Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene voted against H.R. 6090 for reasons of miscomprehension.

H.R. 6090, described as “an act to provide for the consideration of a definition of antisemitism set forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance for the enforcement of Federal antidiscrimination laws concerning education programs or activities, and for other purposes,” was passed on Wednesday by the House of Representatives in a 312 to 91 vote with 26 abstentions.

The first valuable aspect of the new law is included in its name, accepting the IHRA definition of antisemitism. This definition includes several crucial points regarding the connection between antisemitism and Israel. The IHRA document says, “Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:”

  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Even though H.R. 6090 cannot trump the First Amendment regarding free speech per se, it can be considered in cases of antisemitic hate crimes, expanding the definition of hate to include hate for Israel as noted above. And this, folks, is huge, especially these days, when the “I’m not an antisemite, I’m anti-Zionist” crowd is terrifying Jews from sea to shiny sea, especially on the nation’s campuses.

So, on that alone, let us applaud the 179 Republicans and 133 Democrats who joined forces to make America less scary again.

But wait, there’s more.

The new law also notes that it is the sense of Congress that even though Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance does not cover discrimination based solely on religion, “discrimination against Jews may give rise to a violation of such title when the discrimination is based on race, color, or national origin, which can include discrimination based on actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics,” and so “it is the policy of the United States to enforce such title against prohibited forms of discrimination rooted in antisemitism as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by such title.”

Or, to summarize, Jews are finally included in the groups against which you can’t discriminate in America – Jewish is the new Black.

And then Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tweeted that she voted against the bill because… brace yourselves… “Antisemitism is wrong, but I will not be voting for the Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2023 (H.R. 6090) today that could convict Christians of antisemitism for believing the Gospel that says Jesus was handed over to Herod to be crucified by the Jews.”

As you can see, Greene, a devout Christian but not among the brightest devout Christians, highlighted the IHRA item, “Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.”

So, first, King Herod the Great died in the year 4 CE, presumably when Jesus was still a toddler in his dad’s baby proofed carpentry shop up in Nazareth. According to the Gospels, he was turned in to the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judaea, a guy we all remember as Pontius Pilatus. Maybe a little more Sunday school for the Congresswoman from the most Republican district in Georgia?

And as soon as she’s done with church school, she should take a refresher English course and reread the IHRA item which has nothing to say about belief and a whole lot to say about, say, accusing the Rothschilds of setting fires in California’s forests using a space laser (which Greene famously did in November 2018).

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