Academic and Jewish leaders clashed at the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday over whether tougher laws are needed to protect Jewish students on college campuses.
Opponents cautioned new legislation could impede free speech on college campuses, restrict anti-Israel political debate and could open a Pandora’s Box for other groups seeking their own laws.
“It will label anti-Israel actions on campus as anti-Semitic and it will quash free speech and that’s a mistake,” said Pamela Nadell, president of the Association for Jewish Studies at American University.
But supporters testified at a three-hour hearing that incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise and current laws have failed to protect Jewish students.
“The American Jewish community is here wall-to-wall because we need your help,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The Anti-Defamation League released a report last week saying there have been 1,299 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide, as of Sept. 30 — more than the 1,266 reported in all of 2016.
The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which passed the Senate last year, would define anti-Semitic incidents as civil rights violations.
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SOURCE: New York Post, Marisa Schultz