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March 10, 2016

The Economic Costs Of Boycotting Israel: An Arab Perspective

Anti-Israel activists have often argued that the goal of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) campaign is to encourage Israelis to think critically about the “economic cost of the Occupation,” but a recent article published by Al-Hayat, one of the leading daily pan-Arab newspapers, may be challenging them to consider thinking about the costs some Arabs endure as a result of calls to resist normal relations with Israel.al hayat

“Resisting Normalization [with Israel] in Jordan adds economic losses to the defeat” by Jordanian journalist Ibrahim Gharaiba, which appeared on the international edition of Al-Hayat on March 7, offers a realistic picture of the real price Jordanians are paying as a result of calls to boycott Israel.

According to Gharaiba, the Israel–Jordan peace treaty, known as Wadi Araba, could have transformed the status of war between the two counties into great economic and development opportunities for Jordan. “Israel, which its status has changed into a non-enemy country is located at the same geographic region as Jordan, and it has an advanced economy which achieves very high levels of human development.”

This Israeli success story, according to the article, is focused around areas with strategic importance for Jordan, such as water desalination and agriculture.

“Jordan, which suffered a military defeated in 1967 and regional crises creating a refugee proportion close to 70 percent of the population, is also plagued by bizarre political trends working against its best interest in a puzzling way. [This political trend] turned work in Israel, export to and import from it, and training and technical cooperation with it into something taboo.”

Israeli goods burned as part of the BDS activities in the Arab world

Israeli goods (and goods perceived as Israeli) burned as part of the BDS activities in the Arab world

The author also defends his fellow Jordanian citizens who seek work opportunities in Israel against attempts to criminalize their actions. “Citizens who work in Israel are trying to preserve their [human] dignity, especially as the unemployment rate [in Jordan] is too high.”  Gharaiba also responds against those who label cooperation with Israel as “treason” by offering a paradoxical realistic definition: “Treason is when a government abandons the interests and economic opportunities of its people.”

The article compares the consequences of such political rhetoric about boycotting Israel with the situation in 1967 when Jordan joined several other Arab countries in attacking Israel. Many in the Arab world remember the political rhetoric in these years, which rejected any compromise with Israel. According to the author, today’s calls to boycott Israel would add an economic defeat to the military defeat of the Six Day War.

Gharaibah is not the only one in the Arab world who emphasizes the economic hardships that are shaping the future of the Arab world. A number of Arab intellectuals have challenged attempts to mask the role of economic conditions in triggering frustrations of the Arab youth.

While many who support the BDS movement may be motivated by what they believe to be the human rights agenda of its leaders, they often choose to disregard realities on the ground when it comes to the real burden endured by the average Arab citizen. This article is a sobering reminder that the BDS movement’s rhetoric is disconnected  from the reality of the citizens of Jordan and potentially others in the Arab world, many of whom are in serious need of the economic benefits that could come from further cooperation with Israel.

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March 23, 2015

New FBI Hate Crime Training Manual Published

This week the FBI published an updated hate crime training manual. The excellent new guide is the single most important, most inclusive hate crime training resource available for law enforcement officials

DOJ sealThis version of the Bureau’s Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines and Training Manual  includes new definitions, training scenarios, and a special considerations section to help police officials effectively identify and report the new categories of crime mandated for collection for 2015 – including hate crimes directed at Arabs, Sikhs and Hindus. The first edition of the manual, published in early 2013, included guidance on how to define and identify gender and gender identity hate crimes, based on requirements set forth in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act(HCPA).

The FBI has been track­ing and doc­u­ment­ing hate crimes reported from fed­eral, state, and local law enforce­ment offi­cials since 1991 under the Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act of 1990 (HCSA). The Bureau’s annual HCSA reports pro­vide the best sin­gle national snap­shot of bias-motivated crim­i­nal activ­ity in the United States. The Act has also proven to be a pow­er­ful mech­a­nism to con­front vio­lent big­otry, increas­ing pub­lic aware­ness of the prob­lem and spark­ing improve­ments in the local response of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem to hate vio­lence – since in order to effec­tively report hate crimes, police offi­cials must be trained to iden­tify and respond to them.

Although the newest data from the 2013 Hate Crime Statistics Act report showed hate crimes have been declining, the numbers are still disturbingly high.  The addition of anti-Arab, anti-Sikh, and anti-Hindu hate crimes for 2015 demonstrates the Bureau’s commitment to preventing and counteracting these crimes.  After the tragic murder of six Sikh worshippers in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012, collecting data on Arab, Sikh, and Hindu victims of hate crimes became even more urgent. This updated FBI hate crime training manual is a crucial step in the work to address these crimes.

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June 18, 2013

FBI Will Collect And Report Hate Crimes Directed Against Sikhs, Arabs And Hindus

Earlier this month, an FBI Advisory Policy Board (APB) recommended that the Bureau separately collect and report hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs, and Hindus as part of its annual national data collection program mandated by the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 (HCSA).  sikh-hate-crime

The Anti-Defamation League welcomed the decision. The League had supported collecting these separate categories since 2008 – and had promoted the action in an August 2012 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. and in comprehensive testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, 2012.  And, in May, the League coordinated a letter to APB members from 79 national civil rights, religious, education, civic, and professional organizations urging this action. 

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the nation witnessed an increase in attacks against Americans who appeared to be of Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian descent. The tragic bias-motivated murders of six Sikh worshippers at their Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last August is one of the most recent examples.

Sadly, there is substantial evidence that these communities have been targeted for violence and vandalism because of their religious practices, appearance, and apparel – including distinctive beards, turbans, traditional forehead art, or head coverings.

ADL will now work with FBI and the Department of Justice to update their HCSA training manual and to work with the affected communities to provide education, training, and outreach for law enforcement officials about these crimes.

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