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US could review ties with countries deemed 'anti-Israel'

Congress passed a measure opposing hate speech after anti-Israel remarks were made [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 May, 2019

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Elan Carr, the US envoy special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, said nations deemed to be anti-Israel could have their relations reviewed by the US.
The US envoy special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism said his country could review ties with countries it deems to be anti-Israel.

Elan Carr said the "United States is willing to review its relationship with any country, and certainly anti-Semitism on the part of a country with whom we have relations is a deep concern".

"I will be raising that issue in bilateral meetings that I am undertaking all over the world," he told Reuters during a visit to Israel.

"That is something we are going to have frank and candid conversations about - behind closed doors."

In March, top US diplomat Mike Pompeo accused US Democrats of anti-Semitism following controversial comments by a Muslim congresswoman over American support for Israel.

Speaking from Jerusalem during a Middle East tour largely focused on countering Iran, Pompeo told Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: "All nations, especially those in the West, must go to the barricades against bigotry."

He noted the "dark wave of anti-Semitism" in Europe and the US.

"Sadly, we in the United States have seen anti-Semitic language even in the great halls of our own capital," he said.

His remarks came after Muslim Democratic congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, in February suggested that supporters of Israel are urging lawmakers to have "allegiance to a foreign country".

She also suggested that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbying group was paying US politicians to support Israel.

Following outrage over Omar's remarks, Congress passed a measure opposing hate speech in general.

The resolution was originally intended to deliver a direct rebuke of anti-Semitism, but it was revised to broadly condemn discrimination against Muslims and other minorities as well after blowback from progressives.

US President Donald Trump seized on the shift and accused the Democrats of becoming an "anti-Israel" and "anti-Jewish" party.

Since his inauguration two years ago, Trump has moved the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and announced Washington will recognise Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, prompting politicians and activists alike to critique his relationship with Israel.

However, some US Republicans have tried to portray all criticism of Israel as a form of anti-Semitism - an allegation denied by supporters of Palestine.

But despite the mistaken links between anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Semitism, discrimination against Jews does remain an issue in the US.

Anti-Semitism

Last month, an Anti-Defamation League reported violent attacks against the Jewish community in the US doubled last year, while overall abuses - including vandalism and harassment - remained near record-high levels with the increasing popularity in white supremacy.

Jewish civil rights group released its annual census of anti-Semitic incidents three days after a gunman opened fire at a Southern California synagogue, killing a woman and wounding a rabbi and two others.

The New York-based group counted 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents - either harassment, vandalism or physical assault - in 2018. That is a 5 percent decrease from the 1,986 incidents reported in 2017, but the third-highest total since ADL began tracking the data in the 1970s.

The 2017 number marked a 57 percent increase over 2016 and was the highest tally ADL had counted in more than two decades.

ADL counted 39 cases of physical assaults involving 59 victims in 2018, up from 19 assaults and 21 victims in 2017.

The 2018 tally includes the 11 people who were killed and two congregants wounded when a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October. It was the deadliest attack on Jews in the nation's history.


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