Last Wednesday (7/24/19), the U.S. House of Representatives voted 398-17 in support of a bill condemning the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (or the BDS movement as it is most often called).
In a nutshell, the BDS movement represents a loose connection of various political, educational, and non-profit organizations that are characterized by a hardline anti-Israel and anti-Zionist position when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The ultimate goal of the BDS movement is to isolate and weaken Israel on the world stage, and it is no secret that many participants in the BDS movement actually have direct ties to terrorist organizations, including Hamas.
Given the atrocious objectives of the BDS movement, we should all view the condemnation of this movement by the U.S. Congress as a great victory worth celebrating. We should also pray that God would bless the United States for continuing to stand with Israel.
At the same time, we simultaneously need to recognize that the growing support for the BDS movement within the Democratic party, especially among members of Congress who are being touted as the future and new face of the party (i.e. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib), also indicates that this is a fight that is not going away. The growing popularity of the BDS movement highlights how the rising stars within the Democratic party, all of whom are especially popular with the Millennial generation, are going to continue pushing the issue of Israel to the center of the political stage, and making this issue a key component of their progressive agenda for America.
Case in point: in a few weeks Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib will travel to Israel to once again try and shine a spotlight on the supposed injustices perpetrated by the Israelis against the Palestinians. Never mind the irony that the allegedly oppressive and apartheid Israelis are actually granting these Congresswoman the freedom to enter their country in the first place. The Congresswomen have a misguided social justice vendetta against Israel and a point to prove.
In light of these troubling political realities, in the days ahead, it is only going to become even more important to have an understanding of the BDS controversy that goes beyond what you can find in the mainstream media. Because of this, I want to spend some time in the rest of this article outlining the strategy of the pro-BDS supporters in Congress, and in particular, how they are using a combination of deception, with an appeal to social justice and First Amendment rights, to try and impose an agenda that represents nothing more than blatant anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. I also want to touch on why this controversy is directly connected to an even deeper battle for the soul of our nation, and of more Biblical and prophetic significance than most people realize.
The Free Speech Play
If you listen closely to those who are seeking to change the current U.S. laws in regard to the BDS movement, you will continuously hear them speaking about free speech, and our constitutional rights to boycott. They are trying to frame this entire debate as though it is primarily about the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens.
For example, just a little over a week ago, Congresswoman Ihan Omar introduced a resolution in the House hoping to fully legalize the BDS movement, and in response she said: “We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting.” Then, last Wednesday, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib gave a speech on the House floor in which she said:
“Our right to free speech is being threatened with this resolution. It sets a dangerous precedent because it attempts to delegitimize a certain people’s political speech and to send a message that our government can and will take action against speech it doesn’t like.”
Notice the similarities there between Omar’s and Tlaib’s statements?
Of course, because this is their talking point. They are reading from the same script; a script that is being given to them by the pro-BDS power brokers who are pulling the strings behind the scenes.
They understand that Americans are much more likely to sympathize with an issue if it is presented to them as being a part of some broader social justice or civil rights concern. This is why they are saying, and will keep saying over and over, that this is a First Amendment issue related to our individual rights to free speech and free expression.
What Anti-BDS Laws Actually Say
But let’s take a step back. Are there actually any anti-BDS laws in the U.S. that limit an individual’s freedom of speech, or even an individual’s freedom to boycott Israel?
The answer is no.
In addition to the general anti-BDS resolutions passed by the House, there are also 27 states that currently have anti-BDS laws on the books, many of which also contain more specific legislative prohibitions related to the BDS movement.
You can see these states in red on the map below. Furthermore, you can also visit this website to read more about what the anti-BDS laws in each of these states actually entail.
But to summarize, the main thing you need to know is that there is not even one state in America that currently limits an individual’s freedom of speech towards Israel, or even their freedom to boycott Israel. These laws do not, I repeat, do not, limit a person’s freedom of speech in any way. In other words, any person living in the United States can say whatever they want about Israel. In addition, they, and even their businesses, can also choose to boycott, and let’s say, personally sanction Israel, to whatever degree they want. The First Amendment rights of every American in terms of how they relate to and express themselves towards Israel are fully in-tact. (If they weren’t, then Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib would be in jail! But I digress…)
So what then does the fine print of these state-level anti-BDS laws actually say?
Well, in general, they most often prohibit the state itself from supporting businesses and organizations that are participating in the BDS movement. This means that in many cases a business or organization with ties to BDS cannot receive state funds, or bid on state contracts.
So let’s say someone runs a digital media corporation and happens to be a pro-Palestinian supporter of the BDS movement. They can broadcast whatever message about Israel they want. They can also even refuse to buy Israeli products, refuse to have Israeli voices on their podcast, and use their platform to call others to boycott Israel and participate in the BDS movement. But if they do this (in many of these red states), they will not be able to receive any funds from the state government, or to work for the government in any sort of paid capacity.
It’s All About the Benjamins
The reason this important legal detail concerning what the anti-BDS laws in America actually do and do not say is so vital to understand, is because it shows us that Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib’s attempt to change these laws actually has nothing to do with an individual’s First Amendment Rights and free speech. The anti-BDS laws are not about what an individual can and cannot do or say, and many legal analysists and judges have come to this same conclusion.
