Thursday, May 02, 2024

  • Thursday, May 02, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

Yesterday,  the U.S. House passed H.R.6090, the Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2023, by a vote of 320-91.

Among those who voted against it were Marjorie Taylor-Greene on the Right, the entire Squad including Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar on the Left - and Jerry Nadler, the self-described head of the Jewish Democratic caucus in Congress.

Nadler gave a speech describing why he opposed the bill:

Mr. Speaker, I have devoted much of my life to combatting antisemitism, and I am as attuned as anyone to threats and bigotry aimed at Jewish people.  I will take lectures from no one about the need for vigorous efforts to fight antisemitism on campus or anywhere else.  I am also a deeply committed Zionist who firmly believes in Israel’s right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people. 

But, as someone who is also a longtime champion of protecting freedom of speech, I must oppose this misguided bill.

While there is much in the bill that I agree with, its core provision would put a thumb on the scale in favor of one particular definition of antisemitism—to the exclusion of all others—to be used when the Department of Education assesses claims of antisemitism on campus.

This definition, adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA, includes “contemporary examples of antisemitism”.  The problem is that these examples may include protected speech, in some contexts, particularly with respect to criticism of the State of Israel.

To be clear, I vehemently disagree with the sentiments towards Israel expressed in those examples—and too often criticism of Israel does, in fact, take the form of virulent antisemitism.  Many Jewish students no longer feel safe on campus and some colleges have not done nearly enough to protect them.

But while this definition and its examples may have useful applications in certain contexts, by effectively codifying them into Title VI, this bill threatens to chill constitutionally protected speech.  Speech that is critical of Israel—alone—does not constitute unlawful discrimination.  By encompassing purely political speech about Israel into Title VI’s ambit, the bill sweeps too broadly.
This is disingenuous garbage.

FIrst of all, the IHRA Working Definition explicitly says that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic." 

Secondly, the IHRA definition has never meant to be legally binding and its examples are meant to be guidelines, as it says, also explicitly, if Nadler would bother to read it.

Nadler notes that the ACLU opposition to the definition is that it could be misused. The First Amendment can be misused as well; that is not a reason to throw it out. The definition may be flawed but in itself it is no danger to freedom of speech.

Thirdly, the IHRA definition takes great pains to say that even their examples must be seen in context, and none of them are defined as antisemitic without that context. This arguably goes too far, in suggesting that even Holocaust denial may not be antisemitic.  

Fourthly, the bill as written says "Nothing in this Act shall be diminish or infringe upon the rights protected under any other provision of law that is in effect as of the date of enactment of this Act." Meaning, it does not affect anything that is protected by US law, and it does not affect freedom of speech one bit. It is only meant to help determine whether otherwise discriminatory behavior - not speech but actual discrimination - may be antisemitic under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Nadler then goes off the deep end:
Vigorous enforcement of federal civil rights law does not depend on defining terms like “antisemitism” or “racism”.  In fact, codifying one definition of antisemitism, to the exclusion of all other possible definitions, could actually undermine federal civil rights law because antisemitism, like other forms of bigotry, evolves over time, and future conduct that comes to be widely understood as antisemitic may no longer meet the statutory definition.

And, pray tell, what do the other definitions consider antisemitic that the IHRA definition does not?  If a new form of antisemitism arises - something that happens every century or so - I think Congress will have time to pass another bill, or the IHRA can modify the one they have.

Nadler finally gets to the real reason he opposes it: he hates Republicans and supports the antisemitic Squad more than he loves Jews. He spends ten paragraphs attacking Republicans for their hypocrisy in not condemning other antisemitic speech from their own side and playing politics with the topic. 

That is true in some cases. Yet that is exactly what Nadler is doing here as well. He would rather side with the antisemitic "Squad" than with Republicans against antisemitism.

The IHRA definition is the closest thing to a universally accepted definition of antisemitism we have. It has been adopted by dozens of countries and already is part of the Department of Education policy today.  Nothing in that definition is controversial except for those who want to single out Israel as uniquely evil. Nothing in that definition limits free speech. 

Nadler is the one playing politics here, and this speech shows that he is not qualified to be considered a leader of any Jewish caucus. He cares more about his party than he does about American Jews. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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