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Friday, Dec. 02, 2016 at 9:39 PM
LDB Commends Scott and Casey’s “Game-Changing” Bipartisan Anti-Semitism Awareness Act
Today, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) commends U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) for introducing the bipartisan Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016. This landmark bill was introduced to combat increasing incidents of anti-Semitism on college campuses nationwide. LDB is a national civil rights organization, best known for its work fighting anti-Semitism in higher education through law and public policy.
The proposed legislation would adopt the primary public policy recommendation of LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus’ new book, “The Definition of Anti-Semitism” (Oxford University Press: 2015). In “The Definition of Anti-Semitism,” Marcus explained, “For American civil rights enforcement agencies, the way forward is clear. Whatever else they may do to address resurgent anti-Semitism, the first step should be to adopt the State Department ‘s definition.”
The Brandeis Center has long urged federal domestic agencies to use established definitions of anti-Semitism in the manner that this bill would establish. LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus commented, “This will be a game-changer when it comes to protecting the rights of Jewish American college students. It will provide the most important legislative protections against anti-Semitic hatred in a generation. Given the recent spike of anti-Semitic incidents, it is quite urgently needed. Senators Scott and Casey should be congratulated for their excellent work.
“Senator Scott and Casey’s bill not only does acknowledges that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act protects Jewish students from discrimination, but also directs the Department of Education to use the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism – which includes examples of how anti-Semitism manifests with regards to Israel – in assessing anti-Semitic incidents.”
Importantly, the proposed bill states that the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism (http://www.brandeiscenter.com/images/uploads/resource/antisemitism.pdf
) has been a valuable tool “to help identify contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism, and include useful examples of discriminatory anti-Israel conduct that crosses the line into anti-Semitism,” and that “[a]wareness of this definition of anti-Semitism will increase understanding of the parameters of contemporary anti-Jewish conduct and will assist the Department of Education in determining whet er an investigation of anti-Semitism under title VI is warranted.”
Furthermore, it directs the Department of Education to use the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism as part of the Department’s assessment of whether the alleged practice was motivated by anti-Semitic intent. Specifically, the bill provides as follows: “In reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.) on the basis of race,
color, or national origin, based on an individual’s actual or perceived shared Jewish ancestry or Jewish ethnic characteristics, the Department of Education shall take into consideration the definition of anti-Semitism as part of the Department’s assessment of whether the alleged practice was motivated by anti-Semitic intent.”
The bill also acknowledges the “Dear Colleague Letter” that LDB’s President Marcus issued in 2004 when he was delegated the authority of Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. Marcus’ 2004 letter explains the obligations of schools (including colleges and universities) under title VI to address incidents involving “race or national origin harassment commingled with aspects of religious discrimination against Arab Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish students.”
“It is important for the federal government to speak in one voice,” Marcus continued. “It makes no sense for domestic federal agencies to ignore the important tools that our State Department is using.”
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Friday, Dec. 02, 2016 at 9:40 PM
AMCHA LAUDS U.S. SENATE PASSAGE OF ANTI-SEMITISM AWARENESS BILL, CRITICAL STEP TO COMBAT CAMPUS ANTI-SEMITISM
Santa Cruz, CA, December 2, 2016 – Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative co-founder and director, issued the following statement applauding the U.S. Senate and Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tim Scott (R-SC), the bill authors, for passing the bipartisan Anti-Semitism Awareness Act late yesterday:
“We applaud the Senate for unanimously passing the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act and for understanding that giving the Department of Education a proper definition of contemporary anti-Semitism is key to combatting and preventing anti-Jewish bigotry on campus. This missing link has long been a huge obstacle in the effort to stem the alarming rise of campus anti-Semitism. And we strongly commend Senators Casey and Scott for authoring and introducing this critical measure.
“What is happening to Jewish students on campuses coast to coast is ugly and frightening and it is only getting worse. And sadly it is coming from all sides. In the past month, we have documented a huge uptick in incidents involving classic, anti-Jewish stereotypes. But for many years the spike in anti-Semitism on campus has been linked to extreme anti-Israel activity, especially BDS campaigns. Our 2016 mid-year study of top 100 universities by Jewish population found a 45% increase in campus anti-Semitism as compared with the same period in 2015. And the suppression of Jewish students’ speech and the disruption and/or shutting down of Jewish events by protestors nearly doubled compared with years past. Our research showed that the presence of BDS activities, anti-Zionist student groups and anti-Zionist faculty were the strongest predictors of anti-Semitism on campus.
“The State Department’s definition, a definition endorsed by the world’s leading scholars of anti-Semitism, is the only definition that encapsulates the way anti-Semitism presents itself on campus today, including those acts that cross the line from criticism of Israel into blatant anti-Semitism, and having the Department of Education begin using it is long overdue. We look forward to helping Representatives Roskam, Deutch, Lowey, Engel, Ros-Lehtinen, Granger, Israel, and Smith, the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, pass this legislation in the House. These Senators and Representatives have been true leaders in the battle to protect Jewish students.”
