Monday, June 06, 2016

Andrew Cuomo, Sometimes Right

In a high-profile action, Bob Bryson soon will be arrested by New York State Police.

You probably don't know Bob Bryson, Moderator of the Presbytery of Northern New York (state). But soon you will, if the February prediction of Rahul Saksena, a staff attorney at non-profit advocacy organization Palestine Legal, is borne out. Saksena then quivered at the prospect of passage by the legislature in Albany of an anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions bill.

Governor Cuomo has pre-empted the legislature by issuing an executive order. According to Salon anti-Israel obsessive Ben Norton, it "will not permit its own investment activity to further the BDS campaign in any way, shape or form, whether directly or indirectly” and adds that “the State of New York unequivocally rejects the BDS campaign and stands firmly with Israel.”

“It’s frightening to think there could be New York state employees scouring the internet for pro-BDS Facebook posts, tweets and news articles, and blacklisting individuals based on their political viewpoints,” Saksena now contends. “It’s 21st century McCarthyism.”

Saksena believes "It’s 21st century McCarthyism" because such governmental actions “are disturbing attempts to punish and chill constitutionally protected speech.”

And so Bryson should contact his criminal defense lawyer and arrange to turn himself in to authorities.  Two years ago to this month, the Presbyterian Church of the USA, the largest of the three Presbyterian denominations, announced it had "narrowly approved divestment from three United States companies doing business in Israel-Palestine."

It will surprise Mr. Bryson, whatever his personal view of the BDS movement (which the PCUSA says is separate from its action) or his church's relationship to it, that his speech has been endangered. It is unlikely that managers whose pension funds no longer will be favored by the state are feverisly contemplating prosecution on criminal charages.

And in a related matter, we forget that as of August, 2014

Jordan refuses entry to or forcibly deports Palestinian refugees escaping Syria, in clear breach of its international obligations, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Jordan has officially banned entry to Palestinians from Syria since January 2013 and has forcibly deported over 100 who managed to enter the country since mid-2012, including women and children.

The 44-page report, “Not Welcome: Jordan’s Treatment of Palestinians Escaping Syria,” is based on interviews with more than 30 people affected by the non-admission policy. Human Rights Watch also documented Jordan’s withdrawal of Jordanian citizenship from some Palestinians who had lived in Syria for many years and who have been detained or deported to Syria without identity documents. Jordan’s uncompromising treatment of Palestinians fleeing Syria contrasts with its treatment of Syrian nationals, at least 607,000 of whom have been accepted into the country since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. Before the March 2011 uprising began, Syria was home to at least 520,000 Palestinian refugees.

Jordan's lack of generosity is stunning and significant given that

According to Article 34 of the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, "The Contracting States shall as far as possible facilitate the assimilation and naturalisation of refugees," and must "make every effort to expedite naturalisation proceedings" – the opposite of what happened to the Palestinians in every Arab country in which they settled, save Jordan. 

Now that Jordan is giving the back of the hand to Palestinians, the latter face similarly rough treatment throughout virtually the entire Arab Mideast. That means, of course, that if only we can pressure Israel through the BDS movement, a new age of freedom and prosperity awaits Palestinians.

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