Senator Scott Introduces Bill to Take On Antisemitism on College Campuses

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which directs the Department of Education to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism when investigating antisemitic acts on campus. Currently, the Department of Education lacks a clear definition of antisemitism when determining whether an antisemitic or anti-Israel incident on campus crosses the line from free speech into harassing, unlawful, or discriminatory conduct.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, violent language and threats against the Jewish community and Israel increased 488% in the first 18 hours after Hamas’ terror attacks on October 7, 2023.

“Our nation’s institutions of higher learning have become hotbeds of antisemitism, especially in the wake of the brutal attacks against Israel and innocent civilians by Hamas and Iran,” said Senator Scott. “It’s critical the Department of Education has the tools and resources it needs to investigate antisemitism and root out this vile hatred wherever it rears its ugly head.”

“We thank Senator Scott and Senator Casey for reintroducing the Antisemitism Awareness Act and thank them for their steadfast leadership over the years on this issues. Antisemitism has been increasing on college campuses, and it has only gotten worse after 10/7. Jewish students feeling the need to hide their Jewish identity, and leaving many Jewish students in fear,” said Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations CEO William Daroff. “In order to begin to address the problem of antisemitism, there must be clarity about what antisemitism actually is. The IHRA working definition provides guidance in addressing this challenge. It is imperative to pass the Antisemitism Awareness Act to give universities and the Department of Education the guidance and tools they need to fight campus antisemitism.”

“We welcome the introduction of the Antisemitism Awareness Act. Antisemitism is not a Jewish problem, it’s everyone’s problem. Long before the Oct 7 massacre, antisemitism was running rampant on college campuses across the country. Since the massacre, antisemitic acts are on full display in its most vile and despicable form – support of Hamas and the annihilation of Jews,” said Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Action Fund Chairwoman Sandra Parker. “When the administration’s Press Secretary can’t acknowledge the blatant Jew hatred rising in America, then it’s time to raise the standard. This act does just that, the Department of Education must do more to combat the scourge of anti-Jewish hatred, and we believe codifying the IHRA definition will help ensure that the department will not stray from this vital mission.”

Senator Scott was joined in leading the Antisemitism Awareness Act by Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and the bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

The IHRA definition of antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, often expressed as hatred toward Jews, which includes:

  • Calling for, aiding or justifying the killing or harming of Jews;
  • Making dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews or the power of Jews as a collective, such as the myth of a Jewish conspiracy or Jews controlling the media, economy, government, or other societal institutions;
    Holocaust denialism;
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel than to the interests of their own nation;
  • Denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination. For example, claiming the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor (anti-Zionism); and
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

In the wake of the October 7th attack, Senator Scott has unequivocally stood with Israel and against antisemitism by:

  • Calling on the Treasury Department to block Iran’s access to funds and demanding an accounting of all international high-value Iranian assets around the world that are currently blocked by U.S. sanctions;
  • Leading efforts to hold the Biden administration accountable following the release of yet another Iran sanctions waiver;
  • Introducing a resolution reiterating Israel’s right to self-defense and condemning recent statements from U.S. lawmakers, which interfere in Israel’s sovereign electoral process;
  • Championing S. Res. 417, a resolution expressing solidarity with Israel in the wake of the October 7th attack, which passed the Senate with near unanimous support;
  • Voting in support of the FY24 NDAA, which included numerous provisions to increase U.S. security cooperation with Israel;
  • Introducing the Revoke Iranian Funding Act to permanently freeze the $6 billion released by the Biden administration to Iran and direct the Treasury Secretary to provide an accounting of all high-value Iranian assets around the world that are currently blocked by U.S. sanctions;
  • Meeting with victims of Hamas and members of victims’ families, hearing first-hand about the brutality inflicted by Hamas on innocent civilians, including innocent children;
  • Pushing for passage of his Solidify Iran Sanctions Act to extend sanctions on funding for Iran’s energy and weapons sectors and curtail the regime’s ability to develop its nuclear program and finance destabilizing activities;
  • Before and after the attack, leading dozens of Republican senators in holding the administration to account for its dangerous Iran policy;
  • Supporting the Israel Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2023, which would provide $14.3 billion of aid to Israel;
  • Introducing the Stop Antisemitism on College Campuses Act to defund colleges and universities that enable violent antisemitism on their campuses;
  • Authoring the Stop Support for Hamas Act with Senator Ricketts to cut U.S. funding for UNRWA and prevent bilateral U.S. assistance from winding up in the hands of Hamas terrorists;
  • Introducing the Preventing Terrorism at the U.N. Act to cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations until UNRWA is abolished; and
  • Voting against and condemning Senator Bernie Sanders’ anti-Israel resolution.