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“Earlier this week I wrote about the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, a piece of legislation that some Democrats and Republicans are hoping to quietly attach to a budget bill so it can be passed into law. The bill would bar American companies and individuals from participating in certain boycotts of Israel, and, though even its supporters say it would have minimal practical impact, it represents a serious attack on fundamental principles of free speech.
The bill is also part of a broad nationwide movement playing out at both the federal and state level to quash criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud government and its policies toward Palestinians, an effort that Democrats unfortunately have participated in far too often.
Now two senators — Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) — have a plan to try to do something about this. They are coming out against that measure, which could help realize the larger goal of forcing a genuine debate in Congress that does not place such criticism off limits.
It is a lack of debate about Israel — not just about the Netanyahu government’s policies but also about how we in America should react to them — that allows provisions such as the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to flourish. But that also means that if you draw enough attention to them, things can change. We may be at a point where politicians who would previously have gone along precisely because it seemed like the easiest thing to do given that few people were watching are now having second thoughts. And that’s what makes this an important lesson in how politics works.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""
"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"