US House votes to conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism
The US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly for a resolution that equates anti-Zionism with antisemitism.
The measure was voted on Tuesday evening, 5 December, seeing support from the majority of the House, possibly setting the stage for future decisions on public discourse on Israel and Palestine.
Authored by Republican Representatives David Kustoff of Tennessee and Max Miller of Ohio, the resolution "clearly and firmly states that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism." (Miller's name went viral in late October when he said Palestine would be turned into a parking lot.)
The final vote was 311-14, with 13 Democrats and one Republican voting against the resolution, while 92 Democrats voted "present".
Among those who voted "present" was Representative Jerry Nadler of New York, who urged others to do the same, creating something of a dissent from the Democratic Party.
The veteran congressman, himself the most senior Jewish member of the body, described the resolution as "either intellectually disingenuous or just factually wrong."
In a speech on the House floor Tuesday, Nadler said, "Unfortunately, this resolution does absolutely nothing to genuinely counter the scourge of antisemitism, nor does it help bring us together with the unity of purpose that this topic merits."
He said, "Rather, it is another try, in a long series of veiled efforts by the GOP, to weaponise Jewish lives for political gains. It is another partisan gotcha game that amounts to cheap value signalling, not serious action. But, if ever there was a time for real action, it is now."
Nadler then pointed to examples of Republicans blocking measures intended to address antisemitism, including efforts to defund the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
He also questioned the Republicans' motivation to vote on a resolution that ties anti-Zionism to antisemitism, noting that many Jews are anti-Zionist and many people who are not antisemitic have criticised the state of Israel and its policies.
"Under this resolution, those who love Israel deeply but criticize some of its policy approaches could be considered anti-Zionist. That could make every Democratic Jewish member of this body—because they all criticized the recent Israeli judicial reform package—de facto antisemites. Might that be the authors’ intention?" he asked.
In his speech, he announced that he and two of his fellow congressmen would be introducing their own resolution on antisemitism.