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Human rights Group applaudes Anti-Semitism Awareness Bill

by Jackson 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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Huge Victory in Senate in Fighting Campus Anti-Semitism

by Jackson 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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ADL Welcomes Senate Passage of Anti-Semitism Awareness Act

by ADL 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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ANTI-SEMITISM AWARENESS ACT OF 2016

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

today.

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

activities.

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

record.

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

floor.

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

day.

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

are staggering.

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

Earth.

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

and bigotry.

[[Page S6650]]

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

anti-Jewish discrimination.

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

important issue.

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

Education.

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:

S. 10

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

of 2016''.

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

identity.

(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

ethnic characteristics''.

(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

students.''.

(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-

Zionist.

(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-

Semitism''--

(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);

and

(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

anti-Semitic intent.

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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Is this the anti bds law?

by Volunteer Thursday, Dec. 08, 2016 at 7:09 PM

If so, it is not a good idea.

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