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Friday, Dec. 02, 2016 at 11:46 PM
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed Senate passage of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, legislation which provides important guidance for the Department of Education and the Department of Justice for federal anti-discrimination investigations involving anti-Semitism, including on campus.
The act addresses a core concern of Jewish and pro-Israel students and parents: When does the expression of anti-Semitism, anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Zionist beliefs cross the line from First Amendment protected free expression to unlawful discriminatory conduct?
ADL played a central role in working with U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) in crafting and promoting the legislation. The League also urged the House of Representatives to approve the legislation before adjournment later this month.
“We welcome Senate passage of this important legislation, which will help the Department of Education and Department of Justice to effectively determine whether an investigation of an incident of anti-Semitism is warranted under federal education anti-discrimination laws,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “This act addresses a core concern of Jewish and pro-Israel students and parents: When does the expression of anti-Semitism, anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Zionist beliefs cross the line from First Amendment protected free expression to unlawful, discriminatory conduct.”
The legislation builds on a welcome Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) October 2010 Dear Colleague letter to all schools which described their responsibilities to prevent and remedy instances of discriminatory harassment, including, in some circumstances, harassment on the basis of religion. ADL and a dozen other Jewish groups had urged such OCR action to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation and discrimination in a March 2010 letter.
This legislation uses a 2010 definition of anti-Semitism developed by the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism as a reference point that can be useful in their cases, including select instances when discriminatory anti-Semitic conduct may be couched as anti-Israel or anti-Zionist. The legislation instructs the Department of Education to draw on this definition as part of its assessment of whether incidents are motivated by anti-Semitism when investigating possible violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 based on individuals’ Jewish heritage or ethnicity. The legislation takes great pains to protect freedom of expression.
“To effectively address reported anti-Jewish incidents that may violate federal education anti-discrimination laws, it is necessary to understand the evolving, current manifestations of anti-Semitism,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “The State Department definition includes useful illustrative examples and can be an important resource. However, it is also vital to accurately distinguish protected speech – including disagreement and even harsh criticism of the government of Israel – from harassing, intimidating, and discriminatory anti-Semitism.”
The legislation will not change the substantive rights or obligations under Title VI. But utilizing the State Department definition can help guide the Department of Education and the Department of Justice in understanding the changing nature of anti-Semitism in order to more effectively determine whether possible legal violations were motivated by targeted anti-Jewish animus.
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by ANTI-SEMITISM AWARENESS ACT OF 2016
Saturday, Dec. 03, 2016 at 12:06 AM
in case you want full text:
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office
ANTI-SEMITISM AWARENESS ACT OF 2016
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate
proceed to the immediate consideration of S. 10, introduced earlier
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the bill by title.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
A bill (S. 10) to provide for the consideration of a
definition of anti-Semitism for the enforcement of Federal
antidiscrimination laws concerning education programs or
There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the bill.
Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I rise today, along with my colleague from
South Carolina, to talk about a bill we have introduced entitled the
``Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016.''
Let me say first that I wish we were living in a time where we would
not have to introduce legislation like this, but unfortunately what we
have seen over a long period of time--and I think a problem that is
getting worse--is the rising tide of anti-Semitism in substantial
sectors of our society. We have, in fact, a rise in the incidence of
religious discrimination and religiously motivated hate crimes. To say
that is unacceptable, even un-American, is an understatement.
We have to take action at long last to do what we can in the U.S.
Senate, and I hope in the House as well, to not just speak out against
anti-Semitism but to take action which will lead to a better strategy
to deal with it. What do I mean by that? Well, it is simple. It is
about definitions, and it is about making sure that Federal agencies,
such as the Department of Education, do their job when it comes to
combating anti-Semitism. We know that one piece of legislation is not
somehow going to magically eradicate anti-Semitism. We don't have that
naive hope. But what we do believe is that if we don't take action,
this problem is only going to get worse.
Some of the problem, frankly, is on our college campuses, and I know
that is true, unfortunately and regrettably, in my home State of
Pennsylvania. We don't have time to list every incident, every action,
every terrible example of this, but I will just provide one for the
In September, students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania--one of
our great institutions of higher education not only in Pennsylvania but
across the country--Swarthmore is a great school, but here is what they
found. They found swastikas spray-painted in a bathroom in the library.
The college leadership did the right thing in swiftly condemning these
actions and removing the graffiti, and I am glad they did that.
