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See How Valley Lawmakers Voted on a Bill That Chills Free Speech
GV-Wire-1
By gvwire
Published 4 weeks ago on
May 3, 2024

Protesters at USC push and shove campus security officers as tempers get heated during a pro-Palestinian occupation, Wednesday, April 24, 2024 in Los Angeles. (AP File)

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The House of Representatives passed a bill with bipartisan support on Wednesday that would establish a broader definition of antisemitism for the Department of Education to enforce anti-discrimination laws.

“Speech that is critical of Israel alone does not constitute unlawful discrimination.” — Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York

The bill is a response from lawmakers to campus protests nationwide over the Israel-Hamas war.

The proposal, which passed 320-91, would codify the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal anti-discrimination law that bars discrimination based on shared ancestry, ethnic characteristics, or national origin.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the bill would broaden the legal definition of antisemitism to include the “targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.”

Critics say the move would have a chilling effect on free speech throughout college campuses.

“Speech that is critical of Israel alone does not constitute unlawful discrimination,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. “By encompassing purely political speech about Israel into Title VI’s ambit, the bill sweeps too broadly.”

However, Rep. Russell Fry, R-S.C., countered, “It is long past time that Congress act to protect Jewish Americans from the scourge of antisemitism on campuses around the country.”

To see the roll call vote, click on this link.

 

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