Top Republican Finds Issue In New Antisemitism Bill

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) criticized a bill designed to address antisemitism, especially on college campuses, as a “ridiculous hate speech bill” before it was voted on in the House. Gaetz argued that the legislation, which includes using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism to enforce antidiscrimination laws, could misinterpret biblical texts as antisemitic.

On the social media platform X, Gaetz expressed his disapproval, stating, “This evening, I will vote AGAINST the so-called ‘Antisemitism Awareness Act.’ While antisemitism is reprehensible, this bill lacks constitutional sensitivity and a realistic interpretation of language. Even the Gospel could be considered antisemitic under this bill’s criteria!”

The IHRA’s definition of antisemitism includes examples where antisemitic actions might target Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and their properties or community institutions. The definition also encompasses accusations against Jews that have historically fueled antisemitism, such as the responsibility for Jesus’ death.

Gaetz highlighted that the IHRA’s definition includes references to Jews being responsible for killing Jesus, a claim supported by certain biblical passages. He concluded, “Given the clear text of the Bible, I cannot support this legislation.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) also opposed the bill for similar reasons, suggesting it could criminalize Christians who adhere to biblical narratives about Jesus’ crucifixion. Meanwhile, Reps. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) and Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.), who were among the bill’s sponsors, defended the legislation on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” clarifying that the bill does not criminalize religious beliefs.

The House passed the bill with a significant majority, moving it to the Senate for further deliberation.

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