The House anti-Semitism bill is a hate speech law in disguise. Don’t fall for it.

News & Politics

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Countering Antisemitism Act, which purports to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses as protests continue to rage nationwide. The bill would require the Department of Education to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism when enforcing the 1964 Civil Rights Act on college campuses.

What exactly is the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism? The organization defines it as:

A certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Examples of anti-Semitism include:

Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion. … Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

The “Combat Antisemitism” movement hailed the passage as a “momentous achievement” and urged its passage through the Senate to get the bill to Biden’s desk.

Something can be legally permissible and morally repulsive at the same time. The Constitution must rule.

Twenty House Republicans opposed the legislation, including Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who called it a “hate speech bill” in disguise. “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,” Gaetz said. “The Gospel itself would meet the definition of anti-Semitism under the terms of this bill!”

Democratic lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), have urged the Senate to pass the bill. It would allegedly combat anti-Semitism through the appointment of a new presidential adviser, who would be charged with implementing the White House’s coordinated strategy in dealing with anti-Semitism.

What could possibly go wrong here?

“The effort to crush anti-Semitism and hatred in any form is not a Democrat or Republican issue,” Jeffries said Monday. “It’s an American issue that must be addressed in a bipartisan manner with a fierce urgency of now.”

Because after all, gang, say it with me: We’ve got to do something!

When I hear people say, “The Jews killed Jesus,” or “Those dirty Jews run the world” or “You’re just saying things because you have a Zionist master,” I think to myself, “You’re a bloody idiot.” You have no clue as to what is really happening in the world.

Are there some Jewish people at the top of corporations? Of course there are. Are there very successful Jews that happen to be bankers? Sure. But there are a great many successful bankers who are Catholics and Mormons and Lutherans and Methodists and, dare I say it, atheists. But it’s the Jews who are the problem?

You know how I feel about anti-Semitism. You know how I feel about the Holocaust. You would think that someone like me who is very supportive of the Jews in Israel would be all for this act. But I am dead-set against it, and you should be, too. Something can be legally permissible and morally repulsive at the same time. The Constitution must rule. The Constitution must be our set of principles that we do not violate — no matter if it cuts your way or against you.

If you think there is some Jewish cabal, you’re an idiot. You shouldn’t run around saying these things. The proper response to this bill is not to post memes of long-nosed Jews wrapping their tentacles around the American flag. Just because I’m against the bill doesn’t mean I condone your views. You can say those horrible things because our Constitution guarantees it. Speech needs to be protected — not merely the stuff we all agree on, but especially the stuff we don’t agree on.

Congress doesn’t understand this: You can’t legislate hatred away. If you pass a bill limiting a type of speech, all you do is create speakeasies of hate. Their apologists go into the closet where they can’t be heard, and it becomes a festering pool of hate that at some point will break out. Does that mean that protesters can prevent Jewish students from entering their classrooms? No. That is not speech. That’s harassment that should be punished.

The people who voted for this bill, I’m sure, were well-intentioned. But they’re misguided by human nature itself. Governments cannot fix human hearts. The only one who can remove hatred from hearts is God. They should all be sent back to some remedial class on the principles of the Constitution of America.

This is about the importance of freedom of speech, the importance of not rushing into a bad solution because anti-Semitism is scary right now.

Why is it that this Congress can only pass bills that seemingly only hurt the strength of America and cut across the Constitution?

They just took away our Fourth Amendment right against warrantless searches with the new FISA renewal. They just passed another bill that would allow Palestinian refugees into the country. What is wrong with these people? I don’t live in an upside-down world. They do. I still live in a world where America protects the rights of its citizens. It’s a dark day when only 20 Republicans stand up against this affront to the First Amendment.

To paraphrase George Washington, we did not overthrow one dictator just to replace him with another. Americans are concerned — I am concerned — that we are moving into an autocratic state. The Countering Antisemitism Act overthrows one form of tyranny by replacing it with another.

To all members of Congress, I warn you: If this bill passes, it will be used against you.

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