‘A Legal Shield For The Palestine Movement In The U.S.’

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Above Photo: From 972mag.com

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Pro-Israel organizations are increasingly using the law to target Palestinian solidarity groups in the United States. Dima Khalidi, head of Palestine Legal, speaks with +972 Magazine about the ‘Palestine exception’ to free speech, and what her organization is doing to fight back.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of a Kansas public school teacher who, as a condition for taking her job, was required under a new state law to declare that she would not engage in boycotts of Israel. The law is just one in a growing list of measures in recent years aiming to counter the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the United States.

Political boycotts in the U.S. are meant to be stringently protected under the First Amendment. “The state should not be telling people what causes they can or can’t support,” Esther Koontz, the Kansas teacher, said about her lawsuit.

That’s not necessarily the reality these days, however. “It’s clear that when it comes to talking about Palestine, there’s a suspension of the notion that the government has no authority to interfere in that right,” says Dima Khalidi, founder and director of Palestine Legal.

Established in 2012 in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Palestine Legal has been one of the key players holding the frontline against efforts to suppress BDS activity and speech about Palestine across the U.S., from state legislatures to university campuses. Khalidi and her staff responded to 650 such incidents between 2014 and 2016.

Just last month, Palestine Legal responded to false legal threats sent to activists and professors by a group called “Outlaw BDS New York,” which accused them of violating an anti-BDS law that never actually passed the New York State legislature. Along with its legal work, the organization also tracks anti-BDS laws in all 50 states (21 have already enacted such laws) and at the federal level.

I spoke with Khalidi last month about Palestine Legal’s work and to hear her perspective on the various threats to – and signs of hope for – Palestine activism in the U.S., including BDS. The following was edited for length.

Dima-Khalidi-972-cropped

Palestine Legal Director Dima Khalidi (Photo courtesy of Palestine Legal)

How and why was Palestine Legal created? What compelled the need for its existence?

“The idea started with conversations among lawyers and activists who were thinking about what we could do legally on Palestine in the U.S. This was in the context of largely unsuccessful attempts – including by CCR, where I interned and co-counselled – to seek accountability for Israel’s violations of international law through domestic and international legal mechanisms.

“This was also happening in the context of a rise in Palestine activism after the 2008-2009 Gaza war – a mobilization that we hadn’t seen in decades. And at the same time, there was an escalation in the backlash against that movement: 11 students at the University of California, Irvine were being criminally prosecuted for protesting a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., and the Olympia Food Co-op was being sued for passing a resolution to boycott Israeli goods.

“What I kept hearing from people was the need for help: that talking about Palestinian rights, and challenging Israel’s actions and narrative, opened people up to a huge amount of risk, attacks, and harassment – much of it legal in nature, or with legal implications.

“So with the support of a handful of people – including the instrumental vision of the legendary human rights lawyer Michael Ratner, who passed away last year – I established Palestine Legal. Our work is meant to provide a legal shield for the Palestine movement, to protect and expand the space to advocate on this issue. As an organization dedicated to movement lawyering, we don’t consider ourselves part of the movement per se, but as supportingthe movement’s efforts to challenge the status quo, whatever their tactics.”

That can be a tricky distinction to make – being part of a movement versus supporting a movement.

“It is a tricky balance. Movement lawyering requires us to recognize that it’s not the lawyers that lead or dictate the movement, even if we personally disagree with their tactics or know they’ll land people into trouble. All our staff are deeply political people with their own activist and personal histories, but we try to step back from that role and focus instead on responding to the legal needs of activists on the ground.”

File photo of a pro-BDS protest outside Target in Chicago. (Tess Scheflan/Activestills.org)

File photo of a pro-BDS protest outside Target in Chicago. (Tess Scheflan/Activestills.org)

Does Palestine Legal only deal with the right to boycott, or does it also address the substantive content or arguments of the BDS movement itself?

“We always go back to why people are motivated to speak out and engage in BDS, which are central to why we have the right to do it. Boycotts are a means for people who don’t necessarily have access to power to take collective action in order to influence change – as was done with the civil rights boycotts, boycotts of apartheid South Africa, and boycotts for farm workers’ rights. The U.S. Supreme Court itself recognized this as a legitimate activity protected by the First Amendment in 1982.

