On April 28, 2004, with little or no fanfare, members of the House Committee on International Relations introduced a bill, H.R. 4230 to make the United States Department of State responsible to "Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism" everywhere in the world. The bill cites several examples: (a) the speech of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia; (b) car bombings outside synagogues in Instanbul, Turkey; (c) anti-Semitic slogans (unspecified) burned into the lawn of Parliament House in Tasmania; (d) desecration by vandals of gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Russia; (e) attack on a Jewish school by vandals in Toronto, Canada; and (f) a fire of unknown origin at a synagogue in Toulon, France. Narrowly construed, this bill would not only have a special office in the State Department to monitor such activities and make an annual report to the Congress of them. State would also be expected in any country where anti-Semitic acts occurred to "combat" those acts.
If enacted this bill will make the United States the world policeman for any actions that Israelis or Jews anywhere in the world feel is anti-Jewish. Moreover, as the act is written, it would make the United States responsible for taking actions to counter such actions with any government or organization that may be responsible for the alleged acts. Since the bill is written so that what constitutes anti-Semitism is a matter of judgment, there would be no end to the problems such a law would create for US diplomats and no limit on the harassment of other governments for alleged misdeeds.
Any sensible person will deplore acts against Jews or their institutions and symbols, just as they should deplore such acts against Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and other religious communities. And if the Congress is so confused about its mission as to take this on, then it should be ready to discharge the same responsibility for all the world,s religious practitioners. There will be no end to it, because such acts are often obscure in their perpetrators and intentions.
That, however, is not the problem with the purposes of this bill. Its central purpose is to sweep under the rug any criticism of Zionists, current Israeli leadership, Israeli settlers, and their supporters for their actions against the Palestinian people. Its goal is to stifle all criticism of extreme behavior such as building the wall around the West Bank, assassinating Palestinian activists and their leaders, imprisoning Palestinians without trial, torturing them in captivity, and taking their ancestral homes without compensation. If objections to such acts are anti-Semitic, than a growing number of people will be targeted by this legislation, because most of the unhappiness in the world with developments in Israel is generated by those actions, not by Jewishness or Judaism. Moreover, those objections are wide spread, not confined to any society or any part of the world.