House introduces bill targeting campus anti-Semitism

A bipartisan slate of leading House members introduced a bill that would expand how the US Department of Education defines anti-Semitism.

JTA ,

campus anti-Semitism
campus anti-Semitism
INN:JTA

A bipartisan slate of leading House members introduced a bill that would expand how the Department of Education defines anti-Semitism in advising learning institutions on how to identify discrimination.

The bill introduced Friday by Reps. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Ted Deutch, D-Fla., replicates a similar bill passed last week by the Senate, which was sponsored by Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Bob Casey, D-Pa.

Senior House of Representatives members including Reps. Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey, both D-N.Y., and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., are backing the bill.

The measure expands previous guidelines sent periodically to educational institutions receiving federal funding to define anti-Semitism according to a definition first published by the State Department in 2010.

It adopts the definition set forth by the European Parliament Working Group on Anti-Semitism: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Both definitions also outline when criticism of Israel crosses into anti-Semitism, citing the “three D’s” first advanced by Natan Sharansky, the Israeli politician and former prisoner of the Soviet gulag: Demonization, double standard and delegitimization.

The Anti-Defamation League, which has led lobbying for the legislation, said the bill, should it become law, “addresses a core concern of Jewish and pro-Israel students and parents: When does the expression of anti-Semitism, anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Zionist beliefs cross the line from First Amendment-protected free expression to unlawful discriminatory conduct?”



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