“In this case, the goal of boycotts is to achieve justice, freedom, and equality for Palestinians, who have been continuously dispossessed of their land, livelihoods, dignity, and agency for over seven decades. Those opposed to Palestinian rights try to claim otherwise; so it’s imperative to the legal argument that we return to the key issues that describe the Palestinian experience.”

This isn’t the first time in U.S. history that the right to boycott, or free speech in general, has been suppressed. Why is there still a “Palestine exception” to these rights today? What lessons do you take from the past when dealing with your cases?

“When we talk about the Palestine exception, it’s not to say that it’s the only exception. You can look at the anti-Communist hysteria of the Cold War, when people were forced to sign loyalty oaths and were subjected to witch hunts and blacklists. The response to that McCarthyist era was an eventual strengthening of First Amendment jurisprudence, which now provides better legal protections against ‘compelled speech,’ for example. This is also true of the Civil Rights era, when states tried to issue new laws to stop certain kinds of protests, and to use existing laws to indict people for boycotting – hence the Supreme Court ruling that recognized political boycotts as a right.

“Still, it’s clear that when it comes to talking about Palestine, there’s a suspension of the notion that the government has no authority to interfere in that right. We see all kinds of bogus justifications for strangling Palestine advocacy: it’s anti-Semitism, it’s support for terrorism, it’s propaganda, it’s discriminatory. Our position is to step in and say there’s no exception here. Talking about Palestine is exactly what the First Amendment is supposed to protect: it’s a dissenting view from what the vast majority of our politicians and officials espouse, and it is speech that the government most wants to censor, so it must be vigilantly protected.

“Another part of the reason why Palestine feels different is that the attacks pervade all aspects of our lives today. The backlash can be online (look at outfits like Canary Mission, which profile and harass people); from employers (look at Steven Salaita, fired for tweeting critically about Israel’s war on Gaza); from donors; from institutions (look at the students censored or punished at Fordham UniversityUniversity of California-Berkeley, or at the Missouri History Museum). This is because there are influential domestic groups and individuals that are doing everything in their power to shield Israel from scrutiny on every forum, and to ensure that the U.S. continues to unconditionally support Israel.”

The head of a major Israel advocacy group was quoted in 2016 saying to BDS activists: “While you were doing your campus antics, the grown-ups were in the state legislature passing laws that make your cause improbable.” What do you take from that? Why is more of the anti-BDS backlash today coming in the form of legislation?

“That quote says a lot about the political dynamics in the U.S. On the one hand, you have an intersectional grassroots movement that’s driven by students and youth. On the other hand, you have a well-resourced and well-connected constituency that’s deeply entrenched in state and public institutions. The way that Israel lobby groups are successful in pushing such blatantly unconstitutional laws, and the way university heads face (and often succumb to) pressure from advocacy groups, alumni, donors, and state officials, further illustrates this top-down approach.

“There’s a growing and visible alliance between Zionist groups in the U.S., the right-wing Israeli government, and far right groups in the US. They believe that they can dictate the discourse on Israel-Palestine, and get around the First Amendment problem, by pandering to Islamophobic sentiment; by conflating nonviolent resistance with terrorism; and by undermining the motivation and rights of the entire Palestine movement. Even many in the Democratic Party and self-described “progressives” blindly support these agendas.

“At the same time, we’re seeing groups like Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) offering different paths. There’s an enormous pushback to the more established right-wing Jewish organizations – and that’s exciting. But at the moment, those organizations still have the ability to drive the narrative from above. We have a long way to go; but in the long run, it’ll become untenable to ignore a powerful and growing grassroots movement.”

In Israel we have an anti-boycott civil law and now another law to deny entry to foreigners who partake in BDS. The right wing seems to think that legislation is an effective way to achieve its goals.

“Indeed. Dissent becomes the exception the more authoritarian the regime is, and we see signs of this in both the U.S. and Israel as forms of protest are being punished. It’s also telling that the language in Israeli laws is showing up in anti-BDS legislation in the U.S., such as the phrase ‘Israeli-controlled territory’ to refer to West Bank settlements. It just goes to show that we’re dealing with the same forces – and ultimately, that translates into advocating for those same things domestically. How can you be for equality in the U.S. when you defend Israel’s discriminatory laws and apartheid policies? It doesn’t add up.”

