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House passes resolution to condemn antisemitism, 13 Democrats vote against it

 December 6, 2023

The House overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning antisemitism both in the U.S. and worldwide, demonstrating further support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

The vote on the resolution was decisive, with 311 members in favor and only 14 opposed, while 92 Democrats opted to vote "present," and 17 members did not vote, the Daily Mail reported.

Dissenting Democrats and Jewish Democrats' Critique

Among those opposing the measure were 13 Democrats, including members of "The Squad" such as Reps. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Cori Bush (NO-01), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-12).

A faction of Jewish Democrats, including Jerry Nadler (NY-12), Dan Goldman (NY-10), and Jamie Raskin (MD-08), voted "present" and criticized the resolution as an unserious attempt by Republicans to leverage Jewish suffering for political gain.

Their stance was informed by the view that last week's resolution, which acknowledged denying Israel's right to exist as a form of antisemitism, was sufficient.

Republican and Other Perspectives

In contrast, only one Republican, Rep. Thomas Massie (KY-04) voted against the resolution.

Massie's opposition was signaled through a meme contrasting congressional support for Zionism with American patriotism.

The resolution, introduced by Jewish Republicans David Kustoff  (TN-08) and Max Miller (OH-07), was brought to the fore after reports from the Anti-Defamation League indicated a significant rise in anti-Semitic incidents following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

In November, the GOP-controlled House approved a $14.3 billion aid package for Israel, as CNN reported.

However, Democrats raised concerns about the bill due to its provisions for reducing funding for the Internal Revenue Service and its omission of aid for Ukraine.

Defining Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism

The Democrats who chose to vote "present" during the voting highlighted the presence of Jewish anti-Zionist groups, such as the Satmar Sect, as examples that demonstrate not all anti-Zionist positions are inherently anti-Semitic.

Certain liberals have voiced apprehension that this perspective might pave the way for labeling any criticism of the Israeli government as antisemitism.

According to Merriam-Webster, anti-Zionism is defined as "opposition to the establishment or support of the state of Israel."

The antisemitism is described as "hostility to or prejudice against Jewish people."

Campus Experiences and Concerns

The resolution's timing coincided with House Republicans bringing Jewish students to share their experiences of antisemitism on university campuses.

These accounts included disturbing instances of prejudice and hostility, such as a student from MIT feeling compelled to leave a doctoral group due to anti-Semitic sentiments.

According to a student at New York University: "I hear calls to gas the Jews and I am told that Hitler was right."