on the hill

House lawmakers push for independent commission to study antisemitic acts in the United States

A bill introduced last week would create an independent body to study the ‘facts and causes’ of antisemitism in the U.S. and provide legislative and policy recommendations

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, leaves the U.S. Capitol after the last votes of the week on Thursday, May 25, 2023.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, leaves the U.S. Capitol after the last votes of the week on Thursday, May 25, 2023.

A bipartisan group of House members introduced legislation last week seeking to establish an independent commission to probe the increase in antisemitism in the United States, seeking to identify its causes and protect the Jewish community.

The legislation is being led by Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Max Miller (R-OH) and Jared Moskowitz (D-FL).

The commission would be charged with investigating the “facts and causes” of present-day antisemitism and providing its assessment and legislative and policy recommendations to the president and Congress. 

The body would be made up of eight members, two appointed by the top Democrat and Republican in each chamber of Congress, equally balanced between Democrats and Republicans, and would be active for a year. It would have the authority to hold hearings and issue subpoenas.

The legislation defines antisemitism using the language included in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition, without its examples: “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. 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 legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Lance Gooden (R-TX), Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Randy Feenstra (R-IA), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Tracey Mann (R-KS), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), John Rose (R-TN), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Thomas Kean Jr. (R-NJ), Michael Guest (R-MS), Rudy Yakym (R-IN) and Brad Schneider (D-IL).

“With the rise in antisemitic violence and brazen attacks on our Jewish communities in the United States, it is important, now more than ever, that we find the cause of these alarming acts of antisemitism and work to protect our communities and religious institutions,” Miller-Meeks said in a statement. “I am proud to introduce this legislation that would establish a commission to study the circumstances surrounding the uptick in heinous acts of antisemitism and work to find solutions to keep our communities safe.” 

The bill is being supported by AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League.

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