B’nai B’rith International applauds the United States Senate for unanimously passing the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act. The legislation uses a definition adopted by the U.S. State Department and interprets anti-Semitism as a “certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, towards Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The bill states that when investigating a hate crime “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.”
This act comes at a time when anti-Semitism has been at an all-time high in the U.S. Since early November, the Southern Poverty Law Center has recorded more than 850 hate-based incidents, and at least 80 of these hate crimes have involved swastikas. The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act will help education officials better understand what is defined as anti-Semitic.
We strongly encourage the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the same legislation.