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Ray Hanania
Ray Hanania
14 May 2015
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Illinois Declares War on the Arab World


The state of Illinois this week declared war on the Arab world, on Muslims and on Christian Arabs who have long ago been abandoned by the Christian West.

The declaration comes in the form of a new law, overwhelmingly approved this week, that punishes anyone who criticizes or boycotts Israel by denying them taxpayer-funded investments and support.

Although the pro-Israel sponsors of the bill, which was drafted by AIPAC, assert it doesn't stifle criticism, in fact it does by defining any criticism as a form of "boycott" and thereby allows the overseeing agency to determine what is and what isn't a "boycott."

Can the Arab world and the Muslim world respond?

The pro-Israel sponsors of the bill introduced it as a means of shielding Israel, a foreign country, from criticism of its oppressive policies, which discriminates against individuals based on race and religion.

Israel is a racist country that gives special privileges to Jewish citizens while denying the same rights to non-Jews, including and especially against Christians.

Israel practices a form of apartheid by denying legal and civil rights to Palestinians based on their religion and ethnicity, and confiscates their land and property.

By adopting the new Anti-Criticism law, Illinois says it is OK for Israel to brutalize and persecute Christians and Muslims and that it is wrong for the victims to protest that oppression.

The Arab world and Muslim world must stand up to this violation of international human and civil rights.

The law was introduced by State Sen. Ira Silverstein and State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, and supported overwhelmingly by the members of the Illinois legislature including by Rep. Darin LaHood who ironically as an American-Arab who has abandoned his heritage and pride.

I'm not sure what is worse, when two American politicians like Silverstein and Feigenholtz exploit the rights of Americans to advance their agenda towards a foreign country, or when an American-Arab sells out his heritage for political gain?

It's not a coincidence that Illinois would do this. The legislature is merely following in the footsteps of the racist mayor, Rahm Emanuel, who has done everything in his power to undermine the rights of Arabs in his city.

Emanuel, the son of a former leader of the Irgun terrorist organization, has erased all programs and agencies that address Arab American issues.

The question is, do the Arab world and Muslim world have the moral fortitude to defend its people? Do they have pride in Arab culture and Islam, or is it all just meaningless words?

Can anyone just step on and trample upon Christian Arab world heritage and the religion of Islam with impunity and without consequence?

Many Illinois institutions do business in the Arab and Muslim world? How can that stand?

Several Arab world airlines do business in Illinois. They include Middle East Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Royal Jordanian Airline just to name a few.

We can't boycott Israel; maybe we should boycott them?

Many Illinois educational institutions have relationships with the Arab world, too: Northwestern, the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago. Those relationships should be curtailed immediately, too.

And, not to mention he outrageous decision of the United Arab Emirates to allow Caterpillar, whose D9 tractors have become the symbol of the expansion of the illegal and racist Israeli settler movement to open a Middle East business center in Dubai. I mean, after Israel used a Caterpillar D9 tractor to kill pro-Palestinian American activist Rachel Corrie, you would think Caterpillar's name would be worse than a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad on a piece of worthless paper.

When it comes to finances, Illinois is ranked among the worst in the country. Its finances are overburdened by excessive debt and a lack of revenues. Even the smallest boycott of Illinois by the Arab world and the Muslim world would kick the state where it would be painfully felt.

That's another irony, of course. Rather than find ways to improve Illinois' finances and fix the broken pension system to benefit Americans, Silverstein and Feigenholtz focus instead on how to use the state's broken pension system to advance the interests of a foreign country.

What another great opportunity for the Arab world and the Muslim world to take a principled stand against injustice, civil rights violations and political corruption.

Boycott anything that carries the name "Illinois" until Illinois starts to respect the rights of all its citizens.

Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist managing editor of The Arab Daily News at Follow him on Twitter @RayHanania. To find out more about Ray Hanania and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit



5 Comments | Post Comment
I googled "freedoms guaranteed to Americans" and I would suggest Illinois ACLU challenge this new state 'law'. The right to boycott has always been every Americans right, amendment nine reads: ....Freedom to join a political party, a union, and other legal groups.
BDS is a legal group and it is antithetical to democracy for lawmakers to make a law opposing BDS or any legal group. States are supposed to guarantee our rights, not take them away. Time to recall your lawmakers.
Comment: #1
Posted by: steveM
Wed May 20, 2015 11:29 AM
Let's see it this next post passes the censors.
Comment: #2
Posted by: steveM
Wed May 20, 2015 11:30 AM
From Wikipedia: Boycotts are legal under common law. The right to engage in commerce, social intercourse, and friendship includes the implied right not to engage in commerce, social intercourse, and friendship. Since a boycott is voluntary and nonviolent, the law cannot stop it. Opponents of boycotts historically have the choice of suffering under it, yielding to its demands, or attempting to suppress it through extralegal means, such as force and coercion.
In the United States, the antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) apply to all "U.S. persons", defined to include individuals and companies located in the United States and their foreign affiliates. The antiboycott provisions are intended to prevent United States citizens and companies being used as instrumentalities of a foreign government's foreign policy. The EAR forbids participation in or material support of boycotts initiated by foreign governments, for example, the Arab League boycott of Israel. These persons are subject to the law when their activities relate to the sale, purchase, or transfer of goods or services (including the sale of information) within the United States or between the United States and a foreign country. This covers exports and imports, financing, forwarding and shipping, and certain other transactions that may take place wholly offshore.[12]
However, the EAR only applies to foreign government initiated boycotts: a domestic boycott campaign arising within the United States that happens to also have the same object as the foreign-government-initiated boycott would appear to be lawful, assuming that it is an independent effort not connected with the foreign government's boycott. Other legal impediments to certain boycotts remain. One set are Refusal to deal laws, which prohibit concerted efforts to eliminate competition by refusal to buy from or to sell to a party.[13] Similarly, boycotts may also run afoul of Anti-discrimination laws, for example New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination prohibits any place that offers goods, services and facilities to the general public, such as a restaurant, from denying or withholding any accommodation to (i.e., not to engage in commerce with) an individual because of that individual's race (etc.).[14]
Comment: #3
Posted by: steveM
Wed May 20, 2015 11:31 AM
American politicians collaborating with a foreign government. The notorious neo-con Zionists both w/in and w/out the US do the bidding of the foreign government of Israel; which, as most Americans are now discovering is why we invaded Iraq, destroyed the lives of millions of Iraqis and thousands of Americans. Now these same neo-con's have, in support of this same foreign government tried to make any criticism of Israeli policies tantamount to anti Semitism.
Most of the following I get from Mondoweiss.
America needs to come to terms with the extent to which it allows right wing Zionists to dominate discussions of going to war. This matter is at the heart of the Republican embrace of the war on Iran. There is simply no other constituency in our country for that war besides rightwing Zionists. There is an absolute urgency of clarifying that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, and that criticism of the State of Israel, and of the policies of its supporters in the Diaspora, is entirely legitimate, and entirely consistent with American and international values. This neocon advocacy of war, war and war (Iraq, Syria, Iran) is the ideal battleground on which to fight, because the contradiction between Israeli interests and American interests is so clear.
There is absolutely no just reason to support the racist apartheid colony of Israel. A colony where if you aren't a light skinned Jew, you have no rights. And now, the neo-con Zionist Illinois politicians and many of our Congressmen are trying to take away our rights to support BDS.
I not mention religion or Jews because everyone knows religion should have no place in political decisions.
Comment: #4
Posted by: steveM
Thu May 21, 2015 7:05 AM
LOL, has Creator's finally stopped censoring their comments section?
Comment: #5
Posted by: steveM
Thu May 21, 2015 7:08 AM
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