Skip to content

Congress Instructs Jews Whom They May Or Not Support in Israel

The US Congress’s latest charade as experts on anti-Semitism only proves that, with friends like the US Congress, actual Jews don’t need any enemies. The House of Representatives voted today, 320-91, to broaden the definition of “anti-Semitism” to include the “targeting of the state of Israel,” so that, for example, Jewish students in the US who object to the murderous policies and actions of the present Netanyahu government in Israel can be labeled as anti-Semites and suffer legal and educational restrictions and punishments. Perhaps worse, they suffer the slavish indignity of being instructed that their religion has political doctrines to which they are obligated to adhere.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D/NY) made the obvious point yesterday but was ignored: “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.” Admittedly, the definition appends to the phrase, the “targeting of the state of Israel,” the fuzzy qualification, “conceived as a Jewish collectivity,” but it is far from clear how that protects anyone.

Rep. Russell Fry (R/SC) was one of the self-proclaimed experts on anti-Semitism, countering Nadler: “It is long past time that Congress act to protect Jewish Americans from the scourge of antisemitism on campuses around the country.”

Despite various Jewish organizations providing strong opposition to the House’s weaponizing of the term, the bill passed overwhelmingly.

Last week, the ACLU sent a letter to lawmakers, noting that federal law already prohibits antisemitic discrimination and harassment; so: “H.R. 6090 is therefore not needed to protect against antisemitic discrimination; instead, it would likely chill free speech of students on college campuses by incorrectly equating criticism of the Israeli government with anti-Semitism.”

Several Republican members of the Oversight Committee today visited the protesters’ encampment at nearby George Washington University, where they criticized the protests and attacked Mayor Muriel Bowser for not sending in the police to stop the demonstration. Bowser had upset the legislators two days ago, declaring: “We did not have any violence to interrupt on the GW campus… This is Washington, D.C., and we are, by design, a place where people come to address the government and their grievances with the government.”

Separately, Speaker Mike Johnson announced yesterday a mobilization of various House committees to target universities that allow students to protest, by withholding federal research grants and other government