Anti-Semitism bill splits conservatives over free speech, splits Left over Jew hatred

Anti-Semitism bill splits conservatives over free speech, splits Left over Jew hatred

Anti-Semitism bill splits conservatives over free speech, splits Left over Jew hatred

A conservative Christian activist says the controversial Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, now awaiting debate in the U.S. Senate, is being unfairly described as pro-censorship legislation.

The bill, H.R. 6090, easily passed in the U.S. House 320-91 with strong bipartisan support. It was criticized on free speech grounds, however, for adopting the definition of anti-Semitism from International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an intergovernmental organization.

With the bill now in the Senate, Travis Weber of the Family Research Council tells AFN that opposition to the bill comes from misperception about the bill’s language.

“There have been some claims made about the bill, that it would restrict the proclamation of the gospel. That's just not true,” he says. “And that it would inhibit free speech as a blanket matter. That's just not true.”

Family Research Council is the Washington-based conservative group led by Tony Perkins.

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The bill borrowed examples of anti-Semitism from the Remembrance Alliance, such as having a “certain perception of Jews” that is hateful.

If passed, the bill would make anti-Semitism a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

“Should people in America be prosecuted for saying things in all contexts? I think not. This is a poorly conceived unconstitutional bill,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) wrote on X.

A Politico story, published immediately after the bill passed in the House, quoted Democrats who were concerned about the bill’s language.

“I’m a First Amendment guy,” Sen. Ron Wyden, who is Jewish, said. “First Amendment, yes. Never, never acceptable to engage in violence — ever.”

According to Politico, a Senate version of the bill excludes a sentence from the House-passed version that states: “The use of alternative definitions of antisemitism impairs enforcement efforts by adding multiple standards and may fail to identify many of the modern manifestations of antisemitism.”

According to Weber, Israel’s war against Hamas has badly split the Democrat Party between pro-Israel lawmakers and the radical Left who are anti-Semitic.

“There are some realignments happening right now,” he says. “The Democrats have to reconcile with their radical anti-Semitic elements that are apologists for jihad, really.”

FIRE, the campus free speech group, is also opposed to passage of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act. The group is concerned the law bans student protesters from criticizing Israel’s government, since an example of anti-Semitism cited by Remembrance Alliance is comparing Israel to the Germany’s Nazi Party.