FMEP Legislative Round-Up: May 3, 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:


1. Bills & Resolutions


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.’


  • (TARGETING NGOs THAT SUPPORT PALESTINIAN RIGHTS) HR 6408 / S. 1436: As covered in detail in the 4/19/24 edition of the Round-Up, on 4/15/24 the House passed HR 6408 under suspension of the rules by a vote of 383 – 11. This is a bill To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to terminate the tax-exempt status of terrorist supporting organizations.”  UPDATE: On May 3, 2024, it was reported from Hill sources that the Senate plans to hotline this bill – that is, bring it directly to the Senate floor and pass it by Unanimous Consent – imminently. It remains to be seen if any senator will object (even 1 Senator objecting will prevent it coming to the floor/passing by Unanimous Consent) – stay tuned.
  • In addition, there are rumors that there may be an attempt to add this legislation as an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 (S. 1939), which is set to come to the Senate floor next week.
  • As discussed in detail in both the 4/19/24 edition of the Round-Up and the 11/17/23 edition of the Round-Up, US charitable organizations — like ALL other US entities — are already barred by law from providing material support for terror and already face intense scrutiny. Given this reality, and based on (a) the discussion in the House Ways and Means Committee on 11/30/23, and (b) the substitute text adopted by that committee, it is evident that HR 6408 (and now S. 1436) is aimed at legislating broad Executive authority to suspend normal due process (carried out by the Justice Department, according to clear rules), so as to permit the Secretary of the Treasure to strip US groups of their non-profit status in a peremptory manner, with virtually no limitations, accountability, or meaningful recourse. As such, this new legislation, if enacted into law, would  represent a powerful weapon to impose mass harm on the U.S. non-profit sector.
  • And to be clear: while this legislation is being introduced/promoted as a means to target 501(c)(3)’s engaged in Palestine rights activism, if enacted into law it could be used against 501(c)(3)’s working on any issue or for an objective disfavored by the Administration in power. For folks who doubt that the (initial) target of this bill is Palestine rights activism see the 11/15/23 hearing of the House Ways & Means Committee at which this bill was first discussed. And for folks who doubt that this bill would be used as a political weapon to target a broader universe of US tax-exempt organizations see this campaign, launched this week, making the case for using this law to target George Soros/Open Society Foundations.
  • Notably, over the past week this bill — and its potential implications for all US tax-exempt organizations — has finally drawn some public scrutiny. See:


  •  HR 8232: Introduced 5/2/24 by Mast (R-FL), “To authorize the Secretary of State to withdraw from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Federal funds previously made available to such organization.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
  • HR 3935: This week the Senate considered HR 3935, the “Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act.” This bill has nothing to do with the Middle East – but that didn’t stop a couple of senators from offering anti-Palestinian amendments. These were not voted on but they are worth highlighting as examples of the kinds of things some in the Senate are determined to keep pushing, including in the hopes of quietly attaching them to major and must-pass bill. Specifically, Daines (R-MT) offered an amendment to, in effect, bar entry to the U.S. for any alien holding a passport issue by the Palestinian Authority [note that this wording suggests that it applies even Palestinians who also hold passports from other countries]; and Ernst (R-IA) offered an amendment to, in effect, bar the use of funds “to facilitate the admission or parole into the United States of any alien who is known to have been a resident of the Gaza Strip during the 10-year period ending on the date of the enactment of this Act” and to make ineligible for Federal funds under this Act an alien “known to have been a resident of the Gaza Strip during the 10-year period ending on the date of the enactment of this Act who has been a recipient of housing provided using Federal Aviation Administration funds.”


