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Bill Would Cast Big Brother’s Eye on Anti-Zionists

California Congressman Tom Lantos has quietly introduced a new bill which would combat antisemitism on a federal level. HR 4230, The Global Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, would “authorize the establishment within the Department of State of an Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.”

Among the bill’s findings, §2 ¶3 states, “Anti-Semitism has at times taken the form of vilification of Zionism, the Jewish national movement, and incitement against Israel.”

While this may, in fact, “at times” be the case, the direct association between antisemitism and anti-Zionism within the context of the bill raises reasonable suspicion amongst activists, such as myself, already concerned with the illegal monitoring of anti-war and anti-globalization groups. Could such legislation not be used to extend the monitoring of anti-Zionist groups to other entities through the employment of roving wiretaps under the premise of interdepartmental information-sharing? Or is this simply part of the same witchhunt against critics of Zionism exemplified by HR 3077, The International Studies in Higher Education Act?

Either way, I find it exceptionally ironic that, under the implied definition of anti-Zionism as antisemitism, this bill would, within the context of combatting antisemitism, authorize the monitoring of groups such as Jews Against the Occupation, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, and even Neturei Karta, who base their positions on authentically Jewish critiques of Zionism.

Don’t think it’ll happen? Perhaps you don’t know your government well enough.

11 thoughts on “Bill Would Cast Big Brother’s Eye on Anti-Zionists

  1. mobius doesnt seem to understand that jews can be jew haters (e.g. adam shapiro, noam chomsky and their ilk); that islamofascists just murdered 3,000 americans, and they and there supporters are plotting more murders right now; and that our government (which somehow is so beloved and trusted by the left when engaging in health care, regulating our work habbits, establishing racial quotas, and the like, and so mistrusted when it comes to the most basic functions of government, keeping us secure from murderers)while occassionaly responsible for errors, usually pulls through in protecting us from the evil ones, and still upholding the constitution. this country and its governnment is still essentially reflective of that shining house on the hill, ill trust it (even if bill clinton is running it) way before id trust any of the sources referrenced by mobius.

  2. I know Noam Chomsky. Noam Chomsky is a friend of mine. And you, sir, are no Noam Chomsky. Well, he’s not exactly a friend. And I don’t exactly know him. But I did hear him talk, and I’ve read some of his work. And what you don’t seem to understand is not all Jews, who live by Jewish values, agree with the government of Israel. I consider myself a Zionist in the purest sense, but as a Jew who believes in social justice and Tikkun Olam, I can’t support the suffering of others, no matter how much they brought it upon themselves or any such nonsense.
    What’s interesting about HR 3077 is that at my school, the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations department, which I will soon be joining, includes Jewish, Islamic, Arabic, and Ancient Near Eastern studies, among others. As I understand the legislation, that puts me, a Zionist interested in modern Israeli culture and recent history, under observation for being a terrorist. Also, to Mr. Green, having been inside the Semitic Museum, the HQ of the department, I can tell you the people there are much more interested in studying Akkadian tablets than blowing up any shining houses.

  3. It’s terribly enlightening that Tom Lantos, the sole Holocaust survivor in Congress, would support legislation that increases the monitoring of private citizens. It says that the problems of anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism in this country are so great that a very intelligent and thoughtful man would support tactics once used against him. But it also says that there is something more fundamentally wrong with how these problems are being looked at, if we’re still proposing tactics that were used 60 years ago.

  4. And what you don’t seem to understand is not all Jews, who live by Jewish values, agree with the government of Israel.
    Grin: okay, hands up: any Jews around who always agree with whatever the government of Israel does? Cause, like, I have yet to meet any.
    But moving away from the duhs for a moment, can someone enlighten a confused Canadian about this HR 3077 thing? Cause I’ve read the articles, heard the critiques, and I still don’t understand it. Especially when I read things like this: that puts me, a Zionist interested in modern Israeli culture and recent history, under observation for being a terrorist.
    Granted, on its face the statement is just silly hyperbole: obviously HR 3077 doesn’t allege that students enrolled in 1+ of Harvard NELC and MES — those are the places you seem to be referring to, EMTZAlex — are “terrorists”. Just what is supposed to be happen, though? As best I can understand, there’s to be some sort of advisory panel which issues an annual report which becomes a recommendation to somebody about something.
    Is that the key gist of it? If yes, based on what data is this annual advisory report to be constructed? Is the panel authorized to gather data in some new way? And just what does the UChicago CIS page mean when they say: It is important to note that language in the final version of the bill as passed by the House significantly changed the role and scope of the Advisory Board.
    Changed how? For better or for worse? For richer or for poorer? I’m no Middle East Studies student, nor a student in the U.S., and I don’t really have any personal contact with anything going on in the story. Folks around here clearly do: what’s the scoop?

  5. opus, the concern is that, because jewish organizations are responsible for the drafting of this bill, when it comes time to pick committee members, the same jewish organizations who will be called upon to pick the appointees. if the bill is intended to preserve the image of israel in mideast studies programs, it is likely that they will select candidates who have their agenda in mind. their angeda, prospectively, is to minimize criticism of israel on campus.

  6. this poses a threat to academic freedom because the panel can use their power of recommendation to cut funds to institutions who do not conform to their standards of judgement.
    (…sorry clicked submit too quick.)

  7. jewish organizations are responsible for the drafting of this bill: wait, you’re saying that a U.S. government bill is really the work of Jewish groups? And that the same Jewish groups will be doing the real, behind-the-scenes work in enforcing said law?
    And that, further, the bill is intended to preserve the image of israel in mideast studies programs? That just seems too demonic to pass the smell test.
    What groups are we talking about here? How would they go about enforcing “preserving the image of Israel”(*) on campus?
    (* Assuming that the image of Israel on campus is something they’d want to preserve. Unless U.S. campuses are radically different than the ones I’ve been to, few Jewish groups — save those whose goal is shuttering Israel — would seek to do that.)

  8. backed the bill I don’t understand. Drafted the bill, now backed the bill: which is it? (Like, I backed the Montreal Canadiens’ [losing] lineup in their failed playoff bid. On the other hand, I didn’t pick the lineup. There’s quite a difference.)
    And how does that translate into calling upon them to pick the appointees — isn’t that the government’s job? In the meantime, re language in the final version of the bill as passed by the House significantly changed the role and scope of the Advisory Board, how so … and is this as important is the UChicago folks claim?
    You can see why this is a mite confusing. There is a great deal of heat and light — yes, I’d read the various stories, including the ones you link to and the others linked to from UChicago and, well, Google — but the whole thing seems remarkably nebulous: even finding an accurate copy of the bill is a piece of work. Which is good for conspiracy theorists, but not so good for those trying to get an honest read.

  9. and we wonder why the whole world hates Israel and the United States. It’s exactly because of things like this. We’ve been so busy telling the world how to live, now we’re going to tell them how to think too. Doesn’t this just confirm for the whole planet that the US government is the Israeli lap dog?

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