House passes antisemitism bill with broad bipartisan support amid campus arrests

The House on Wednesday passed a bipartisan bill aimed at combating anti-Semitism as pro-Palestinian protests rock universities across the United States.

The measure passed by a vote of 320 to 91. Twenty-one Republicans and 70 Democrats voted against the bill.

The bill, called the Antisemitism Awareness Act, would require the Department of Education to adopt the broad definition of antisemitism used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an intergovernmental group, to enforce anti-Semitism laws. -discrimination.

The international group defines anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which can be expressed as hatred towards Jews.” The group adds that “rhetorical and physical manifestations” of anti-Semitism include calls for murder or harm to Jews or for holding Jews collectively responsible for actions taken by the State of Israel.

The bill’s prospects in the Senate are unclear.

Asked whether the Senate would take up the bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters earlier Wednesday that “we haven’t yet seen what the House sends us.”

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., introduced the bipartisan legislation, which received support from moderate Democrats who support Israel amid the country’s war with Hamas.

“In every generation, the Jewish people have been scapegoated, harassed, expelled from their homeland and murdered,” Lawler said before the vote in a speech on the House floor.

“The Jewish people need our support now,” he said. “They need action now.”

The bill comes as Republicans seek to launch investigations into anti-Semitism on college campuses in response to pro-Palestinian protests. The current version of the legislation was introduced in late October after Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, but it was introduced this week.

In a letter Monday to House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., wrote: “There is nothing planned this week that would put implement the concrete and thoughtful strategies outlined by the Biden administration.” to combat anti-Semitism.

Jeffries had demanded a vote on the bipartisan Anti-Semitism Act, which aims to address concerns about rising anti-Semitism through the appointment of a new adviser to the president who would be dedicated to implementing his coordinated strategy to combat anti-Semitism.

“Efforts to crush anti-Semitism and hatred in any form are not a Democratic or Republican issue,” Jeffries wrote. “This is an American issue that must be addressed in a bipartisan manner with the greatest urgency of the moment.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat and chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters Tuesday that she would not support Lawler’s bill and argued that Republicans were using anti-Semitism as a weapon.

“We must all continue to speak out against anti-Semitism and make clear that we do not like it – we will not tolerate anti-Semitism any more than we will tolerate Islamophobia or any other hatred and discrimination that exists,” he said. -she declared.

Jayapal also argued that the bill “has such a broad definition” that many Jewish groups do not support it.

“So why would you do that?” Unless you want to weaponize anti-Semitism and use it as a political ploy,” she said. “Let’s remember that many of these Republicans did not say a word when Donald Trump and others in Charlottesville and elsewhere were making truly anti-Semitic remarks.”

Separately, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said the definition was so broad that it would threaten constitutionally protected free speech.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., also said she would vote against the bill due to disagreement with an example of anti-Semitism listed in the International Memory Alliance’s definition. Holocaust, which referred to the use of “symbols and images” such as “allegations of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel” to describe Israel or Israelis.

Greene argued in a message to

Rep. Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, said he would vote against the bill for similar reasons, citing the same example of anti-Semitism, seen as harmful by many Jews.

“The Bible is clear,” he wrote on X. “There is no myth or controversy about it.”

Activists fighting anti-Semitism have pointed out that Jews have been scapegoated throughout history for events such as the crucifixion of Jesus and that these claims have been used to justify violence against Jews.

Gn headline
News Source :

Back to top button