Does The Antisemitism Awareness Act Actually Make Judaism A Crime?

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by blueapples
Thursday, May 02, 2024 - 19:43

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A quote apocryphally attributed to Huey Long rues the premise that "when fascism comes to the United States, it will be draped in the American flag." After the passage of H.R. 6090: the Antisemitism Awareness Act with overwhelming bipartisan support, it appears that fascism has come to the United States after all, albeit draped in an Israeli flag instead.

Although the Antisemitism Awareness Act has yet to pass the Senate or be signed into law by President Biden, its stamp of approval by the uniparty seemingly makes that an inevitability. Of the 91 nay votes against the bill, only 21 of those were made by Republicans (compared to 70 by Democrats), a brazen example of hypocrisy from the party that has held itself in regard as the nation's last vanguard of free speech given the law's assault on the First Amendment. In addition to the obvious problems the bill poses regarding freedom of speech, further examination of it reveals the stark reality that its parameters could be construed to violate American's freedom of religion.

The legislation draws upon the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, effectively codifying the parameters set forth by a NGO as US law. Of those parameters, one presents a clear and obvious violation of the first amendment protection guaranteeing free expression of religion. That facet of the IHRA definition of antisemitism includes "Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis."

Given the numerous instances in the New Testament referencing the Sanhedrin — the legislative and judicial assembly tasked with executing Jewish law — being behind the trial and death sentence of Jesus Christ, opponents of the bill argue that the Antisemitism Awareness Act constitutes a direct assault against Christians by effectively making the expression of their beliefs illegal. Interestingly enough, in addition to Christianity that clear violation of the first affects Judaism as well despite its supposed aim to protect Jews from persecution.

The Talmud, which is the central text of Rabbinical Judaism, also teaches that the Sanhedrin was responsible for the death sentence and execution of Jesus of Nazareth. The two versions of the Talmud include its Babylonian and Jerusalem variations. Each includes two major works: The Mishnah, which is the written codification of Jewish law that was previously disseminated orally, and the Gemara, which is the eisegesis or religious interpretation of those laws by authoritative rabbis. The Gemara encompasses the scope of rabbinical commentary on the Mishnah.

In Folio 43A of the Gemara, the rabbinical commentary on the Mishnah tractate Sanhedrin which deals with the Jewish court system and laws related to it includes an account of the trial execution of Jesus of Nazareth. According to Sanhedrin 43a of the Talmud, Jesus of Nazareth was tried and executed by the Jewish leaders of the Sanhedrin for the crimes of sorcery, heresy, and sedition. Unlike the New Testament, which chroniclers the Sanhedrin bringing Jesus to Roman Governor Pontius Pilate to compel him to crucify Christ, the Talmud asserts that it was the Sanhedrin itself which carried out his execution by way of lapidation (stoning one to death).

The Talmud goes on to make further commentary on Jesus, namely that he was raised from the dead by a necromancer named Onkelos. In speaking to Onkelos, rabbis assert Christ revealed that he had been sent to Hell (Shoal in Judaism) to be boiled in excrement as punishment for his crimes before being saved from that eternal damnation by being resurrected by the necromancer.

Source: My Jewish Learning

What makes this part of the Talmud so paradoxical in light of the Antisemitism Awareness Act is that this tenet of Judaism quite literally fits into the IHRA definition of antisemitism. That would paradoxically mean that in addition to expressing the Christian belief of blood libel, expressing one's belief in Sanhedrin 43a of the Talmud may also constitute a crime. More bluntly, the plain meaning of law's statutory construction could be used to quite literally categorize certain tenets of Judaism as antisemitic.

With the Antisemitism Awareness Act poised to become the law of the land, enacting it will most likely be the first step of its journey to the chambers of the Supreme Court. Challenges to the law on the grounds of the first amendment protections afforded to freedom of speech and religion will seek to have the Antisemitism Awareness Act nullified on the basis of it being unconstitutional. Though that much has already been foreseen since the House Of Representatives passed H.R. 6090, little did critics of the law know that they would have an argument against its constitutionality ironically based on Judiasm.

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