Orthodox Union Applauds U.S. House Passage of Antisemitism Awareness Act

Posted on May 1, 2024 In Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, applauds today’s passage of the Antisemitism Awareness Act (AAA) by the House of Representatives. The bill passed by a vote of 320 affirmative votes.

This legislation will help combat the chaos spreading on America’s college campuses. It requires the U.S. Department of Education to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism in its investigations and enforcement actions against instances of hatred and discrimination against Jewish students.

The IHRA definition of antisemitism includes essential examples that capture not only traditional anti-Jewish hatred and Holocaust denial but also modern antisemitism, which uses opposition to the State of Israel as a mask for Jew-hatred.

In the wake of the terrible surge of harassment and violence towards Jewish students on America’s “elite” college campuses, the AAA will empower the U.S. Department of Education to better protect Jewish students in the face of hatred.

We urge the Senate to take up and pass the Antisemitism Awareness Act as soon as possible.

Nathan Diament, Executive Director of Public Policy at the Orthodox Union, said: “The House’s passage of the Antisemitism Awareness Act today is crucial to combating the chaos spreading on America’s college campuses. The debate surrounding anti-Zionism as masked antisemitism is conclusively over and must be acted upon. This bill is an important step towards that. We thank Representatives Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) for sponsoring this legislation and standing with Jewish students. Their bipartisan leadership is crucial in this heightened time of tension. We urge the Senate to pass the bill. The time for words is over; we now need to act.”

Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union, said: “Today’s passage of the Antisemitism Awareness Act by Congress is an important step. As we are flooded by troubling images from America’s college campuses, bipartisan legislation fighting antisemitism reminds us that the majority of Americans support the right of America’s Jews to live, study, and practice their religion freely, openly, and without fear.

These are profoundly worrying times for our community and for all Americans, requiring our government to go beyond expressions of sympathy and act decisively and effectively to restore America to itself. Jewish history is replete with recurring persecution in countries all over the world. The American experience has been – until recently – a wonderful exception to that. The looming question is whether our elected and appointed leaders will have the strength and clarity to turn back the current frightening tide of antisemitic behaviors. Today, the House took a step in the right direction.”