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U.S. House overwhelmingly approves Anti-Semitism Awareness Act

By Mike Heuer
The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act that requires the Department of Education to apply federal anti-discrimination laws to quell anti-Semitism on the nation's college campuses. File photo by Julia Nikhinson/UPI
The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act that requires the Department of Education to apply federal anti-discrimination laws to quell anti-Semitism on the nation's college campuses. File photo by Julia Nikhinson/UPI | License Photo

May 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bipartisan measure requiring the Department of Education to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism.

House members voted 320-91 to approve the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act in an effort to end anti-Semitism on college campuses as pro-Palestinian protests throughout the United States have grown in number in recent weeks.

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Supporters said the measure would help quell anti-Semitism on the nation's college campuses, while opponents said it would violate free speech rights.

The proposed act would require the Department of Education to enforce federal anti-discrimination laws based on the IHRA's definition of anti-Semitism.

The IHRA defines anti-Semitism as a "certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews" and "rhetorical and physical manifestations" directed "toward Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and their property and toward Jewish community organizations and religious facilities."

The IHRA also says anti-Semitism might include targeting Israel and accusing Jews of "conspiring to harm humanity" and blaming Jews for things going wrong in speech, writing, visual formats and action while employing "sinister stereotypes and negative character traits."

The IHRA also says anti-Semitism could include calling for, assisting or justifying killing or harming Jews in the name of radical ideology or an extremist view of religion and falsely claiming a global Jewish conspiracy exists to control media, national economies, governments and other societal institutions.

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Denying the Holocaust occurred and blaming Jews as a whole for real or imagined bad acts committed by individuals, groups and non-Jews also qualifies as anti-Semitism, according to the IHRA, as does claiming the state of Israel is a "racist endeavor."

The proposed act goes to the Senate for consideration.

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