The United States Department of State has adapted its definition of anti-Semitism to include an eleventh example, namely ‘[d]rawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis‘.
In May of this year, the Office of Religious Freedom in the State Department issued a definition of anti-semitism which included ten examples such as, ‘Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion‘, and, ‘Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews‘.
The addition, which comes from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism Elan Carr, is seen by many as a response to a failed motion launched in the US House of Representatives last month to support an international effort to boycott Israel.
The motion, formally referred to as H.Res.496, was brought forward on 16th July this year by Democratic Representative for Minnesota Ilhan Omar. She is one of the ‘Squad’, four congresswomen who were attacked by President Donald Trump for their alleged ‘America–hating’ anti-Semitism.
The motion, which drew widespread condemnation for its implied drawing of comparisons between the state of Israel and Nazi Germany in reference to the use of ‘boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad‘, was rejected in the House by a rare bipartisan majority of 398-17. The final resolution, H.Res.246, which puts the House on record as opposing, ‘the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) targeting Israel, including efforts to target United States companies that are engaged in commercial activities that are legal under United States law, and all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel‘, was approved by the House.
In response to the failed motion supported by three of the four members of the ‘Squad’ (Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan), corruption watchdog American Center for Law and Justice has launched a petition to censure and remove from committees Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib for allegedly having ‘repeatedly espoused anti-Semitic rhetoric‘.
The Trump Administration’s new definition of anti-Semitism and related examples can be read in full here.