Anti-Semitism is routinely charged against Palestine activism. How do you address those accusations?

“We’ve had success with this legally on some levels. One of the tactics advanced by pro-Israel groups is to codify a redefinition of anti-Semitism which encompasses the ‘three D’s’: delegitimization, demonization, and double standards toward Israel. You can imagine that any and all criticism of Israel can basically fall into those three categories. But when these things go to court or even government agencies, a clear distinction is made between discrimination on the basis of religion or national origin, versus criticism of states and state actions.

“For example, the U.S. Education Department received complaints under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, claiming that universities are tolerating hostile anti-Semitic activities by allowing groups and events that criticize Israel. The Education Department dismissed the complaints and said that this is political speech, and that just because it might be offensive to some, it doesn’t mean that it’s harassment or discrimination.

“Moreover, the vast majority of Palestine advocates are unequivocal about their opposition to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. When we put these matters in the context not only of free expression, but also that the Palestine movement opposes all forms of oppression – that’s when we’re able to make the most impact.”

File photo of a pro-Palestine rally in downtown Boston. (Tess Scheflan/Activestills.org)

File photo of a pro-Palestine rally in downtown Boston. (Tess Scheflan/Activestills.org)

Do all the attacks feel coordinated or concerted?

“Undoubtedly. We see the same two dozen Israel advocacy groups engaging in the same tactics around the country, accusing activists of being threatening, violent, and anti-Semitic for engaging in Palestine activism.

“But it’s also clear that not all those groups agree on tactics. Some, like David Horowitz and Canary Mission, who publicly name and blacklist Palestinian rights advocates as ‘Jew-haters’ and ‘terrorist-supporters,’ are seen as going beyond the pale even among Zionist groups that actively engage in suppression in other ways. There are also disagreements about pursuing anti-BDS legislation, and about imposing the new definition of anti-Semitism mentioned earlier.

“But ultimately, the more ‘extreme’ tactics serve the same purpose as the others: they want to make it so costly to engage in Palestine advocacy that people just become exhausted, give up, and stay silent. I don’t think these tactics are going to work: more and more people are seeing that they can be successfully challenged, more people are learning about the horrors of Israel’s occupation and apartheid, and more people are refusing to stay silent about those policies and the U.S.’s role in enabling them.”

The ACLU recently came out in defense of the right to boycott Israel. How do you reach out to audiences that aren’t your conventional supporters, including those in the American mainstream?

“Palestine is still a lightning rod and there’s still a reluctance to come out on this issue. That said, the more egregious the measures against Palestine advocacy, and the more they attack our fundamental freedoms, the more we see the likes of ACLU being compelled to speak up – even though they still claim neutrality on the underlying political and human rights issues. We’ve worked in several states with ACLU chapters and other groups that typically wouldn’t be willing to step up publicly on these matters, and we’re now seeing them do so because of what’s at stake.

“Steven Salaita’s case is an example of this: when he was fired for tweetingabout the 2014 Gaza war, it sent shock waves across academia. Thousands of professors around the U.S. pledged to boycott the university, and a dozen departments voted no confidence in the chancellor. That’s when you see more people being willing to step into the fray, saying that this is dangerous beyond just the matter of Palestine advocacy — that this threatens all our basic rights to dissent and to debate the most important issues of our time.”

What are your thoughts on the future of your work, and on Palestine advocacy in the U.S. in general? What new strategies are you considering?

“We feel like we’ve been on the defensive and putting out a lot of fires over the last five years, which also seem to be coming faster and faster. There’s no doubt that we’ll continue to help those who are under attack; but we’re also thinking about more proactive ways to tackle some of these issues.

“Our lawsuit with CCR against Fordham University – which refused to grant club status to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) because some considered their views too “polarizing”– is an example. The attack on SJP aims to make Palestine activism so radioactive that universities won’t even allow such student groups to form – so it’s crucial that we prevent this from happening. We have a long way to go in enshrining a new narrative that views Palestine advocates as forces for freedom and justice, and their advocacy as protected political expression – but we’re on our way.

“Regarding legislation, our role is to explain to activists and the public what these laws do and don’t do. This is important because one of the main purposes of the legislation is to make people believe that Palestine advocacy is prohibited or criminalized – and that really isn’t the case with most of these laws. So it’s critical to make sure that activists aren’t scared off from their work, but instead feel empowered to confront its challenges.

