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The proposal has been pushed amid growing tension in the university sphere related to Israel's invasion of Gaza.

The United States House of Representatives voted this past Wednesday to expand the definition of antisemitism used by the Department of Education, a measure proposed in response to pro-Palestinian protests at universities across the country. Some US politicians accuse university demonstrators of "antisemitism," arguing that they chant hostile slogans against Israel, a major US ally in the Middle East. Although many chants at university protests are undoubtedly antisemitic, the majority declare themselves as anti-Zionists rather than antisemites; in fact, many pro-Palestinian camps include Jewish students chanting slogans such as "Zionism is racism," separating their Jewish identity from the actions of the State of Israel.

However, the situation on university campuses has led to the proposal known as bill H.R.6090, which received significant support in the House, with 320 votes in favor and 91 against (including 70 Democrats and 21 Republicans).

The main objective of bill H.R.6090 is to adopt the definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), a Zionist group that considers it antisemitic to assert that Jews were involved in the trial and execution of Jesus Christ.

The content of the approved proposal could effectively declare the four Gospels as antisemitic, sparking intense controversy and generating mixed reactions nationwide.

The measure raises significant questions about censorship of freedom of expression, US-Israel relations, and whether the interpretation of religious texts falls within the scope of political authority.

To come into effect, this measure must still be adopted by the Senate, where its future is uncertain, and subsequently enacted by President Joe Biden. If passed into law, the Department of Education could revoke federal research grants and other funds from universities that do not combat the use of chants considered antisemitic. The approval of this measure has sparked strong reactions across the country. The viability of the law in the Senate, controlled by the Democrats, is uncertain, and its practical interpretation is the subject of heated debate, reflecting deep divisions in US politics toward Israel and First Amendment rights.

New York Democratic Representative Jerry Nadler acknowledged the problem of antisemitism while criticizing the bill for being "too broad." "There is no excuse for bigotry, threats, or violence directed against anyone, anywhere, and it is imperative that we confront the scourge of antisemitism, and Congress can help, but this legislation is not the answer. Critical speech against Israel alone does not constitute illegal discrimination. The bill is too broad," he said during his speech.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called on lawmakers to oppose the bill, considering it unnecessary because federal laws already prohibit antisemitic discrimination and harassment, and it could curb freedom of expression at universities.

The White House, for its part, expressed its full support for the legislation, highlighting that it is an effort by President Joe Biden to create the "first National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism."

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed her concern, stating, “Antisemitism is wrong, but today I will not vote in favor of the Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2023 (HR 6090) that could condemn Christians for antisemitism for believing the Gospel narrative.”

Moreover, critics like Lauren Witzke, a former Republican Senate candidate in Delaware, have voiced their disagreement with the measure, arguing that “Congress is voting to make the Bible's ‘hate speech’ illegal. I guess I'll see you all in jail!”

Even one of the main authors of the IHRA's antisemitism definition, Kenneth Stern, has been warning for years about the danger of using such definitions to determine what antisemitism is. For him, the definition adopted by the IHRA and now wanted by the House to define antisemitism was created to help governments collect data on antisemitism and "was never intended to be a tool to attack or chill speech on a college campus," Stern said weeks ago in an interview with the New Yorker.

Fuente: Evangelico Digital