FMEP Legislative Round-Up: May 10, 2024


1. Bills, Resolutions
2. Congress Continues to Stoke Hysteria Over Student Protests for Palestinian Rights
3. Letters
4. Hearings & Markups
5. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements

New from FMEP:

  • 5/3/24: New episode of FMEP’s Occupied Thoughts podcast, The Attack on Academic Freedom, ft. FMEP Fellow Peter Beinart speaking with Professor Sahar Aziz of Rutgers University about the current attacks on academic freedom and why the US House of Representatives is investigating Rutgers and its Center for Security, Race and Rights, which Sahar directs. They also discuss the dangers of exceptionalizing Israel and the future of American universities more broadly.

1. Bills & Resolutions

Weaponizing Claims/Fears of Antisemitism

  • **UPDATE** (LEGISLATING THE IHRA DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM) HR 6090: Introduced 10/26/23 by Lawler (R-NY) and having 61 cosponsors (bipartisan), “To provide for the consideration of a definition of antisemitism set forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance for the enforcement of Federal antidiscrimination laws concerning education programs or activities, and for other purposes,” aka, the “Antisemitism Awareness Act.” For background on this legislation (which has been introduced numerous times and which has nothing to do with fighting antisemitism, and everything to do with delegitimizing and suppressing campus free speech/activism critical of Israel, see this compendium of resources; for a deep dive into the history/objectives of this legislation, see this article by FMEP’s Lara Friedman. Also see my evergreen X-post (posted 3/21/23): The battle over the IHRA definition of antisemitism, in a nutshell: ‘you have to define it to fight it’ = ‘you have to define all meaningful criticism of Israel/its policies/ Zionism as ‘antisemitism’ in order to suppress it, because we can’t win the arguments otherwise.’
    • This bill was passed by the House 5/1/24 by a vote of 320-91. Voting “no” on the bill were 21 Republicans and 70 Democrats (as in, more than 1/3 of Democrats voted “no”).
    • The bill was sent to the Senate where some expected it to be passed quickly. However, in the wake of House passage of HR 6090, there was a deluge of statements/articles opposing the effort to enact the IHRA definition of antisemitism into law. This deluge came from across the political spectrum, including free speech defenders, free speech absolutists (conservatives and libertarians), conservative opponents of DEI, people from the MAGA and hardline Christian camps, voices from academia, Palestine rights activists, and more. For compendium of statements/articles opposing it – from across the political spectrum, see my new resource (which I will continue to update): Statements & Analyses Opposing Federal IHRA legislation (2024). Perhaps as a result of this broad-based opposition, HR 6090 has not moved in the Senate.
    • Perhaps seeking to circumvent this problem, on 5/7/24 Sen. Casey (D-PA) offered the Antisemitism Awareness Act as an amendment to HR 3935 [“to reauthorize and improve the Federal Aviation Administration and other civil aviation program“]. The Senate, however, passed HR 3935 without considering this amendment.
  • (HOW DARE REP. OMAR CRITICIZE SUPPORTERS OF ISRAEL’S GENOCIDE IN GAZA???) H. Res. 1207: Introduced 5/7/24 by Bacon (R-NE) and 3 cosponsors (all Republicans), “Censuring Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota for her recent hateful comments and history of antisemitism.” Referred to the House Committee on Ethics.