  • HR 8242/S. 4240: Introduced 5/2/24 in the House by Williams (R-NY), “and in the Senate by Cotton (R-AR) and 18 Republican cosponsors, “To establish that an individual who is convicted of any offense under any Federal or State law related to the individual’s conduct at and during the course of a protest that occurs at an institution of higher education shall be ineligible for forgiveness, cancellation, waiver, or modification of certain Federal student loans.In the House referred to the Committees on Education and the Workforce, and Energy and Commerce; in the Senate referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  • S. Res. 670 (bill text): Introduced 5/2/24 by Scott (R-SC) and 20 Republican cosponsors, “A resolution strongly condemning the rise of antisemitism on campuses of institutions of higher education across the United States.”  Referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Also see: press release – Sen. Scott Leads Resolution Condemning Campus Antisemitism
  • HR XXXX: On 5/1/24, Fox News reported – that Rep. Pfluger (R-TX), “will soon introduce legislation that would withhold federal financial aid from student protesters convicted of rioting or attacking police in the latest wave of anti-Israel unrest.” The article goes on: “‘As a nation founded on principles of justice and respect for the rule of law, we must take a firm stance against violence and lawlessness, especially when directed at those who risk their lives to uphold order and protect our communities. My new legislation aims to send a clear message: if you assault a police officer or engage in rioting, you forfeit your right to federal financial aid,’ Pfluger told Fox News Digital in a statement.”



  • On 4/29/24, Axios reported that Rep. Bacon (R-NE) is preparing to introduce yet another resolution censuring Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), this time for her statement made to media during a visit to a student protest encampment:  “I actually met a lot of Jewish students that are in the encampment, and I think it is really unfortunate that people don’t care about the fact that all Jewish kids should be kept safe…We should not have to tolerate antisemitism or bigotry for all Jewish students, whether they are pro-genocide or anti-genocide.” Per the Axios report: “Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said he is working on a censure measure, telling Axios ‘talking about pro-genocide Jewish students is wrong.’ ‘Folks can protest Israel, but don’t blame Jewish-American students for Israel. That is by definition anti-Semitism,’ Bacon said. The Nebraska Republican added that ‘all students deserve [a] safe environment.’…’Congresswoman Omar clearly condemned antisemitism and bigotry for all Jewish students,’ Omar spokesperson Jacklyn Rogers told Axios. ‘Attempts to misconstrue her words by drafting this baseless resolution are meant to distract from the ongoing violence and genocide occurring in Gaza and the large antiwar protests happening across our country and around the world.'”


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

A. Johnson kicks off Congress-wide Antisemitism Extravaganza!

On 4/30/24, House Speaker Johnson (R-LA) announced a new initiative involving at least 6 House committees that in the coming weeks and months will engage in a public relations bonanza of a witch hunt in the name of ferreting out and destroying antisemitism on campuses wherever they find it — and by “antisemitism” Johnson has made clear he is referring to criticism of Israel/Zionism EXCLUSIVELY (so anyone thinking that this might be the moment when House Republicans belatedly start to care about Nazi and their ilk – shame on you for your political naivete). Johnson press release 4/30/24: Speaker Johnson Launches House-wide Effort to Crack Down on Antisemitism on College Campuses “We will use all tools available to us to address this scourge” Also see:

