Nothing says bias like the federal government protecting against discrimination... of only one ethnic group.
"It is not anti-Semitic to criticize the policies of the state of Israel." — Colin Powell.
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Last October the Washington Times announced George Bush's plan to establish an office in the State Department for the sole purpose of monitoring anti-Semitism around the world. Passed by both houses of Congress, the bill required tax dollars be spent solely on documenting condemnation of worldwide Jewry.
Oops! We're governed by racists!
Seriously, federal law should not support one group over another. The melting-pot evolution of the United States has borne thousands of different faiths, cultures, creeds and ethnicities — all supposedly equal; a policy of discrimination favoring one group is only a disservice to everyone else.
As well as completely unnecessary. The State Department balked at such legislation because it already monitors a number of groups — including Jews!
"We opposed creation of a separate office [... ] and opposed the mandating of a separate annual report," spokesman Richard Boucher said. "We expressed the view that separate reports on different religions or ethnicities were not warranted, given that we already prepare human rights reports and religious freedom reports on 190 countries [emphasis mine]."
The law is effort duplication par excellence, and I implore minority interest groups to demand equality from our representatives for all people. No assembly should get to double dip on public funds regardless of said group's awareness. For that matter, shouldn't foreign nations tackle their own intolerance issues? How will a report from the State Department effect change abroad? What a meaningless waste of time.
"Anti-Semitism" is a buzzword few politicians have the backbone to educate themselves on. Most people obviously comprehend that there are bigots out there who hate people because they embrace Judaism, and I agree that religious intolerance is a tired cancer in need of retirement (not that the U.S., with its rabid anti-Islam agenda, is helping). So many other reasons exist to hate a person (my prime candidate: ignorance), why focus on something trivial like the color of their skin or their choice of god?
Unfortunately, combating anti-Semitism is now politically intertwined with hatred for Israel's disastrous policies. The association is by design, as Israel has worked to blend any criticism of its goals of warmongering and genocide into contempt for all Jewish people. The resultant deflection marginalizes earnest discussion of the woes in the Middle East at the expense of the collective Jewish reputation.
However, Israel does not speak for all Jews, and sweeping generalizations that brandish critics of Israel as anti-Semites are a far greater crime than a defaced cemetery or vandalized car (as many of these "hate crimes" are ultimately hoaxes). Jews are no more responsible for the actions of Israel than Catholics are for the actions of the Vatican.
So why can't the United States government learn to separate the two entities from one another? Representative Tom Lantos (D-California) introduced the above-mentioned legislation because of concerns over "rising" anti-Semitism in Europe and the Middle East.
News flash, Tom — people aren't antagonistic towards Judaism and Jews, they're aghast at Israel riding roughshod over world opinion without penalty. Considering the number of scandals Israel racks up, that's not unreasonable in the slightest.
Israel is currently in violation of more United Nations resolutions than any other nation in the world. It continues to build a separation wall through and around Palestinian lands in disregard of international law and has essentially seized Jerusalem — a city long decided as beholden to no particular country — for its own. It also continues to develop illegal settlements in territories that do not belong to them using taxpayer money!
Men, women and children are murdered by Israeli Defense Forces with little or no provocation. Amnesty International has condemned the government as complicit in war crimes; their soldiers admit to murdering Palestinians for revenge.
And those are strictly domestic affairs. Internationally, Israel has perpetrated innumerable acts of espionage and sabotage upon other nations. Remember when Jonathan Pollard betrayed the United States and gave up some of its most precious military secrets? Remember when Iraq's nuclear reactor was destroyed by Ilan Ramon, "famed" Columbia astronaut?
What about the Lavon Affair, where the Israeli government tried to coax the United States into a war with Egypt? How about the attack on the USS Liberty, an act of war that to this day has gone unpunished despite the pleas of the survivors for justice? And the list doesn't stop there - Israel also has a standing order to assassinate anyone they want regardless of the jurisdiction.
Even now Israeli policy poisons America. The current AIPAC scandal isn't about what filtered out of the Pentagon, it's about fake information and forged documents making their way in to the Office of Special Plans — an office designed by the Bush White House to circumvent the CIA and FBI in intelligence gathering. Shock of shocks, all that propaganda built our "case" for war - a war supported by nothing but lies.
Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon's number two, has called for the ethnic cleansing (read: genocide) of Jerusalem, as he believes the city cannot exist as a viable capital for the Jewish people with 240,000 Palestinians living within its walls. Meanwhile, in the United States, when a Muslim is illegally detained and tortured in defiance of the Geneva convention, a ranking member of the House of Representatives only takes action when anti-Semitic slurs are made against said Muslim's fictitious legal counsel.
Mr. Lantos, understand that people around the world are critical of Israel and its policies, not its Jewry. A multimillion-dollar survey isn't needed to figure that out — it's common sense. Your colleague Colin Powell has said it is not anti-Semitic to voice criticism of Israel. Criticizing government is one of the tenets the United States was founded upon. Doing so does not make one a bigot in any sense of the word.
But you know what does? Favoring one group, race or creed over another. Congratulations, Mr. Lantos - you're a racist.
Canon Fodder is a weekly analysis of politics and society.
Canon Fodder is a bi-weekly analysis of politics and society.