“There’s also no question that grassroots mobilization has been successful in impacting the political arena, though we hear less about it. Look at the failure of legislative initiatives in states like VirginiaSouth CarolinaMaryland, and Montana. These victories are because of groups like the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, American Muslims for Palestine, JVP, church groups, and the US Palestinian Community Network. Anti-BDS measures have ultimately strengthened the networks of Palestine advocates across the country, and these coalitions outlast the lifespan of a bill. We believe that the power of these grassroots movements is what will effect change – and that’s what Palestine Legal aims to bolster.”

  • Robert H. Stiver

    May God damn this frenzy of Zionist manipulation and control of the US body politic. Surely the US people, were they made aware of the true nature of the Zionists’ brutal, vindictive enterprise of genocide against the hapless indigenous residents of Palestine, would rise up in full-throated protest, damning the fascist-Zionists in their own right and demanding a cutoff of all US aid, military, fiscal, diplomatic, and otherwise to the Zionist entity so-called Israel. Or would they?

    Justice, only Justice, for Palestine!

    Bless Dima Khalidi and her Palestine Legal.

  • DHFabian

    “Palestinians” is a name loosely applied to Israeli Arabs and those who seek to destroy the sole Jewish nation, toward the goal of establishing a 100% pure Moslem Mideast. Of justice were the goal, a separate “Palestine” would be established within the vast Arab lands.

  • DHFabian

    What your post reflects is the result of years of anti-Jewish/Israeli propaganda. Disagree if you want, but I urge people to legitimately research the issues. Zionism is simply the ideology about re-establishing and protecting the sole Jewish nation. Jews are indigenous to this bit of land (roughly the size of New Jersey).

  • Helen4Yemen

    Did God promise Palestine to one of the purest of any European
    groups, the Ashkenazi, who now make up 95% of world Jewry?
    Here are a few DNA results and as you can see, the Ashkenazi
    Jews are very Ashkenazi at 96% Ashkenazi on average. And what
    area of the globe does the “Ashkenazi DNA” trace to? NOT to the
    the Middle East but to Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, Ukraine, Austria …

    Alan Dershoitz………… 98.5% Ashkenazi …… 99% European
    Bernie Sanders……….. 97.7% Ashkenazi …… 99% European
    Larry David…………….. 97.8% Ashkenazi …… 99% European
    Neil Gaiman……………. 99.6% Ashkenazi …… 99% European
    Carol Kline……………… 96.0% Ashkenazi …… 99% European
    Tony Kushner………….. 97.5% Ashkenazi …… 99% European
    Alex Feinberg………….. 93.6% Ashkenazi …… 99% European

    Please do not hesitate to ask me for the link where the above information
    came from.

  • Helen4Yemen

    What does the German Jew have in common with a Yemeni Jew?

    1) ancestry? No!
    2) appearance? No!
    3) alphabet? No!
    4) language? No!
    5) DNA? No!
    6) history? No!
    7) music? No!
    8) dance? No!
    9) food No!
    10) art? No!
    11) religion? Yes

    The Palestinians have all of the above in common and that makes them a people and not a bunch of religious opportunists who arrived like termites to suck on the resources of the Arabs.

  • Helen4Yemen

    Well, now that DNA has confirmed that that Ashkenazi has 0% ancestry ties to the region but 99% to Europe, why can’t the European erect his state on his own grandmother’s land of Hungary or Lithuania or Poland?
    _________________
    Rep. Hank Johnson (D., Ga.)

    EUROPEAN TERMITES arriving on Arab land.

    ♦ There has been a steady [stream],
    almost like termites can get into a residence and
    eat before you know that you’ve been eaten up
    and you fall in on yourself, there has been settlement
    activity that has marched forward with impunity and
    at an ever increasing rate to the point where it has
    become alarming,

    ♦ It has come to the point that occupation,
    with highways that cut through Palestinian land, with
    walls that go up, with the inability or the restriction,
    with the illegality of Palestinians being able to travel
    on those roads and those roads cutting off Palestinian
    neighborhoods from each other, and then with the
    building of walls and the building of check points that
    restrict movement of Palestinians. We’ve gotten to
    the point where the thought of a Palestinian
    homeland gets further and further removed from
    reality.

