- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A House Republican on Wednesday called for an anti-Semitism resolution “with teeth,” a day after the House voted overwhelmingly to condemn the campaign to boycott the Israeli government as protest for its occupation of Palestine.

Addressing a gathering organized by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York ticked off a list of U.S. colleges where he said anti-Semitism has reared its head, from administrators to faculty to students who have engaged in the “boycott, divest, sanctions” (BDS) movement against Israel.

His list included elite schools such as the University of California-Berkeley, Columbia University, New York University, Georgetown University, and the University of Michigan.

“You can’t call it legitimate. You can’t call it reasonable,” Mr. Zeldin said of the BDS movement, adding that he, as a Jewish congressman, has received death threats for his staunch support of Israel.

Tuesday evening, the House voted 398-17 to condemn efforts to “delegitimize” the state of Israel.

No opponents spoke on the floor before the vote, but Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat and of Palestinian descent, called the Israeli government’s policies “racist” and pointed to U.S. citizens’ attempts to boycott Germany’s Nazi government in the 1930s as evidence for the importance of allowing dissent.

So far, House Democrats have resisted taking up the Senate version of the resolution, which authorizes municipalities to crack down on groups that support BDS.

Also on Tuesday, a federal judge in Texas allowed a lawsuit filed by the Center for American-Islamic Relations to go forward against a 2017 state law that allows Texas officials to reject contractors who refuse to sign anti-BDS pledges.

Speaking at Wednesday’s religious freedom event, Rabbi David Saperstein called America the most “philo-Semitic” nation on Earth, tracing the rise of American Jews since World War II from “the peripheries to the very center of American cultural, political, and academic life.”

But he pointed to recent study showing that 12% — nearly 34 million Americans — have reported holding anti-Semitic views.

“No group will be safe unless all groups will be safe,” said Rabbi Saperstein, formerly the U.S. ambassador at-large for international religious freedom.

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