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The Daily TIP: Legal Expert: Senate Anti-Boycott Law Targets Discrimination not Speech

Posted by Tip Staff - August 03, 2017

Legal Expert: Senate Anti-Boycott Law Targets Discrimination not Speech
Iran Steps Up Arms Smuggling to Yemen, Further Destabilizing the Middle East
France, Germany, and UK Side with U.S. in Condemning Iranian Missile Launches at UN
Israeli-Chinese Startup Creates Platform Teaching Children to Write Computer Code


Legal Expert: Senate Anti-Boycott Law Targets Discrimination not Speech

In a talk Thursday at the Rayburn Office Building covering the rationale and law behind the Anti-Israel Boycott Act currently being debated in the Senate, Northwestern University Law Profesor Eugene Kontorovich, explained that the legislation along with similar state-level legislation restricting commerce with entities that boycott Israel are anti-discrimination legislation and do not restrict free speech as their critics claim.

Kontorovich cited Ian Anderson, leader of the rock group, Jethro Tull, who observed that the musical acts who are pressured by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign not to play in Israel, are those who have already booked concerts there. They have no moral qualms about playing in Israel. If they back out at that point, they are giving into pressure of of the BDS activists, not taking a stand.

The Senate's Anti-Israel Boycott Act, sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D - Md.), expands on laws adopted in the 1970s to fight the Arab boycott of Israel, including the "Ribicoff amendment" to the Tax Reform Act to 1976. The Ribicoff amendment "requires U.S persons to report operations in, with, or related to countries known to participate in unsanctioned boycotts." Unsanctioned boycotts are boycotts of nations that the United States does not boycott.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last month, launched a campaign against the Senate legislation claiming that it attacks free speech.

However, the heart of the issue is that the anti-boycott legislation, Kontorovich explained, is anti-discrimination legislation, which does not impinge of the right of free speech.

Iran Steps Up Arms Smuggling to Yemen, Further Destabilizing the Middle East

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corpse (IRGC) is smuggling arms shipments to their Houthi allies in Yemen through a new route across the Gulf, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

In the past, Iran had shipped military equipment and personnel either directly to Yemen or via Somalia, but sought new routes after several shipments were confiscated by international patrols. From September 2015 through March 2016, four Iranian shipments were intercepted that yielded in total more 5000 AK-47 rifles, 80 antitank guided missiles as well as machine guns and sniper rifles, according to data released by the United States Navy, earlier this year.

But an inside source told Reuters that over the last six months, the IRGC has used a different channel further up the Gulf between Kuwait and Iran as it looks for new ways to support its Shiite affiliates in Yemen without being caught red-handed.

A senior Iranian official said that "what is especially smuggled recently, or to be precise in the past six months, are parts of missiles that cannot be produced in Yemen". Notably, Kornet anti-tank have been reported on the battlefield, as have other advanced systems, including armed drones.

It is further evidence of Iranian weapons being shipped abroad despite a UN restriction on arms transfers from Iran. The illicit activity marks a direct violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231, which formalized the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, and gives the Trump administration grounds to decertify the nuclear deal with Iran.



France, Germany, and UK Side with U.S. in Condemning Iranian Missile Launches at UN

The ambassadors of the United Kingdom, France and Germany to the United Nations, sent a letter jointly with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, to U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, accusing Iran of defying at U.N. Security Council resolution with its missiles launches and was acting "threatening and provocative," The New York Times reported Wednesday.

In the letter the European nations and the United States charged that last week's Iranian launch of a satellite on a Simorgh rocket, which employs similar propulsion technology to an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) violated UN Security Council resolution 2231, which formalized the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Language in the resolution called upon Iran not to develop ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The Simorgh rocket, the letter asserted, is “inherently capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.”

The participation of France, German and the U.K. in joining the letter is significant as all three were among the the P5+1 nations that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran (the other two are Russia and China), demonstrating that the United States is "not alone" in its opposition to Iran's missile development program.

According to the Corker-Cardin bill, which passed in May 2015, the president has to certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal and “any related agreements” every 90 days. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert stated last week that the U.S. considered Iran’s ballistic missile launches to be “a violation of UNSCR 2231,” the resolution that formalized the nuclear deal.



Israeli-Chinese Startup Creates Platform Teaching Children to Write Computer Code

Chinese students rank best in the world in standardized tests but don’t excel in thinking out of the box. Israeli kids aren’t great test-takers but have exceptional innovation and problem-solving skills.

Chinese students rank best in the world in standardized tests but don’t excel in thinking out of the box. Israeli kids aren’t great test-takers but have exceptional innovation and problem-solving skills.

LeapLearner, the first Chinese-Israeli startup, puts those qualities together in a disruptive online and offline platform to teach kids coding along with critical 21st century skills including innovation, self-learning, problem-solving, creativity and adaptability.

During the three-year self-learning program meant to be used outside of school, children as young as five are guided in examining the coding in games they play and then learn how to change variables in the code of those games. For example, in Pac-Man, children can change Pac-dots into bananas and Pac-Man could appear as a pet dog.

LeapLearner helps users progress in their coding expertise from variables to natural language programming to Javascript, culminating in an in-person or online hackathon to build a video game from scratch. This gives the kids a way to get acquainted, work together, and connect with adults who can help them advance.

LeapLearner was created in 2016 at Zaitoun Ventures, an Israeli hybrid investment firm co-founded by Dror and Forsan Hussein. Aaron Tian, a well-known Chinese math teacher, is CEO of the LeapLearner China in Shanghai.

(via Israel21c)


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