Congressman Supports Bill To Address Antisemitism

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick voted for the bill’s passage through the U.S. House of Representatives this week.

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. File photo.

The U.S. House of Representatives pushed forward the Antisemitism Awareness Act this week in response to growing concerns about antisemitic incidents on college campuses.

The Antisemitism Awareness Act passed with bipartisan support, including a vote from GOP Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. The bill was approved 320-91.

The legislation mandates that the U.S. Department of Education adopt the definition of antisemitism used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, the definition would guide the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Congressman Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey, co-authored the bill.

“This bill is a critical step we can take to stand against hate. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in supporting this legislation,” he said.

“I remain steadfast in my commitment to combat antisemitism and safeguarding the well-being of our Jewish community,” said Fitpzatrick, who serves as co-chair of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combatting Antisemitism.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, of Pennsylvania, and Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, of South Carolina, have supported a Senate version of the bill.

“Amidst the horrific increase in reported antisemitic incidents on college campuses since October 7, we must do everything we can to protect Jewish students,” said Casey. “This is a clarion call for Congress to step up and protect students. The House of Representatives answered that call today, and now it’s time for the Senate to act.”

Reports stated that the bill’s prospects in the U.S. Senate are uncertain.

The bill has its critics.

The American Civil Liberties Union has challenged the definition of antisemitism in the bill as “overbroad,” echoing concerns from some progressive and conservative lawmakers.

The bill’s passage in the House came as some members of Congress are planning investigations into antisemitism on college and university campuses. The move follows a number of pro-Palestinian protests that have sometimes turned violent and involved antisemitic slurs. Police have been called to break up some protests and made a number of arrests.

President Joe Biden addressed the issue on Thursday and condemned hate speech and violence on campuses.

“There should be no place on any campus, no place in America for antisemitism or threats of violence against Jewish students.  There is no place for hate speech or violence of any kind, whether it’s antisemitism, Islamophobia, or discrimination against Arab Americans or Palestinian Americans,” he said. “It’s simply wrong.”

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.

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