Tag Archives: Center for Constitutional Rights

South Carolina’s New Hate Speech Law Outlaws Criticism of the Israeli Occupation

In bill author Clemmons’ view, discussing the military occupation of the West Bank, a reality recognized even by Israel’s Supreme Court, would be considered anti-Semitic under the new South Carolina law.

By Whitney Webb. Published 5-1-2018 by MintPress News

Rep. Alan Clemmons delivers an address from the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse in a speech given via satellite to the Restoring Courage rally in Jerusalem in 2011.

The state of South Carolina will become the first state in the nation to legislate a definition of anti-Semitism that considers certain criticisms of the Israeli government to be hate speech. The language, which was inserted into the state’s recently passed $8 billion budget, offers a much more vague definition of anti-Semitism that some suggest specifically targets the presence of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement on state college campuses. The law requires that all state institutions, including state universities, apply the revised definition when deciding whether an act violates anti-discrimination policies.

Once it is reconciled with an appropriations bill previously passed by the state House, the measure will become law and take effect this July. However, the law will last only until the next budget is passed, meaning that the new legal definition of anti-Semitism must be renewed on a yearly basis unless new legislation making the language permanent is passed in the future. Continue reading

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Most Unwelcome: Prominent US Human Rights Campaigners Denied Entry to Israel

“The abusive treatment,” said Columbia University law professor barred from entering, “ironically illustrates how the state of Israel refuses to respect the political and civil rights of its own citizens, of Palestinians, and of human rights defenders globally.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-1-2018

Though they arrived with a plan to witness and document the human rights situation in both Israel and Occupied Palestine, both Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, chair of group’s board and a law professor at Columbia University, were detained upon their arrival on Sunday at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Photo: BookingIsrael)

The executive director and board chair of a prominent U.S. human rights group were denied entry by the Israeli government on Monday—detained at the international airport in Tel Aviv for hours of questioning and delay before being put back on a plane out of the country.

Though they arrived with a plan to witness and document the human rights situation in both Israel and Occupied Palestine, both Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, chair of group’s board and a law professor at Columbia University, were detained upon their arrival on Sunday at Ben Gurion International Airport. Continue reading

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ICC Weighing More Than a Million Statements by Afghans Alleging War Crimes Violations

Trove of claims submitted to International Criminal Court alleges crimes committed by various factions since 2003, including Afghan forces, the Taliban, the CIA, and the U.S. military.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 2-16-2018

A U.S. soldier in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan on Feb. 8, 2015. (Photo: U.S. Army/Capt. Lindsay Roman

International Criminal Court (ICC) judges are weighing over one million statements from Afghans who allege they are victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by actors in the armed conflict there, including Afghan forces, the Taliban, the CIA, and the U.S. military.

The victims began submitting their statements to the ICC judges in late November after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the court for authorization to begin a formal probe of possible war crimes committed in Afghanistan, saying, “there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan.” The development, said Solomon Sacco, head of international justice at Amnesty International, was “a seminal moment for the ICC.”   Continue reading

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Admitting Failed Experiment, DOJ to Phase Out Private Prisons

Private prisons more dangerous and costly, Justice Department finally admits

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-18-2016

Corrections Corporations of America is one of the largest private prison corporations in the country, and currently runs 47 prisons nationwide. (Photo: CCA.com)

Corrections Corporations of America is one of the largest private prison corporations in the country, and currently runs 47 prisons nationwide. (Photo: CCA.com)

After years of documented human rights abuses by the private prison industry, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is finally ending its use of privately-run, for-profit prisons, the Washington Post reports.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memo Thursday announcing that the federal government is ending its contracts with the private prison industry, days after the department’s Inspector General issued a damning report about the danger and abuse facing inmates in private federal prisons. Continue reading

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