Thursday, December 20, 2018

As CAIR Challenges Texas Ban on Boycotting Israel, Governor Retorts, ‘Texas Stands With Israel. Period’

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced a lawsuit Monday challenging legislation in Texas which prohibits government agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel.

CAIR’s legal defense fund is supporting a speech therapist whose attempt to renew her contract with a school district in an Austin suburb hit a hurdle when she refused to sign a document affirming she does not boycott Israel.

According to documents filed in the U.S. District Court in the city on Monday, Bahia Amawi, who supports the so-called boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, declined to sign an addendum to contract papers, and was told her contract could not be renewed as a result.

“Ms. Amawi advocates for boycotts of Israel due to Israel’s continuing violations of international law in its treatment of Palestinians,” the suit says. “Specifically, Ms. Amawi boycotts products created in Israel in support of the peaceful Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.’

“As an advocate for Palestinian rights and justice, she cannot in good faith certify or state that she does not boycott Israel, and will not engage in a boycott of Israel.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last year signed into law legislation prohibiting state entities from entering into contracts for goods and services unless the entity concerned verifies in writing that it “does not boycott Israel” and “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract.”

The Texas House of Representatives had earlier approved the bill by 131-0, and the Texas Senate by 27-4.

On Monday, Abbott sounded a defiant note on Twitter: “Texas stands with Israel. Period.”

CAIR, which calls itself the nation’s biggest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, claims the BDS movement is “in support of Palestinian human rights.”

Other prominent backers include the first two Muslim women to be elected to the U.S. Congress, Rep.-elect Ihlan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)

Critics view BDS as inherently anti-Semitic, on the grounds that it targets only the Jewish state and none of the other nations around the world embroiled in territorial disputes.

A working definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the U.S. and 30 other countries in 2016 provides among “contemporary examples” in public life, requiring of Israel “a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

In an address to an “anti-BDS conference” in New York last year, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said, “how tragic is it that, of all countries in the world to condemn for human rights violations, these voices [from college campuses to the U.N.] choose to single out Israel.”

“We should boycott North Korea. We should sanction Iran. We should divest from Syria – not Israel,” she said. “It makes absolutely no sense. And it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice.”

As governor of South Carolina, Haley in 2015 passed the nation’s first “anti-BDS” law.

At least two dozen U.S. states have now enacted similar laws, and the ACLU is currently warning against any attempt by the U.S. Congress to include legislation entitled the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” into a year-end omnibus spending bill.

That measure also enjoys substantial bipartisan support – in the U.S. Senate, it is sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and has 58 co-sponsors; and in the House, the bill introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) has 292 co-sponsors.

The ACLU argues that the legislation violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The case in Texas also invokes the First Amendment.

The lawsuit document states that the state of Texas “chose to categorically take Israel’s side in this international conflict by adopting” the law signed by Abbott last year.

“Political speech on issues of great national and international importance is central to the purposes of the First Amendment,” it says.

“Speech and advocacy related to the Israel–Palestine conflict is core political speech on a matter of public concern entitled to the highest levels of constitutional protection.”

The lawsuit calls on the court, among other things, to declare the Texas law “unconstitutional and unenforceable.”


No more excuses: British health chiefs vow to step up war on salt as targets to cut content missed Health chiefs have demanded “no more excuses” after new figures showed just half of targets to cut salt intake in common foods have been met

Food authoritarianism. NOBODY should heed government food advice.  It goes into reverse too often to be worthy of respect.  And the war on salt is absurd.  The Japanese are the world's greatest salt eaters by far and they have especially long lives.  Japanese soy sauce is almost solid salt

A report by Public Health England (PHE) reveals zero progress reducing average salt content in some foods – including bacon and ham – since pledges were made four years ago.

Ministers have repeatedly vowed to wage war on salt, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The new analysis found that just 52 per cent of the average sodium level targets were met for products consumed in the home, PHE said.

Meat products were the saltiest culprits, with no average targets met and 43 per cent of products above recommended maximum limits.

No progress at all was made reducing the average salt content of ham and bacon, the figures show, with targets missed for sausages, ready meals, rice and soups.

Overall, manufacturers met just 37 per cent of their average targets, the figures show, with better progress by retailers, who achieved 73 per cent of the goals they were set.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said: “Too much salt can lead to increased blood pressure which can cause heart disease and stroke – two of the biggest killers of adults in the UK – which is why government has set such stretching targets.

