New York, NY, November 7, 2017 … Anti-Defamation League CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt urged members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Tuesday to join efforts to combat rising anti-Semitism on college campuses and pass the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (ASAA).
In testimony before the committee regarding campus anti-Semitism, Greenblatt detailed the staggering increase in anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses – 59 percent jump in 2017 – and recommended policy solutions to committee members, including the enactment of the ASAA.
“We believe enactment of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, legislation that was approved by the Senate in the last Congress, would be an important step forward to address discrimination against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and members of other religious groups when the discrimination is based on the group’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics,” Greenblatt said.
Greenblatt recommended to the committee “training and outreach programs for administrators, faculty, staff, and students on best practices and protocols to respond to hate speech, extremism, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.”
“Each of these campus actors must have the resources, tools, and intervention strategies to address the issue,” he said.
Greenblatt also encouraged education on the parameters of First Amendment free speech rights, noting “hate speech may be protected, but administrators and student leaders have a moral responsibility to address the accompanying harm.
Finally, Greenblatt emphasized to the committee that they must recognize that there are no simple, complete solutions to this problem – and, that the issue of anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry of all forms must be addressed long before college years.
“The federal government has a responsibility to provide funding for anti-bias, bullying prevention, and prejudice reduction initiatives for K-12 schools and the community,” he said.
ADL works with colleges and universities across the country, on both proactive education about hate, bigotry and bias, and in response to specific hate incidents on campus when they occur. ADL professionals have expertise in combatting hate, building inclusive communities, and safeguarding civil rights.
And since September 2014, ADL has been running its Words to Action program, an interactive education program for college and pre-college students designed to empower and equip them with constructive and effective responses to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. ADL also continues to be engaged in efforts to counter BDS and other anti-Israel activity, including providing hands-on support to students and campus professionals.