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ERLC applauds bipartisan House vote passing Antisemitism Awareness Act amid campus protests 

Baptist Press

Antisemitism Awareness Act

WASHINGTON (BP) – The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) is applauding a May 1 vote by the U.S. House of Representatives which passed a bill known as the “Antisemitism Awareness Act” amid nationwide protests on college campuses over the Israel-Hamas war. 

Originally introduced by U.S. Rep. Michael Lawler (R-NY) in October 2023, the legislation would make permanent the Department of Education’s usage of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which helps to clarify and identify the various manifestations of antisemitism. 

Since 2018, the Department of Education has used the IHRA definition when investigating violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This proposal will codify the existing standard used by the Department of Education. The legislation also states that “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Brent Leatherwood, president of the ERLC, commended the House’s passage of the bill.

“The antisemitic displays we’ve seen across our nation, and especially on college campuses, are absolutely detestable and should be denounced at every turn,” Leatherwood said in a press release. “Approving this bill is the right response, and I would urge the Senate to move forward swiftly.

“This legislation strikes the right balance because it will appropriately deal with the heinous antisemitic acts we’ve seen on campuses while, as the bill itself states, protect legitimate forms of free speech and free expression. This ensures universities will continue to be open for the free exchange of ideas while Jewish students are free from harassment and fear of their safety.”

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

Antisemitism Awareness Act

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