Israeli Lobby Slips Anti-Free Speech Bill Through House
- Israeli Lobby Slips Anti-Free
Speech Bill Through House
Bill Can Still Be Defeated in
Senate if Citizens Act Now
By Michael Collins Piper
1433 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
The Israeli lobby has launched an all-out drive to ensure
congressional passage of a bill (approved by the House and now
before a Senate committee) that would set up a virtual federal
tribunal to investigate and monitor criticism of Israel on American
Ten months ago the New York-based Jewish Week newspaper claimed that
the report by American Free Press that Republican members of the
Senate were planning to crack down on college and university
professors who were critical of Israel was "a dangerous urban legend
at best, deliberate disinformation at worst." In short, they were
saying AFP lied.
Now the truth has come out. On September 17, 2003 the House
Subcommittee on Select Education unanimously approved H.R. 3077, the
International Studies in Higher Education Act, which was then passed
by the full House of Representatives on October 21. The chief
sponsor of the legislation was Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a conservative
Republican from Michigan.
This bill is dangerous - a direct affront to the First Amendment and
the product of intrigue by a small clique of individuals and
organizations which combines the "elite" forces of the powerful
Israeli lobby in official Washington.
There are absolutely no grass-roots organizations supporting this
measure whatsoever. Instead, leading the push for Senate approval of
the House-originated bill, are the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of
B'nai B'rith, the American Jewish Congress, and the American Jewish
Also lending its support is Empower America, the neo-conservative
front group established by longtime pro-Israel publicist William
Kristol, editor and publisher of billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Weekly
Standard which is said to be the "intellectual" journal that governs
the train of foreign policy thinking in the Bush administration.
One other group has lent its support: the U.S. India Political
Action Committee, an Indian-American group that has been working
closely with the Israeli lobby now that Israel and India are
H.R. 3077 is innocuously worded and quite bureaucratic in its tone,
decipherable only to those with the capacity to wade through
legislative linguistics , but essentially it would set up a seven-
member advisory board that would have the power to recommend cutting
federal funding for colleges and universities that are viewed as
harboring academic critics of Israel.
Two members of the board would be appointed by the Senate, two by
the House, and three by the Secretary of Education, two of whom are
required to be from U.S. federal security agencies. The various
appointees would be selected from what the Christian Science Monitor
described on March 11 as "politicians, representatives of cultural
and educational organizations, and private citizens." In other
words, it would be another federal "blue ribbon" panel akin to the
Warren Commission that ostensibly investigated the JFK assassination
and the now highly-suspect federal commission looking into the 9-11
Gilbert Merkx, vice provost for international affairs and
development and director of the Centre for International Studies at
Duke University has echoed the fears of many when he charged that
this so-called advisory board "could easily be hijacked by those who
have a political axe to grind and become a vehicle for an
In fact, the primary individuals promoting this effort to control
intellectual debate on the college campuses are known for having a
political axe to grind: they are all prominent and outspoken
supporters of Israel and harsh critics of the Arab and Muslim
worlds. They are:
* Martin Kramer, a professor of Arab studies at The Moshe Dayan
Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel;
* Stanley Kurtz, a contributor of ex-CIA man William F. Buckley
Jr.'s bitterly anti-Arab National Review Online and a research
fellow at the staunchly pro-Israel Hoover Institution; and
* Daniel Pipes, founder of the pro-Israel Middle East Institute and
its affiliate, Campus Watch, an ADL-style organization that keeps
tabs on college professors and students who are-or are suspected of
being-critics of Israel.
Hiding behind the banner of defending America, these three-along
with the Israeli lobby affiliates promoting H.R. 3077-are claiming
that they are fighting "anti-Americanism" as it is being taught on
the college campuses.
Republicans in Congress have joined this chorus, preferring to allow
their constituents to think that this is an "America First" measure
when it is anything but that.
Juan Cole of the History News Network responds to this extraordinary
twist on reality saying that the claim of "anti-Americanism" is
intellectually dishonest. "What they mean . . . if you pin them down
is ambivalence about the Iraq war, or dislike of Israeli
colonization of the West Bank, or recognition that the U.S.
government has sometimes in the past been in bed with present
enemies like al-Qaeda or Saddam. None of these positions is 'anti-
American,' and any attempt by a congressionally-appointed body to
tell university professors they cannot say these things-or that if
they say them they must hire someone else who will say the
opposition-is a contravention of the First Amendment of the U.S.
The promoters are also suggesting that this legislation would-in the
words of the American Jewish Committee-"enhance intellectual freedom
on campus by enabling diverse viewpoints to be heard," when, of
course, the legislation would do precisely the opposite.
