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CAIR Condemns House Adoption of Misleading Antisemitism Awareness Act

by Council on American-Islamic Relations
May 1, 2024 - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, tonight condemned members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted hours ago to approve a one-sided, and dishonest proposal about campus antisemitism that ignored anti-Palestinian racism and conflates criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism.
May 1, 2024 - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, tonig...
Today, the House voted 320 to 91 in bipartisan support of the misleading, politically motivated Antisemitism Awareness Act (H.R. 6090), instead of taking unifying steps to address antisemitism, anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia in our society. Seventy House Democrats and 21 House Republicans voted against the bill, which instructs the Department of Education to utilize the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) controversial and widely disputed definition of antisemitism. CAIR notes that in the past several weeks, over 1,000 college student protesters in support of Palestinian human rights have been arrested.

On Tuesday, CAIR called on House lawmakers to oppose the act, and today sent a message to all House offices urging them to vote “NO.”

In a statement, CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw said:

“CAIR unequivocally opposes antisemitism in all its forms. Those members of Congress who voted against this act understand that the IHRA definition too broadly censures critiques of the Israeli government, its policies, and its genocidal and discriminatory treatment of the Palestinian people. Numerous human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Israeli organization B’Tselem, have condemned the Israeli government’s actions as violations of international human rights law and acts of apartheid.

“Instead of focusing on protecting the free speech rights of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and Jewish students who face harassment and attacks during recent student-led protests on campus, House lawmakers attempted to adopt in law the anti-free speech IHRA definition. The push to adopt this act was motivated by an anti-Palestinian bias aimed at stifling young student voices advocating for Palestinian human rights, especially following Israel’s genocidal invasion of Gaza, which has murdered over 34,000 civilians and resulted in nearly 80,000 injuries.

“CAIR now calls on the Senate to reject this misleadingly-titled act, protect the free speech rights of student protesters, and start addressing the interrelated realities of rising antisemitic, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Muslim discrimination on college campuses. Misleading definitions like these are being weaponized right now to suppress and silence Muslim, Jewish, Palestinian, and allied communities’ student-led protests against the Israeli government’s war crimes in Gaza.”

“Congress should prioritize supporting an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza and addressing the root cause of the turmoil in this region: Israel’s ongoing occupation and apartheid policies throughout Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. This approach is preferable to targeting and smearing college student activists.”

Kenneth S. Stern, the original drafter of the IHRA definition, has called it a “working definition” and testified to the U.S. Congress that if government bodies “enshrine this definition into law, outside groups will try and suppress – rather than answer – political speech they don’t like. The academy, Jewish students, and faculty teaching about Jewish issues, will all suffer.”

Before passing out of the Rules Committee, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) expressed concerns about the Antisemitism Awareness Act, stating that “This bill threatens to chill constitutionally protected speech,” and that “Speech that is critical of Israel alone does not constitute unlawful discrimination.” Republican Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie, who voted against the bill, warned “It’s dangerous to take one definition,” of anti-Semitism, like the IHRA’s definition.


https://www.cair.com/press_releases/cair-condemns-house-adoption-of-misleading-antisemitism-awareness-act-urges-congress-to-address-all-forms-of-bigotry/
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