“While we have seen some progress, those that have taken little or no action cannot be excused for their inactivity. It is clear that, with the right leadership from industry, further salt reduction in foods continues to be possible.”

The health body is calling for mandatory labels on foods so that they display their salt content.

Health officials recommend that adults should eat no more than 6 grams of salt a day.


UN immigration pact loses support in Belgium

Charles Michel, the Belgian prime minister, resigned on Tuesday night after his government collapsed in the face of virulent opposition to his signing of a UN migration pact from his erstwhile coalition partners.

Mr Michel lost the support of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, the largest party in his coalition, over the non-binding UN agreement, which opponents had claimed would open the door to greater migration.

Belgium is now bracing itself for a snap election as early as next month after Mr Michel said he was going to the king to offer his resignation amid demands for a motion of no confidence in his now minority government.

He had refused to submit to such a vote or the calls from some in the assembly for an early election. A snap poll, he said, would only lead to "stagnation for the whole of 2019". The next election is due in Belgium in May.

Instead, Mr Michel announced: "I am taking the decision to offer my resignation. I am now going to see the king."

Amid applause from parlamentarians, he picked up his briefcase, shook the hands of a number of government ministers, and left.

King Philippe of Belgium received Michel and is now expected to hold consultations between the political parties before calling elections in January.

The right-wing Flemish party quit the government after Mr Michel refused its demand to drop his support for the migration pact, and secured parliamentary approval to go ahead against its wishes.

It branded his weakened administration "the Marrakech coalition," after the city where the accord was signed just over a week ago.

Its withdrawal left his French-speaking liberal MR supported only by two smaller Flemish parties.

The UN migration pact was agreed in July by all 193 members except the United States, but only 164 formally signed it at the meeting on December 10.

Some European politicians say the accord, aimed at fostering global cooperation on the issue, could increase immigration to the bloc, which tightened restrictions on refugees and migrants in recent months. But supporters of the deal say claims it will encourage uncontrolled flows and embed migration as a human right are entirely false and aimed at fearmongering.

On Sunday, thousands of people turned out in Brussels to protest against the pact, at a rally called by Flemish right wing parties. Some 5,500 people, according to police figures, marched in the district housing the main European Union institutions, eclipsing a smaller demo of around 1,000 people in support of the deal.

Police deployed teargas and water cannon after scuffles broke out at the right wing demonstration, where some held banners bearing slogans including "Our people first" and "We have had enough, close the borders."

Riot police stepped after projectiles and firecrackers were thrown, an AFP journalist on the scene reported. Some 90 people were detained, according to the Belga news agency.

The UN's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is designed to frame an effective international approach to the issue, which has become deeply divisive in Europe since the peak of the migrant crisis in 2015.

Several EU countries pulled out of the pact before it was signed, including Austria, which holds the EU presidency,  the Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, and Slovakia.

On Tuesday, Pope Francis warned against a growing tendency of politicians to exploit nationalism and fear of foreigners. He used a message to mark World Peace Day to insist: "Political addresses that tend to blame every evil on migrants and to deprive the poor of hope are unacceptable".


Australians For Tommy Robinson

Below I reproduce the current iteration of Avi Yemeni's home page.  Avi is a conservative Israeli of very Arab appearance who lives in Australia.  His videos are on the right (Fittingly!) of his original page.  His latest efforts are in defence of British immigration critic Tommy Robinson, who is greatly feared and therefore heavily persecuted by the British elite.  Robinson has the daring to speak common sense about Muslims

Avi Yemini was one of a handful of real reporters who went to London to cover Tommy Robinson’s court appearance. As you know, the British media are so hostile to Tommy, they can’t even be trusted to accurately report the facts of the case.

So Tommy’s supporters crowdfunded Avi’s flight, and other reporters from Canada and the U.S. too.. Afterwards, Tommy said it made a huge difference having honest journalists there — it helped get the truth out, despite the mainstream media’s lies.

Well, Tommy had another demonstration — this time, it was about Brexit.

Tommy supports Brexit, and he worked with UKIP to organize this rally. But the British media are demonizing Tommy, and everyone involved with the demo. They know that Tommy is a growing political force, so they think that they have to defame him.

So when Tommy asked Avi to come all the way to London again, he agreed.

And we’re glad he did. Because it’s so important to have real reporters covering Tommy’s activities, because the BBC, Sky News and other British outlets lie and defame him.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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