Condemning Rising Antisemitism

Floor Speech

Date: May 18, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. COHEN. Res. 1125.

Mr. Speaker, Jewish Americans have contributed an immense amount to our country in politics, and in justice, and all fields of science, the arts, and the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time, Sandy Koufax. So much has been contributed by the Jewish community, yet there has been much anti-Semitism.

There has been anti-Semitism throughout history against Jewish people. It is sad. And it has been rising in America and continues to rise.

We saw the killings in Buffalo, New York, aimed at African Americans, but the killer, in his manifesto, said he not only wanted to get rid of and kill African Americans, but he also considered himself anti- Semitic, and indeed he was.

He fostered some crazy theory of replacement, some replacement theory that I had not really heard about, and he claimed that Jews were in favor of. Well, that is just malarkey.

We need to fight this anti-Semitism, and nobody more than Debbie Wasserman Schultz, our colleague from Florida, has done more to have folks reflect on the contributions of Jewish people during Jewish Heritage Month, which she sponsored and passed and keeps alive, and then the passage of this resolution to bring anti-Semitism to our attention.

It is important that we pass this, and that we understand Jewish American Heritage Month, which is this May, while we celebrate the contributions of Jewish Americans and we reject hate whenever and wherever it appears.

I thank Ms. Wasserman Schultz again--she has done so much, and she is a leader in this area and so many others as well--for bringing this resolution.

House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Washington, DC, May 18, 2022. Hon. Jerrold Nadler, Chair, Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chair Nadler: In an effort to work cooperatively and to expedite consideration of H. Res. 1125, Condemning Rising Antisemitism, the Committee on Foreign Affairs agrees to waive formal consideration of the resolution as to the provisions that fall within the Rule X jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs takes this action with the mutual understanding that the Committee does not waive any jurisdiction over the subject matter contained in H. Res. 1125 or similar legislation, and the Committee will be appropriately consulted and involved as the resolution or similar legislation moves forward.

Finally, I would appreciate your response to this letter confirming this understanding and ask that a copy of our exchange of letters on this matter be included in the Congressional Record during Floor consideration of H. Res. 1125. Sincerely, Gregory W. Meeks, Chair. ____ House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, DC, May 18, 2022. Hon. Gregory W. Meeks, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Meeks: I am writing to you concerning H. Res. 1125, Condemning Rising Antisemitism.

I appreciate your willingness to work cooperatively on this legislation. I recognize that the resolution contains provisions that fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. I acknowledge that your Committee will not formally consider H. Res. 1125 and agree that the inaction of your Committee with respect to the resolution does not waive any future jurisdictional claim over the matters contained in H. Res. 1125 which fall within your Committee's Rule X jurisdiction.

I will ensure that our exchange of letters is included in the Congressional Record during floor consideration of the resolution. I appreciate your cooperation regarding this legislation and look forward to continuing to work with you as this measure moves through the legislative process. Sincerely, Jerrold Nadler, Chairman.

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Mr. COHEN. Wasserman Schultz).

Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and for both gentlemen's remarks.

Mr. Speaker, 17 years ago, the first legislation I passed as a Member of Congress declared the month of May as Jewish American Heritage Month, or JAHM, and urged the President of the United States to make that declaration on behalf of the United States.

Since that resolution passed, every President has issued a proclamation declaring May as Jewish American Heritage Month.

The mission of JAHM is to educate all Americans about the contributions American Jews have made to our Nation for more than 350 years.

Jews have blazed American trails, from the battlefield and basketball court, across the biggest stages, to the big screen, and from the Supreme Court, to civil rights and social justice movements. Our story is woven into America's history, through generations of leaders.

Yet, as we who honor the profound impact American Jews made on our national history and culture, I must sadly acknowledge that the recognition and understanding JAHM seeks to foster is critically needed now more than ever.

There has been a precipitous rise in anti-Semitism. In the last year alone, the Anti-Defamation League reports that anti-Semitic incidents are up 34 percent nationwide.

The American Jewish Committee reports that 24 percent of American Jews were personally targeted by anti-Semitism in the past 12 months. Four in 10 American Jews changed their behavior at least once out of fear of anti-Semitism. An alarming 90 percent believe anti-Semitism is a problem in the United States.

We also know that there has been a particularly disturbing surge in assaults against Americans who are identifiably Jewish by virtue of their wearing religious garb, particular clothing, or based upon the locations in which they live or shop.

In May 2021, during the military conflict between Israel and Hamas, there was a substantial surge of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., with 387 of them reported, or a 148 percent increase in reports of anti-Semitic incidents compared to May of 2020.

Anti-Semitism also emerged in the horrific Buffalo shooting, where an armed white terrorist targeted African Americans for mass murder. He was driven, in part, by a xenophobic plan called replacement theory, which at its root, blames Jews for masterminding an effort to erode the power of White Americans. This madness will only fuel more violence, and it cannot be allowed to stand.

To combat this anti-Semitic scourge in our communities, leaders throughout our country must firmly, and clearly, and forcefully denounce the alarming rise in rampant hate, violence, and harassment targeting Jewish Americans.

That is why I am proud today to bring H. Res. 1125 to the floor, which is unequivocal, bipartisan condemnation of anti-Semitism, because enough is enough.

This resolution denounces the alarming rise in anti-Semitism in the United States and globally, and it issues a call for real, concrete action to combat it. Those action items include:

Promoting Holocaust education, Jewish identity, and anti-Semitism education, along with condemnation of all denials and distortions of the Holocaust.

Working with the newly confirmed State Department's Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to ensure U.S. leadership in the fight against global anti-Semitism.

Working with all social media platforms to institute stronger efforts to address online anti-Semitism, while protecting First Amendment rights.

Taking all possible steps to improve the physical security of Jewish institutions, including increased funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program so it can continue its essential work of protecting Jewish and other faith-based institutions across the country.

Ensuring the safety, security, and dignity of American Jews in all aspects of their lives, including the workplace, university campuses, and at home.

During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate the continued diversity and contributions to American life by the Jewish community. In doing so, we must also acknowledge anti-Semitism is not a relic of the past but remains a clear and present danger today.

Taking action today is just one step. Let us renew our commitment to defending the rights of all people.

Before I end, I want to take a moment to thank all those who made today possible: my co-leads, Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart, Brad Schneider, and Lee Zeldin and, of course, Leader Hoyer, and many other colleagues and staff whose effort helped bring this resolution to the floor today.
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Mr. COHEN. Madam Speaker, I yield 2\1/4\ minutes to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Schneider), a great supporter of this resolution and the ideas contained therein.

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Mr. COHEN. Madam Speaker, I close and ask everybody to support this important resolution.

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Mr. COHEN. Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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