Abusing “Anti-Semitism” to Quash Israel Criticism – in Congress & States


At the end of 2016 new legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate entitled, the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016” (S.10 & HR 6421). In May 2018, this legislation was re-introduced, once again as a bipartisan, bicameral effort.

Given the title of this legislation, the public could be forgiven for assuming this must be a response to rising anti-Semitism in the U.S. linked to emboldened Nazis, white supremacists, and supporters of the “alt-Right.” Sadly, the public would be wrong.

This Orwellian-entitled legislation in fact has zero to do with raising awareness about or combating actual anti-Semitism. Rather, it is an effort to trying to police criticism of Israel on U.S. campuses by exploiting claims of “anti-Semitism” – all in order to delegitimize and quash criticism of and activism related to Israel (with the main but not sole focus being the BDS movement on campuses). This effort continued into 2017 and now into 2018.

In order to shine a bright light on this stealth legislative trend, in January 2017, in her previous capacity working for FMEP grantee Americans for Peace Now, Lara Friedman began tracking  this phenomenon in a publicly-accessible data table, updated regularly to include any new developments. With APN’s agreement, Lara is continuing this work in her capacity as the President of FMEP, and her data table – which will continue to be updated regularly – can now be found here.

In addition, a compendium of analysis/commentary on the Constitutional and broader free speech threats posed by this legislation — constantly updated — can be found here.

To follow what is happening with respect to a parallel campaign to have Congress legislate U.S. support for settlements, see Lara’s research/table, here ;to follow what is happening at the state level, see here.

Questions about this issue or data table should be directed to: Lara@fmep.org