I can only try to imagine--and I can literally only try to understand
because I have never been the victim of this kind of hate--the horror
that was experienced by those students and their families. A person
comes to a college or a university as a place where they are going to
learn and grow and live in a community, and then there are people--for
whatever reason, and I will never understand the reason anyone would do
that--painting those images and using language and taking other actions
that discriminate against people because of who they are. We have to be
not just concerned about this, as I said, but we have to figure out a
way to take action.
This particular piece of legislation is aimed at a terrible
manifestation of this problem. When anti-Semitic views lead to
discrimination against students of Jewish faith or Jewish ancestry,
that is the result, and they are the victims of this. The intent here
is simple and narrowly circumscribed to make sure we are getting at the
problem as best we can to define anti-Semitism at long last--this
hasn't been done before--to define anti-Semitism so that the Department
of Education can effectively investigate allegations of discrimination
motivated by anti-Semitism under the Civil Rights Act. The bill does
not infringe on the First Amendment. It does not infringe on those
rights of free speech. It is intended to help protect students from
discrimination on the basis of their faith.
We all agree that religious discrimination has no place on campuses,
has no place in our society, and we have to do more than just speak out
against it. That is fundamental, but we can do more than just speak
out; we can define it and thereby give in this case one Federal
Government agency one tool it needs to deal with this issue. This is a
bill which is timely not only because of what is happening on college
campuses but unfortunately what has happened in too many parts of our
society. We want to make sure the Department of Education has at least
one of those tools to deal with this problem.
Because of the nature of this problem, we have people on both sides
of the aisle here who are very concerned about it. I am particularly
grateful that I am joined by my colleague from South Carolina, Senator
Scott, who is joining with me. We are a Democrat and a Republican from
different parts of the country and a different point of view on a lot
of issues. On this issue we are unified, and we have a solidarity about
not just the problem, but there is a solidarity and a consensus about
one of the things we can do to take action on this issue.
I am grateful to be joined by my colleague from South Carolina.
I yield the floor to him.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, I thank Senator Casey for joining me on the
There is no question that much of our country yearns for a day when
Republicans and Democrats come together on issues that impact who we
are as a nation. I am thankful that Senator Casey has joined me in this
objective of making sure hate is pushed out of this Nation every single
Today I come to speak about an alarming issue--the issue of hate. It
truly tears at the very fabric of our great Nation and should inspire
all of us to stand up and be counted on the side of justice, on the
side of common sense, and on the side of making sure this great
American family remains one Nation.
Over the past several years, there has been a sharp rise in
religiously motivated hate crimes, particularly on our college and
university campuses all over America. According to the FBI, close to 60
percent of these crimes were due to anti-Jewish sentiments. From 2014
to 2015, we saw the number of reported incidents double. Let me say
that one more time. In a year, we saw a doubling of the incidence of
religious discrimination on college campuses, and the vast majority of
those issues and situations focused on the Jewish community. There were
90 anti-Jewish incidents reported at 60 schools last year, compared
with 47 incidents on 43 campuses just the year before. These numbers
Senator Casey noted that there have been college campuses and
buildings on college campuses where we have seen swastikas. We have
heard protests that call for Zionists to leave the school, and we have
heard references being made to burning in Auschwitz. I am stunned and
saddened by the careless and hateful reminders of such an incredibly
dark and daunting time in our world's history, but I also feel
empowered and committed to taking a stand against hate. No one, not a
single person should ever have to experience being singled out because
of who they are or attacked based on the religion they choose to
follow. There is simply no place in our country for this kind of
intolerance, especially not in our country, the greatest country on
As citizens of this great Nation, it falls on us to stand up and do
more to protect our students from being targeted by any form of hate
It is important that we work together to stamp out anti-Semitism and
other forms of religious discrimination. Our students should be able to
go to school, to grow, to learn, and to develop without having to worry
about being discriminated against. Although the Department of
Education's Office of Civil Rights has stated that they will not
tolerate incidents such as these, there exists a lack of firm guidance
on what constitutes anti-Semitic acts. That is why Senator Casey and I
stand before you today to introduce the bipartisan Anti-Semitism
Awareness Act. We have come together to ensure that the U.S. Department
of Education has the necessary tools at their disposal to investigate
Our proposed legislation uses the very definition of anti-Semitism
adopted by the U.S. State Department's Special Envoy to monitor and
combat anti-Semitism. This important clarification will provide
necessary direction to assist officials and administrators to
understand when anti-Semitic activities are occurring. By clarifying
exactly what anti-Semitism is, we will leave no question as to what
constitutes an illegal anti-Semitic incident.
As we seek to tackle this concerning issue, it is important to note
that this act will in no way infringe on any individual right protected
under the First Amendment of the Constitution. I think we have to
emphasize that. Our legislation in no way, shape, or form infringes
upon any individual rights protected under the First Amendment of the
Constitution. It simply and specifically provides clarity on the
definition that the Department of Education can and will use for
defining anti-Semitic acts.