    ♦ You see one home after another being
    appropriated by Jewish people who come in to claim
    that land just because somebody did not spend the
    night there. The home their [Palestinian] ancestors
    lived in for generations becomes an Israeli home and
    a flag goes up, the Palestinians are barred from flying
    flags in their own neighborhoods.

  • Helen4Yemen

    The word “Israeli” is a fake word that was
    invented only the day before foreign Jews
    declared a state on stolen Arab land. It was
    created by using the word “Israel” + I which is an
    Arabic suffix. All the nationalities that end with
    the letter I are Muslim countries except for this
    fake state who had to borrow an Arabic suffix to
    create a fake identity.

    Afghanistani … Azerbaijani …
    Bahraini … Bangladeshi … Iraqi …
    Kazakhstani … Kuwaiti …
    Kyrgyzstani … Omani … Pakistani …
    Qatari … Saudi … Somali …
    Tajikistani … Turkmenistani …
    Emirati … Uzbekistani … Yemeni

    Suffix .. Origin
    -ian .. Latin
    -ean .. Latin
    -an .. Latin
    -ese .. Latin → Italian
    -er .. Latin → Germanic
    -ic .. Latin → Germanic
    -ish .. Germanic
    -i .. Arabic

  • Helen4Yemen

    …………………………………………………………………………………………..
    For over a thousand years, there were no Jews living in Palestine
    …………………………………………………………………………………………..
    In 1882 when European Jewry arrived in Palestine as Zionist colonial settlers, they found:

    • 400,000 Muslims
    • 40,000 Christians
    • 15,000 Jews.

    All the 15,000 Jews were Yiddish-speaking migrants from Eastern Europe who had arrived in the 1830′s and 1840′s to live on Halukka (charity) sent them to from abroad.
    Make no mistake about it that these indigent Jews of Eastern Europe were sent to plant the seed for Jewish presence on that land before the stampede to colonize the land would begin by European Jewry.

    For over a thousand years and prior to the arrival of these Eastern European Jews, there were no Jews at all on that land.
    In 1882, Jews owned only 0.1% of Palestine.

    There are no Palestinian natives Jews left anywhere in the world today and all the Jews now in Palestine have 0% ancestry in Palestine but elsewhere. Over centuries, the indigenous Jews of Palestine simply converted to Islam or Christianity. There are only indigenous Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians but no indigenous Palestinian Jews.

  • Helen4Yemen

    Does the Ashkenazi – being 100% European – not have vast land back in Europe?

  • Helen4Yemen

    Please remember that the Christian West simply hated having Jews living in its midst. When Theodor Herzl was visiting emperors and prime mininsters, he was received like royalty and the reason was he was telling them how to removed the hated Jews without bloodshed. Remember more than 100 expulsions, dozens of pogroms and all ended only when these people were transferred to Palestine. I do believe the entire West would rise up if these Europeans were forced to go home to where the come from because that age-old conflict would rare its ugly head again. Here is Russia making is clear in plain language that it supported Zionism because it wanted its Jews gone.
    ____________________________

    Russia was in favor of Zionism because it wanted the Russian Jews gone.
    And Arab land was used to transfer the unwanted Jews to Palestine.
    Here are the 4 times where that desire is expressed in this announcement:

    - if emigration decreased their number
    - if emigration diminishes their number
    – decrease the Jewish population of Russia
    – to diminish the Jewish population in Russia

    RUSSIA FAVORS ZION MOVEMENT New York Times Published:
    26-Aug-03
    Russia Gives Official Encouragement to the Jewish Project

    Minister De Plehve’s letter to the congress in Session at Basel, Switzerland

    BASEL Switzerland Aug 25, 1903

    At today’s session of the Zionist Congress, Dr Herzl, the President, submitted to the delegates a letter which he had received from the Russian Minister of the Interior, de Plehve, apparently pledging the support of the Russian Government to the Zionists in their movement to establish an independent state in Palestine The Minister, in the letter referred to, said his Government was quite favorable to the original program of Zionism, which can rely on its moral and material support when its practical measures tend to decrease the Jewish population of Russia. Such support might take the form of supporting the Zionist demands on the Ottoman Government and helping the Jewish emigration societies by cooperating with the Jews who are contributing to the necessities of these societies

    The Russian Government, the Minister adds, has been obliged to act toward the Jewish question as the interests of the State require, but it has never deviated from the great principles of morality and humanity It had recently enlarged the rights of residence in the Jewish region, and he hoped nothing would prevent the development of such measures tending to improve the conditions of the existence of the Russian Jews, especially if emigration decreased their number.

