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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently infuriated the international Israel-bashing world by announcing that the State Department views the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel as anti-Semitic and will ban funding for any organization or entity that supports BDS.

Furthermore, imported goods produced in the Israeli-controlled Area C of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) can now bear a “Made in Israel” label. “The time is right,” declared Pompeo. “We want to join all the other nations that recognize BDS for the cancer that it is,” adding, “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

Amnesty International slammed Washington’s actions as targeting non-violent advocacy for Palestinian rights and suppressing free expression. Human Rights Watch quickly accused the Trump administration of “equating (anti-Semitism) with the peaceful advocacy of boycotts.”

Echoing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, signed by over 31 nations and adopted by the U.S, the State Department’s envoy on anti-Semitism Elan Carr dismisses such attacks, explaining,

Hatred of the Jewish state … the nation-state of the Jewish people … is hatred of the Jewish people. If any movement or entity focuses unique opprobrium and hatred on the Jewish collective … that is anti-Semitism. That has nothing to do with criticizing policies of Israel. Any country can be criticized. … But undermining Israel’s right to exist, denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, demonizing or delegitimizing Israel, comparing Israel to the Nazis … is anti-Semitism. That’s why … we’ve taken a very strong stance against BDS. … Singling Israel out for boycott – basically “don’t buy from the Jews” … is anti-Semitism.

The Palestinian BDS movement, founded in 2005 explicitly to undermine Israel’s sovereignty, promotes economic, academic and political boycotts to isolate Israel, the sole Jewish nation in the entire world. Its skillful propaganda campaign exploits the language of peace, justice, and human rights to mislead Western audiences into believing its goal is merely to end the so-called occupation and establish a Palestinian state living peacefully beside a Jewish state.

In reality, it demonizes Israelis as Nazis and South African-style white racists to turn Israel into a pariah, unworthy of nation-state status. It targets Jewish students, Israeli academics, politicians and other pro-Israel supporters with intimidation, harassment and physical threats. BDS founder Omar Barghouti candidly admits, “Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself.”

Of course Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are outraged by the Trump administration’s actions. They’ve actively supported the BDS movement for years.

In 2016, HRW praised the efforts of the U.N. Human Rights Council to establish an international boycott of companies doing business in Israeli territories and suggested three companies to add to its blacklist. In 2017, it issued a press release 

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applauding the U.N.’s database for “build[ing] pressure on businesses” and in 2018, it attacked Israeli banks for investing in towns in Judea and Samaria.

In 2019, Amnesty singled out four leading tourism companies — Tripadvisor, Booking.com, Expedia and Airbnb — demanding that they stop doing business in Judea and Samaria and asking governments around the world to take regulatory action to prevent similar activities. Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker stated, “Amnesty International is walking in the footprints of the antisemitic BDS movement.”

At least 32 American states have enacted legislation against the BDS movement, broadly blocking these states from engaging with individuals or entities that boycott Israel. In 2018, the U.S. actually resigned from the U.N. Human Rights Council because of its anti-Israel bias and blacklist.

Last year, the German Bundestag became the first European parliament to pass a resolution designating BDS as anti-Semitic, calling it reminiscent of the Nazi-era boycotts of Jews. France’s 2019 National Assembly decision to recognize anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism gives ammunition to those working to defund the BDS movement. And this February, the Austrian parliament unanimously passed its own anti-BDS resolution.

Put in the context of the Trump administration’s previously expressed view that Israeli settlements are not illegal under international law, Secretary Pompeo’s recent announcements significantly ramp up U.S. efforts to combat BDS. The State Department has been instructed to actively encourage other nations to adopt anti-BDS laws and to use all available legal and policy tools, in coordination with other government agencies, to combat this movement.

According to State Department Deputy Special Envoy David Peyman, the anti-BDS campaign will use “a whole-of-government approach … to tackle it, to fight it, to kill it.” This marks the first U.S. government effort to actively counter BDS specifically as an anti-Semitic movement.

