House Resolution Calls Criticism of Israel Antisemitism

by | Nov 28, 2023

One thing didn’t change among the United States congressional top leaders, Democrat and Republican, after the election of a new US House of Representatives Speaker — their unanimous over-the-top commitment to the US government supporting Israel unconditionally. Thus, the congressional top leaders are likely increasingly concerned about both ongoing large war-related protests in which many people express criticism of the Israel government and the majority of Americans opposing the US sending weapons and supplies to Israel to aid it in its war effort.

How to counter the resistance to the US giving Israel more and more money, intelligence, and weapons? A resolution being considered in the US House of Representatives provides some of the answer: call criticism of Israel antisemitism.

See all those protesters out there and the Americans opposing the US giving Israel weapons and supplies to continue its decimation of Gaza and then do whatever else may be next in its war actions. Don’t be fooled, the resolution suggests: None of them are expressing opposition because they are noninterventionists, peace advocates, constitutionalists, humanitarians, fiscal conservatives, or people holding other admirable intentions. Instead, they are all antisemites. Do not listen to them. Shun them. And, absolutely, do not even think for a second of being one of them. That is the message of suggesting individuals should be considered antisemites because they take stands critical of Israel.

The resolution, H.Res. 888, declares in part:

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

1) reaffirms the State of Israel’s right to exist;

(2) recognizes that denying Israel’s right to exist is a form of antisemitism;

What a strange statement from the legislative body that owes its existence to the American Revolution fought to end the existence of British colonial government in the colonies. The Declaration of Independence explained well the view of American founders regarding any purported right of a government to exist: The people have the right to alter or abolish government that “becomes destructive to” the securing of the people’s “unalienable Rights,” including rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” says the Declaration of Independence. The House resolution turns this reasoning on its head, declaring the dominant right of a government to exist in perpetuity no matter whether it protects, neglects, or undermines individual rights.

And Americans are not the only people to abolish and replace their government. It is an occurrence that has happened many times and in many places throughout world history. Yet, in this one instance to believe that such an ordinary thing should occur the House resolution derides as antisemitic. History has shown repeatedly that there are many other motivations that lead people to support a revolutionary objective. The antisemitism claim is obviously groundless assertion.

The desired effect of the resolution for many of its supporters, though, is for its condemnation to reach beyond people who call for the abolition and replacement of the Israel government. In the view of many of the ardent Israel government supporters in the House, whatever actions Israel takes in the name of advancing its national security are by definition taken in pursuance of protecting its purported right to exist. Question those actions, they would assert, and you defy and threaten Israel’s existence. Pointing to this resolution, they can also assert you are an antisemite. It is another step in the divorcing of the “antisemitism” label from anything having to do with ancestry or religion: Criticize the Israel government and, voilà, you are an antisemite.

On the bright side, this resolution is another step in obliterating the rhetorical power of shouting “Antisemite!” at any person who does not toe the line in unquestioningly supporting either whatever the Israel government does in the name of national security or however the US government supports such action of Israel. Increasingly, people are rationally answering the antisemite charge with a response of “Whatever, now tell me something that is meaningful.” That is a good sign. Hopefully, this indicates we will soon turn the corner so US support for Israel can be reevaluated.

Author

  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.