Jewish Federations Commend House on Passage of Antisemitism Awareness Act

Jewish Federations of North America commend the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Antisemitism Awareness Act (HR 6090) with bi-partisan support during a time when Jewish students are being subjected to antisemitic harassment during the anti-Israel protests that continue to unfold across the United States.

Jewish Federations thank co-sponsors, Rep. Mike Lawler and Rep. Josh Gottheimer for leading this effort, as well as House Speaker Mike Johnson for calling the bill for a vote and urging its passage. The bill now goes to the Senate, where Jewish Federations urges swift action be taken. 

A clear definition of antisemitism is key to combating forms in which it is manifested. The Antisemitism Awareness Act would do so by mandating the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism by the U.S. Department of Education when conducting federal investigations.

The purpose of this definition is to inform, not enforce, and calls for “taking into account the overall context” of the situation. This definition does not encourage the punishment of speech, even antisemitic speech. Rather, it serves to help lawmakers and others determine when conduct is based on antisemitic bias.

Jewish Federations have been the leading advocate behind the bill, working across the aisle and in both chambers of Congress.

“This legislation is a major tool for officials investigating cases on college campuses where Jewish students and faculty have become the subjects of antisemitic attacks,” said Karen Paikin Barall, Jewish Federations’ Vice President of Government Relations. “Jewish Federations have worked since last summer to get this bill off the ground, and it became even more urgent after October 7th. We are grateful for members of the House of Representatives who voted yes today and urge the Senate to act swiftly.” 

Earlier this year, Jewish Federations brought hundreds of advocates from around the country to Capitol Hill in order to lobby their members of Congress to vote for this legislation. Jewish Federations also penned a letter, co-signed by 16 other top American Jewish organizations, to members of the House of Representatives reaffirming their support for the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism. 

The IHRA definition of antisemitism has been adopted by more than 1,200 entities around the world and is the only definition of antisemitism that has been officially recognized and adopted by mainstream Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Federations of North America. It has also been formally adopted by 36 US states, 91 US cities and municipalities, the US State Department, and President Biden’s National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. 

It has also been endorsed by over 160 Jewish communities and organizations from over sixty-five countries who believe it best describes the various forms of antisemitism and hatred encountered by Jewish people. Additionally, hundreds of universities, business enterprises, sports associations, civil society organizations, and other institutions have adopted it. 


Add Comment