Columbia Encampment
Columbia EncampmentReuters/Adem Wijewickrema/TheNews2/Cover Images

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bipartisan Antisemitism Awareness Act, CNN reported.

The bill would mandate that when the Department of Education enforces federal anti-discrimination laws it uses a definition of antisemitism put forward by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

The House vote was 320 to 91 with 70 Democrats and 21 Republicans voting against the bill. The GOP opposition largely came from the right flank of the conference. The bill would next need to be taken up by the Senate.

New York Republican Mike Lawler, who introduced the legislation, said in a statement, “It’s critical that we crack down on antisemitic hate within our own country.”

“I’m thankful for the bipartisan support of the Antisemitism Awareness Act and for the support from a wide range of Jewish organizations that are standing up, endorsing this legislation, and saying enough is enough,” he added.

Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York said during floor debate on the bill Wednesday, “There is no excuse for bigotry, threats or violence directed at anyone, anywhere, and it is imperative that we confront the scourge of antisemitism, and Congress can help, but this legislation is not the answer.”

“Speech that is critical of Israel alone does not constitute unlawful discrimination,” the congressman argued. “The bill sweeps too broadly.”

The vote came amid a spike in anti-Israel protests on campuses across the US. On Tuesday night, police officers entered Columbia University as pro-Palestinian Arab protesters remained on the campus.

Police officers also restored order on the CUNY City College of New York campus after it had been overrun by anti-Israel protesters.

Nearly 282 individuals were arrested overnight at both CCNY and Columbia.

Other recent incidents of anti-Israel violence on campuses include a clash between pro-Palestinian Arab and pro-Israel demonstrators at the UCLA campus on Sunday.

Last week, at least 45 pro-Palestinian Arab protesters were arrested at Yale University after police in riot gear stormed the campus during a protest.

Last Wednesday, police arrested over a dozen people, including a local news photographer, at a pro-Palestinian Arab protest at the University of Texas at Austin.

Three days later, at least 23 people were arrested for resisting law enforcement after officers responded to a pro-Palestinian Arab encampment at Indiana University.