Wasserman Schultz Leads House in 420-1 Vote to Condemn Antisemitism

Washington DC – Today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) led a bipartisan effort with Reps. Brad Schneider (IL-10), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), and Lee Zeldin (NY-01)to pass a resolution unequivocally condemning antisemitism by the U.S House of Representatives, sending a vital, united message that Americans denounce the rising hostility towards Jews in recent years that resulted in increased antisemitic propaganda on social media, a surge in physical violence incidents and even fatal attacks.

Jews are increasingly affected by the grotesque spread of misinformation and lies including blame for the spread of COVID-19, false claims including the control of the media, policies of the Government of Israel, and the financial system, accusations of dual loyalty, and are subjected to a multitude of negative stereotypes.

H. Res.1125 passed by a resounding 420-1 vote, and its vote comes amid the celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month, or JAHM. This annual observance every May uplifts the contributions of the Jewish community who helped build this more perfect union and highlights the role Jewish Americans played in creating a more vibrant American culture and a more just and fair society. The resolution also calls for a plan of action to combat this ancient hatred, which includes robustly refuting Holocaust denial, pushing social media platforms to address online antisemitism and taking steps to improve the physical security of Jewish institutions and organizations.

“I am so proud that my colleagues united to condemn the rise in antisemitism by sending a powerful message that the U.S. House of Representatives will call out this ancient hatred,” said Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz. “It is fitting we share this message in May, as we celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, by highlighting the vast achievements Jewish Americans have made to build our more perfect union. Critically, this resolution also commits Congress to take concrete steps to combat antisemitism and do more to ensure the safety, security, and dignity of American Jews. Antisemitism, sadly, is not a relic of the past, but a clear and present danger today. Passage of today’s resolution is a critical step.”   

“This resolution condemns and combats antisemitism in all its forms and ensures that the United States leads the global effort in educating on the history of antisemitism and its horrific consequences,” saidCongressman Diaz-Balart. “I commend my colleagues for their leadership on this crucial issue, and I am proud to stand alongside them, condemning antisemitism.”

“Sadly, in this country, incidents of antisemitism are up 34%, 2717 incidents just last year.  Congress and America as a whole must stand strong against antisemitism,” said Congressman Schneider. “As leaders, those of us here must speak up and call out antisemitism wherever it is. I am grateful for my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. For joining this resolution today.”

“The rising tide of antisemitism has resulted in violence in our streets, discrimination in our schools and economy, and hate in our political system. In the past year alone, we have seen an alarming increase of antisemitic and anti-Israel violence and hate at home and abroad,” said Congressman Zeldin. “Just recently in my home state of New York, three antisemitic assaults were committed in less than a week, all within a few miles of each other. This must end now. I’m proud to join colleagues on both sides of the aisle in a much-needed effort to identify, condemn and crush antisemitism in all forms.”

“As antisemitic incidents reached their highest levels in decades – and spiking during the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas – it’s powerful for Congress to pass this resolution on a bipartisan basis,” said Jonathan GreenblattADL CEO. “We need all elected officials, faith leaders, and civil society leaders to join in fighting antisemitism. At the same time, Congress must take action as outlined here, to increase funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program and to hold social media companies accountable for addressing online antisemitism. It takes a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to combat this age-old hatred.”

“Jewish Federations praise the bipartisan resolution recognizing the extent to which the continuing scourge of antisemitism has impacted our community, and applaud, among other things, the call to increase funding for Nonprofit Security Grants that keep our houses of worship and communal institutions safe,” said Elana Broitman, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, the Jewish Federations of North America. “The resolution’s celebration of Jewish history in the United States is particularly auspicious during Jewish American Heritage Month.”

“At a time when violent antisemitism is surging across the ideological spectrum, from white supremacy to the denial of Israel’s very right to exist, this resolution outlines tangible steps to keep American Jews safe, both online and in public spaces, and uphold American values of liberty,” said David Harris, CEO of American Jewish Committee. Especially critical is the call for leaders to condemn antisemitism in all its manifestations—it is too easy to point fingers at others and turn a blind eye to the hatred coming from one’s community or party. This bipartisan resolution models the civil discourse vital to addressing hate in our country.”

“Today, the U.S. Congress made an essential and important statement repudiating Antisemitism. The Orthodox Union greatly appreciates the leadership of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her bipartisan partners in proposing and passing H.Res 1125,” said Nathan J. Diament – Exec. Dir. for Public Policy – Orthodox Union. “Since America’s founding, Jewish Americans were granted the freedom to worship and believe as our faith dictated. While we experience Antisemitism in various forms, the trajectory of the American Jewish experience was toward greater equality and inclusion. The surge of Antisemitism in recent years – including violent attacks on synagogues and identifiably Jewish people on the street – has been deeply disturbing. Today’s passage of a Resolution unequivocally condemning Antisemitism and calling for concrete actions to combat it is very meaningful and appreciated.”

The resolution language is attached and below:

Whereas the Jewish American experience is a story of faith, fortitude, and progress and is connected to key tenets of American identity.

Whereas generations of Jewish people have come to this Nation fleeing oppression, discrimination, and persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their children. 

Whereas these Jewish Americans have created lives for themselves and their families and played indispensable roles in our Nation’s civic and community life, making invaluable contributions to our Nation through their leadership and achievements.

