- WASHINGTON -- US Jewish organizations
have hailed final congressional approval of a bill that compels the State
Department to create a special office to monitor anti-Semitic abuses around
the world and compile annual reports rating countries on their treatment
- The bill, known as the Global Anti-Semitism Awareness
Act, was introduced by Democratic Representative Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust
survivor in the US Congress, in response to recent acts of anti-Semitism
in Europe and the Middle East.
- The measure quietly cleared both the Senate and the House
of Representatives by agreement and voice vote late last week " over
objections by the State Department.
- The department has opposed the bill because it felt it
would be seen as giving preferential treatment to Jews over other religious
or ethnic groups in human rights reporting.
- But last month, it received an angry letter from more
than 100 prominent Americans, including former Republican vice presidential
nominee Jack Kemp and ex-UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, saying that US
diplomats were "wrong."
- "It is the anti-Semites who are singling out Jews,
and that is why the fight against anti-Semitism deserves specific, focused
attention," the letter said.
- Under the legislation, the State Department will have
to produce an annual report on anti-Semitism around the world and publish
it as part of its annual review of human rights. Moreover, the bill creates
a specific office within the department that would document anti-Semitic
abuses and design strategies to combat them. It would be headed by a special
envoy to spearhead the worldwide fight against anti-Semitism.
- "Considering that anti-Semitism plagues all regions
of the world, this special office will ensure that the United States resolutely
denounces acts of anti-Semitism across the board, including state-sponsored
anti-Semitism in Syria and elsewhere," said Republican Congressman
Chris Smith, a co-sponsor of the legislation.
- Rafael Medoff, director of the Pennsylvania-based David
S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, praised members of Congress on
Monday for their "vision, courage and determination in overcoming
the State Department's obstacles and achieving this crucial step in the
battle against anti-Semitism."
- Joel Schindler, president of the National Council of
Soviet Jewry, said Congress "has now provided new avenues" for
combating anti-Semitism around the world.
- Barbara Balser, national chairwoman of the Anti-Defamation
League, and Abraham Foxman, its national director, said acts of anti-Semitism
witnessed over the last two years have underscored the need for greater
monitoring of such crimes.
- "As more governments take on this responsibility,
strong US reporting on anti-Semitism as a human rights and religious freedom
issue is vitally important," Balser and Foxman said. The measure,
which is largely expected to be signed by President George W. Bush, requires
that the State Department document acts of physical violence against Jews,
their property, cemeteries and places of worship abroad, as well as local
governments, responses to them.
- The report will also take note of instances of anti-Jewish
propaganda and governments, readiness to promote unbiased school curricula
- Among the attacks that prompted passage of the bill,
the sponsors mentioned the burning of a Jewish synagogue in Toulon, France,
last March, the desecration of about 50 Jewish gravestones in St. Petersburg,
Russia, in February, and the recent claim by former Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad that Jews "rule the world by proxy."
- Oh, well, now what is THIS useless crap going to cost
the taxpayers, eh?! Have you ever seen such worthless, sniveling, whiney
self-interest in your life? These people are so obsessed with persecution
that they want RATINGS now. Utterly ridiculous!!!!
- From Mary
- Hi Jeff,
- A few years ago, I read an article about recent mistreatment
of black people. In indignation, I sent the article to my black friend,
asking for her thoughts. She asked me why I thought that she would feel
any more indignation than I and/or why I thought she would feel any more
indignation than if it had been another race/colour of people. She asked
that I not think of her as her 'black' friend, just her friend. It took
me 2 hours to understand what she meant. I had unwittingly made a distinction,
in this case, between blacks and everyone else.
- Mistreatment of living souls is the issue, not mistreatment
of any particular group. What the feds are doing is discrimination; they
are making 'crime against Jews' separate from and hence, worse than 'crimes
against living souls' - Ernst Zundel being the best example.
- The Feds' making a distinction between Jews and everyone
else IS the CRIME.
- The cause of every problem on this planet is the belief
that we are separate from one another. The feds ought to be charged with
'hate crime' - they hate everyone except the 'Jews', however, I think this
is a semantics issue as well. They are protecting Zionists, not Jews;
they only say 'Jews' and 'Anti-semitism' to make it sound worse to those
familiar with the terms. Not too many people have even heard the word
Zionist, never mind made the distinction between them and the Jews.