B. Members Sound Off Attacking Students, Faculty, Administrators, & Biden Admin

C. Supportive or kind of supportive of students & right to protest

  • Houlahan (D-PA) 5/1/24: Houlahan Issues Statement on University Demonstrations
  • Daily Beast 4/30/24: New York Lawmakers ‘Outraged’ After Cops Raid Columbia University
  • Axios 4/30/24: Congress seeks Yale, UCLA and Michigan testimony on Gaza protests
  • Sanders 5/2/24: PREPARED REMARKS: Sanders on the Nationwide Student Protests and the Ongoing Humanitarian Disaster in Gaza [“...It is not antisemitic to point out that Netanyahu’s government’s bombing has completely destroyed more than 221,000 housing units in Gaza, leaving more than one million people homeless – almost half the population. No, Mr. Netanyahu it is not antisemitic to point out what you have done in terms of the destruction of housing in Gaza. It is not antisemitic to realize that his government has annihilated Gaza’s health care system, knocking 26 hospitals out of service and killing more than 400 health care workers. At a time when 77,000 people have been wounded and desperately need medical care, Netanyahu has systematically destroyed the health care system in Gaza. It is not antisemitic to condemn his government’s destruction of all of Gaza’s 12 universities and 56 of its schools, with hundreds more damaged, leaving 625,000 children in Gaza have no opportunity for an education. It is not antisemitic to make that point. It is not antisemitic to note that Netanyahu’s government has obliterated Gaza’s civilian infrastructure – there is virtually no electricity in Gaza right now, virtually no clean water in Gaza right now, and sewage is seeping out onto the streets. It is not antisemitic to make that point. President, it is not antisemitic to agree with virtually every humanitarian organization that functions in the Gaza area in saying that his government, in violation of American law, has unreasonably blocked humanitarian aid coming into Gaza. They have created the conditions under which hundreds of thousands of children face malnutrition and famine. It is not antisemitic to look at photographs of children who are starving to death because they have not been able to get the food that they need. It is not antisemitic to agree with American and UN officials that parts of Gaza could become famine districts in the not very distant future. Antisemitism is a vile and disgusting form of bigotry that has done unspeakable harm to many millions of people for hundreds of years, including my own family. But it is outrageous and it is disgraceful to use that charge of antisemitism to distract us from the immoral and illegal war policies that Netanyahu’s extremist and racist government is pursuing. Furthermore, it is really cheap politics for Netanyahu to use the charge of antisemitism to deflect attention from the criminal indictment he is facing in the Israeli courts. Bottomline, M. President: it is not antisemitic to hold Netanyahu and his government for their actions. That is not antisemitic. It is precisely what we should be doing…
  • Kim (D-NJ) 5/1/24: Congressman Andy Kim’s Statement on Protests on College Campuses [“When I was in college I along with many others protested against the 2003 Iraq War. As we had the right to peacefully protest then, so do students now. I understand the enormity of what many young people feel right now watching violence consume the lives of tens of thousands. I also understand the fear that many Jewish students and community members have in the wake of the October 7th attacks that antisemitism could be normalized and Israel’s right to exist could be put in doubt. Every student deserves to be able to study and attend classes free from intimidation and discrimination. Whether affiliated with the colleges or not, no one should make harassing statements blatantly aimed at scaring students and others. Raising voices publicly should be a means to persuade and build coalitions rather than to divide. There is a difference between those raising legitimate concern and those spewing hate, and let us work to separate and not conflate those motivations. It is core to our American values that each of us has the right to express our opinions; attempts to shut down voices of dissent only weakens our standing and our ability to find common ground. We must condemn those who only use their voices to suppress and repress, and we must listen to and lift up those who wish to find solutions.”

D. Other related stuff


3. Letters

[HOLD ISRAEL ACCOUNTABLE ALREADY!!!!] 5/3/24: Reps. Crow, Deluzio Lead 86 Members in Letter Urging Biden to Enforce U.S. Law & Policy Regarding US Humanitarian Aid to Gaza — Members urge Biden to enforce National Security Memorandum 20 and Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act [letter text]

[SENATE NEEDS TO HOLD ANTISEMITISM HEARINGS!] 5/2/24: Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans to Chairman Durbin: Hold Hearing on Civil Rights Violations of Jewish Students and Proliferation of Terrorist Ideology on Campuses [letter text]

[BERNIE MUST HOLD AN ANTISEMITISM HEARING] 5/2/24: Jewish Insider reports, “Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the top Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, sent a letter to Senate HELP Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Thursday urging him to convene a hearing on the uptick in antisemitism on college campuses.  Cassidy’s letter, obtained exclusively by Jewish Insider, marks the second time in six months that the Louisiana senator has written to Sanders requesting that he allow for a full committee hearing ‘on ensuring safe learning environments for Jewish students, as required by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.’ Cassidy released a statement last week re-upping his call for a hearing, though he told JI that effort got no response.”

[NO GAZA REFUGEES IN USA] 5/2/24: Ernst Leads 34 Senators Demanding Biden Stop Plan to Welcome Gazan Refugees [letter text]

[TARGETING DC] 5/2/24: Sen. Rick Scott & Sen. Roger Marshall Call on D.C. Mayor Bowser to Answer for Refusal to Provide Law Enforcement to Protect Jewish GW Students [letter text] – [“As Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, we urge you to schedule a hearing and require the attendance of Mayor Bowser and the MPD Chief of Police to address this alarming lapse in effective law enforcement at the earliest opportunity. The committee should also invite Jewish students and members of the faculty at George Washington University to testify and share their experiences with the antisemitic protests on campus. Our committee has the jurisdiction and responsibility to conduct effective oversight over the affairs of the District of Columbia, and we cannot sit idly by as the nation’s capital descends into lawless chaos.”]

