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Zionism's ZOA Pushes to Make all Campus Critisism of Israel IllegalJames M. Wall for Salem-News.com
The ZOA descrubes itself as the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organization in the US.
(CHICAGO) - What effect will Tuesday’s midterm elections have on US-Israel relations?
Let us count the ways, starting with the impact of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on American college and university campuses.
A new and much more conservative Congress will bring us changes we don’t want to believe in. A recent news release from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) offers a clue on what we can expect.
Morton Klein, ZOA’s director (pictured above), was downright giddy over what he terms a major victory in his six year fight to expand the US Civil Rights anti-bullying provision.
What prompted Klein’s giddiness was a statement issued this week by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who announced that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act now includes new guidelines that will bring increased protection for disabled and LGBT students from bullying and discrimination.
Klein’s ZOA organization may also be concerned with other groups affected by the new provisions, but to ZOA the real benefit comes to the state of Israel.
The ZOA descrubes itself as the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organization in the US. Just how pro-Israel is ZOA is evident from the line up of speakers at the group’s Annual Louis B. Brandeis Award Dinner, October 29.
Keynoters were William Kristol, founding editor of the Weekly Standard, regular Fox TV panelist and co-founder of the Emergency Committee for Israel, and Gary Bauer, co-founder of Christians United for Israel and president of American Values. Special remarks at the dinner were delivered by Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Danny Danon.
Just how will tougher provisions in the Civil Rights Act fit Klein’s prime mission to push his Zionist agenda?
In Secretary Arnie Duncan’s announcement, along with protection for LGBT and disabled students, there is now an added category of students who gain protection under Title VI: Members of any religious group that has “shared ethnic characteristics”.
Eyal Mazor warns in a posting on the Jewish Voices for Peace blog, Muzzle Watch, that Title VI’s addition of ”shared ethnic characteristics” should be a concern to anyone concerned about, or working to preserve, the right of students to organize for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel on American campuses.
Mazor believes the ZOA
Israel and its US Zionist allies have consistently maintained that criticism of the actions of the government of the state of Israel is, ipso facto, anti-semitism.
If US courts decide to interpret criticism of Israel’s actions as anti-semitism, then colleges and universities, for whom federal funding is the “holy grail” of education, will have been handed a coercive weapon beyond their wildest dreams.
Under ZOA’s reading of the new provisions in Title VI, school officials may arrest, expel, or bring all sorts of what Arlo Guthrie might describe as “mean and ugly” actions against students. teachers, or even boards of trustees, who use their freedom of speech to criticize Israel’s policies.
As Klein sees it, ZOA has been instrumental in pushing the US Department of Education to place the state of Israel and its student supporters, under the same provision that protects LGBT and disabled students from bullying and discrimination.
Eyal Mazor wrote on MuzzleWatch,
Peter Schultz does not share the excitement of Mort Klein and the ZOA.
Writing in the current issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, (link for subscribers only) Schultz gives a less hysterical reading to Secretary Duncan’s actions.
Tuesday’s elections are expected to produce a strong conservative shift to both houses of the Congress. Whether that shift will lead to a stronger pro-Zionist mood in Congress is difficult to predict since almost all liberal Democratic members are already PEPs (Progressive except for Palestine).
What is certain is that because of its strong right wing tilt, the Republican party will be far more open to the desires of organizations like Klein’s ZOA, especially the new members who have an all-expenses paid trip to Israel awaiting them.
Take, for example, the actions of Brad Sherman and Arlen Specter.
Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) joined in ZOA’s campaign to include new wording in the Civil Rights Act that embraces “shared ethnic characteristics”. Sherman has represented California’s 27th district since 1997. He is expected to win easily in this week’s election.
Specter, who became a Democrat for pragmatic reasons, after a long career as a Republican, lost a primary race this year to Congressman Joe Sestak, who is now locked in a tight race for Specter’s old seat against a strong conservative, Republican Pat Toomey. As a member of the House, Toomey was already on record as a supporter for Israel. In the current campaign, Toomey has criticized Sestak for accepting an endorsement (and money) from J Street.
Sherman has demonstrated his Zionist bono fides on more than one occasion. In September, he and Specter introduced legislation in both houses of Congress that would codify into federal law the language the Department of Education has just implemented into federal policy.
Sherman did not mention any other communities which are “facing religion-based discrimination”, like, for example, Muslims, Sikhs and other groups most impacted by the up-swell of Islamophobic discrimination.
PoliticalNews.me reported on its website this week
The way ahead for the new Congress and its relationship to Zionism, is as yet unclear. It is a good bet, however, that Morton Klein will watch Tuesday’s results closely. He will find ways to reach out to new members in the House and Senate with his views on how best to interpret to the new Congress the provisions of the Civil Rights Act.
Klein and his colleagues in the Israel Lobby, will greet new members with that all expenses paid trip to Israel, where they will be instructed on the importance of Israel to the security of the US.
Journalism was Jim Wall’s undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. An ordained United Methodist clergy person; he and his wife, Mary Eleanor, are the parents of three sons, and the grandparents of four grandchildren. They live in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. While serving with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years, starting in 1972. Time magazine wrote about the new editor, who arrived at the Christian Century determined to turn the magazine into a hard-hitting news publication. The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from many other sources that have influenced Jim’s writings over the years, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the political struggles in the Middle East. Jim has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. You can write to Jim Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Jim's Website: Wall Writings
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