Home » commentary » New Attack on BDS: ‘Anti-Semitism Awareness Act’ Passes Senate Unanimously

New Attack on BDS: ‘Anti-Semitism Awareness Act’ Passes Senate Unanimously


By Richard Edmondson

The latest assault on BDS and the Palestine solidarity movement seems to have arrived in the form of S.10, known as the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016,” a bill that was introduced into–and adopted by–the US Senate all in one day and without discussion, on December 1.

You can track the bill here. It’s aim is to provide a “definition of anti-Semitism” for purpose of enforcing anti-discrimination in education programs and activities. Basically it seeks to codify, or put into law, a definition of anti-Semitism that was put forth by the State Department in 2010, one which cites efforts to “delegitimize” Israel as an example of “contemporary” anti-Semitism.

The definition was coined by the State Department’s “Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism”–yes, there really is such an office within the State Department, the head of which is given the royal title, no less, of “Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism” or SEAS.

The current SEAS is Ira Forman, former Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council. The SEAS in power in 2010, when the “Defining Anti-Semitism” paper was published, was Hannah Rosenthal. You can go here to see the full definition, although I am also reproducing it below.

The bill has been pushed by the Anti-Defamation League. Specifically it seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with special focus on the the Act’s Title VI, described in the text of S.10 as “one of the principle antidiscrimination (sic) statutes enforced by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.”

Under the bill, any attempts to “demonize Israel,” which could include “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” would be defined as anti-Semitism. Universities which tolerate speech of this type on campus would be in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and presumably could be denied federal funding.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC

Well, if you’re going to attempt to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, who better to lead the charge for you than an African-American member of Congress? S.10 was introduced by Sen. Tim Scott, one of only two African-American Republicans in the Senate.

Another backer of the bill is Sen. Robert Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, who is listed as a co-sponsor. Both Scott and Casey are cited in an ADL press release put out on December 2 hailing the Senate’s passage of the measure.

“ADL played a central role in working with U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) in crafting and promoting the legislation,” the press release states.

Also classified as anti-Semitism under the measure would be applying any kind of “double standard” to Israel. This would include requiring of the Jewish state “a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation,” and could also include “multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations.”

Also telling the obvious truth about who owns or controls the vast majority of the major media would be anti-Semitic as well, or specifically, as the bill would have it–spreading “the myth” about “Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

Accusing Jews of being “more loyal to Israel” than their own nations would equally be anti-Semitic, as would of course (it goes without saying) questioning the holocaust.

“We welcome the Senate passage of this important legislation, which will help the Department of Education and Department of Justice to effectively determine whether an investigation of an incident of anti-Semitism is warranted under federal education anti-discrimination laws,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

The fact that this bill was introduced into the Senate and passed unanimously and without discussion all in one day provides glaring testimony in its own right about Jews “controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions”–or at least Congress at any rate.

Perhaps aware of the potential public relations blowback, a few Jewish writers have come out in opposition. One of these is Rachel Roberts, whose political correctness and angst-imbued manifesto in The Forward includes references to “stories my father told me about being young and Jewish in the 1950s” and likely will leave you rolling your eyes in places. A considerably more readable commentary is provided by Jacob Sullum in the New York Post, and there is also an article in the Jewish Business News allowing for the fact that “many” see the measure as “an attack on free speech,” an analysis that also questions whether the bill might in reality be “a bad idea.” Aside from this, however, Jewish opposition to the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016 seems overall kind of sparse.

Below is the text of the definition adopted by the State Department in 2010. Should it become institutionalized as the law of the land by being incorporated into the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it will not merely be “an attack on free speech” or a “bad idea.” It will, if viewed from an incremental standpoint and with the surety that more such legislation will come down the pike in the future, likely be a step toward criminalization of any criticism of Israel and a further eroding of the First Amendment.


Defining Anti-Semitism
Washington, DC
June 8, 2010


“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” –Working Definition of Anti-Semitism by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia

Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion).
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the state of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.

What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?

EXAMPLES of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel, taking into account the overall context could include:


  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
  • Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions


  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
  • Multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations


  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist

However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.

8 thoughts on “New Attack on BDS: ‘Anti-Semitism Awareness Act’ Passes Senate Unanimously

  1. Does the mention numbers of Jews who are key suspects in the 9-11 conspiracy qualify as an exception to prohibited “anti-Semitic” speech?

    With Epstein, Podesta and Weiner being recent perversion notables, does mention that many of the pedophile and cannibals also happen to be Jews (raised as Jews), qualify as an exception to prohibited “anti-Semitic speech?

  2. What a pity the Arabs & Palestinians don’t have a ‘Senate’ that affords them protection from Israeli/Jewish “hate speech” about them too.
    The rank hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

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  7. I would like to share something that I learned regarding the term “anti-Semitism” which is heard frequently and written quite often.

    It’s a false term and contradictory term, yet regretfully used by many people whom may not know that they are using an incorrect term.