Targeting NGOs/Civil Society that Support Palestinian Rights/Lives

Targeting Students & Universities/Undermining Right to Protest

  • (BAN FEDERAL AID TO & FINANCIALLY SANCTION UNIVERSITIES THAT DON’T SUFFICIENTLY ATTACK/PUNISH STUDENT PROTESTERS) S. 4295 (text): Introduced 5/9/24 by Vance (R-OH), “A bill to establish that institutions of higher education shall be ineligible for funds under the Higher Education Act of 1965 due to campus disorder,” aka the “Encampments or Endowments Act.” Referred to the Committee on Finance. Also see: press release – Senator Vance Introduces Legislation to Crack Down on University Encampments [“Senator Vance’s legislation would require colleges to remove encampments from campus grounds within 7 days if teaching, research or other core institutional functions are impeded. Institutions that fail to comply would be rendered ineligible to receive federal financial assistance, including institutional aid and student aid such as Pell grants and federal loans, for five years. To make students whole, institutions would be mandated to provide students with equivalent grant-based aid at the institution’s expense. If an institution fails to provide such aid, it would face a tax equal to 50% of its endowment assets.“] Also see: Universities would pay ‘hefty price’ for allowing encampments under new Senate bill ‘It’s time to end this national embarrassment,’ JD Vance said (Fox News 5/9/24)
  • (TARGETING PROTESTERS) HR 8248 [bill text]: Introduced 5/6/24 by Burchett (R-TN),  “To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide penalty enhancements for committing certain offenses while in disguise, and for other purposes,” aka the “Unmasking Antifa Act.” Excerpt: “Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, while in disguise, including while wearing a mask, injures, oppresses, threatens, or intimidates any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.” Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. Also see: Rep. Burchett reintroduces the Unmasking Antifa Act
  • (CONDEMNING PROTESTERS) H. Res.1211: Introduced 5/8/24 by Bishop (R-NC) and 7 all-Republicans cosponsors, “Condemning the violent, anti-American and anti-Israel protests that are occurring on campuses of institutions of higher education nationwide.”  Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Targeting the UN & ICC

  • (CUT OFF US FINDING TO UN IF UNGA GIVES PALESTINIANS *ANY* NEW PRIVILEGES/STATUS) S. 4311 (text): Introduced 5/9/24 by Risch (R-ID) and 24 cosponsors (all Republicans), “A bill to limit funds to the United Nations and other organizations that provide any status, rights, or privileges beyond observer status to the Palestine Liberation Organization, and for other purposes,” aka, the No Official Palestine Entry (NOPE) Act.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Also see: press release – Risch Leads 24 Colleagues in Introducing NOPE Act to Cut Off U.S. Funding to UN if PA Receives More Privileges

MORE Support for Israel!

  • (EXPAND US-ISRAEL COLLABORATION ON HEALTH) HR 8299: Introduced 5/8/24 by Buchanan (R-FL) and 2 bipartisan cosponsors, “To require the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, the Council for Technology and Innovation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, to carry out a program to facilitate and coordinate efforts between the United States and Israel to expand and enhance collaboration on the development and delivery of health care products and services,” aka the “Maximizing Israel-U.S. Research Advancement and Collaborative Leadership in Emerging Medical Technology Act”, akathe (MIRACLE) Medical Technology Act.”  Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Also see: press release – Buchanan Introduces Bill to Strengthen U.S.-Israel Health Care Partnership
  • (WTAF? HOW DARE BIDEN NOT SEND EVERY POSSIBLE WEAPON/AMMO TO ISRAEL?) S.  Res. 682: Introduced 5/9/24 by Graham (R-SC) and 47 cosponsors (all Republicans), “A resolution condemning the decision by the Biden Administration to halt the shipment of United States made ammunition and weapons to the State of Israel.”  Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.


  • (TURKEY/CYPRUS) H. Res. 1199: Introduced 5/6/24 by Malliotakis (R-NY) and 4 bipartisan cosponsors, “Recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

  • S. 1829 — the “Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum Act of 2023
  • S. 2336 — theMaking Iran Sanctions Stick In Lieu of Expiration of Sanctions Act”
  • S. 2626 — the “MAHSA Act
  • S. 3235 — the “End Iranian Terrorism Act of 2023
  • S. 3874 — theHamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2024
  • S.Res.505 — “A resolution condemning the use of sexual violence and rape as a weapon of war by the terrorist group Hamas against the people of Israel.”

