Waikiki sunset (photo by Tam Hunt)

House votes to outlaw criticism of Israel or the Holocaust in obvious defiance of the 1st Amendment

Tam Hunt
6 min readMay 4, 2024


Israel is committing what the Int’l Court of Justice has called “plausible” genocide, in real time on our TV and phone screens, with my tax dollars and yours, and not only do Congress and the White House fail to condemn these actions — they reward them with new funding and a bizarre infringement on free speech.

Last week, Congress and President Biden approved a 400% increase in unconditional military funding for Israel and its radical right-wing government led by Netanyahu, a historic high point for funding. The bill approved $26 billion for Israel, $9 billion of which is designated for Gaza support and other zones, but $17 billion of which goes directly to Israel for military aid. We, the US taxpayers, have been supplying Israel with, among other weaponry, “free” 1,000 pound and 2,000 pound bombs dropped repeatedly on densely populated areas in Gaza since October. The result has been over 35,000 dead in Gaza by May of this year, the vast majority of whom are women and children.

This new funding was approved even after it came to light, reported on by the UK’s Guardian newspaper and other outlets (but inexplicably no mention in US papers that I’ve seen so far) that Israel has been using AI targeting programs, ghoulishly named Lavender, Where’s Daddy and The Gospel, to identify possible Hamas operatives and then actively targeting them in their homes at night in order to maximize civilian damage. The human review of these targets was in many cases literally 20 seconds to ensure that the target was in fact male. And that was it:

“I would invest 20 seconds for each target at this stage, and do dozens of them every day. I had zero added-value as a human, apart from being a stamp of approval. It saved a lot of time.”

Israel has made Skynet real in Gaza and as far as we know it is ongoing:

“You don’t want to waste expensive bombs on unimportant people — it’s very expensive for the country and there’s a shortage [of those bombs],” one intelligence officer said. Another said the principal question they were faced with was whether the “collateral damage” to civilians allowed for an attack.

“Because we usually carried out the attacks with dumb bombs, and that meant literally dropping the whole house on its occupants. But even if an attack is averted, you don’t care — you immediately move on to the next target. Because of the system, the targets never end. You have another 36,000 waiting.”

According to conflict experts, if Israel has been using dumb bombs to flatten the homes of thousands of Palestinians who were linked, with the assistance of AI, to militant groups in Gaza, that could help explain the shockingly high death toll in the war.

But that’s not all. This week, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill that defines criticism of Israel as “antisemitism,” or deviating from the historical consensus on the Holocaust also as “antisemitism.”

This is like studying the Native American Holocaust we perpetrated in our country in the 1700s and 1800s and criminalizing deviation from specifics of the historical record’s current consensus, as though new discoveries never happen or new ideas about historical events never develop.

Or studying the African Holocaust that resulted in millions of Africans being killed or enslaved by UK and US slavetraders, and criminalizing deviations from the current consensus on that historical record.

Or like studying the Armenian Holocaust perpetrated by Turkey and being criminalized for deviation from the historical consensus about what happened a century ago.

Should we criminalize deviation from the scientific consensus on climate change?

Should we criminalize criticism of Russia, of Germany, of France?

These are dangerous and absurd trends squelching free speech, debate, and open inquiry. This bill is clearly an unconstitutional infringement of 1st Amendment rights, but with the current constitution of the Supreme Court there’s no guarantee they’ll even take up a legal challenge to this bill (if it is passed into law), let alone overturn it.

Here is the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and examples of contemporary antisemitism. The working definition is good, but the examples are extreme in the ways I’ve described above. Here are some of the more unreasonable examples IHRA provides of “anti-semitism” which this new bill would criminalize in the US, in a way that no other speech is criminalized:

  1. Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  2. Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  3. Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  4. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  5. Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

The force behind these bizarre and unjust outcomes in the US is primarily AIPAC, a massively well-funded group that has a virtual lock on Congress and the White House because they coordinate many millions in campaign funding year in and year out. They actively support electeds who are willing to support Israel no matter what actions they are taking. And they actively oppose electeds who dare to deviate from their positions. They describe this openly at their website, but see Walt and Mearsheimer’s book, The Israel Lobby, for the details of just how tightly AIPAC scripts its electeds. AIPAC spent $17 million in the 2022 election cycle and they have pledged $100 million for the 2024 election cycle.

There is a growing and increasingly vocal progressive Jewish-American population (with groups like IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace leading the charge), and progressive allies like me, who are speaking out about this horrific situation.

Jewish Congressional rep. Sara Jacobs and others have refused to support the recent House vote on antisemitism because they recognize it goes way too far. Is she antisemitic because she voted against the bill?

There is a big push for many groups in the US to Reject AIPAC. Please support them if you resonate with their progressive and pro-peace message.

Anti-Zionism is not antisemism. There is a long history of anti-Zionist Jews. Are they all antisemitic too? And one can criticize Israel and its actions, as as we can criticize any nation’s actions, without being “anti-Zionist.”

These are basic facts and yet this bill, if passed into law by the Senate and the White House, will render Americans criminals if they criticize Israel or even question any aspect of the historical record of the Holocaust.

A similar law in France led to prosecution of scholar Robert Faurisson and his defense by Noam Chomsky, the extremely well-known Jewish-American scholar, who defended Faurisson’s obvious rights to free speech. This became known as the “Faurisson affair” and stands to this day as a key emample of how extreme the debates over the Jewish Holocaust and free speech have become in Europe and now in the US too. The entire point of free speech protections is that they protect speech we don’t like. Otherwise what is the point?

I’ll close with a quote from Chomsky, a long-time inspiration of mine (I am happy to call myself a “Chomsky-ite” and a “left libertarian” in the Chomsky tradition):

Let me add a final remark about Faurisson’s alleged “anti-Semitism.” Note first that even if Faurisson were to be a rabid anti-Semite and fanatic pro-Nazi — such charges have been presented to me in private correspondence that it would be improper to cite in detail here — this would have no bearing whatsoever on the legitimacy of the defense of his civil rights. On the contrary, it would make it all the more imperative to defend them since, once again, it has been a truism for years, indeed centuries, that it is precisely in the case of horrendous ideas that the right of free expression must be most vigorously defended; it is easy enough to defend free expression for those who require no such defense. Putting this central issue aside, is it true that Faurisson is an anti-Semite or a neo-Nazi? As noted earlier, I do not know his work very well. But from what I have read — largely as a result of the nature of the attacks on him — I find no evidence to support either conclusion. Nor do I find credible evidence in the material that I have read concerning him, either in the public record or in private correspondence. As far as I can determine, he is a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort.



Tam Hunt

Public policy, green energy, climate change, technology, law, philosophy, biology, evolution, physics, cosmology, foreign policy, futurism, spirituality