From the May 2004 Idaho Observer:

Global Anti-Semitism Awareness Act hits Capitol Hill

Congress to waste time on patently unconstitutional bill

by The Idaho Observer

On April 28, 2004, Representatives Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) and John Lewis (D-Georgia) introduced HR 4230 “To authorize the establishment within the Department of State of an Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, to require inclusion in annual Department of State reports of information concerning acts of anti-Semitism around the world.”

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on International Relations. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the state from denying “ any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection under the laws.”

The bill claims “Acts of anti-Semitism in countries throughout the world, including in some of the world's strongest democracies, have increased significantly in frequency and scope over the last several years,” and then goes on to list several of them.

Curiously, the bill does not qualify “Semites” but states that anti-Semitism takes “the form of vilification of Zionism, the Jewish national movement, and incitement against Israel.”

A Semite is anyone who speaks a Semitic language, which encompasses many people other than those generally associated with Judaism, Zionism or the country of Israel.

Sections of the bill specifically describe how anti-Semitism is growing among Arab countries but does not discuss how those the bill refers to as “Semites” have been committing heinous crimes against the Palestinian people who are also, reportedly, Semitic.

Under Section 3, entitled “The Sense of Congress,” it is proposed that:

(1) the United States should continue to vigorously support efforts to combat anti-Semitism worldwide through bilateral relationships and interaction with international organizations such as the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE);

(2) the United States delegation to the OSCE conference in Berlin should advocate for the appointment of a High Commissioner on anti-Semitism;

(3) the President should direct the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to introduce in the most appropriate forum in the United Nations a measure condemning anti-Semitism;

(4) the Secretary of State should establish a permanent office in the Department of State to monitor and combat anti-Semitism; and

(5) the Department of State should thoroughly document acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement that occur around the world.

Section 4 authorizes the establishment of an “.office to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.” The office will be charged with “.monitoring and combatting acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement that occur...” in foreign countries and coordinating an international surveillance network to identify, take testimony for and publish acts of anti-Semitism in an annual report.

Section five requires the office to spy on other nations and the institutions of other nations to make sure they are not sponsoring anti-Semitism. The office is also authorized to encourage the government of foreign nations to “...enact and enforce laws relating to the protection of the right to religious freedom of Jewish people; and [encourage them] promote anti-bias and tolerance education.”

The sense of The Idaho Observer is apparently more lucid than that of the Congress. Aside from the constitutional implications of such a bill, the bill really refers to people claiming to be Jewish, and not all Semites. History has shown an irony that must be known among whomever is really backing this bill: Special laws seldom, if ever protect special people; they inflame the anti-sentiments they were allegedly passed to prevent.

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