    A SEMITE is a member of any of the peoples speaking a Semitic language, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Hebrews, Phoenicians, and many of the peoples of Ethiopia. The false term “anti-semitic” has developed into implying an offensive accusation of Israel or of people of the Jewish faith, but how can a catch-all phrase accuse or be against (anti) Jewish people but not include the Arabs, Arameans, Phoenicians, some Ethiopian peoples and others whom are also Semites?

    Using a simplified geographic example, say people from Denmark start accusing the people who attack them as “anti-Scandinavian”. That would be a false term since Scandinavian people include Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and indigenous Lapland peoples. The correct term would be “anti-Danish” and not “anti-Scandinavian”. A child can understand that.

    Here’s an article as one author expressed their view on the false term “anti-Semitism” and a quote from the article proving some additional insight into this false term “anti-Semitism”.

    “Zionist organizations are becoming increasingly dependent upon the charge of “anti-Semitism” as a political weapon. Anti-Semitism has a very precise definition. It refers to remarks or acts targeting the ethnic group termed Semites, which comprises both Jews and Arabs. The Hebrew Encyclopedia defines anti- Semitism as all manifestations of hatred and racism directed against Semites. The Fact is that anti-Semitism also comprises all manifestations of hatred and racism directed against all Arabs. Zionist media and political forces have warped this definition in several ways.

    1. They have manipulated the concept of Semitic ethnicity so as to apply to Jews alone, thereby enabling them to level the allegation of anti-Semitism against the Arabs in spite of the fact that they constitute the majority of the Semitic peoples.

    2. They have stretched the definition of anti-Semitism to include any criticism of Israel and Israeli policy. Now anyone who speaks out against the aggression and inhumane practices practiced by Israel risks being branded “anti-Semitic”. Thus the label “anti-Semitic” has acquired enormous deterrent power and is used regularly by Zionists.
    Now confident in having monopolized the field as Semites, so as to hurl “anti-Semite” at all and sundry who criticize Israel, Zionist leaders can spew the most atrocious racist abuse against others.”

    The terms “anti-Jew” or “anti-Israel” are also used in dialogues and writings about this subject matter. Although these terms would direct the dialogues or writings more accurately towards what is meant exactly to be a “Jew” or what is meant by the nation called “Israel”, they also are very broad terms, but these terms are more accurate than a false and contradictory term such as “anti-Semitism”.
    I would point your direction to the good Jewish Rabbis at the Neturei Karta organization http://www.nkusa.org where you can learn a little about true Judaism and true teaching of the Torah. Although I would caution you that, in fact, I’ve heard Rabbi Weiss (a leading Rabbi of this organization) using the false term “anti-Semitic” in his speeches so not even he may know the he is speaking falsely, unknowingly.

    I want to add to this post and make it clear to everyone reading this that I VERY MUCH believe in a homeland for Jewish people and VERY MUCH believe in a Promised Land called Israel. It’s written in Jewish-Christian prophecy and I VERY MUCH believe in the fulfillment of many prophecies of many religions. I would like to say that I see the day where music, singing, laughter, love, sharing and dance celebration in the streets of Israel-Palestina, where all children from all ethnicities and various religious beliefs play side by side where no one needs to ever lock their house doors, where the spirit of one human family exists.

    As a seeker of the truth and a respectful and humble believer in the true teachings of the Judeo-Christian religion (and other religions), it is clear that Israel was falsely “established” via the Balfour Declaration in the 1940’s, excluding a fundamental truth. And that truth is namely the messianic return (from the tribal lineage of King David (Judah) and the tribal lineage of Levi (Levite priests/rabbis), which (as written by the prophet Samuel and in the Torah), had to be THE pre-requisite for the “re-establishment” of Israel, but this was not followed, and so, therefore, any other form of political or military establishment of Israel is false and contradictory to this pillar of truth of the Jewish religion. Again, I would point your direction to the good Jewish Rabbis at the Neturei Karta organization http://www.nkusa.org where you can learn a little about true Judaism and true teaching of the Holy Torah and the establishment of Israel.

    I’d be happy to speak, write or sing with anyone on the positive solutions ( #Solutions ) to this situation mentioned in the above paragraph as long as You, like me, see the days of music, singing, laughter, love and sharing as well as dance celebration in the streets of Israel-Palestina where all children and peoples there play side by side in joy where no one needs to lock their house door in a spirit of one true human family. If you don’t see those days or want to see those days, then I will not speak or write about this with You, as, using a radio frequency analogy, You would be operating on FM sound waves and I would be operating on AM sound waves so we would not be able to h-ear each other. #AntiSemitism #Word #YourWordIsFire
    Many Blessings and Love to You and your family and feel free to share any of this post regarding the false term “anti-Semitism” in order to spread good word knowledge and word truth in a good way.

  8. Yes, it is extremely dishonest to accuse people of “anti-Semitism” for criticizing Israel when the overwhelming majority of the Jews who live there are Ashkenazis, who are not semites. So on that matter I agree with you. Where we would come to disagreement would be over the term “Judeo-Christian.” There is no such thing as a “Judeo-Christian” religion, since Christianity and Judaism are in a very real sense opposite to one another. There is the Old Testament god of anger and vengeance and the New Testament God of love and forgiveness. Take your pick. You can have one or the other, but you can’t have both.

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