What these laws are actually about however, is the U.S. government’s foreign and economic policy towards Israel, and that is what the pro-BDS faction within the U.S. government is trying to change from the top. Additionally, these anti-BDS laws are also directly related to U.S. government fiscal policy, and for those in the pro-BDS camp, this is really where the rubber meets the road.
Simply put, this is all about the money.
The people who are running the pro-BDS campaign are not stupid. They know that strictly speaking this whole issue has nothing to do with free speech. But what they don’t like is that they can’t get their hands on all that U.S. government money that could otherwise help them build their organizations and propagate their pro-BDS message. They know they need to change these laws so they can begin directing U.S. taxpayer money to support their pro-BDS organizations, because until this happens, they will continue to flounder in the U.S. Once they can get access to the state money however, they believe they will be able to multiply, grow their platforms, infiltrate state institutions, and implement their anti-Zionist agenda. That’s their plan at least.
It’s all about access to U.S. government money, and a complete overhaul of U.S. policy towards Israel. So indeed, the stakes in this debate are high, but not because it has anything to do with the First Amendment. The stakes are high because the pro-BDS faction is trying to fundamentally shift U.S. foreign policy towards Israel to align more with the likes of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Venezuela, Somalia, etc.
As a result, we need to use discernment and recognize that when Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib stand in Congress and disingenuously present themselves as social justice warriors, fighting for our First Amendment rights, they are lying, and attempting to manipulate the American public. Their strategy in this regard represents the epitome of political deception and misdirection.
All the freedom of speech arguments in this discussion are a straw man and a Trojan Horse. They are a distraction that is being used to try and make it easier for Americans to accept a resolution that would allow the U.S. government’s direct financial participation in the BDS movement, which would in turn undoubtedly undermine Israel’s security and existence as a nation. At the most basic level, this is nothing more than an attempt to institutionalize an anti-Israel policy at the highest levels of the American government, and to make the U.S. government a direct state-sponsor of anti-Semitism.
That is the play here, and that is why there is so much at stake in terms of how this story unfolds in the future. If the pro-BDS faction in the Democratic party is eventually successful, their success would mark the greatest shift in U.S. foreign policy towards Israel since Israel was founded as a nation over 70 years ago. And even worse, their success would most certainly also bring harsh judgment on America. As God said to Abraham and his descendants over 3,000 years ago, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you” (Gen. 12:3).
The Battle for America’s Soul
Like many of you, I will personally be watching this story very closely in the coming months and years. It is no overstatement to say that how the BDS controversy plays out in America is directly connected to an even deeper battle for the very soul of our nation.
I say this because for one, history teaches us that how a nation deals with Israel and the Jewish people is often a barometer for the health and moral discernment of that nation in an even broader sense. History is full of examples which demonstrate how rising anti-Semitism is directly connected to the rapid decline of entire nation states and empires at large, and in this context, I will simply mention the Roman Empire, the Nazi Third Reich, and Czarist Russia.
Rather than looking inward and addressing the real issues, and rather than turning to God for redemption, nation after nation, empire after empire, has found it easier to just blame the Jews for all their problems, which not only leaves the real societal cancer untreated, but which in and of itself is also a sign of the proliferation of the cancer itself.
In modern times, this is one of the primary malignancies which afflicts the Muslim world, and one of the main reasons why so many Muslim countries can never get ahead. They spend all their time demonizing and trying to destroy Israel, and never actually take the time to look in the mirror. (And this is exactly the type of misguided political agenda that our Somali and Palestinian Congresswomen are trying to import into America from their home countries.)
If America makes the same mistake, and fundamentally alters its relationship with Israel, I fear it will mark a period of decline and upheaval in our nation that we have never before witnessed in our history.
The other main reason I say this BDS controversy is connected to an even deeper battle for the soul of our nation, is because it is forcing us to decide if we are going to allow the principles of our Constitution to be hijacked, and distorted into the very mechanism that leads to our own destruction from within. Appeals to free speech are important, and something we should all take seriously. But if we allow our First Amendment rights to be weaponized, politicized, and propagandized to serve such a malicious and ant-Semitic agenda, that will effectively mark the end of these rights as we know them.
When you use a free speech argument to try and destroy the only true democracy and beacon of freedom in the entire Middle East (Israel), your moral compass has become so out of balance that no one should ever trust that you even care one iota about free speech in the first place. And make no mistake about it, the end goal of the BDS movement is not only to change U.S. government foreign, economic, and fiscal policy towards Israel, but to also silence and criminalize anyone who holds the alternative position.
This is the battle for America’s soul indeed.
4 Ways to Pray
1. Our war is not against flesh and blood. Pray against the principalities and powers of darkness that are trying to turn America into a state-sponsor of anti-Semitism.
2. Pray for U.S. lawmakers to continue supporting and defending Israel.
3. Pray for the Body of Messiah to deepen her understanding of God’s prophetic plan and purpose for Israel.
4. Pray for the Palestinians, and pray for the Israelis to come to know Jesus as their Savior and Messiah.