Global Anti-Semitism Review Act
In an effort to combat anti-Semitism, the US Congress has passed a bill requiring the State Department to "start rating governments throughout the world on their treatment of Jewish citizens."
In another test of America's frayed relations with France, Russia and other allies, the US Congress has ordered the State Department to start rating governments throughout the world on their treatment of Jewish citizens.
The resulting report cards on anti-Semitism would be published in annual US surveys of human rights abuses around the world.
The proposed law was passed by the House of Representatives on Monday, in response to what its sponsors called an alarming surge in anti-Semitism, especially in Europe. It has already been passed by the Senate.
Congress overruled strong opposition from diplomats at the State Department who complained in an internal memo that a special focus on Judaism, "opens us to charges of favouritism and challenges the credibility of our reporting".
There is little doubt that the new law will create diplomatic waves.
France, Russia, Malaysia, Egypt, Canada and Australia were singled out by congressional sponsors of the law as countries that had witnessed disturbing outbreaks of discrimination against Jews in the past year.
The law, the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act, also ordered the establishment of an office at the State Department dedicated to monitoring anti-Semitism, again over the department's protests.
The resulting internal row must now be resolved by President George W Bush as the legislation heads to his desk from Congress. With the act overwhelmingly backed by both parties, officials in Congress said they expected he would sign it into law.