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Rejecting the US "anti-Semitism" Act

by Wendy Campbell Friday, Mar. 25, 2005 at 10:20 PM

Jews in the US and elsewhere continue to endeavor to make it a "crime" to criticize Judaism, organized Jewish politics and behavior, as well as the Jewish state of Israel. This is consistent with the Jewish “modus operandi” of oppressing and silencing others who attempt to reveal their innumerable historic-and ongoing-crimes. They are truly a race that deserves to be hated and hopefully destroyed!

Rejecting the US anti-Semitism act

Egyptian and Arab legal experts said the US's new global anti-Semitism monitoring law was biased and illegitimate. Gihan Shahine attends the first conference on the issue Al-Ahram (Egypt) March 16, 2005 Issue no. 733> Will the US global anti-Semitism act -- which requires greater US monitoring of "anti-Semitic acts" worldwide -- muzzle freedom of expression in the Arab and Muslim world? What is the US law's exact definition of anti- Semitism, and why does it include criticism, or "demonisation", of Israel and Judaism? How can Arab countries stand up to what they see as an "illegitimate" law? These and other questions have recently provoked enough public anger and heated debate to inspire a large number of legal experts, political analysts, social activists, and media people from around the Arab world to attend a three-day Cairo University conference on the repercussions of the new US global anti- Semitism act. The conference, which began on Tuesday, is the first to be held on the subject since the October 2004 enactment of the new law and the January 2005 release of the US State Department's first survey on global anti- Semitism. It represents the joint efforts of Cairo University's Centre for Political Research and Studies (CPRS), the non-governmental Arabs Against Discrimination (AAD), and the Egyptian Society of International Law (ESIL). "The law marks the peak of US dominance over the world," thundered CPRS Chairwoman Nadia Mustafa, who is also a Cairo University political science professor. "We have to find ways to stand up to the US clampdown on freedoms in the Arab and Islamic world." ESIL Secretary-General Salah Amer, a Cairo University international law professor, called the new legislation "terror of thought". By passing the new law, warned Palestinian political analyst Salman Abu Setta, "the US is waging an unprecedented, relentless war on our rights, creed and identity." There was a general consensus among the experts at the conference that the US law was designed to gag critics of Israeli crimes, and underline US global hegemony, at the same time. The law requires the State Department to provide a country-by-country report on anti- Semitic acts and "harassment", and the subsequent governmental response. The report, according to the law, would also include information on governmental efforts to promote "tolerance" and "anti-bias education". Some legal experts said that would interfere with states' independence, and principles of international law and human rights. The act "is a blatant violation of international law and legitimacy", said Cairo University assistant political science professor Mohamed Shawqi. The law's global identity made it clear that the US was "putting itself at the whole world's steering wheel, punishing disobedient countries that reject US hegemony. But according to international law, no country has the right to enact punishment on another country for violating human rights, or committing anti- Semitic acts." Many said the law appeared to target Muslims and Arabs, and thus seemed to be aimed primarily at serving Israeli and Jew plans in the region. Analysts speculated that the legislation would be specifically used to block information on the US's "imperialist agenda", and gag media houses and web portals exposing Israeli violations of human rights in Palestine. The recent ban on Arabic TV channels Al- Jazeera and Al-Arabia in Iraq, and Al-Manar in the US and France, are seen as possible cases in point. The first global survey of anti- Semitism explicitly said that "Al-Manar, the Lebanon-based television network controlled by Hizbullah featuring blatantly anti-Semitic material" had its one-year satellite broadcast licence revoked by French authorities due to its "continued transmission of anti-Semitic material". The report, however, deplored the fact that "other Middle East networks with questionable content, such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia, maintain their French broadcast licences", and that "critics of Israel frequently use anti-Semitic cartoons depicting anti- Jewish images and caricatures to attack the State of Israel and its policies, as well as Jewish communities and others who support Israel." The report said US embassies have "protested to host governments against practices that have allowed their institutions to promote anti-Semitism, such as the heavily watched television series Rider Without a Horse and Diaspora that respectively promoted the canard of the blood libel, and The Protocols of Elders of Zion." At the same time, Abu Setta said, the report "failed to mention Israeli descriptions of Arabs as insects and snakes that must be crushed, and had no reference to the racist campaigns against Arabs not only in Israeli publications, but in the US media as well." Several years ago, a Paris-based Jewish group filed a lawsuit in a French court against Al-Ahram Chief Editor Ibrahim Nafie, charging him with inciting hatred against Jews by publishing an "anti-Semitic" article entitled "A Jewish pie from Arab blood" by journalist Adel Hamouda. "Now, however, the new law is bound to terrorise thinkers and intellectuals in their own lands," said Ali El-Ghatit. The Cairo University comparative international law professor said the law could expose people to "suppression and punishment from their own governments" with its extension of "the definition of anti-Semitism to also include those who invoke hatred against Judaism, 'demonise' Israel, criticise Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people, and incite hatred and encourage resistance against, or, in their own terms, 'de-legitimise', the Israeli occupation of Palestine." El-Ghatit said the new US legislation considers anyone "who speaks out against Israel and Judaism a criminal". Speaking out against the building of Israeli settlements, objecting to the building of the apartheid wall, and encouraging legitimate resistance against the Israeli occupation would all fall under the new US legislation's anti-Semitic acts category. Much of this was the result of a major re- working of definitions, El-Ghatit said. "Both resistance and genocides are equally defined as 'acts of violence'... [as such]... even the UN description of Palestine as 'occupied territories' would now be considered anti- Semitic." Comparative literature professor Abdel- Wahab El-Messiri, the author of many works on Judaism and Jewish thought, said, "playing with definitions was symptomatic of Arab weakness in the face of the US's super power." El-Ghatit, meanwhile, is more apprehensive about the long-term impact of the US anti-Semitism act on the Arab mind. "The law requires removing anti-Semitic statements from our school and university books (including history, geography, religion and national education)," warned El-Ghatit, who said that, "was meant to distort history, brainwash youths, and alienate them from their culture." Amer said the law was "racist" and "discriminatory against other religions. Islam has been the target of many extremely offensive campaigns since 9/11. Religion should not be abused to attain other gains." There was a general consensus at the conference that action should be taken to resist the new law's application. One way was to raise public awareness of its perils. "People should understand they could be subject to legal harassment in their own countries," Amer said. "But public opinion should also stand up to that terror of thought." AAD Executive Manager Emad Gad said his organisation had already taken steps in that direction. "There is considerable sympathy for the Arab cause in the West, but it is our fault that we do not know how to use or present our case in a way that reaches out to the Western mentality," Gad said. To help bridge that gap, the AAD -- chaired by Nafie -- recently established a branch office in Washington. "Experts, intellectuals, human-rights activists and civil society should all join forces to find ways to stop this clampdown on freedoms," Gad said.

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