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December 6, 2018 10:44 am

Senators Intent on Riders Clarifying Antisemitism, BDS In Educational Arena

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Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Kenneth L. Marcus (right) speaks with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in Washington at the annual gala for the Endowment for Middle East Truth on June 12, 2018. Photo: Jackson Richman/JNS.

JNS.org – Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is looking to insert into the upcoming must-pass spending legislation this month his proposed Anti-Semitism Awareness Act that would require the Department of Education to adopt the State Department’s definition of antisemitism in evaluating incidents on college campuses and at other educational institutions.

“We absolutely hope that it is inserted into the upcoming spending bill,” Scott spokesperson Ken Farnaso told JNS.

Scott and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the bill in the upper chamber, while a version of it was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps.Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y).

This development comes as The Intercept reported on Tuesday that Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) is looking to insert his Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would amend the Export Administration Act of 1979, forbidding American firms from partaking in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, including boycotts advocated by international organizations such as the United Nations.

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Lately, Cardin’s legislation has been put on the back-burner due to skepticism from his fellow Democrats.

The bill has support from organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, while groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union oppose it.

The anti-BDS act is a top priority for AIPAC, a spokesperson told JNS.

“The ACLU does’t take a position on boycotts of foreign countries, but we have long supported the right to participate in political boycotts and have voiced opposition to anti-boycott bills in multiple states as infringements on free speech,” said spokesperson Abdullah Hasan.

Nonetheless, pro-Israel groups such as Christians United for Israel has been striving to advance these pending pieces of legislation.

“We are continuing our efforts to advance these bills as well as the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act, among others,” CUFI Action Fund chairwoman Sandra Parker told JNS. “We are in daily discussions with Hill staff on the best way to ensure all of these important pieces of legislation move forward.”

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