TEL AVIV – In the wake of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments likening the anti-Israel BDS movement to boycotts of Nazi Germany, the US State Department has updated its definition of antisemitism to include “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”
The State Department’s definition of antisemitism includes most of the points outlined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s own definition.
“Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property — such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries — are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews,” the State Department’s website reads.
“Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries,” it continues.
At the initiative of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Elan Carr, the new addition specifies that comparisons of Israeli policies to those of the Nazis also constitute antisemitism.
The State Dep. just updated the definition of #Antisemitism to include "Drawing Comparison of Contemporary #Israeli policy to the of #Nazis". Kudos to @SecPompeo and Special Envoy Elan Carr. It's more clear now, the BDS Movement is disgustingly Antisemitic https://t.co/6VEW9A1M1X pic.twitter.com/O0O78p6XiU
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) August 6, 2019
Last month, Omar (D-MN) introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives, co-sponsored by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), in support of the BDS movement.
The text of the resolution cites examples of boycott movements against Nazi Germany, the USSR and apartheid South Africa and also suggests that the BDS movement is comparable to the Boston Tea Party. “Boycotts have been effectively used in the United States by advocates for equal rights since the Boston Tea Party,” it read.
“Americans of conscience have a proud history of participating in boycotts to advocate for human rights abroad including … boycotting Nazi Germany from March 1933 to October 1941 in response to the dehumanization of the Jewish people in the lead-up to the Holocaust,” the resolution said.
In her speech prior to introducing the resolution, Omar also seemed to draw a comparison between Israel and the Hamas terror group, declaring that she condemns “in the strongest terms violence that perpetuates the occupation whether it is perpetuated by Israel, Hamas or individuals.” The BDS movement tweeted at the time that it “warmly welcomes” Omar’s resolution.
The BDS movement for Palestinian rights warmly welcomes the resolution introduced by Congress members Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and US civil rights veteran John Lewis "Affirming that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights.” pic.twitter.com/G1ZDpRjgwd
— BDS movement (@BDSmovement) July 17, 2019