We must act now. This increase in religiously motivated hate crimes
must be addressed. It must be addressed by the entire American family,
and it ought to start here. We will come together because we will not
allow others to tear us apart. We must hold to the ideals that our
Nation was founded on and promote freedom of religion. We must protect
that freedom and encourage it. We must--as a Nation, as an American
family--call out hate wherever and whenever we see it.
I thank Senator Casey for his involvement and leadership on such an
I yield the floor.
Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I would like to thank Senators Scott and
Casey for their work on the antidiscrimination legislation,
particularly as it relates to anti-Semitism. I support them in that
effort and look forward to getting something done in Congress to help
address the definition of anti-Semitism for the Department of
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the bill be
read a third time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered
made and laid upon the table.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The bill (S. 10) was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, was
read the third time, and passed, as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Anti-Semitism Awareness Act
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (referred to
in the section as ``title VI'') is one of the principal
antidiscrimination statutes enforced by the Department of
Education's Office for Civil Rights.
(2) Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race,
color, or national origin.
(3) Both the Department of Justice and the Department of
Education have properly concluded that title VI prohibits
discrimination against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and members of
other religious groups when the discrimination is based on
the group's actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic
characteristics or when the discrimination is based on actual
or perceived citizenship or residence in a country whose
residents share a dominant religion or a distinct religious
(4) A September 8, 2010 letter from Assistant Attorney
General Thomas E. Perez to Assistant Secretary for Civil
Rights Russlynn H. Ali stated that ``[a]lthough Title VI does
not prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion,
discrimination against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and members of
other groups violates Title VI when that discrimination is
based on the group's actual or perceived shared ancestry or
(5) To assist State and local educational agencies and
schools in their efforts to comply with Federal law, the
Department of Education periodically issues Dear Colleague
letters. On a number of occasions, these letters set forth
the Department of Education's interpretation of the statutory
and regulatory obligations of schools under title VI.
(6) On September 13, 2004, the Department of Education
issued a Dear Colleague letter regarding the obligations of
schools (including colleges) under title VI to address
incidents involving religious discrimination. The 2004 letter
specifically notes that ``since the attacks of September 11,
2001, OCR has received complaints of race or national origin
harassment commingled with aspects of religious
discrimination against Arab Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish
(7) An October 26, 2010 Dear Colleague letter issued by the
Department of Education stated, ``While Title VI does not
cover discrimination based solely on religion, groups that
face discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived
shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics may not be denied
protection under Title VI on the ground that they also share
a common faith. These principles apply not just to Jewish
students, but also to students from any discrete religious
group that shares, or is perceived to share, ancestry or
ethnic characteristics (e.g., Muslims or Sikhs).''.
(8) Anti-Semitism remains a persistent, disturbing problem
in elementary and secondary schools and on college campuses.
(9) Jewish students are being threatened, harassed, or
intimidated in their schools (including on their campuses) on
the basis of their shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics
including through harassing conduct that creates a hostile
environment so severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to
interfere with or limit some students' ability to participate
in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities
offered by schools.
(10) The 2010 Dear Colleague letter cautioned schools that
they ``must take prompt and effective steps reasonably
calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile
environment, and its effects, and prevent the harassment from
recurring,'' but did not provide guidance on current
manifestation of anti-Semitism, including discriminatory
anti-Semitic conduct that is couched as anti-Israel or anti-
(11) The definition and examples referred to in paragraphs
(1) and (2) of section 3 have been valuable tools to help
identify contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism, and
include useful examples of discriminatory anti-Israel conduct
that crosses the line into anti-Semitism.
(12) Awareness of this definition of anti-Semitism will
increase understanding of the parameters of contemporary
anti-Jewish conduct and will assist the Department of
Education in determining whether an investigation of anti-
Semitism under title VI is warranted.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
For purposes of this Act, the term ``definition of anti-
(1) includes the definition of anti-Semitism set forth by
the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism of the
Department of State in the Fact Sheet issued on June 8, 2010,
as adapted from the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism of
the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (now
known as the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights);
(2) includes the examples set forth under the headings
``Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism'' and ``What is
Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?'' of the Fact Sheet.
SEC. 4. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION FOR TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS
ACT OF 1964.
In reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has
been a violation of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.) on the basis of race, color, or
national origin, based on an individual's actual or perceived
shared Jewish ancestry or Jewish ethnic characteristics, the
Department of Education shall take into consideration the
definition of anti-Semitism as part of the Department's
assessment of whether the alleged practice was motivated by
SEC. 5. CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS.
Nothing in this Act, or an amendment made by this Act,
shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right
protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of
the United States.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for
the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
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Thursday, Dec. 08, 2016 at 7:09 PM
If so, it is not a good idea.
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