Palestine Legal Calls on Members of Congress to Reject Bill Aimed at Censoring Palestine Advocacy

Building-Congress-Government-Dome-Capitol-Capital-2377995 (2).jpg

On Wednesday, Palestine Legal and a coalition of civil and human rights organizations sent a letter to members of the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, calling on them to reject an unconstitutional bill aimed at censoring Palestine advocacy on college campuses.

The bill, known as the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018 (ASAA), would impose on the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) a widely-criticized and overbroad re-definition of antisemitism that classifies virtually all speech critical of Israel as antisemitic while adding no new legal protections for Jewish students. If enacted, it would be used to justify investigations against Palestine activists on campuses and encourage the DOE and university officials to infringe on constitutionally-protected speech.

The ASAA, backed by the Brandeis Center and the Anti-Defamation League, is part of a broader effort to censor Palestine advocacy on college campuses, in violation of the First Amendment. Anti-Palestinian crusader Kenneth Marcus, former head of the Brandeis Center who was confirmed in June to head the Office for Civil Rights in the DOE, will be responsible for enforcing the ASAA if it is enacted.

A substantially similar version of the ASAA was defeated in 2016 due to First Amendment concerns, after numerous civil rights and civil liberties organizations, including Palestine Legal, raised constitutional concern. Kenneth Stern, the original author of the definition of antisemitism endorsed by the bill, also publicly opposed the bill in a New York Times Op-Ed and in testimony to Congress.

Take action:

Contact your members of Congress. Urge them to oppose the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act. Click here to take action, via Arab American Institute.