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Lankford Takes Historic Action to Counter Antisemitism in the US

WASHINGTON, DC  Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) introduced the Countering Antisemitism Act to take historic action to counter antisemitism in the United States. Lankford and Rosen serve as co-chairs of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism. The Senate and House Task Forces were instrumental in pushing for the first-ever US National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.

“In America, we have the right to have a faith and to live that faith. No American should live in fear that they will be attacked simply because of their religious views,” said Lankford. “As the number of acts of antisemitism continues to rise, Jewish communities across the US deserve action to protect this basic freedom. This bill will work to combat antisemitism by establishing roles to provide transparent oversight, address Holocaust denials and distortions, counter discrimination on college campuses, and designate May as Jewish American Heritage Month. Our Jewish friends and neighbors should not live in fear because of their faith and heritage and this bill affirms the right to live their faith freely.”

“Antisemitism has been dramatically rising in the United States in the last several years and skyrocketed in the months since the horrific October 7 terror attack on Israel,” said Rosen. “There have been countless disturbing stories of Jewish families accosted and assaulted on streets, Jewish businesses and places of worship vandalized and desecrated, and Jewish students threatened at colleges and universities. My bipartisan legislation would establish a National Coordinator to Counter Antisemitism for the first time ever, and take other much-needed steps across the federal government to fight anti-Jewish hatred, bigotry, and violence in the United States.”

“As ADL data shows, the US Jewish community is facing the worst crisis of antisemitism that we have seen in a generation,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of ADL. “We applaud the Countering Antisemitism Act and its efforts to implement and make permanent the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.  The US government must pursue policies and create the necessary infrastructure to fight antisemitism today and well into the future; these efforts must endure beyond any single Administration or 12-month timeline. Thank you, Senators Jacky Rosen and James Lankford and Representatives Kathy Manning and Chris Smith, Co-Chairs of the House and Senate Bipartisan Task Forces for Combating Antisemitism, for leading this critical, timely bipartisan initiative. This historic bill is the most far-reaching antisemitism initiative ever to be introduced in Congress. As we face such historic levels of antisemitism, the Countering Antisemitism Act offers a smart, innovative whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to combating this hatred and protecting Jews around the country.”

“The surge of antisemitism in the US is an urgent threat to Jews and to all Americans, a threat which has only grown more severe since Hamas’ October 7 attacks on Israel,” said Ted Deutch, CEO of American Jewish Committee. “American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) State of Antisemitism in America 2023 Report found that 63% of American Jews feel the status of Jews is less secure than one year ago — more than a 20 percentage point increase in just one year. One in four reported they were the target of an antisemitic incident—a physical attack, remark, vandalism or messaging—in 2023, and 46% reported changing their behavior out of fear of antisemitism in the past 12 months. As the one-year anniversary of the US National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism draws near, we applaud the co-chairs of the House and Senate Bipartisan Task Forces for Combating Antisemitism, Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and James Lankford (R-OK), and Representatives Kathy Manning (D-NC) and Chris Smith (R-NJ), for coming together on a bipartisan basis to introduce comprehensive legislation urgently needed to counter domestic antisemitism and protect Jewish communities across our country. We are grateful to these congressional champions for taking decisive action to fight anti-Jewish hate and preserve our democracy.”

“We applaud the bipartisan and bicameral introduction of the Countering Antisemitism Act, which is the largest legislative package ever considered to combat antisemitism,” said William C. Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “This Act, sponsored by co-chairs of the Senate and House Bipartisan Task Forces for Combating Antisemitism, contains critical provisions that will strengthen federal efforts and capacity to fight antisemitism, including by establishing the position of a National Coordinator to Counter Antisemitism to chair an interagency task force. Given the unprecedented surge of antisemitism in the US following the October 7th terrorist attacks on Israel, this legislation is a significant step in protecting American Jewry and combating the oldest of hatreds.”

“This bill contains important provisions that will support our Jewish Federation communities across the country as we work together daily and tirelessly to combat the tsunami of antisemitism we face. We are proud to support its passage,” said Julie Platt, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America.

While antisemitism has been on the rise in the US for years, it has skyrocketed since the terrorist attack on Israel launched by Hamas on October 7, 2023.

Lankford recently made a trip to Israel where he visited towns in Israel that border the Gaza strip, toured Kibbutz Nir Oz, met with the survivors and families of the hostages of the October 7 massacre, visited the Nova Festival site and spent a day along the border with Lebanon. Lankford spent Easter Sunday service at the Garden Tomb.

The Countering Antisemitism Actwould:

  • Establish within the White House a National Coordinator to Counter Antisemitism to:
    • Coordinate Federal efforts to counter antisemitism. 
    • Chair a new interagency task force to coordinate the implementation of US government strategies to counter antisemitism.  
    • Conduct an annual analysis of the spread of antisemitism online and provide recommendations to Congress on how to counter it.  
    • Direct federal agencies to submit a report to Congress detailing their implementation of the US National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. 
  • Require the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center to jointly produce an annual threat assessment of antisemitic violent extremism. 
  • Require the Department of Education to designate a senior official to advise the Secretary on the Department’s efforts to counter antisemitic discrimination in higher education. 
  • Require the FEMA Administrator to ensure the agency has sufficient resources and personnel needed to carry out the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. 
  • Formally establish May as “Jewish American Heritage Month” in federal law.