[PREVENT AN ISRAELI ASSAULT ON RAFAH!] 5/1/24: Jayapal, Dean [and 55 Democratic cosigners- Call on Administration to Help Prevent Assault on Rafah [letter text]

[NEED ANSWERS RE KSA NUKE COOPERATION] 5/1/24: Sen. Markey Seeks Answers on Nuclear Cooperation with Saudi Arabia, Calls for Congressional Oversight of Any 123 Negotiations [letter text]

[FIRE COLUMBIA PRESIDENT] 5/1/24: Stefanik Urges Trustees of Columbia University to Remove President Shafik [letter text]

[TARGETING HARVARD OVER ALLEGED ANTISEMITISM] 4/30/24: The Riverdale Press reports: “U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres has written a letter to Harvard University interim president Alan Garber asking the school to address campus antisemitism and do something about a Jewish student from Riverdale who Torres said faced “antisemitic harassment and intimidation” from an employee…

[TARGETING DC OVER ALLEGED ANTISEMITISM] 4/30/24: Oversight Committee Republicans: DC Officials Must Take Action Against Pro-Hamas Camp and Restore the Rule of Law [letter text] – including: “As you know, the Constitution grants Congress plenary legislative authority over the District of Columbia in all cases. If the District of Columbia and MPD refuse to exercise their authority to assist GWU in securing the safety of its students and faculty, Congress will be obliged to exercise its legislative powers to do so” and demanding answers to a list of questions that appear designed to produce fodder for a hearing attacking Bowser

[HOW DARE BIDEN EVEN PRETEND TO THINK ABOUT HOLDING ISRAEL ACCOUNTABLE TO US LAW!] 4/30/24: McCaul, Risch Call For Biden, Blinken to Repeal National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20) [letter text] — “...NSM-20 plainly was designed to appease critics of Israel. Following the brutal October 7, 2023, terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas – a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) – Israel has been engaged in a campaign to destroy the military and governing capacity of Hamas in Gaza. Israel faces near-daily rocket fire from Hezbollah, another FTO, into its northern territory (where tens of thousands of citizens have been displaced), while Iran and Iranian-backed proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen pose grave threats to Israel. Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack on April 13, 2024, was only the latest in a long series of aggressive actions that threaten regional stability. The February 2024 release date of the NSM, and the subsequent media attention it has generated on Israel alone, make clear that the policy is primarily motivated to placate anti-Israel sentiment at home and abroad...”

[COLUMBIA MUST UTTERLY QUASH STUDENT PROTEST FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS/SAFETY- TO DO OTHERWISE FAILS TO PROTECT JEWISH STUDENTS (but to be clear, this letter isn’t talking about the many, many Jewish students taking part in the protests whose presence complicates what members prefer to view as an elegantly simple, black-and-white, good-vs-evil narrative of terrified Jewish kid cowering in the face of terrifying hordes of violent antisemitic protesters! And it also doesn’t talk about pro-Israel students and allies counter-protesting (with no apparent fear) and actively harassing/abusing/seeking to stoke confrontations with pro-Palestine protesters. As far as this letter is concerned, the safety of all of those students, not to mention their right to protest, is totally cancelled out by the discomfort of some pro-Israel students with having to face ideas/signs/slogans that make them uncomfortable)] 4/29/24:  Gottheimer, Goldman Lead 21 Democratic Members of Congress Urging Columbia University’s Board of Trustees to Protect Jewish Students, Disband Encampment [letter text] Also see: Scoop: Democrats turn up the heat on Columbia University (Axios 4/29/24)

