Updated: U.S. State Department Report on New Expanded Definition of Anti-Semitism Fallacious, Dangerous, and Summarily Rejected

Updated May 16, 2019. Originally published Apr 10, 2008.

The following is from an article that has since been removed from the website of "The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California":

The State Department [U.S.] has taken the groundbreaking step of identifying some virulent criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism, as it warns that anti-Jewish attitudes and incidents are on the rise worldwide.

...

"Anti-Semitism has proven to be an adaptive phenomenon," the report said. "New forms of anti-Semitism have evolved. They often incorporate elements of traditional anti-Semitism. However, the distinguishing feature of the new anti-Semitism is criticism of Zionism or Israeli policy that — whether intentionally or unintentionally — has the effect of promoting prejudice against all Jews by demonizing Israel and Israelis and attributing Israel's perceived faults to its Jewish character."

...

"All too often, legitimate criticism of the state of Israel can veer into naked anti-Semitism characterized by vile hate speech," said Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys), the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. "When hate speech arises, we should call it what it is — and do what can be done to stop it."

The 94-page report deals at length with Holocaust denial as a vehicle for anti-Semitism, focusing particularly on the role Iran's government has taken in its propagation. It also targets the United Nations system, saying the double standards some of its constituent bodies display toward Israel promote a hostile environment for Jews.

"Regardless of the intent, disproportionate criticism of Israel as barbaric and unprincipled, and corresponding discriminatory measures adopted in the U.N. against Israel, have the effect of causing audiences to associate negative attributes with Jews in general, thus fueling anti-Semitism," it says.

From: "State Department: Israel-bashing can be classified as anti-Semitism," by Ron Kampeas. The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Friday April 11, 2008.

That article was referring to this post that was on www.state.gov (The US State Department's official website): Defining Anti-Semitism. That link is to the Internet Archive, where it had been saved (captured) 879 times.

The Pompeo State Department removed that version of the post on www.state.gov and replaced it with this one: Defining Anti-Semitism, which I just saved to the Internet Archive because governments have a rather sneaky approach to such things and often delete things and replace them without using redirects on their servers to make things easy to find or to compare.

It should be against the law for any government to not retain a public archive of all things ever posted to the public Internet.

I bring this up because the two posts on the State Department site are different in an extremely revealing way. The first one quoted the IHRA statement: "... criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic." The second one (the current one as of May 16,2019) doesn't include that part of the IHRA statement. It doesn't include it because the Trump-Pence-Pompeo administration wants to insulate Israel even from criticism "similar to that leveled against any other country." Even the IHRA probably figured that would be a step too far. Trump-Pence-Pompeo are out to out-Zionist the most strident Jewish-Zionists who are seen by major powers as having any credibility at all.

Some virulent criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism or anti-all descendants of Jacob. That's true. The Real Liberal Christian Church stands firmly opposed to all anti-Israelite attitudes, statements, and actions where those are directed at Jews for simply being Jews (in other words, against Jews for simply being biologically Jewish). All people self-identifying as Jews are not the same. They can not rightly be lumped together when criticizing the policies or practices of the current nation-state (government) of Israel.

To be a racists or an ethnic bigot would be akin to hating all Germans for what the Nazis did or hating all Afrikaners for what happened in South Africa or hating all Anglo-Saxons for what happened in India or the American Deep South regarding slavery or to the indigenous natives (American Indians or Native Americans). Frankly, it would be to hate all humanity as being unworthy of existence since there is no ethnic group that hasn't had members who have erred. In fact, each individual alive has erred.

That's why Jesus preached non-coercion. If the proper and best standard were to use coercion, then where would one draw the line on who deserves or doesn't deserve extermination. Move the line far enough and no one but the perfect God would deserve to exist. God is perfect by definition. If we are measured by God against God's perfection and found lacking and unworthy of continued existence and opportunity for growth and enlightenment, then we are all doomed and dead already. Anyone who thinks all Jews or Germans or Anglo-Saxons or Nigerians or Iraqis or Iranians or Venezuelans or any other whole people are fit for extermination or that anyone should exterminate anyone else under any circumstances had better prepare to meet Satan face to face and be tortured beyond endurance without prospect of deliverance before being completely broken into infinitesimally small pieces.

