House Passes Tyrannical Anti-Free Speech Measure As Pro-Palestinian Protests Rage Across the Nation

On May 1, 2024, the United States House passed a bill that aims to crack down on alleged antisemitism on university campuses. This bill was passed at a time when pro-Palestinian protests have raged across the nation. 

The bill in question is the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which was introduced by New York Congressman Mike Lawler and was passed by a 320-91 vote. Only 21 Republicans — Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie being the most prominent opponent of the measure — and 70 Democrats stood against the measure. 

The bill would mandate the Department of Education to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism when implementing anti-discrimination laws.

The organization defines antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews”, while adding that “Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The organization lists several examples for what constitutes antisemitism, which includes calls for harming Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist interpretation of a religion, and accusing Jewish individuals of fabricating or exaggerating the Holocaust.

The vote occurred as pro-Palestinian protests on dozens of college campuses across the nation have gathered steam in recent days. Demonstrators occupied a building at Columbia University, which provoked a swift political response.

Over 1,500 individuals have been arrested on university campuses nationwide since April 18, per a CNN report.

The protesters have used chants and slogans such as “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and have demanded their institutions divest from companies with connections to Israel.

A select few progressive Democrats and dissident Republicans opposed the bill over concerns that it would harm free speech.

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz described the legislation a “ridiculous hate speech bill.”

“Antisemitism is wrong, but this legislation is written without regard for the Constitution, common sense, or even the common understanding of the meaning of words,” he wrote on X, the social media platform known as Twitter.

“The rise of antisemitism in America and especially on college campuses is abhorrent and disgusting, but I will not violate my constitutional principles to vote for a bill that tramples on the First Amendment and won’t make a positive impact on this issue,” Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert said in an X post. 

Prior to the vote on this bill, Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie said it was “a poorly conceived unconstitutional bill and I will vote no.”

New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, surprisingly opposed this bill, saying that despite having “devoted much of my life to combating antisemitism,” he rejected the “misguided bill” which he believes will threaten “to chill constitutionally protected speech.”

America is the Land of the Free, which means all manner of speech — no matter how uncomfortable it makes people feel — should be allowed as outlined by the First Amendment.

Even the most vile of speech, as long as it’s peaceful, should be allowed. In many respects, this bill would effectively prevent the criticism of Israel and just demonstrates how the US government has effectively become occupied by Israeli interests. 

Now more than ever, the Right must stand for free speech and a restrained foreign policy. The best way to preserve and usher in such concepts is by categorically opposing the Antisemitism Awareness Act. 

Our Latest Articles