North America - United States
State Department Opposes Anti-Semitism Law
by Barry Schweid (AP, October 13, 2004)
Declaring it already works hard to combat anti-Semitism, the State Department on Wednesday opposed legislation approved by Congress to document annually attacks on Jews around the world.
Congress passed The Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 over the weekend and sent it to President Bush. The legislation also would set up an office in the department to counter anti-Semitism.
``If it becomes law we will implement it,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
But he said the legislation was unnecessary and that ``separate reports on different religions or ethnicities were not warranted'' because the department already issues reports on human rights and religious freedom.
The legislation requires annual reports by the State Department on acts of anti-Semitism around the world, including violence against Jews and vandalism of synagogues and other Jewish institutions.
``The issue of anti-Semitism is something that has been important to us, we have been active and it's adequately covered by our efforts and by all the other reports that we do,'' Boucher said.
The Anti-Defamation League, a 91-year-old private organization that combats racism, including anti-Semitism, supported the legislation as providing ``an additional tool for the United States to continue its leadership effort to hold governments accountable for past failures and to encourage and note progress.''
The ADL said the legislation was recognition of a disturbing increase in anti-Semitism globally.