Column: GOP House Members Go on the Record: The Jews Killed Jesus

PHILADELPHIA – “Antisemitism is wrong,” says U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who in the next breath implicates the Jewish people in Jesus’ crucifixion more than two millennia ago.

Sounds like the daffy Georgia congresswoman was struck in the head by a Jewish space laser, the kind that she once suggested the Rothschild banking family might control that was beamed from space to ignite a massive wildfire in California. The Rothschild family is Jewish.

In a congressional sideshow of the rising antisemitism patterns in America, Greene joined 20 other Republicans who voted last Wednesday against the Antisemitism Awareness Act that would establish a definition of antisemitism in federal law, and it directs the Education Department to consider the definition when investigating claims of discrimination against Jews at colleges, The New York Times reports. The measure passed with 70 Democrats dissenting, and the Senate was slated to consider the bill this week.

While the bill takes aim at anti-Israel comments that could hinder Democratic candidates, some House Republicans balked because they believe the new law would criminalize portions of the Bible.

Most chilling is this passage from the Times: “Some G.O.P. members said they firmly believe that Jews killed Jesus Christ.”

It is frightening enough that many Americans believe the deicide version of the New Testament, but now members of Congress are on record blaming Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus.

“Antisemitism is wrong, but I will not be voting for the Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2023 (H.R. 6090) today,” writes Greene, “that could convict Christians of antisemitism for believing the Gospel that says Jesus was handed over to Herod to be crucified by the Jews,” as quoted in the Raw Story publication.

She is not alone among Republican members of Congress.

Though I have qualms about what I have read of the New Testament, I would not begrudge Christians their embrace of the New Testament. I hope most Christians find a way to work around the New Testament’s allegation against my people, but obviously that is not always the case.

Evidently, they believe that if the Bible says that Jews are responsible for the crucifixion, then Jews must be responsible for the crucifixion.

Fortunately, the Catholic Church in 1965 eased the situation for Jews when it declared that Jews could not be held collectively accountable for the crucifixion. I have felt mostly acceptance in metropolitan areas, but I have experienced considerable hostility in rural areas.

The belief that Jews killed Jesus is referenced in the definition adopted by the House, though said definition is geared more toward anti-Israel language repeatedly uttered during campus protests against the Israel-Hamas war. This definition was created by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Some of those Republicans tie this charge to its origins, its mention in the New Testament. They say this means that portions of the New Testament could be illegal.

From the outset, Greene is mixed up. If “antisemitism is wrong,” as she writes, how can she abide by the New Testament’s deicide charge? That passage is antisemitic. Period. It is the most horrifying charge ever lodged against us. It is a vicious allegation no doubt inserted to undermine Judaism, which was seen as competition to Christianity. It has inspired ongoing persecution throughout the centuries.

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida claimed on social media that “the Gospel itself would meet the definition of antisemitism under the terms of the bill…The Bible is clear. There is no myth or controversy about this.”

Again, Matt, that part of the Gospel does “meet the definition of antisemitism” under any terms.

Other hard-right opponents of the bill were Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, Chip Roy, Texas, and Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, both of Arizona, according to the Times.

The usual suspects among Democratic Israel critics like Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, respectively of Minneapolis and Detroit, also voted against the bill.

However, other Democrats voted against the legislation for fear that it could hamper free-speech rights. Rep. Jerry Nadler of Manhattan, a Jewish Democrat and longtime Israel supporter, argued on the House floor that the bill will violate free-speech rights; he represents one of the largest Jewish populations in the country. Rep. Sara Jacobs of San Diego was among Jewish Democrats who voted against the measure because it “would stifle and restrict free speech in an effort to combat the rise of antisemitism.”

Her reasoning may be a matter of dispute, but she did not know when to hold her tongue as she said the bill would be “punishing many, if not all, of the non-violent protesters speaking out against the Israeli military’s conduct.” She neglected to refer to their criminal conduct, whether trespassing, setting up illegal encampments, harassing Jewish students or seizing school buildings.

Must a crime be “violent” to constitute a crime?

That Gaetz and Greene believe it because the Bibie say it is so brings us to the next question: Would they attempt to enact legislation that severely harms Jews and try to influence colleagues to vote their way? I doubt it, but with their beliefs it is yet possible. Still a prospect worthy of worry.

I suggest a solution that would require substituting one word. With history buffs – er, history-revision buffs – insisting that Jews have no legitimate claim to the land, that must mean:

The Palestinians killed Jesus.

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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