Bipartisan lawmakers introduce bill to counter anti-Semitism

Demonstrators gather to denounce antisemitism at a "March for Israel" on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. On Thursday, bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers introduced a new bill to counter anti-Semitism. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
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April 11 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers of Congress have introduced a bill to combat anti-Semitism, which has been spiking across the nation amid Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.

The Countering Anti-Semitism Act was unveiled Wednesday in a statement by Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and James Lankford, R-Okla., along with Reps. Kathy Manning, D-N.C., Chis Smith, R-N.J., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Randy Weber, R-Texas.

The bill would create the new position of White House national coordinator to counter anti-Semitism who would serve as the president's principal advisor on countering domestic anti-Semitism and coordinate federal efforts to fight this form of hate.

A new task force would also be created to implement U.S. strategies on countering anti-Semitism, which would be chaired by the new national coordinator, who would also conduct analysis on the spread of anti-Semitism online and provide recommendations to Congress on how to counter it.

Federal agencies, including the FBI and the national Counterterrorism Center, would be required to annually produce a threat assessment of anti-Semitic violent extremism under the new law, while the Department of Education would be required to designate a senior official to advise on how to combat anti-Semitism discrimination in higher education.

"This bill will work to combat anti-Semitism by establishing roles to provide transparent oversight, address Holocaust denials and distortions, counter discrimination on college campuses and designate May as Jewish American Heritage Month," Lankford said in a statement.

"Our Jewish friends and neighbors should not live in fear because of their faith and heritage and this bill affirms the right to live their faith freely."

Anti-Semitism has been on the rise for years in the United States, but has seen a drastic jump since the war between Israel and Iran-backed Hamas erupted in Gaza on Oct. 7.

According the Jewish non-governmental organization Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents rose 360% during the three months following the start of the war compared to the same period a year earlier.

Several U.S.-based Jewish organizations welcomed the new legislation on Wednesday, including the ADL and the American Jewish Committee, along with the Geneva-based World Jewish Congress.

"The waves of hate that Jews have faced since Oct. 7 is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime. This meaningful bill will reinforce those battling against this devastating form of hatred," WJC president Ronald Lauder said in a statement.