2. Congress Continues to Stoke Hysteria Over Student Protests for Palestinian Rights/Lives


Statements/X-posts (Republicans

Statements/X-posts (Democrats)

  • Schumer (D-NY) 5/7/24: Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Applauding President Biden’s Actions To Fight The Unprecedented Rise In Antisemitism [“…I applaud President Biden for taking another strong, decisive step to fight antisemitism at the federal level, with new steps aimed at fighting antisemitism in our communities, online, and towards Jewish students. Among other actions, the President has directed the Department of Education to issue new guidance for college campuses to protect Jewish students and students of all backgrounds, so that our universities remain safe havens to learn and grow. When a Jewish student cannot walk through their quad without fear of harassment or ridicule or something far worse, we have a duty to respond…”]
  • Jeffries (D-NY) 5/7/24: Leader Jeffries: “Today we recommit to eradicating antisemitism whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head” [“This is a day for remembrance and action. A day to honor the memory of all those murdered by the evil Nazi regime. It’s a day to honor the Holocaust survivors, like Eva Cooper from New York City, and so many others who endured and escaped unconscionable atrocities. It’s a day to recommit to the struggle against indifference. As the El Maleh Rahamim prayer that will be heard today so beautifully and hauntingly pleads, we gather to ask God to protect and elevate the souls of those taken from our world too soon. We are also here exactly seven months to the day of the horrific atrocities committed by Hamas on 10/7, the largest loss of Jewish life on a single day since the Holocaust. There are families whose loved ones were slaughtered. There are hostages still being held in horrific conditions. And we are witnessing a deeply disturbing rise in antisemitism on campuses throughout the country and in the world. This is a very searing time for the Jewish community. Systematic oppression has been a reality of Jewish life for thousands of years, having to endure expulsions, pain, pogroms, persecution, prejudice and the horrors of the Holocaust, a previously unthinkable crime against humanity.”]
  • Jeffries (D-NY) 5/6/24: Leader Jeffries on 60 Minutes: “We Will Not Allow the Extremists to Throw the Country and the Congress into Chaos”

3. Letters

How Dare Biden Delay/Pause Military Aid of Any Kind to Israel!!!

Punish Student Protesters & Universities

Punish the ICC If It Dares Hold Israel to the Same International Law It Applies to Every Other Country in the World!

Here’s an Idea: How About We Hold Israel Accountable to US Law?

