Rockin’ Ra’anana with the Backstreet Boys – or – eat your heart out Roger Waters…writes Ted Lapkin

May 30, 2015 by Ted Lapkin
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The Illinois General Assembly made history last week by passing legislation that would prohibit the state’s pension fund from investing in companies that participate in the anti-Israel boycott.

And as icing on the cake, Governor Bruce Rauner took to Twitter where he announced:

“Looking forward to signing ‪#SB1761 making IL first in the nation to fight BDS against Israel. Great work.”

Ted Lapkin

Ted Lapkin

The Illinois law-to-be is the most ambitious component in a wave of anti-BDS sweeping through the United States, complementing symbolic resolutions already passed by the legislatures of Tennessee and Indiana. But – lehavdil – the Illinois bill has teeth. It doesn’t take any direct action against BDS participants, but merely declares that state pension fund will not invest in any company that complies with the anti-Israel boycott.

And in Washington there are similar legislative moves afoot. The powerful House Ways and Means Committee joined the Senate Finance Committee in approving bi-partisan amendments to trade legislation that would require US negotiators to make the rejection of BDS a high priority item during talks with the European Union.

In a statement, Illinois Republican Congressman Peter Roskam explained the rationale behind the legislation he was co-sponsoring.

“This is nothing short of a historic win for the U.S.-Israel relationship and a hammer blow to the BDS movement–a campaign solely dedicated to the delegitimization and isolation of our ally Israel. I strongly support free trade negotiations with the EU, but we must also confront the disturbing, rising tide of BDS activity from countries across Europe. This measure will make combating these boycotts a principal trade objective of the United States in our negotiations with the EU and send a clear message that countries seeking free trade with the United States cannot participate in politically motivated economic warfare against Israel. I am grateful for the hard work of Senator Portman, Senator Cardin, and Congressman Vargas in moving this important legislation one step closer to the President’s desk. Once again, Democrats and Republicans have come together in strong support of a prosperous Israel and in unified opposition to those who seek its destruction.”

Perhaps this is something we should think about down under, both at the state/territory level and in Canberra.

And in more thumbing-your-nose-at-BDS news, the American boy band Backstreet Boys performed in front of thousands of screaming Israeli fans in Ra’anana. The only apology in evidence during the event was a statement by band members A. J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell expressing their regret about not coming to Israel sooner. “Thanks for your love”, they told the audience. “We’ll be back here.”

Roger Waters eat your heart out.

And remember that push at the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to expel the Israel from the organization? Well it turns out dabbling in anti-Zionist venom isn’t the only dubious activity at FIFA. In a series of early morning raids conducted by Swiss police earlier today, several senior FIFA officials were arrested in preparation for their extradition to the US on corruption charges.

According to the New York Times:

“The charges allege widespread corruption in FIFA over the past two decades, involving bids for World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals, according to three law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the case. The charges include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, and officials said they targeted members of FIFA’s powerful executive committee, which wields enormous power and does its business largely in secret.”

Ooopsie. Methinks they might have a few other things to worry about over at FIFA other than conducting a campaign of unwarranted persecution against Israel that will sully the reputation of their sport. Looks as though they’ve done a pretty good job of dragging FIFA’s reputation through the mud on other matters entirely non-Middle East related.

Ted Lapkin is the Director of Public Affairs & Advocacy for the Zionist Federation of Australia and a former Israeli combat-intelligence officer.

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