Across political and religious spectrum, 61 Jewish groups urge House to take up antisemitism bill

The rare coalition is urging House Speaker Mike Johnson and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to take up the bipartisan Countering Antisemitism Act

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House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) does an interview with CNN at the U.S. Capitol on April 17, 2024 in Washington, D.C.

A rare coalition of 61 Jewish groups — encompassing a broad political and denominational spectrum of the Jewish community — came together on Tuesday to urge House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to promptly take up the bipartisan Countering Antisemitism Act, Jewish Insider has learned.

The bill, which has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, would implement a dedicated White House coordinator for antisemitism, among a series of other steps to improve and coordinate federal efforts to fight antisemitism. The legislation has become something of a political football in recent weeks amid partisan debates over antisemitism and Israel legislation.

The letter, organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Religious Action Center, National Council of Jewish Women, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, highlights broad-based Jewish community support for the legislation. It includes signatories ranging from J Street and the Nexus Leadership Project on the left to the Zionist Organization of America on the right.

The full denominational spectrum is also represented, including the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Reconstructionist movements. 

Leading nondenominational national Jewish organizations including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, AIPAC, the Jewish Federations of North America and Hillel International, in addition to AJC and ADL, also signed onto the letter.

“The undersigned national Jewish organizations that reflect the depth and breadth of American Jewish life are united in our deep concern over the exponentially rising incidents of antisemitism in this country,” the letter reads. “We write to urge you to swiftly bring the Countering Antisemitism Act to the House floor for a vote.”

The letter calls on lawmakers to “pass comprehensive legislation to address the threat posed by this unique hate,” and says that the bill “would strengthen desperately needed federal efforts and ensure that the current administration and any future administration are focused on fighting antisemitism.”

It describes the Countering Antisemitism Act as “the most far-reaching antisemitism initiative ever to be introduced in Congress” which “provides a well-rounded, whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to countering antisemitism at this delicate and unnerving time for the American Jewish community.”

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