anti BDS laws restrict BUSINESSES, even businesses owned by a single person…not individuals in their citizen capacities.

    1. “Don’t like black people? You don’t have to buy from black owned businesses. That’s your right, as horrible as it is”

      What’s the origin of this “right”? Because it sure sounds like you’re winging it.

      1. NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co

        1. So you don’t know? OK.

  26. I’m curious about the legal rationale for a state concerning itself with boycotts of Israel, whether they be pro or con. International relations are properly the bailiwick of the federal government, not the states, with few exceptions.

  27. Seems odd to complain about the ACLU support of anti-semitism when it has, in fact, supported Nazis’s first amendment rights. If latent and blatant anti-semitism isn’t protected by the 1A, why do you think imaginary anti-semitism ought not be?

    1. Obviously should be “If latent and blatant anti-semitism is protected…”

    2. Who said it out not be? Saying the ACLU is promoting (not supporting) antisemitism is not the same as saying the ACLU should be censored.

  28. What Bullshit!!! I’m a longtime ACLU member and a Jew. If a company want’s to boycott Israel because of it’s shameful treatment of the Palestinians, I have not problem with this. How is this antisemitism? While I’m at it, the schmuck Netanyahu is as bad as the schmuck Trump; Let’s hope that he is soon in a jail cell.

    1. So, you support the Right to Return, like the BDS movement demands?

      What do you think will happen when Israel suddenly becomes a Jewish minority state? Maybe the same thing that happened in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Iran, and more?

      1. “What do you think will happen when Israel suddenly becomes a Jewish minority state?”

        Here’s the deal. Some of the Jews in Israel have done really bad things to some of the arabs in Israel, and the arabs hate them all for it. Some of the arabs in (and around) Israel have done really bad things to some of the Jews in Israel, and the Jews hate them all for it.

        Some people pick one side, some pick the other, some pick none-of-the-above. Wishing the nation of Israel would make different choices is anti-Semitism the way changing the channel on your TV is anti-Semitism. (Hint for the slow: Not at all in any way.) SAYING the nation of Israel SHOULD make different choices isn’t anti-Semitism, either, nor is intentionally choosing not to pick any of the dogs in that particular dogfight.

  29. The ACLU of today doesn’t resemble the ACLU of the past. This has been true for about 20 years. They are content-oriented not freedom of thought/speech oriented.

  30. “David Bernstein is a professor at the George Mason University School of Law”

    Time to update your bio line, David. There’s no law school by that name.

  31. Quoting the pseudonymous Mr. Kirkland:

    “Mr. Netanyahu’s recent comments about a two-tier society also seem destined, if not calculated, to lessen many Americans’ support for Israel.”

    [Tend to agree]

    “Most Americans don’t support right-wing belligerence or superstition-based government at home; why would they agree to subsidize it elsewhere, especially if that works against their domestic political preferences?”

    [Valid point]

    Well, that wasn’t hard. I could have just attacked AK ad hominem for being a concern troll, or sniped that he has typed similar things in the past, but those would just have been deflections.

    Carry on, whataboutists. TGIT.

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