162 Democrats Vote Against Amendment to Protect Jewish Students from Antisemitism at School

Lucy Collins | September 18, 2020 | 5:17pm EDT
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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- On Sept. 16, 162 Democrats, one Republican, and one Independent in the House of Representatives voted against an amendment to a bill that would designate antisemitism to be a form of discrimination included in the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act. Despite that opposition, the amendment passed, 255 to 164.

Republicans proposed adding the six-line amendment, to combat antisemitism, to the Democrat-backed bill H.R.2574. The Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act (H.R.2574) would permit private citizens to file lawsuits claiming disparate impact under the Civil Rights Act's Title VI, focusing specifically on education programs.

Effectively, this bill allows parties to sue any program receiving federal financial assistance if they suspect they are the victim of discriminatory practices or of practices that are formally neutral but adversely affect a protected class more than another class.

Prior to this amendment, the protected classes were listed as “race, color, or national origin.” The Republicans proposed inserting, “In carrying out the responsibilities of the recipient under this title, the employee or employees designated under this section shall consider antisemitism to be discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin as prohibited by this title.’’

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“The amendment ensures that recipients of federal education funding act against anti-Semitism in our communities. The boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement on college campuses is one of the ways such discrimination is being displayed,” said Concerned Women for America (CWA).

“Most Republicans opposed the underlying bill [HR2574] for creating new federal government mandates in local education,” said the CWA. “But they used the opportunity to highlight their strong opposition to anti-Semitic activity and behaviors that discriminate against people of Jewish faith to draw a clear contrast with Democrat members, putting many on record opposing a measure to combat anti-Semitism in education.”

This GOP amendment was rejected by 164 members of the House, including over 70% of the Democratic members. That includes 13 of the 27 Jewish members of the House, as well as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who was voted ‘Antisemite of the Year’ in 2019 by The Jerusalem Post.

"We should use this opportunity to show commitment to combating antisemitism," Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said, "With anti-Semitism on the rise around the world, the need for this amendment is clear."

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