The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the bipartisan “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act” on Dec. 1, which will improve the enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation at federally funded schools. A companion bill has been introduced in the House.
The legislation would require the Department of Education (DOE) to consider that Title VI might be violated if Jewish students were subjected to a hostile environment engendered by anti-Semitism that is also expressed as anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism, such as the demonization of Israel (comparing Israel policy to that of the Nazis), the imposition of an impossible double standard on Israel and the delegitimization of Israel (i.e. denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist).
Today’s college students face hate groups on campus that call for an intifada and for Israel’s destruction. They blame “Zionists” for high tuition and other problems, and they engage in vicious and hurtful name-calling against Jewish students, falsely accusing them of being racists and baby-killers, according to the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), which has been lobbying for legislation.
“For many years the State Department has appropriately recognized this kind of conduct as anti-Semitism, and the ZOA has been calling on the DOE to do the same. This legislation will accomplish what we’ve been fighting for,” ZOA leaders said in a statement. They are now working with members of the House to urge them to move quickly to pass the bill into law.
Since its founding in 1942, the Jewish News has been a proud and uncompromising voice in supporting the establishment of a Jewish state, celebrating its achievements and defending its existence. We urge the House to provide the same bipartisan support for the legislation, which will afford Jewish college students reasonable and appropriate protection against anti-Semitism that masquerades as anti-Israelism.