House Passes “Antisemitism Awareness Act,” Forcing Department of Education To Counter Antisemitism on Campus

Rockland-area Congressman Rep. Mike Lawler Visits Nova Music Festival Exhibition in New York City

On Wednesday, as pro-Hamas riots roil colleges across the nation, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Antisemitism Awareness Act by a margin of 320 - 91.


Washington, DC — On Wednesday, as pro-Hamas riots roil colleges across the nation, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Antisemitism Awareness Act by a margin of 320 – 91.

Sponsored by Rockland-area Congressman Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY), and co-sponsored by 61 congress members, including Rep. Josh Gottheimer, this legislation will require the Department of Education to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism and its contemporary examples when enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws. Usage of the IHRA definition in this context is a key step in calling out Antisemitism where it is and ensuring Anti-Semitic hate crimes on college campuses are properly investigated and prosecuted.

In the wake of the pro-Hamas riots at Columbia University and other colleges and universities across the nation, the safety of Jewish students has become a major concern. Amid escalating protests, a Jewish student at Yale was stabbed in the eye with a Palestinian flag and a Jewish UCLA student was blocked by protestors from entering campus.

“What is happening at Columbia, at Yale, at UCLA, and so many other schools, is reprehensible and alarming,” said Monsey Rep. Mike Lawler. “When people engage in harassment or bullying of Jewish individuals where they justify the killing of Jews or use blood libel or hold Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the Israeli government – that is Anti-Semitic. It’s unfortunate that needs to be clarified, but that’s why this bill is necessary.”

“By requiring the Department of Education to adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism and its contemporary examples, the Antisemitism Awareness Act gives teeth to federal anti-discrimination laws to go after those who attack their Jewish peers,” Lawler concluded. “Politics should never get in the way of the safety of students. The strong bipartisan support for and passage of this legislation will ensure that it won’t.”

“We cannot stand idly by as protesters call for the death of Jews on college campuses and across the country,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (R-NJ). “When I spoke at Columbia last week, I told administrators that we need deeds, not words, to protect Jewish students. This bill is a critical step to take the action we so desperately need to stand against hate.”

“Today, House Republicans and Speaker Johnson made it clear: violently Anti-Semitic rhetoric has no place on college campuses,” said Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), who is leading the bill in the Senate. “Antisemitism has spread like wildfire on college campuses and now more than ever, it is crucial that we stamp it out. I am urging Chuck Schumer to immediately bring my bill, the Antisemitism Awareness Act, to the floor for a vote and for every single Senator to support it. The Senate has a responsibility to stand against hatred so our Jewish brothers and sisters can live without fear.”

Agudas Yisroel of America applauded the passing of the bill, stating, “Following the October 7th Hamas massacre, Americans have watched our country’s college campuses devolve into cesspools of naked, unabashed Antisemitism. Anti-Semitic and anti-Israel vitriol from students and professors; praise for Hamas and its butchery; threats, assaults, and violence against Jewish students have all become a daily occurrence that is met only with a tepid response from officials of even the most elite universities.”

“This legislation helps ensure that the U.S. Department of Education, now and in the future, will have a clear, statutorily-based definition when investigating whether and when anti-Israel or antisemitic incidents cross over from free speech to unlawful activity and behavior,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice President for Government Affairs and Washington Director and Counsel. “Agudath Israel urges the Senate to pass this important piece of legislation as soon as possible.”

“At this time, when American university campuses are roiling with Antisemitism, we are thankful for the AAA, which will make even more clear the legal obligation for universities to protect students on campuses around the country.” OU Advocacy Center directors said in a letter to Rep. Mike Lawler and Rep. Josh Gottheimer. “Codifying in law that the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) working definition of Antisemitism is to be applied by the Department of Education for the purposes of enforcing anti-discrimination laws will play a critical role in ensuring the safety of Jewish students in the classroom and on campuses around the country.”

Nathan Diament, Executive Director of Public Policy at the Orthodox Union, said: “The House’s passage of the Antisemitism Awareness Act today is crucial to combating the chaos spreading on America’s college campuses. The debate surrounding anti-Zionism as masked Antisemitism is conclusively over and must be acted upon. This bill is an important step towards that. We thank Representatives Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) for sponsoring this legislation and standing with Jewish students. Their bipartisan leadership is crucial in this heightened time of tension. We urge the Senate to pass the bill. The time for words is over; we now need to act.”

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