Other Stuff

4. Hearings & Markups

5/8/24: The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee held a hearing entitled, A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request for the Department of Defense. The witnesses were Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (statement) and Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (statement). Also see: press release – Murphy: There Is A Strategic And Moral Reason To Care About The Number Of Civilian Casualties In Gaza [“In his questions to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Murphy emphasized the moral and strategic importance of reducing civilian casualties in Gaza and preventing further escalation of conflict in the Middle East…”]
5/7/24: Durbin Announces Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Hate Crimes [U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a full committee hearing to examine threats facing marginalized communities and how the federal government can better protect the civil rights and safety of all Americans.  Under Durbin’s leadership as Chair, the Committee has worked to address the threat of hate crimes and domestic terrorism targeting racial and religious minority communities in the United States. ‘Following the horrific Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 and Israel’s military response in Gaza, we’ve seen a rise in hate incidents across the country, particularly targeting the Jewish, Arab, and Muslim communities.  Sadly, no community is immune from violent acts of hate and the increasing use of hateful rhetoric by political leaders is exacerbating the problem.  Congress cannot turn a blind eye to it,’ Durbin said.  ‘That’s why I have worked—through this Committee—to address the rise in hate crimes and domestic terrorism we’ve seen in recent years across America.’ Durbin continued, ‘I am not under the illusion that one bill or one committee hearing is a silver bullet for preventing hate crimes.  There’s more work to do.  So during this upcoming hearing, we will consider the rise in hate crimes against Jewish, Arab, and Muslim Americans alongside the equally troubling rise in hate crimes against members of other vulnerable communities.  And we will learn about what we can do to better support survivors of hate crimes and the members of law enforcement who respond to them.’”]
5/7/24: The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability held a CLOSED DOOR BRIEFING entitled, “The Origins and Implications of Rising Antisemitism in Higher Education”. Witnesses were: Dr. Charles Asher Small, Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, and Professor David E. Bernstein, University Professor of Law at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School. To get a flavor of this hearing: Bernstein is the author of the book, Woke Antisemitism: How a Progressive Ideology Harms Jews; here’s Small on a webinar in November 2023, The Genocidal Alliance – Western Intellectuals and Hamas” with Dr Charles Asher Small and Haras Rafiq; and here’s Small again – Charles Asher Small on BBC News: SJP Links to Hamas Antisemitic Ideology and the Campus Crisis. Also see: ISGAP’s Dr. Charles Asher Small Briefs US Congressional Committee on Antisemitism in Higher Education
5/7/24: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing entitled, “Examining the Education Department’s Policies, Priorities, and FY 2023 Financial Audit Failure.” The sole witness was Education Secretary Miguel Cardona (testimony). As anyone who has been paying attention should have expected, this hearing was yet another occasion for Committee chair Foxx (R-NC) and other Republican members to grandstand around accusations about alleged antisemitism, and ostensible concern about Jewish safety – defined largely in terms of support for Israel and intolerance for criticism of Israel and/or delegitimization of any assertions of Palestinian rights or grievances. For his part, Sec. Cardona failed to seriously defend students/free speech, but also didn’t outright pander to the Committee, making Committee Republicans unhappy (to be fair, based on previous hearings it seems clear that even if he had joined in attacking students/faculty and calling for them all to be arrested and tried for treason, the committee would still have not been satisfied).
  • Hearing video
  • Foxx opening statement [excerpt: “Over the past seven months, colleges across the nation have seen an unprecedented regression in moral and institutional legitimacy as antisemitism and pro-Hamas protests have engulfed campuses. Turn on the news and universities such as Columbia and UCLA look like unrecognizable war zones. From the beginning, I’ve urged a firm hand in dealing with the explosion of antisemitism on campus, and I’ve led by example. You, on the other hand, refused to even say that the ‘From the River to the Sea’ chant is antisemitic. I saw this as a failure of moral clarity deeming you unfit for public office and called for your resignation in February. With the outbreak of campus riots, I am only more resolute, so I will say it again: you must resign…”]
  • From the committee’s written “recap“: “Turning to Q&A, antisemitic campus riots were top of mind for many Members. Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-CA) pursued a line of questioning about the Department’s commitment to fighting antisemitism, with specific emphasis on certain universities that have caved to ‘campus protest’ demands. Rep. Kiley led by asking, ‘We’ve seen some universities talk about ending study abroad programs to Israel, do you think that’s appropriate?’ ‘Our Title VI regulations make it very clear and if you go to our website…’ slowly responded Secretary Cardona. ‘I’m not asking about your website,’ interjected Rep. Kiley, adding, ‘How about demands to cut ties with Hillel? Do you condemn those demands?’ ‘There is guidance there for universities where a lot of the questions that you are asking makes it very clear…’ trailed off Secretary Cardona, again referring Rep. Kiley to the Department website instead of answering the question. ‘Calls for universities to cut ties with Hillel, is that abhorrent, to use your word?’ stressed Rep. Kiley, attempting to get a straight answer for a third and final time. ‘Violence toward students, antisemitism on campus which we’ve seen…’ the Secretary dithered. Three softballs, three strikes.
  • ABC News 5/7/24: Education Secretary Cardona condemns antisemitism at House hearing — Republicans accuse the Biden administration for not doing enough to stop it.
5/8/24: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing entitled, “Confronting Pervasive Antisemitism in K-12 Schools.” Witnesses were: David Banks, Chancellor, NYC Public Schools, NYC Department of Education (testimony); Karla Silvestre, President, Montgomery County Board of Education, Montgomery County Public Schools (testimony); Emerson Sykes, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU (testimony); and Enikia Ford Morthel, Superintendent, Berkeley Unified School District (testimony).
CANCELLED 5/8/24: The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability was scheduled t0o hold a hearing entitled, “Oversight of D.C.’s Response to Unlawful Activity and Antisemitism.” Witnesses had not been announced.

5/15/24: The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government will hold a hearing entitled, Antisemitism on College Campuses. There is no information yet on witnesses.

5/23/24: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing entitled, “Calling for Accountability: Stopping Antisemitic College Chaos.” Witnesses have not yet been announced, but committee chair Foxx (R-NC) issued a press release, “Foxx Calls on Yale, UCLA, and Michigan to Appear Before the Committee About Antisemitism“.

5. Selected Media & Press releases/statements









AIPAC (talking points which are mirrored in a lot of members’ statements)


Supporting Pause in Supply of Offensive Weapons to Israel/Concerns About Israel Invasion on Rafah

Report Owed to Congress on Arms to Israel