House adopts 'anti-Semitism' bill despite worries it criminalizes biblical beliefs

 May 2, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

In an abrupt effort to address the anti-Semitic violence that has engulfed many American university campuses in recent weeks, the U.S. House has adopted a new "Anti-Semitism Awareness Act" after ignoring concerns that the plan actually could threaten free speech and make Christians who adhere to the biblical account of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection subject to conviction.

The anti-Semitism follows the terror attack on Israel last Oct. 7 by soldiers in the Gaza-based Hamas terror group, in which some 1,200 Israeli civilians were killed. In response, Israel dispatched its military to remove that terror threat.

Now anti-Israel and anti-Jew radicals have turned violent on campuses, have taken over property and buildings, have issued extreme and radical demands, and more in pursuit of their goal of turning the public's reaction to the Hamas terror into a condemnation of Israel.

The bill purports to try to curb hate speech, and while it passed and now is headed to the Senate, a bipartisan coalition says it was ill-conceived and now actually is dangerous.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., condemned anti-Semitism, but said, "I will not be voting for the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act today that could convict Christians of anti-Semitism for believing the Gospel that says Jesus was handed over [by] Herod to be crucified by the Jews."

Rep. Matt Gaetz had similar concerns, explaining, "This evening, I will vote AGAINST the ridiculous hate speech bill called the 'Anti-Semitism Awareness Act.' Anti-Semitism is wrong, but this legislation is written without regard for the Constitution, common sense, or even the common understanding of the meaning of words.

"The Gospel itself would meet the definition of anti-Semitism under the terms of this bill! The bill says the definition of anti-Semitism includes 'contemporary examples of anti-Semitism' identified by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). One of those examples includes: '…claims of Jews killing Jesus…' The Bible is clear. There is no myth or controversy on this. Therefore, I will not support this bill."

Rep. Thomas Massie also opposed the plan:

He said the law is vague and doesn't even include a definition of anti-Semitism.

And he doubted people should be prosecuted for saying certain things "in all contexts."

Democrat Rep. Sara Jacobs, of San Diego, joined the opposition.

She criticized the bill, which demands the Department of Education use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliances' definition of anti-Semitism because it criticizes Israel essentially a crime.

"As a Jewish woman, I’ve experienced anti-Semitism all my life," she said. "I know the hatred and ignorance that lie behind all these comments, and how they can quickly escalate into violence — and I’m deeply concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism in San Diego and across the country.

"I support Israel’s right to exist, but I also know many people who question whether Israel should exist as a Jewish state who are deeply connected to their Judaism."

She said the plan fails to address the very real rise in anti-Semitism while punishing speech.

"This bill would stifle First Amendment rights to free speech and free assembly and it would distract from real anti-Semitism and our efforts to address it," she said.

report at The Gateway Pundit said the House vote was 320-91, and the bill appears to condemn calls for the deaths of Jews, making "demonizing" statements about them, holding Jews as a group at fault for wrongdoings by a single person, denying the atrocities of the Holocaust, applying a double standard to Israel, and more.

Included in the targeted behavior would be "Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis."

Cited as concerning were the bill's application to biblical passages, including 1st Thessalonians 2:14-16, which states "For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus which are in Judea; for you suffered the same things from your countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all men by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins."

Also, Acts 3:14-15, "You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses."

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