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Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:19 PM

CA Legislators: Students who criticize Israel are antisemitic. Shitstorm & Hilarity follows.

ACT I

California Assembly members passed a nonbinding resolution this Tuesday which equated criticism of Israel with antisemitism and indicated the University of California and other public universities should crack down on demonstrations against Israel on their campuses.

The resolution, written by Republican Assemblywoman Linda Halderman and supported by Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal was not debated and passed easily. In fact, everything was fine and dandy until sometime Tuesday evening when constituents actually began reading the full text of the resolution which described the following activities (among other things) as antisemitic:

* Describing Israel is a racist or apartheid state
* Indicating that Israel is guilty of crimes against humanity in any matter
* Students or faculty who support any boycott, divestment or sanctions campaigns against Israel
* Students who disrupt "free speech that present Israel's point of view"

That's just a few of them, I link to the full text of the resolution above. Now, most of the above was sandwiched between actual things I think anyone would have a problem with students doing on campus, like physically attacking others or painting swastikas on walls in dorms.

While no one had any qualms with making sure campuses were violence and Nazi-free, a number of organizations were, shall we say, a little put off by the attempt to label students or faculty who expressed negative opinions on Israel as antisemitic.

ACT II

Well, first it was the Council on American-Islamic Relations who wrote an open letter to the legislators which read, in part:
Although HR 35 does not create any new law, it effectively encourages university administrators to infringe upon students’ free speech rights. By equating legitimate political debates about geopolitics with anti-Semitism, the resolution emboldens administrators to take action to chill and prevent such speech.

Then the group Jewish Voice For Peace put out a press release echoing the sentiments:
While some Jewish students feel uncomfortable with public criticism of Israeli policies, whether articulated by other Jews or non-Jewish students, that does not make that criticism anti-Semitic. The answer is more speech and enhanced communication, not limiting speech in order to avoid the discomfort of some students.

And then somebody went and wrote an opinion piece in Al-Jazeera about it.

Then the president of the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild called the resolution "irresponsible and dangerous". He continued:
‘‘In doing so, it can be seen as having no other purpose than to demonize all those who criticize the nation-state of Israel or support the rights of the Palestinian people,’’ he said.




See where this is going?

And then lunchtime yesterday, the University of California responded- basically saying "Yeah, this is bullshit so we're ignoring it."


ACT III

Well the California Assembly members are now busy trying to hide under each other like sheep in a thunderstorm in order to avoid responsibility. Some blame Assemblywoman Halderman for leaving out all references to Israel during the vote, attempting to sneak the resolution by inattentive legislators. One of the few who didn't vote for the resolution, a Democrat, had a different opinion on why the resolution passed:
Halderman did not mention Israel when she introduced HR35, which passed on a voice vote with 66 of the Assembly’s 80 members signing on as co-authors.

Some of the lawmakers who signed on as co-authors when the resolution was called on the floor seemed surprised to later learn of the references to Israel. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, was one of the few who did not support it.

‘‘Ignorance reigns up here,’’ he said.


But all is apparently well, because this morning Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (who originally voted for the resolution) had a sudden change of heart and assured all Californians this grave error will be fixed.

In January of next year. Probably.

No matter, though, it sounds like it's bound to be a doozy of a correction!
"I'm not sure what all it's going to say, but I think it will boil down to a celebration of the First Amendment," the Long Beach Democrat said in a statement. "And it will make clear in no uncertain terms that students in our universities should feel safe to have differing opinions."

Well, hooray for America and hooray for us all! From a resolution which literally struck out the words "First Amendment to the United States Constitution" (see here) to a "Celebration of the First Amendment"!

She went on to defend Republican Assemblywoman Halderman:
Lowenthal said she regretted that the resolution had drawn controversy but also noted that Halderman, its author, lost family in the Holocaust.

"If she overshot the mark, I'm certainly not going to criticize her for it," Lowenthal said.


I'm with Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano on this one: ‘‘Ignorance reigns"

PB

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Reply CA Legislators: Students who criticize Israel are antisemitic. Shitstorm & Hilarity follows. (Original post)
Poll_Blind Aug 2012 OP
Hell Hath No Fury Aug 2012 #1
Poll_Blind Aug 2012 #2
dogknob Aug 2012 #3
DeSwiss Sep 2012 #4

Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:34 PM

1. Wow, what a fiasco.

I had the privilege of voting to Tommy for SF Mayor -- he has an incredible ability to say the truth at all costs.

We see the attempt to shut down criticism of Israel by cries of "antisemitism" here on DU all the time. To see someone attempt to legislate it (and so many dumbasses to vote for it) is very scary.

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Response to Hell Hath No Fury (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:50 PM

2. Indeed- from local clusterfuck to global clusterfuck in something like 8 hours.

And then smacked down by every responding organization, including California State University.



It sounds like Mr. Ammiano would have made a great mayor. Out of all the articles I read covering the issue, I remember reading his quote and laughing out loud "You got that right!" Just to be clear, though, this was just a nonbinding resolution. If you read the full text, it appears that at one time it may have been set up as potential legislation.

I'm just amazed at how quickly some of these legislators scatter when they get called on their bullshit.

PB

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Response to Hell Hath No Fury (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 01:58 PM

3. I campaigned for Ammiano. I drove him around town...

...I protested with him against HRC's bullshit. One of the nicest, funniest and integrital* people I have ever met.

*link to a discussion of how awkward the English language makes it to describe a person of integrity. http://turningoverpebbles.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/integretish-integrious-integrital/

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Response to Poll_Blind (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 08:16 PM

4. I would like to make an amendment to this resolutuion.....

...to include any criticism of ME; or anything I write or post here at DU -- is also antisemitism. And anti-black, anti-Irish, anti-Swiss and anti-Indian as well since I'm representative of all the above. And if you disagree with what I just said or even if you're thinking about it, well that's also antisemitic, anti-black, anti-Irish, anti-Swiss and anti-Indian.

- I think that about covers it for me. Anyone else want to get in on this???

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