Support the Countering Antisemitism Act

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We are all painfully aware of the alarming increase in antisemitic activity, which has intensified following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel.

We cringe as we read daily reports of antisemitic confrontations, harassment, discrimination, marginalization and abuse on our streets, in our schools, on our campuses and in our businesses. And we can’t help but fear that the corrosive poison of antisemitic hate threatens to further infect our larger society.

In response, we have become more vigilant. We worry more. And we have hardened our institutions. We have been fortunate — at least in our communities — to have the caring support and active involvement of our local and state governments, which have joined in efforts to address and protect against antisemitic threats.

But what about the federal government? How can it build on the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism released by the Biden administration last year? And how can it expand its efforts to combat antisemitism beyond seeking to address troubling college campus activity through the Department of Education under the Antisemitism Awareness Act?

The answer lies in a comprehensive bipartisan bill — authored by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) and by Reps. Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) — named the Countering Antisemitism Act, which is before Congress.

Among other things, the bill will establish an executive structure within the federal government to prioritize the fight against antisemitism, including the appointment of a domestic national coordinator to counter antisemitism in the White House and a dedicated task force that will meet regularly to coordinate efforts to address antisemitism issues across federal agencies.

The act will also require the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center to jointly produce an annual threat assessment of antisemitic violent extremism; will require the national coordinator to conduct an annual analysis of online antisemitic content, including Holocaust denial and distortion, and prepare recommendations to Congress on how to counter the spread of antisemitism online; will require the Department of Education to designate a senior official to advise and oversee the department’s efforts to counter antisemitic discrimination at colleges and universities; will require the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to study Holocaust education efforts across public K-12 schools; and will require Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure that it has sufficient resources and personnel to carry out the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

One clear indication of both the seriousness and importance of the Countering Antisemitism Act is that last week a rare coalition of 61 Jewish groups — representing a remarkably broad political and denominational spectrum within the Jewish community — joined in a letter to urge House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to take up and pass the bill.

In framing their support, the organizations made clear their “deep concern over the exponentially rising incidents of antisemitism,” and their hope that the scourge of antisemitism can start to be addressed more comprehensively on the federal level through the swift passage of the bill.

We support the Countering Antisemitism Act, commend its sponsors for their efforts and urge prompt consideration and passage of the bill in both the House and the Senate.

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