Whereas on August 21, 1790, President George Washington sent a letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, expressing that the newly formed United States would be a nation that “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance”…and that the Jewish people should “dwell in this land [and] continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants…and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

Whereas we should acknowledge and celebrate the crucial contributions that Jewish Americans have made to our collective struggle for a more just and fair society; leading movements for justice and equality, and working to ensure opportunities for all.

Whereas alongside this narrative of achievement and opportunity, there is also a history — far older than the Nation itself — of racism, bigotry, and other forms of prejudice manifesting in the scourge of antisemitism.  

Whereas antisemitism is an insidious form of prejudice stretching back millennia that attacks the humanity of the Jewish people and has led to violence, destruction of lives and communities, and genocide;

Whereas conspiracy theories that Jews are uniquely evil and influential has led to mass killings of Jews throughout time, including the poisonous Nazi ideology that resulted in the murder of 6 million Jews, including 1.5 million Jewish children, and millions of other victims of the Nazis in Europe;

Whereas, over the course of the past decade, Holocaust distortion and denial has grown in intensity;

Whereas a 2020 survey of all 50-states in the United States on Holocaust knowledge among Millennials and Gen Z conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), found a clear lack of awareness of key historical facts; 63 percent of respondents did not know that six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust and 36 percent thought that “two million or fewer Jews” were killed.

Whereas, there is a documented and dangerous rise of antisemitism globally and in the United States, where Jews are increasingly affected by the grotesque spread of misinformation and lies including blame for the spread of COVID-19, false claims including the control of the media and the financial system, accusations of dual loyalty, and a multitude of negative stereotypes.

Whereas American Jewish Committee (AJC)’s 2021 State of Antisemitism in America report, a survey of American Jews and the general public’s perceptions of antisemitism, revealed 24% of American Jews have been personally targeted by antisemitism in the past 12 months. Four in ten American Jews changed their behavior at least once out of fear of antisemitism. 90% believe antisemitism is a problem in the U.S., and 82% feel it has increased in the past five years.

Whereas, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jews were the target of 55% of all religiously motivated hate crimes in 2020, despite accounting for no more than 2 percent of the U.S. population;

Whereas, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)’s 2021 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in the United States recorded 2,717 acts of assault, vandalism and harassment this past year alone, an average of more than 7 incidents per day; a 34 percent increase from 2020 and the highest year on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979.

Whereas 525 antisemitic incidents took place at Jewish institutions, an increase of 61 percent from data collected in 2020;

Whereas antisemitic assaults increased by 167 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year and assaults in 2021 were 138 percent higher than the rolling five-year average of antisemitic assaults;

Whereas there was a substantial surge of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. reported in May 2021. 387 incidents were reported, a 141 percent increase in reports of antisemitic incidents compared to May 2020; Jewish individuals were violently attacked in major cities including New York and Los Angeles;

Whereas, the use of antisemitic language, conspiracy theories, and hatred has increased on multiple social media platforms — from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and TikTok, among others – including tropes about Jewish control and messages praising Hitler and vilification of all Jews;

Whereas, a recent example of the violent antisemitism took place on Saturday, January 15, 2022, when, during religious services at Congregation Beth Israel, a terrorist held four people, including a rabbi, hostage at gunpoint for eleven hours.

Whereas, police departments in a number of American cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have said that they are stepping up patrols at synagogues and other locations associated with the Jewish community following the hostage situation;

Whereas, there are regular acts of antisemitic vandalism against synagogues and Jewish schools in the U.S. and numerous non-lethal attacks on American Jews, leaving many Jews feeling increasingly unsafe in public spaces and houses of worship;

Whereas, AJC’s 2021 State of Antisemitism in America report, revealed 56% of respondents’ religious institutions increased security since the Tree of Life synagogue shooting.

Whereas, the rise in antisemitism is part of the larger trend of the rise of hate-filled movements that are targeting marginalized communities here in the United States.

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the United States House of Representatives

(X) Calls on elected officials, faith leaders, and civil society leaders to use their bully pulpit to condemn and combat any and all manifestations of antisemitism;

(X) Calls on elected officials to condemn and combat any and all denials and distortions of the Holocaust and to promote Holocaust and antisemitism education;

(X) Calls for amplifying and ensuring U.S. leadership to fight global antisemitism, working with the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism and intensifying cooperation with international governments and parliaments around the world;

(X) Works in tandem with the cross-party Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism to help craft thoughtful global initiatives designed to address online antisemitism;

(X) Calls on social media platforms to institute stronger and more significant efforts to measure and address online antisemitism while protecting free speech concerns;

(X) Take all possible steps to improve the physical security of Jewish institutions and organizations, including by using existing tools such as increasing funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program of the Department of Homeland Security to keep at-risk houses of worship, schools, and community centers safe from terrorist attacks and other forms of antisemitic violence;

(X) Ensure the safety, security, and dignity of American Jews in all aspects of their lives, including the workplace, college and university campuses, synagogues, and at home. The development of these measures must reflect the full diversity of the Jewish community in its entirety;

(X) Supports the right of Americans to freely exercise their religious beliefs and rejects all forms of terror and hate.