House approves anti-Semitism bill with support of Moolenaar, Hurd

The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 11 resoundingly approved, 411-1, bipartisan anti-Semitism legislation cosponsored by U.S. Reps. John Moolenaar (R-MI) and Will Hurd (R-TX).

H.R. 221, which advanced to the U.S. Senate, would promote the Special Envoy on Anti-Semitism to the rank of ambassador and would require Senate confirmation of nominated individuals for the position, according to the lawmakers.

“By elevating the role of the special envoy, the United States is sending a clear signal to the rest of the world that our country will be a strong supporter of the Jewish people, as well as Israel and its right to exist,” said Rep. Moolenaar, who joined Rep. Hurd as being among the 87 cosponsors of H.R. 221.

If enacted, H.R. 221 would amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to monitor and combat anti-Semitism globally, among other purposes, according to the text of the bill.

“Anti-semitism, racism, and bigotry of any kind simply has no place in today’s society,” Rep. Hurd said on Jan. 11. “We must continue setting an example for the rest of the world by standing tall against hate and showing that only light can conquer darkness.”

Additionally, H.R. 221 would express that “Congress finds that since the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 was enacted, in many foreign countries acts of anti-Semitism have been frequent and wide in scope, the perpetrators and variety of threats to Jewish communities and their institutions have proliferated, and in some countries anti-Semitic attacks have increased in frequency, scope, violence, and deadliness.”

“Religious freedom is a core principle of our country and it is shared by people around the world,” added Rep. Moolenaar. “Recent incidents of anti-Semitism at home and abroad show there is still an urgent need to show support for the Jewish people as they face hatred and discrimination.”

Rep. Hurd said he’s “proud to support my Jewish brothers and sisters across south and west Texas” and he plans to “continue to ensure all my constituents are advocated for in Congress.”

Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham of Temple Beth-el San Antonio, said, “This bill prioritizes the importance of combating anti-Semitism and showing that we will stand up against hate. We want to thank Rep. Hurd for cosponsoring this bill and always standing with our Jewish community to ensure peace and security for our region and throughout the U.S.”

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 14 received H.R. 221 for consideration.