How anti-Semitism is politicized in Washington

At a time when the Jewish people in the United States are facing “the worst anti-Semitism crisis in a generation,” according to ADLRepublicans in Congress are speaking out and introducing fresh legislation on this issue.

They have focused on anti-Jewish bias in the wake of pro-Palestinian protests on campuses, and at a Thursday hearing convened by the House Education and Education Committee decided to take up the case of Jewish students they believe are victims of the camps. Workforce, whose goal was to “stop anti-Semitic chaos on universities.”

But as committee members questioned three university presidents over their response to allegations of harm by Jewish students and faculty, some Democrats and left-wing academics criticized Republicans for hypocrisy and using the hearings as an opportunity to continue their attack on what they see as higher education “I woke up the program.”

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (R-Ore.) addressed a video posted to former President Donald Trump’s social media account that included the phrase “united Reich” is the title of a hypothetical news story that could be written if he manages to return to the White House in November.

“Did any of my colleagues say that?” she asked. “It surprises me that some people oppose anti-Semitism when it is politically convenient and not where it rears its ugly head.”

The hearing was “great and not about keeping Jews secure,” Lila Berman, a historian at Temple University who teaches a course on anti-Semitism and runs the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, said in an interview. “Meanwhile, on the right, white nationalists are reaching for Nazi ideas.”

Here’s what you need to know about the fight against anti-Semitism – and its politicization – in Washington

What is the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act?

On May 1, the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives passed the bill by a majority of 320 to 91 Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which codifies an expanded definition of anti-Semitism and outlines how the federal government should combat it. The legislation would allow the Department of Education to enforce anti-discrimination laws and deny funding to universities based on anti-Semitism as that term is defined. This solution is lawmakers’ response to pro-Palestinian student protests over the Israel-Hamas war.

A bill currently before the Senate would codify the program of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of anti-Semitism in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of common ancestry, ethnic characteristics, or national origin.

It defines anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews that may be expressed as hatred of Jews” and gives examples of the use of this definition, which include “accusing Jews as a people of responsibility for real or imagined evil committed by an individual Jew or groups” and making dehumanizing, demonizing or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective.”

The bill also expands the definition to include language that criticizes: including the ACLU AND Jewish lawmakers such as U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) — say they could restrict free speech by linking criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

These portions of the bill describe anti-Semitism as “denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination” and claiming that Israel’s existence is a “racist effort.”

“If You Protest” – Sanders he said“or I don’t agree with what [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] What Netanyahu and his extremist government are doing in Gaza, you are an anti-Semite.”

Republicans like Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia he said opposed the bill because it would essentially “ban” parts of the Bible: “it could convict Christians of anti-Semitism for believing the Gospel which says that Jesus was handed over to Herod to be crucified by the Jews.”

How do Republicans talk about anti-Semitism?

When campus protests began, Republicans rallied to condemn students building camps and took up the cause of their Jewish counterparts who had experienced prejudice and physical danger.

“Anti-Semitism is a virus,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana he said at a press conference in April. “And because the administration and woke university presidents don’t step in, we see it spreading. We must act…”

Speaking the same week during protests at Columbia University, he falsely said that Hamas “supported” protesters in CNN interview.

The same type of misinformation seemed to permeate hearing Thursday. As they took turns speaking, various Republican lawmakers described the protesters, without evidence or explanation, as: “left-wing mob,” “thugs,” “anti-American” and “pro-Hamas students.”

Republican Party committee chairwoman Virginia Foxx from North Carolina, who opened the proceedings with an excerpt from Ernest Hemingway’s book The sun is also rising – described by professor of English at UCLA as containing “one of the most famous anti-Semitic caricatures in American literature” – described the university encampments as “terrorist protests.”

At one point, Pennsylvania Republican Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster) criticized Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway for “negotiating with the mob” on his campus.

“I didn’t negotiate with the crowd,” Holloway said. “I talked to the students.”

How do Democrats respond?

While Bonamici, of Oregon, referred to a video posted to Trump’s social media account that included the phrase “united Reich” – others called out the controversy surrounding Trump’s recent presidency.

At one point during the controversial, more than three-hour hearing, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chairwoman of the House Progressive Caucus, said many Republicans “didn’t say a word when Trump and other members Charlottesville and in other places truly anti-Semitic things were said.”

Trump said there were “good people on both sides” on August 11, 2017, when white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia campus with torches and chanted “Jews will not replace us.”

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