The U.S. State Department recently revised its definition of anti-Semitism, in an apparent response to recent comments and actions by U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

The previous definition of anti-Semitism, issued in May, listed 10 examples. The revised definition now lists 11 examples, adding that anti-Semitism now includes “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

The leader of a U.S.-based pro-Israel organization praised the move last week.


“Kudos to @SecPompeo and Special Envoy Elan Carr,” Adam Milstein, a philanthropist and co-founder of the Adam and Gila Milstein Foundation, wrote on Twitter. “It’s more clear now, the BDS Movement is disgustingly Antisemitic.”

BDS refers to the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, whose supporters call for the withdrawal of financial support for the Israeli government in protest of the treatment of Palestinian people.

The State Department revision follows last month's overwhelming bipartisan 398-17 vote by the U.S. House of representatives to oppose an international effort to boycott Israel.

Omar's intention

Omar, who cast one of the 17 dissenting votes, countered with a resolution of her own, supporting the right to boycott foreign governments “to advocate for human rights abroad,” and likening the action to boycotts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Her resolution did not mention Israel or the Palestinians. But she made her intention clear when she spoke with reporters.

“We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” Omar told Al-Monitor. “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”

But several House Democrats gave Omar’s resolution little chance of passage.

“I can’t imagine that any committee is going to mark up or take seriously any pro-BDS resolution,” U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., said last month.

“Am I worried about the overall BDS movement worldwide as an economic matter? No. As an effort to delegitimize Israel, of course. The comments here today are a tiny part of that delegitimizing effort.”

Petition to censure Omar, Tlaib

Meanwhile, the Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice recently launched an online petition, calling for Congress to censure Omar as well as her Democratic colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, over rhetoric that the ACLJ describes as anti-Semitic.

“Rep. Omar said that support for Israel is ‘all about the Benjamins’ – a bigoted accusation that Jews control all the money,” the petition states. “She’s attacked Jews and anyone who supports Israel as having a dual allegiance – another anti-Semitic trope.


“Rep. Tlaib said she has a ‘calming feeling’ about the Holocaust,” the petition continues. “Someone espousing these bigoted views should not have access to classified information or sit on congressional committees such as the Foreign Affairs Committee.”

It states later: “Take action with us. Fight back against anti-Semitism. Demand Reps. Omar and Tlaib be removed from the committees and censured.”

Fox News' Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this story.