Roskam, Deutch Target Campus Anti-Semitism

Dec 2, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation to combat the rising tide of anti-Semitism at our nation’s college campuses. The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act broadens the Department of Education’s (DOE) criteria to include all forms of discrimination against Jews, including extreme anti-Zionism and anti-Israel harassment. This legislation will equip the DOE to accurately identify, investigate, and punish all forms of Jew-hatred.

Anti-Semitic attacks on college campuses have nearly doubled in recent years according to recent reports. Although the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights has actively combatted these incidents, the Department lacks firm statutory guidance on how to define anti-Semitism. By codifying the definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, this legislation will enable the DOE to protect students from the most insidious and modern forms of anti-Semitism, which are often masked as anti-Zionism.

Per the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, shared by the European Parliament Working Group, "[a]nti-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."

Examples of anti-Semitism under this definition include the following:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective.
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.

The State Department’s definition also defines the three “Ds,” which indicate when anti-Israel rhetoric is indeed anti-Semitic:

DEMONIZE ISRAEL:

  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis

DOUBLE STANDARD FOR ISRAEL:

  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
  • Multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations

DELEGITIMIZE ISRAEL:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist

See the full State Department definition here.

Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Kay Granger (R-TX), and Steve Israel (D-NY), who serve alongside Reps. Roskam and Deutch as Co-Chairs of the House of Representatives Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism, are original co-sponsors of the legislation.

Read the full text of the bill here.