[TARGETING DC OVER ALLEGED ANTISEMITISM] 4/29/24: Cotton to Bowser: Allow D.C. Police to Uphold the Law [letter text] [“Since last week, protestors have “occupied” George Washington University’s campus and are demanding that the university divest from the one Jewish state. Campus officials requested help from the D.C. Metro Police last week, but even as they prepared to assist the ‘mayor’s office told police to stand down and said it would look bad publicly for police to disrupt a ‘small number of peaceful protestors.’ I’m writing to inform you: What looks bad publicly is D.C. allowing a band of antisemitic, mask- wearing fanatics who call for an ‘intifada revolution’ to tum a university into a pro-Hamas encampment. I have no doubt that if protestors were illegally gathered in opposition to Washington, D.C.’s disastrous record on crime, you would have quickly ordered the police to intervene. Whether it is due to incompetence or sympathy for the cause of these Hamas supporters, you are failing to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens by letting a terrorist-supporting mob take over a large area of a university. Your actions are a good reminder of why Washington, D.C. must never become a state. I’m calling on you to reverse your decision and allow the D.C. police to uphold the law.”


4. Hearings & Markups

4/30/24: The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, held a hearing entitled, A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request for the Department of Education. The sole witness was Education Secretary Miguel Cardona (hearing video). In the course of the hearing Cardona was asked (predictably) about student protests that are sweeping across this country. Cardona, predictably, pandered to the Committee, throwing student protesters under the bus as he doubled and tripled down on his committee to fight antisemitism (even when that “antisemitism” is actually legitimate criticism of Israel/Zionism) and to investigate the flood of Title VI complaints that started after October 7th (Republican members were not satisfied by this pandering). See: New York Times 4/30/24: Education Secretary Calls Antisemitism on Campuses ‘Abhorrent’ and ‘Unacceptable’ -Miguel A. Cardona told lawmakers that his department was continuing to investigate complaints of antisemitism at dozens of colleges since Oct. 7.; Britt (R-AL) press release – U.S. Senator Katie Britt Presses Biden Administration to Protect Jewish Students on College Campuses; Capito (R-WV) press release –Senate Republicans Press Cardona to Act Promptly to Combat Antisemitism; Capito (R-WV) press release – VIDEO: Capito Presses Education Secretary on FAFSA Fiasco, Campus Antisemitism
4/30/24: The House Armed Services Committee held a hearing entitled, Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request. Witnesses were Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin III and Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Charles Brown Jr. (hearing video). Of note from this hearing was an interactions between Austin and some committee members regarding the Gaza pier project. See: Fox News 4/30/24: Growing controversy over Biden’s Gaza pier fuels concerns over cost, security; Washington Examiner 4/30/24: Austin and Gaetz spar over ‘boots on the ground’ regarding Gaza pier; Daily Caller 4/30/24: SecDef Admits It’s Possible US Troops Could Get Into A Firefight With Gaza Terrorists; 4/30/24: Austin Says It’s ‘Possible’ That US Troops on Gaza Pier End Up in a Shooting War
5/7/24: The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability will hold a CLOSED DOOR BRIEFING entitled, “The Origins and Implications of Rising Antisemitism in Higher Education”. Witnesses will be: 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
5/8/24: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education will hold a hearing entitled, “Confronting Pervasive Antisemitism in K-12 Schools.” Witnesses have not yet been announced, but note this article from 4/12/24 – 2 School Districts to Testify as Congress Expands Antisemitism Inquiry — A congressional committee that questioned college presidents about how they have handled protests over the Israel-Hamas war is now focusing on K-12 school districts (New York Times)
5/8/24: The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability will hold a hearing entitled, “Oversight of D.C.’s Response to Unlawful Activity and Antisemitism.” Witnesses have not yet been announced.
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“. Also see: The New York Sun 4/30/24: More ‘Spineless College Leaders’ Called To Testify as House Republicans Promise Crackdown on Campus Antisemitism; Fox News 5/2/24 (op-ed by Rep. Stefanik, R-NY): As a House Republican leader, here’s our message on chaos, antisemitism for university presidents

5. Selected Media & Press releases/statements

Bibi Big Day in Congress!

Politics/Elex (general)

Unconditional Support for Israel and Israeli Impunity

Targeting the ICC

Other stuff