Rachel Frommer of the Washington Free Beacon reports that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is scheduled to give the keynote address at an upcoming “social justice” conference funded by, and featuring high profile supporters of, the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS). The conference, Frommer notes, is co-sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, founded and funded by prominent left-wing billionaire George Soros. One of that organization’s objectives is to erode Israel’s status as a democracy on the world stage, according to internal emails leaked last year.
The conference Gillibrand will kick off features a who’s-who of Israel-hating speakers. Among them are Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Linda Sarsour. Regarding Garza, Frommer writes:
[She] has defended the Movement for Black Lives platform‘s inclusion of a pro-BDS policy, and both [she and Tometi] have been outspoken about their condemnation of Israel on social media.
This summer, Garza repeatedly tweeted her support for the Chicago Dyke March organizers expelling two Jewish Zionists from the event, writing, “Shoutout to @DykeMarchChi for standing up for their principals when folks tried to take it over for their own agenda.”
As for Tometi:
[She] has retweeted a link to a report claiming Israel forcibly sterilized female Ethiopian immigrants, a story that blew up on anti-Israel websites in 2013 after over 30 Ethiopian women claimed they were forced by Israeli officials to take contraceptives without their consent. An Israel governmental probe concluded in 2016 found “no evidence” of truth to these claims.
Tometi tweeted in 2012, “I can’t believe that sh*t!” in response to an Israeli flag being hung outside the New York Stock Exchange, in honor of the annual America-Israel Friendship League Israel Day at the NYSE.
This is not a complete list of Israel-haters slated to speak at the conference Gillibrand will kick off. Frommer’s article cites several others.
Gillibrand, who is frequently mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for national office, aligned herself with the interests of BDS on at least one previous occasion. In July, she pulled her endorsement of the bipartisan Israel Anti-Boycott Act, citing free speech concerns. This despite the fact that Gillibrand’s has taken past positions supporting restrictions on free expression.
Professor Eugene Kontorovich persuasively dismissed the notion that the legislation in question infringes on free speechs. Professor Alan Dershowitz argued that, to the extent there is such a concern, it could be assuaged simply by adding that “no provision of this law shall be construed in a manner that violates the First Amendment.”
As far as I know, Gillibrand offered no such language.
Gillibrand insisted that, despite pulling her support for the anti-BDS legislation, she “vehemently oppose[s] the BDS movement.” Her decision to deliver the keynote address at an event dominated by leading supporters of BDS casts doubt on her claim.
Is Gillibrand, who during her days in the House was considered moderate for a Democrat, trying to bolster her credibility with the increasingly powerful, if not dominant, left-wing faction of her Party? I don’t know, but it kind of looks that way.