Let us rather take to the higher standard of universal repentance and forgiveness and brotherhood and sisterhood of all humanity under the real God who is the spirit (emotion) of total peace, love, truth, harmony, and all the rest of the good.

Jesus was a direct descendant of Jacob. Let no one forget that.

What would be totally wrong is for this position of the State Department to lead to mundane laws forbidding truth-telling regarding barbaric and unprincipled spirits. Part of why many Israelis and Jews in the U.S. and elsewhere are feeling particularly nervous is because people see the huge hypocrisy of having suffered under Nazis only to make Palestinians suffer. It stands out after all like a huge, throbbing, sore thumb.

The South Africans were subject to intense heat. They underwent some transformation. There is no Afrikaner separate state that resulted. The Zulus and the other tribes didn't break up the country by transferring the Afrikaners off their traditional lands.

Now, let me say this very clearly. The following is flat error. "...the distinguishing feature of the new anti-Semitism is criticism of Zionism or Israeli policy that — whether intentionally or unintentionally — has the effect of promoting prejudice against all Jews."

"[C]riticism of Zionism or Israeli policy that — whether intentionally or unintentionally — has the effect of promoting prejudice against all Jews" does not and never will constitute anti-Semitism, per se. It is a logical fallacy. Ask any professor of logic to analyze and report back to the State Department concerning the statement. Just because some people will react to such criticism by becoming prejudice against all Jews doesn't mean that all people will react that way or that the criticism was, or is, not valid, justified, etc. It does not mean that the criticism should not be allowed or tolerated. In fact, such criticism often should mean that Israel must be forced to change, but that's why the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) worded it the way they did: to help keep Israel from being forced to stop the blatant wickedness in which it is still engaging to this day against the Palestinians and others.

In addition, criticism of so-called Zionism [the current usage is in error, as real Zion is peace and nothing but] and of Israeli policy accompanied by clear statements condemning racism and ethnic bigotry, the fact that racists and ethnic bigots will ignore those qualifying clarifications doesn't negate the inescapable fact that criticism of Zionism and Israeli policy does not necessarily constitute anti-Semitism. Also, such qualifying and clarifying statements completely relieve the speaker or writer of any and all responsibility for so-called "unintentional" promotion of prejudice against all Jews.

Do you understand that, or are you being intentionally dimwitted?

This move (adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition) by the State Department is leading toward the evil of censorship of free speech, as "free speech" is traditionally understood under the U.S. Constitution. There are those who want to outlaw all criticism of Zionism. They want it all labeled anti-Semitism [a misnomer since Palestinians are Semites as are all descendants of Shem.] They want it all labeled "hate speech." Well, it is hate speech of course, but it most often falls under the banner of hating barbarism and not hating all Jews in the sense of promoting coercion against them.

What the certain (only certain) Jews did in moving back into Palestine and then taking land and homes and killing and terrorizing Palestinians into fleeing was barbaric and can not be condoned under any circumstances. Absolutely nothing excuses it. What the Nazis did doesn't excuse it. What the Old Testament says doesn't excuse it. What the U.S. State Department says (Condi Rice) can't excuse it. It was flat out wrong and should never have happened. It was no more right than any of the other atrocities done down through the ages by Jews and non-Jews.

I for one will not be silenced regardless of any mundane laws that may be passed supposedly outlawing truth-telling concerning the evils of the terrorists who are now called the founding fathers of Israel. I won't be silenced about the evils of the neocons in taking the U.S. to war against Iraq. I won't be silenced about the evils of Hitler in his drive for "living room" under his ambitions for an unrivaled German Empire.

The State Department has blurred lines that ought not to be blurred. It has fallen prey to people with ulterior motives to excuse blatant ethnic bigotry on their own part in the name of anti-bigotry against the Jews. It talks of double-standards when it employs them in attempting to score points.

The State Departments report is fatally flawed. It is built upon faulty premises. It needs to be scrapped for the falsehood it promotes.

Lastly, just because I did not specifically address each aspect of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition does not mean I agree with those aspects either. I take exception to plenty of aspects of the definition wholesale in additional to certain wording (couching). I consider the definition to be false propaganda, an attempt at mind control against truth, and frankly, garbage not worth the paper it was printed on.

Tom Usher

About Tom Usher

Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.