Lisa Anderson of the Columbia University School of International and
Public Affairs says in response that "this plan . . . is not about
diversity, or even about the truth." Unfortunately, she doesn't
choose to tackle the Israeli lobby head on.
Instead, she targets her ire at the Republican conservatives who are
acting as the Israeli lobby's surrogates and says that this plan
is "about the conviction of conservative political activists that
the American university community is unsufficiently patriotic, or
perhaps simply unsufficiently conservative." What she should be
saying is that these Republicans who are carrying water for Israel
are concerned that universities are "unsufficiently pro-Israel."
The Republican House members who originally joined Hoekstra in co-
sponsoring this dangerous legislation should be named for the
record. They are:
* John A. Boehner (Ohio)
* John R. Carter (Texas)
* Tom Cole (Oklahoma)
* James Greenwood (Penn.)
* Howard (Buck) McKeon (Calif.)
* Patrick J. Tiberi (Ohio)
* Joe Wilson (South Carolina)
However, don't try to find out how your representative voted when
the bill came before the full House. Hoekstra asked for a suspension
of the House rules-which was approved-and made it possible for this
controversial measure to be passed with an un-recorded "voice vote"
wherein there is no record of how individual House members voted, or
if they even voted at all.
In fact, the measure passed by the House is precisely the very same
type of proposed "ideological diversity" legislation that AFP first
warned about, although, at the time, the measure was being kicked
around for possible introduction in the Senate by two prominent
Republicans, Rick Santorum (Penn.) and Sam Brownback (Kan.).
What happened was that AFP's initial report on the legislation
gained so much widespread circulation in e-mails being sent out
nationwide among American college and university professors and on
the Internet, even so far as the Arab world, that the resulting
negative publicity forced Santorum and Brownback to back off.
However, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) picked up their torch and
introduced H.R. 3077 in the House, containing precisely the language
that his Senate colleagues had intended to introduce until AFP blew
To their credit, virtually every major American education
organization-including even the teacher's union, the National
Education Association-have raised their concerns about this campaign
to muzzle the free speech of teachers, professors and instructors.
And the American Civil Liberties Union has also protested this
Critics say this is a new form of what has been known in the past
as "McCarthyism" and no matter what you may think about the late
Sen. Joseph McCarthy whose name rightly or wrongly inspired that
terminology, the truth is that this legislation is "McCarthyism" by
virtue of the popular definition.
The only chance to destroy this legislation and stop it dead in
tracks is for enough gras-roots citizens to rise up and demand that
H.R. 3077 be put to rest. And believe it or not, the onesenator who
may be able to stop it is Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy of Massachusetts.
(See accompanying story).
Contact Senate Members.
Urge that H.R. 3077 be shelved.
The Israeli lobby's pet project, H.R. 3077, innocuously named as The
International Studies in Higher Education Act of 2003-and popularly
known as "Title 6"-is now before the Senate's Committee on Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions.
This committee is controlled by the Republican majority who are
likely to support the bill, but the ranking minority member is
powerful Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) who has been-perhaps to
the surprise of many, including even AFP readers-an outspoken critic
of Daniel Pipes, one of the leading proponents of H.R. 3077.
Although it is not well known, Kennedy's second wife is an Arab-
American and he has become quite attuned to Arab-bashing of the type
that Pipes engages in. As such-despite what one may think of
Kennedy's views on other issues-he is seen as a possible roadblock
in the way of final approval by the Senate committee of H.R. 3077.
For this reason, AFP recommends that those who want to work for the
defeat of this Israeli measure contact the offices of the following
senators-all of whom are Democrats with the exception of independent
James Jeffords of Vermont-and urge them to oppose H.R. 3077.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Be very precise in your language. Simply tell the
senators to oppose H.R. 3077-that it is an infringement upon the
First Amendment and a threat to academic freedom in America. Do not
lecture the senators about the power of the Israeli lobby or give
them the "facts" that have been reported in AFP. Rest assured that
the senators are well versed in the realities of the situation.
Simply give them the opportunity to say publicly that they have
received a flood of calls, letters and e-mails urging them to oppose
H.R. 3077. The list of senators is as follows:
Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.)
TEL (202) 224-4543
FAX (202) 224-2417
Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.)
TEL (202) 224-2823
FAX (202) 224-1083
Tom Harkin (Iowa)
TEL (202) 224-3254
FAX (202) 224-9369
Jeff Bingaman (New Mexico)
TEL (202) 224-5521
FAX (202) 224-2852
Patty Murray (Washington)
TEL (202) 224-2621
FAX (202) 224-0238
John F. Reed (Rhode Island)
TEL 202) 224-4642
FAX (202) 224-4680
James M. Jeffords (Vermont)
TEL (202) 224-5141
FAX (202) 228-0776