Statement by Americans for Peace Now on The Antisemitism Awareness Act

Americans for Peace Now strongly condemns the passage of H.R. 6090, the Antisemitism Awareness Act, and urges the Senate to decline to consider this measure. This misguided bill would codify the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which conflates antisemitism with legitimate criticism of the policies and actions of the Israeli government. The lead drafter of IHRA, Kenneth Stern, has warned against using it as a cudgel against the millions of Americans, including many Jewish Americans, who object to the Netanyahu government’s decisions and actions.

We join with the many Members of Congress who are deeply concerned about escalating antisemitism here in the United States and globally, particularly following the horrific October 7th terrorist attacks. The need for a robust response to combat genuine instances of antisemitism is unquestionable. However, the IHRA definition and its examples, with its broad characterization of criticism of Israel, undermines the fight against antisemitism and threatens free speech and open discourse. Equating criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism is a tactic to stifle important discussions on Israeli policies and actions, thereby hindering the broader effort to combat true instances of hatred and discrimination against Jewish communities.

APN President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “Antisemitism is the hatred of Jews. Unfortunately, one doesn’t need to look far to find it these days. But the supporters of this bill are looking in the wrong places. They aren’t interested in protecting Jews. They are interested in supporting right-wing views and narratives on Israel and shutting down legitimate questions and criticisms by crying “antisemite” at everyone, including Jews, who oppose the Netanyahu, Ben-Gvir, Smotrich government. With this disingenuous effort, House Republicans have failed to seriously address antisemitism. I hope the Senate does better.”