A Brief Thought: Legalized Bribery & Who Gets the Conch

Editor’s Note: I suppose at this point I should spend much of this editor’s note explaining my now three week absence from this website and I assure you that if I were feeling slightly healthier I would do just that. I have unfortunately however been suffering from late summer allergies I didn’t even know I had until very recently and the combination of refusing to see a doctor for the first week, failing to draw in enough oxygen to stay conscious for more than eight hours a day and finally adjusting to the knock you on your ass medicine they gave me, has depleted my reserves tremendously. In that light, I hope that you’ll forgive me for keeping this explanation so short as I very much desire to spend whatever energy I have to write with on more important matters than my sudden onset of weed allergies at middle age. While I wouldn’t describe myself as “fully recovered” yet, I intend to write as much as I can over the course of the next month or so; eventually, at some point the goddamn weeds have to die because it’ll be autumn and I should be back to my regular output of 12-15 articles a month – until then, please accept my apology once again.

In today’s Brief Thought I’d like to reach back in time to a disturbing story that made the dishonest mainstream news headlines for a couple of days at the end of July but probably should have been one of the most important political activism stories of the entire summer – the proposed Israel Anti-Boycott Act that’s picking up a shocking amount of bipartisan support in the US House & Senate:

 

 

Note: Please be reminded that if you’re having trouble reading this info graphic, you can right click on the picture and select “view this image” to pop out a larger version. Additionally, don’t forget to check out my comments after the sources section of this article.

 

Sources:

U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

45 senators support bill that makes boycotting Israel a crime

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

ACLU Letter to the Senate Opposing Israel Anti-Boycott Act

This piece of pro-Israel legislation is a serious threat to free speech

This anti-BDS bill is an assault on free speech

How the Israel Anti-Boycott Act Threatens First Amendment Rights

AIPAC “Fight the Boycott of Israel” page

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy

American Israel Public Affairs Cmte – Open Secrets Page, 2016

U.S. Finalizes Deal to Give Israel $38 Billion in Military Aid

No Electricity. No Water. A Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

A Brief Thought: Dimwitted Donny Jr Goes Domino Dancing

 

First and foremost I would like to take a moment here to address mainstream corporate media’s attempts to downplay, deny and or minimize the potential impact of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act in the immediate aftermath of the Intercept’s original breaking story. While you can easily follow the links above to get the full skinny the crux of the centrist pro-Apartheid Israel argument is that paranoid leftists (including the Intercept and the ACLU) have misread the bill, which itself is “merely” an update on a law already on the books that has only been used to punish corporations (not people.) As pointed out in this ACLU explainer however, this argument simply does not hold much fucking water as the proposed amendment would transform the act from an overzealous measure designed to protect American companies from being forced to boycott allied nations, to a bill that “risks penalizing U.S. individuals and companies that support a U.N.-led boycott movement by refusing to purchase goods made by certain companies.” Whether this was the intention of US lawmakers or not, the bill as currently proposed would vastly expand the government’s power to punish American “persons” who participate in organized boycott actions against Israel.

Fortunately these attempts at deflecting criticism of the bill through disinformation haven’t exactly been a rousing success as widespread anger, political activism and public sentiment have already forced Senators to promise to “fix” the bill before it becomes a law – why they initially supported an amendment they clearly didn’t understand and whether or not it is even possible to “repair” the bill in any real sense however remain very real questions.

Finally, while longtime readers of this website will undoubtedly already know that I am certainly no fan of our bigoted swine emperor Trump and like many other pinkos I’m alarmed by the disturbing trend towards mainstreaming fascist ideology in America; I cannot ignore the bizarre juxtaposition of mainstream political opinion on both “free speech” rights and quid pro quo relationships in our current political media environment. The proposed brazen violation of US civil liberties and evidence that our government is openly acting on behalf of a foreign lobby already make this an incredibly important story in it’s own right; when examined in concert with ongoing free speech debate in America and the raging clusterfuck that is “Russiagate” however, a number of uncomfortable questions that aren’t being asked on the 6 o’clock news emerge:

 

 

Of course at the end of the day the answer to all of these questions essentially boils down to an addiction to money; although the AIPAC itself cannot legally donate to political candidates, the lobby acts as a sort of connected “fixer” to arrange donations from wealthy individuals in America who can legally contribute in exchange for policy decisions that help Israel. The relatively poor people of Palestine have no such lobby and lack the tremendous financial resources of the AIPAC; thus their open oppression at the hands of a US ally takes a back seat to the political aims of their oppressors in the corrupt, cash-hungry halls of DC power. Indeed, US politicians from both criminal syndicates that rule over America have become so dependent on this steady stream of campaign funding that their complicit media minions simply wouldn’t dare to point out the similarities between the scandal threatening to take down the rightfully embattled President and what is largely considered “business as usual” between the AIPAC (as well as other foreign interest groups that don’t always have America’s best intentions at heart) and elected American officials on Capitol Hill.

Ultimately, this story (and even the Russiagate scandal itself) isn’t really about foreign attempts to “control America” and observers who interpret what I’ve said here as an attack on Jewish people or a defense of Herr Donald are encouraged to go pound fucking sand. This is fundamentally a story about the corrosive effect big money has had on American democracy and civil liberties just seven short years after the Citizens United ruling; in the final analysis it makes little difference where exactly the money itself comes from and indeed, American lobby groups represent a far graver danger to the average US voter than any foreign lobby entity operating in Washington, the AIPAC included. Everything and anything that isn’t nailed down is for sale to the highest bidder in the modern American political arena – including your fundamental right to protest the brutal subjugation of an occupied people at the hands of a reactionary, right wing government that politicians on both sides of the aisle frequently laud as the USA’s greatest friend in international politics.

 

  • Nina Illingworth

 

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