Last week, as the President’s daughter and son-in-law attended the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, the world could not ignore the juxtaposition of the Trump family celebrating with smiles, while 60 miles away Israeli troops shot and killed 60 protesters and injured scores of others.
The US media ran unprecedented criticism of Israel’s militarism, as well as condemnation from many senior political figures. It seems that while America’s conscience was reawakening to the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza, members of the House and Senate responded by introducing the The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018
Far from increasing awareness for anti-semitism, this bill attempts to cloak many criticisms of Israel as anti-semitism. The bill includes an overly-broad, political definition of anti-Semitism, which includes criticism of the state of Israel. Its main purpose is to quell activism on behalf of Palestinian rights. This is a threat to the first amendment as well as our national security.
The brutality of Israeli colonialism makes Jews worldwide less secure, while uncritical American support of Israel makes America less secure. For many Jews, like myself, the bible informs our criticism of Israel. The Torah states that you must treat all people as yourself. Clearly, blockading Gaza, denying people in Gaza basic rights such as water, makes Gaza an open air prison, and betrays these mandates.
Yet, in this bill, the geopolitical considerations of some politicians, lobbyists, and defense contractors, would weaken the voices of millions of Jews, and hundreds of millions of Americans. The Israeli government just denied three US Congressmen access to Gaza — so they were unable to determine the facts of the recent massacre.I have done human rights work in the West Bank and Gaza three times, and think that US and Israeli propaganda must be cut through by witnessing the Palestinian situation in person. If elected to Congress, I would join these fact-finding investigations, and would invite Rabbis, Ministers, Priests, and Imams. We must find new ways to finally clarify the need for a two state solution.