    The discussion by the congress of Great Britain’s offer of an African settlement to Jewish immigrants promises to be prolonged The Russian delegates opposed the project, while the German, English and Italian delegates urge the apportionment of a committee of investigation Judge Sulzberger of Philadelphia spoke today in favor of the scheme It is believed that Dr Herzl is in favor of the British proposal, and his views are likely to influence the final decision

    The Jewish Dally News of this city has received the following dispatch from Jacob De Haas, Secretary of the American Federation of Zionists, who is attending the Zionist Congress now in session at Basel, Switzerland:

    During a discussion regarding DrHerzl’s statement that the Russian Government would hereafter lighten the burden of the Jews and favor Zionism and would allow it to be propagated in Russia, Prof Richard Gottheil, President of the American Federation of Zionists, questioned Dr Herzl in regard to his authority for making such a statement, and asked for some documentary proof of the accuracy of his information The interpellation of Prof Gattheil was seconded today by Cyrus Sulzberger, Treasure of the United Hebrew Charities of New York City, who insisted on the importance of the interviews which Dr Helzl had recently at St Petersburg with a number of prominent Russian officials and asked whether the assurances which he had received were verbal or written Dr Herzl, in reply, presented the following communication from Minister Plehve to the Zionist Congress: You have expressed the desire to retain proof of your interview with me I agree to this willingly in order to avoid all which might arouse exaggerated hopes or doubts and anxiety I have had the occasion to make known to you the point of view from which the Russian Government at the present moment regards Zionism This point of view could very easily inspire it with the necessity of exchanging its policy of tolerance for measures dictated by its safeguarding of national interests So long as Zionism consisted in the desire to create an independent State in Palestine and promised to organize the emigration in Russia of a certain number of Its Jewish subjects, the Russian Government could very well be favorable to it But from the moment that this principal object of Zionism is abandoned in order to be replaced by a simple propaganda of the national concentration of the Jews in Russia, it is natural that the Government cannot in any case tolerate this new departure of Zionism It would not have any other result than to create groups of individuals, perfect strangers to and even hostile to the patriotic sentiments which constitute the strength of each State

    This is why faith could not be placed in Zionism but on the condition that it return to its old program of action It could in that case count upon moral and material support for certain of its practical measures, which would serve to diminish the Jewish population in Russia. This support might consist in protecting the mandatories of the Zionists to the Ottoman Government and in facilitating the work of the emigration societies, and even in assisting these societies evidently outside the resources of the State, by means of contributions levied on the Jews

    I think It necessary to add that the Russian Government is obliged to conform its manner of acting toward the Jewish question to the interests of the State, but it has nevertheless never deviated from its great moral principles and the interests of humanity Quite recently, besides, it has enlarged the rights of residence in the confines of the localities set apart for the Jewish population and nothing prevents the hope that the development of these measures will serve to ameliorate the conditions of existence of the Russian Jews, especially if emigration diminished their number.

    Mr Sulzberger prefaced his remarks to the Congress by referring to President Roosevelt’s splendid action in voicing the respectful demands of the Jewish people of the United States

    Prof. Max Nordau yesterday delivered a magnificent address and received a great ovation. He advocated the acceptance of the offer of the British Government to provide land for the establishment of a Jewish colony in East Africa and it is believed the Executive Committee will accept the offer.

    The following dispatch was received last evening by Jacob Saphirstein from Dr. Henru Bluestone of 224 Henry Street, who is a United Zionist delegate to the congress at Basel:

    The United Zionists have been victorious after a hard fight and the Federationists are pleading for peace. Cyrus Sulzberger, Francis Montefiore, and Col. Goldsmith of New York are among the delegates. Russia has promised to support the movement. The British Government has offered autonomy to the Jews in the colonies of East Africa. A commission has been appointed to attend to the matter.