Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018

I didn’t want to write about anti-Semitism until a Jewish family member called me an anti-Semite. Specifically, she said some of my writing and posting on social media was anti-Semitic.

Naturally, I was hurt. I’ve watched her blossom from an infant into a confident young mother of four, raising her children to follow in the family’s orthodox Jewish beliefs and traditions. I’ve honored and cherished her family’s beliefs by attending family weddings, funerals and other important gatherings every year. Calling me an anti-Semite was a slap in the face that still stings to this day.

I responded by sharing my disappointment, and explaining that nothing I’ve written or posted can be construed as a hatred of Jews or the Jewish faith. She’s conflating legitimate criticism of Israel (WHICH I WRITE A LOT ABOUT!) with hatred of Jews.

It’s been over two years and we’ve never returned to the conversation, but I’ve been reading and learning a lot about anti-Semitism, especially from the book published in 2017 by Jewish Voice for Peace — “On Anti-Semitism—Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice”. More about that later.

Now I know that my family member is confused because the State of Israel has been deliberately promoting a new definition of anti-Semitism. The idea for a new definition started when the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379 in 1975 equating Zionism with racism. (It was revoked in 1991.) Antony Lerman, the founding editor of Antisemitism World Report from 1992 to 1998, writes:

Zionists have always understood full well that antisemitism helped advance the cause, even as they promoted Zionism as the solution to the scourge of antisemitism. Exploiting this dualism today is absolutely central to far-right Zionist ideology and to right-wing Zionism’s Jewish and non-Jewish fellow travelers.

The latest iteration of this new anti-Semitism is the bill introduced in Congress this week, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018 which includes an overly-broad, political definition of anti-Semitism, that includes criticism of the state of Israel.  The Arab-American Institute provides a good summary and the reasons why it should be opposed, see here.

WIB Salaam

Our members of Congress should hear quickly and forcefully from their constituents about the troublesome aspects of this bill.  Here’s one way to communicate with them quickly by completing the online message.  I’m going to call each of them and tell them that even the author of the working definition utilized in this legislation went on record in 2016 explaining that he believed this approach to be an “affront to academic freedom,” and “unconstitutional and unwise.”

My family member can be excused for her reaction to my criticism of Israel, but lawmakers must be held to account.


Filed under Israel, Politics, Uncategorized, US Policy

8 responses to “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018

  1. Michael Dale Johnson

    “The Palestine solidarity group BDS France noted that the day after the arrest, Prime Minister Manuel Valls tolda dinner hosted by the Israel lobby group CRIF that “anti-Zionism is nothing more than a synonym for anti-Semitism and the hatred of Israel.”

    “Today, politicians who support the Israeli apartheid regime are out of arguments,” BDS France said in a statement.

    “They conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and terrorism, and take all the Jews of the world hostage, stubbornly insisting that they become accomplices of the war crimes and apartheid of a state which is foreign to them,” BDS France added.

    The campaign group said that with the growing global success of BDS, “a nonviolent, anti-racist citizen movement for the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people,” Israel and its allies in the French government had no recourse but to try to smear it as anti-Semitic.”

  2. Chaya

    I am an American Jew, Orthodox, and heartbroken over the actions and policies of the Zionist state of Israel. The occupation must end, and the settlement land theft must stop.

    This is impacting the collective soul of the Jewish people, and against our Holy Torah received at Sinai.

    The Jewish people and the Jewish state are not synonymous.

    Never let anyone tell you that Judaism and Zionism are one and the same, they are not.

    Read the General’s Son by Miko Peled, his father was a general in the Israeli army, his niece was murdered by a Palestinian suicide bomber, and with courage and integrity his family speaks the truth, the occupation was at the root. The Palestinians suffer daily in denial of their basic humanity, with separate military courts, harassment, collective punishment.

    Read the Jewish Voice for Peace website… we were slaves in Egypt, we suffered as a people atrocities in the Holocaust.

    Judaism is not Zionism.

    We are to love our neighbor as ourselves, and our relationship to HaShem is everything.

    B’ Shalom


  3. “An antisemitic used to mean a man who hate jews … nowadays it means a man who is hated by the zionists” !!

  4. Doris Vician

    we need to condemn the Israeli government. If this is going to be considered anti-Semitic, this is crazy.

  5. Artie Alfreds

    I’m Jewish, was called anti Semitic, starting 52 years ago, when I first became anti Zionist. But, now, the shoe is on the other foot. I write that I defend my Jewish culture, by being anti Zionist. No one has challenged me on this, the past 2 years.

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