Democrats, Independents, Republicans – all of us should repudiate the hateful anti-semitic views of the Democratic candidate for the 86th District, Ibraheem Samirah.
Samirah’s statements do not represent who we are.
Samirah’s statements do not represent what we want to teach our children.
We are better than this.
Not long ago, Democratic leaders opposed the discriminatory Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel.
Does the nomination of Democratic candidate Ibraheem Samirah mean that these Democratic leaders now share his anti-semitic views on Jews and Israel?
Will they repudiate his statements?
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) spoke in March 2018 against the BDS Movement, equating it to anti-semitism.
“We must continue to stand firm against the profoundly biased campaign to delegitimize the state of Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions. While Iran publicly executes its citizens, Turkey jails its journalists, scores of Arab nations punish homosexuality with imprisonment and torture, why does BDS single Israel out alone for condemnation? When there is such a double standard, when the world treats everyone one way and the Jew or the Jewish state another way, there’s only one word for it: ANTI-SEMITISM. Let us call out the BDS Movement for what it is. Let us delegitimize the delegitimizers, by letting the world know when there is a double standard, whether they know it or not, they are actively participating in an anti-semitic movement.“
Hillary Clinton spoke against the BDS Movement in 2016, linking it to anti-semitism.
Hillary Clinton addressed college students at the 2016 AIPAC Policy conference:
“Many of the young people here today are on the front lines of the battle to oppose the alarming boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as BDS. Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, especially in Europe, we must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.
I’ve been sounding the alarm for a while now. As I wrote last year in a letter to the heads of major American Jewish organizations, we have to be united in fighting back against BDS. Many of its proponents have demonized Israeli scientists and intellectuals, even students.
To all the college students who may have encountered this on campus, I hope you stay strong. Keep speaking out. Don’t let anyone silence you, bully you or try to shut down debate, especially in places of learning like colleges and universities.
Anti-Semitism has no place in any civilized society, not in America, not in Europe, not anywhere.“
President Barack Obama signed legislation opposing the BDS Movement in 2016.
President Obama signed the federal Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 which strongly opposed the BDS Movement. In his signing statement the President said “Provisions of the Act address trade with Israel. I have directed my Administration to strongly oppose boycotts, divestment campaigns, and sanctions targeting the State of Israel. As long as I am President, we will continue to do so.”
The law stated that US objectives included discouraging…
“politically motivated boycotts of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel and to seek the elimination of politically motivated nontariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce
imposed on Israel…To seek the elimination of state-sponsored
unsanctioned foreign boycotts of Israel, or compliance
with the Arab League Boycott of Israel, by prospective
In 2016, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 177 condemning the BDS movement.
“…RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly condemn the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and its activities in Virginia, as its agenda is inherently antithetical and deeply damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the members of the General Assembly consider the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement as seeking to undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution and the right of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Commonwealth of Virginia recognize the importance of trade and commercial relations to the pursuit and sustainability of peace and support efforts to bring together the United States, the State of Israel, and the Palestinian Authority in an enhanced commercial relationship for the betterment of the region; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the members of the General Assembly reaffirm their support for the State of Israel and oppose all attempts to economically and politically isolate Israel within the international arena, including promotion of economic, cultural, and academic boycotts, and all efforts to assault the legitimacy of the State of Israel as the sovereign homeland of the Jewish people…
In 2017, the Governors of all 50 states signed a statement against BDS – including then Governor of Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
“We, the undersigned Governors, reject efforts to demonize and
delegitimize Israel—America’s democratic ally in the Middle East—
through the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement…The goals of the BDS movement are antithetical to our values and the values of our respective states. They seek to isolate Israel—a pluralistic nation with deep cultural, familial, security, educational, scientific and commercial bonds with our state and with the United States as a whole—rather than recognize the profound mutual benefits of our engagement with it. They malign a trusted ally that, while forced to defend itself against repeated and ongoing attempts to annihilate it, has consistently extended its hand in peace to its Palestinian neighbors and to states across the Middle East and around the world….”
The Combating BDS Act of 2019
On January 28, 2019 the U.S. Senate voted 79-19 to bring to the floor S. 1: Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 , which includes the “Combating BDS Act of 2019.” That provision gives state and local governments the ability to penalize and not do business with companies that engage in boycott, divestment or sanctions activities against Israel. As of late 2018, 26 states had laws to prevent state contracts with companies that chose to boycott Israel.
UPDATE: On February 6, 2019, the U.S. Senate passed S.1 “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act” by a vote of 77-21. The legislative package includes the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and the Combating BDS Act. The bill now goes to the U.S. House for consideration.
As of November 2018, 26 states – the ones in Red on the map below – have passed anti-BDS laws or their governors have taken executive action:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Support for Israel
Although the BDS Movement didn’t exist during Dr. Martin Luther King’s lifetime, the earlier Arab Boycott against Israel was ongoing at the time. King was a strong supporter of Israel. On the evening of March 25, 1968, ten days before he was assassinated, King appeared at the sixty-eighth annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly. Concerning Israel, he said:
“I think it is necessary to say that what is basic and what is needed in the Middle East is peace. Peace for Israel is one thing. Peace for the Arab side of that world is another thing. Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all of our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel, and never mind saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land almost can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.”
Ironically, although Ibraheem Samirah’s own statements on Israel are the exact opposite of King’s, Samirah’s campaign website features a photo of him posing in front of a photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.