It has taken 15 years to unmask BDS for what it is — a dangerous 21st century iteration of the age-old scourge of Jew-hatred. Will a Biden administration recognize this reality and continue this campaign or will it roll back current State Department policy as part of an expected reversal of Trump’s Middle East initiatives?

In an interview in Abu Dhabi, Secretary Pompeo remarked, “It all starts with telling the truth and not having a bias towards appeasement.”

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Donald Trump

Donald Trump hints at run for US president in 2024, repeats election lies

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Former US President Donald Trump hinted at a possible presidential run in 2024, attacked President Joe Biden and repeated his fraudulent claims he won the 2020 election in his first major appearance since leaving the White House nearly six weeks ago.

Addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, Trump vowed to help Republicans try to regain majorities – lost during his presidency – in the US House of Representatives and Senate in 2022 congressional elections and dangled himself as a possibility for president in 2024.

“With your help, we will take back the House, we will win the Senate and then a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House. I wonder who will that be?” he said, smiling. “Who, who, who will that be, I wonder.”

Trump’s weeks away from Washington do not appear to have dimmed his anger at Republicans who voted to impeach or convict in a failed congressional effort to hold him responsible for inciting a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

He singled out several such Republicans by name, like Senators Mitt Romney and Pat Toomey and House lawmakers Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, and suggested he would support candidates who opposed them in Republican primaries.

“Get rid of ‘em all,” he thundered.

Trump repeated lies he has told about his November 3 presidential election loss to Biden, and offered a withering critique of his Democratic successor’s first weeks in office.

“They just lost the White House,” the Republican former president said after criticizing Biden’s handling of border security. “But who knows, who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time.”

Trump and his allies spent two months denying his election defeat, and claiming without evidence it was the result of widespread voter fraud, before his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 seeking to disrupt congressional certification of Biden’s win.

A civil war has erupted within the Republican Party, with establishment figures such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell eager to put Trump in the rearview mirror, and others, like Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham, believing the party’s future depends on the energy of the pro-Trump base.

Trump declared the Republican Party united behind him, with opposition coming only from “a handful of Washington, D.C., political hacks.” When he mentioned McConnell’s name, the crowd booed.

He said he had no plans to try to launch a third party, an idea he has discussed with advisers in the past couple of months.

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“We’re not starting new parties. We have the Republican Party. It’s going to be united and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party,” he said.

In a straw poll, 55% of CPAC conference participants said they would vote for Trump in the 2024 Republican presidential nominating race. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came in second at 21%.

Without Trump, DeSantis led the field with 43%, and other potential Republican candidates had single digits.

But not everyone supported Trump. A separate question on the poll asked whether Trump should run again in 2024, with 68% saying he should and 32% opposed or having no opinion.

Still, Trump fervor at the four-day CPAC event was so strong that Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., declared it “T-PAC” and participants rolled out a golden statue of the former president.

Trump’s flirtation with another run could freeze the Republican field for 2024 as other potential candidates try to decide whether they will have to compete against him. Many of those 2024 possible candidates spoke during the CPAC event.

The Biden White House dismissed Trump’s speech.

“While the GOP casts about for a path forward, President Biden is going to remain laser-focused on crushing the virus, re-opening schools, and getting Americans back to work,” White House spokesman Michael Gwin said after the speech.

An hour into his 90-minute speech, Trump dove deeply into his unfounded claims of election fraud, going against the advice of confidants who believe he needs to look to the future.

“We have a very sick and corrupt electoral process that has to be fixed immediately. This election was rigged,” Trump said. “And the Supreme Court and other courts didn’t want to do anything about it.”

“You won! You won!” the crowd shouted. Trump’s campaign and his supporters brought dozens of failed lawsuits trying to overturn the results of the election, which Biden won by more than 7 million votes. The fraud claims were repeatedly rejected by state and federal officials.

In the short term, Trump is making plans to set up a super PAC political organization to support candidates who mirror his policies, an adviser said.
(Indiatoday)

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Trump aides have a list of topics they hope the ‘all over the place’ ex-president will keep to himself in CPAC speech

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According to Politico Playbook’s Tara Palmeri, aides to former Donald Trump have been working with him on his CPAC speech all week — to be delivered Sunday afternoon — and left one meeting wondering what will come out of his mouth once he gets going before an adoring crowd.

