Something happened in South Carolina last month that seems to have escaped the attention of the mainstream media, for some unknown reason. On April 12, South Carolina became the first American state to legally define the criticism of Jews or the state of Israel as anti-Semitism. The definition goes into effect on July 1.
South Carolina legislators had attempted to get the law passed as a separate bill last year, but while it passed the state House of Representatives by 103-3, it then stalled in the Senate due to concerns that it violated the First Amendment. The bill’s backers managed to bypass this difficulty by attaching it as a proviso to the state budget for 2018-19, which passed the Senate on April 12, 37-4.
The bill adopted the language that is already in use by the US State Department to define anti-Semitism. The proviso was attached to the Commission on Higher Education section, in Part 1B Section 11 H030 of the bill, and reads as follows:
11.23. (CHE: Prohibition of Discriminatory Practices) (A) In the current fiscal year and from the funds appropriated to the Commission on Higher Education, the commission shall print and distribute to all South Carolina public colleges and universities the definition of anti-Semitism.
(B) For purposes of this proviso, the term definition of anti-Semitism includes:
(1) a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities;
(2) calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews;
(3) making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective;
(4) accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the state of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews;
(5) accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust;
(6) accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations;
(7) using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis;
(8) drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis;
(9) blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions;
(10) applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation;
(11) multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations; and
(12) denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist, provided, however, that criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.
(C) South Carolina public colleges and universities shall take into consideration the definition of anti-Semitism for purposes of determining whether the alleged practice was motivated by anti-Semitic intent when reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of a college or university policy prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of religion.
(D) Nothing in this proviso may be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or Section 2, Article I of the South Carolina Constitution, 1895.
It’s quite clear that the language of this bill is so broad that it could conceivably cover just about anything critical that could be said about either Jews or Israel. The bill is expected to be signed into law by Governor Henry McMaster, who has already pledged his support for it; assuming it is, then unless it is challenged by the courts, it will go into effect as planned.
While this development is worrisome, it should be emphasized that this proviso only impacts South Carolina’s public colleges and universities, and that unless it is proposed and passed again, it will only be in effect for one year, until the budget expires. Nevertheless, there is no question that this is an important step towards the criminalization of anti-Semitism – or whatever they choose to call anti-Semitism – throughout the United States, and certainly the proviso will be used to make trouble for any student, staff, or faculty member at an educational institution in the state who might question Jewish influence on America or Israeli policies during the next academic year. Students at USC in the autumn had better not think of discussing Kevin MacDonald or Gilad Atzmon’s ideas, let alone some Counter-Currents articles, unless they want trouble.
This is not the first legislation related to anti-Semitism to pass the South Carolina legislature. In 2015, the same body passed a bill which made it illegal for state institutions to do business with companies that are boycotting Israel as part of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to punish Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, although in this it is hardly unique, given that 24 states have thus far passed similar legislation. And one should not forget that only last summer, 43 members of Congress voiced support for a bill aimed at criminalizing the BDS movement on a federal level.
Also last year, the residents of Dickinson, Texas were offered the opportunity to request funds from the city government for repairs and reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, only to discover a clause in the agreements which required that they certify that they would not participate in any boycott of Israel in order to receive the funds.
And even more importantly, Senators Tim Scott and Bob Casey proposed nearly identical legislation to South Carolina’s at the national level when they proposed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act for the Department of Education in 2016.
Some Counter-Currents readers might be tempted to attribute this trend to Jewish influence. But while there are certainly Jewish advocacy groups who have called for and celebrated South Carolina’s move, in surveying the news reports, it seems that there are just as many who oppose it. Likewise, representatives of South Carolina’s educational institutions have spoken of their concern over how this could affect their campuses’ welcoming of free speech (although they are quick to add that they condemn any form of “bigotry”). Some Jewish academics who oppose the legislation and are critical of Israel themselves say that they dislike the implication that being Jewish and being pro-Israel are one and the same. Professor Barry Trachtenberg, the Director of the Jewish Studies program at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, even said that the law was more likely to exacerbate anti-Semitism than to dampen it – which seems to be a reasonable assumption.
And indeed, the bill’s champion, State Representative Alan Clemmons, is both a Republican and a Mormon. He seems to have made it his cause to be more pro-Jewish than most Jews are. A vocal critic of the BDS movement, last year he even went so far as to attack the pro-Israel J Street PAC for being anti-Semitic on the grounds that it opposes Israel’s occupation of the West Bank – something that was almost universally condemned by Jewish groups from all points of the spectrum. As for the current bill, he claims that he introduced it due to the recent rise in anti-Semitism across the United States, and specifically in response to bomb threats that were made in early 2017 against Jewish institutions in South Carolina. (Apparently, Clemmons didn’t get the news that many of these bomb threats were in fact made by an Israeli Jew.) And just this week, Clemmons took advantage of a photo op by flying to Tel Aviv to step over the bodies of Palestinian children to be present at the opening of the new American embassy there, alongside Jared and Ivanka.
So I think that what we have here is not, except in an oblique way, an example of the impact of Jewish power on America – as Prof. Trachtenberg has pointed out, legislation like this is more likely to have the opposite effect in the long run. It is rather a case of white American politicians taking up the cause of Jewish “rights” in an attempt to virtue-signal to their Republican constituents – let’s face it, the Republican Party is still the vector for jingoistic pro-Zionism in America – and to potential pro-Semitic donors. Of course, we must be willing to question the influence of Jewish power on America, and the West as a whole, but at the same time, we have to recognize that we cannot deal with the problems we face by scapegoating Jews. Whatever role Jews have played in getting our society to the point it is at now, there are an even greater number of non-Jews who are more than willing to get with their program.
But the larger issue here is the continuing rise of neoliberal totalitarianism in America. The last year has seen an unprecedented rise in public outcry over “hate speech” in the United States, leading to the attempted suppression of some Right-wing forums that I don’t need to detail here. This, coupled with the recent study which found that forty percent of millennials are fine with limiting free speech that is offensive to minorities, is indicative of a worrying trend. Legislation that attempts to set Jews up on a pedestal is only part of the larger phenomenon targeting any speech or activities that question the multiculturalist, globalist paradigm, which views America as nothing more than the harbinger of the colorless, soulless world to come that is said to be inevitable, where we will become nothing but a Third World plantation. Indeed, in neoliberalism, nothing is true and everything is permitted – except, of course, to question the neoliberal paradigm itself. And it is quite obvious that, should legislation such as this “proviso” ever be enacted in a broader sense, sites like Counter-Currents, the Institute for Historical Review, and The Occidental Observer will quickly become history. And erased even from history, most likely.
Let’s hope that day never comes. But in the meantime, we will persevere.