What happened?

  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Antisemitism Awareness Act by a wide margin of 320-91.

  • The bill would codify the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, including examples involving criticism of Israel, despite concerns that it could suppress free speech.

  • The legislation is a response to nationwide student protests over the Israel-Hamas war and aims to target incidents of antisemitism on college campuses.

What is international media saying:

  • House Republicans and Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries have called for bipartisan action to address growing anti-Semitic sentiment on elite university campuses, including the “Countering Antisemitism Act”. (The Washington Post, NBC News)

  • The bill, titled the Antisemitism Awareness Act, was introduced by Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) and approved 320-91, with concerns about free speech motivating some Democrats and Republicans to vote against it. (The Hill, The Washington Times, The Guardian, Common Dreams)

  • The bill covers antisemitism linked to classic symbols or messages when characterizing Israel or Israelis, and pro-Palestinian groups criticized the IHRA definition’s examples of antisemitism. (The Hill, The Washington Times)

  • There has been a significant increase in antisemitic incidents on college campuses, but the proposed “Antisemitism Awareness Act” has been criticized for having a broad definition not supported by many Jewish groups. (The Guardian, Common Dreams, NBC News)

What is Israeli media saying:

  • The accusation of Jews being responsible for Jesus’s crucifixion has gained traction among far-right Christian sects, and some conservatives have been embracing ancient Christian anti-Jewish ideas, leading to divisions within the conservative movement. (The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel)

  • Many respondents in Europe have never met a Jew or Israeli, potentially leading to stereotypes and misunderstandings, and more than a third of respondents endorse the view that “Jews are loyal to Israel first,” contributing to the complex landscape of antisemitism in Europe. (The Jerusalem Post)

  • Surveys show increasing antisemitism in Europe, with a significant percentage of respondents recognizing it as a substantial issue, and Jewish life in Europe is expected to face more hostility in the future, according to Jewish Israelis. (The Jerusalem Post)

  • Other bipartisan bills combating antisemitism are also making their way through Congress, and the German public’s view on Israel’s importance to national security does not align with support for current government policies, underscoring a significant divergence. (The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post)

What is Arab media saying:

  • The proposed changes aim to include criticism of Israel as potentially being classed as antisemitic, which rights groups warn could restrict freedom of speech. (The New Arab, Al Jazeera)

  • Efforts to codify the expanded definition of antisemitism into law have failed in previous years, and there is ongoing debate over where political speech crosses into antisemitism on college campuses. (The New Arab)

  • House committees will investigate universities and may withhold federal support over allegations of discrimination and safety concerns, and the ACLU has urged lawmakers to vote against the legislation, fearing it may chill free speech on campuses. (The New Arab)