With an eye on keeping his hints of another presidential run in 2024 from being bogged down by more controversy and grievance-mongering over his belief that the 2020 election was stolen from him due to voter fraud, aides hope that he will stick to a script that preaches Republican Party unity.

According to the Politico report, Trump has been discussing the speech that will be his return to the public square since he lost re-election and, since he no longer has access to Twitter, aides fear that the pent-up Twitter commentary that used to keep him in the headlines will come pouring out.

As Palmeri writes, there is a list of topics advisers are hoping will not rise to the surface if the president goes off-script — which is highly likely.

Outside of complaining that he feels he was robbed of a second term due to voter fraud, the report states that his aides hope he won’t “Gripe about how he thinks he was unfairly blamed for Jan. 6,” with the NYT’s Maggie Haberman reporting, Trump has been “cautioned by advisers not to say anything that might make him a larger target for the various prosecutors considering or pursuing investigations related to him.”

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Additionally, his advisers are okay with him taking shots at Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), but want him to draw the line at publically criticizing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), with Palmeri reporting, “A Trump adviser said they got Trump to take a McConnell dig out of the script, but who knows what he’ll say.”

She added, “Sources tell me that there was a lot of nodding and agreement at a strategy meeting on Thursday between Trump and his closest aides on how to wield his power via endorsements and messaging. But some left the room feeling like their hair was on fire because, according to one of the aides, Trump was ‘all over the place.'”
(Raw Story)

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Donald Trump

GOP Senator: Trump’s Not Going to be 2024 Republican Nominee

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Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) urged his fellow Republicans to move past former President Donald Trump on Sunday, predicting that due to the damage Trump has done to the GOP, he likely won’t be the party’s presidential nominee in 2024.

Hours before Trump was set to deliver his first post-White House speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Cassidy appeared on CNN’s State of the Union to discuss the current state of the Republican Party and Trump’s place in it.

The Louisiana lawmaker, who was one of seven GOP senators to vote to convict Trump during the ex-president’s second impeachment trial earlier this month, called on the GOP to make issues and policy front and center in the coming elections.

“We’ve got to win in two years, we’ve got to win in four years,” Cassidy told host Dana Bash. “If we do that, we’ll do that by speaking to those issues important to the American people, and there’s a lot of issues important to them right now, not by putting one person on a pedestal and making that one person our focal point.”

Bash, meanwhile, noted that Trump’s influence on the party is not diminishing, despite his impeachment for allegedly inciting an insurrectionist riot at the U.S. Capitol. Pointing out that Trump’s face was literally “embronzed” at CPAC and top Republicans are flying down to meet the former president, the CNN host asked how the GOP can move forward with Trump still in the spotlight.

“CPAC is not the entirety of the Republican Party,” he replied. “That’s number one. Number two, political organizations and campaigns are about winning. Over the last four years, we lost the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the presidency. That has not happened in a single four years under a president since Herbert Hoover. If we plan to win in 2022 and 2024, we have to listen to the voters.”

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Asked whether he was personally faulting Trump for the GOP losing control of Congress, Cassidy demurred somewhat, insisting again that Republicans need to speak to policy solutions. At the same time, he did say that if they “idolize one person, we will lose.”

Noting that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—who was highly critical of Trump’s role in the insurrection—has come out and said he will back Trump if he runs in 2024, Bash then pressed Cassidy on whether he feels Trump is fit to be president again.

“I don’t think—one, he’ll be 78 years old—but I don’t think he’ll be our nominee for the reasons I’ve said,” Cassidy responded. “Over the last four years, we’ve lost the House, the Senate, and the presidency. Political campaigns are about winning.”

“That’s a theoretical that I don’t think will come to pass,” he concluded. “I don’t mean to duck, but the truth is you could ask me [about] a lot of people, if they are fit. Point is, I don’t think he’ll be our nominee.”
(Fox News

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