Press Releases

CAIR Action Alert: Tell Congress that College Students Opposing Israel’s Human Rights Abuses are Not Anti-Semitic

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/4/19) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on all Americans who value the First Amendment and the right to peaceful protest to contact their legislators to oppose the falsely-titled “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019,” which incorrectly conflates legitimate First Amendment protected discussion on American college campuses about Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians with the vile bigotry of anti-Semitism.


Reintroduced by a group of four Senators led by Tim Scott (R-SC), the bill directs the Department of Education to use the working definition and examples of anti-Semitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), when investigating violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Title VI already prohibits discrimination against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and members of other religious groups based on their ethnicity or nationality and expanding its scope to include the IHRA’s definition — which was never intended to be applied to American campuses — would dangerously politicize anti-Semitism by equating it with legitimate criticism of Israeli policy.

In November 2017, a key drafter of the definition, Kenneth S. Stern, testified before Congress that this, “working definition,” was, “being abused in Title VI cases, because it was being employed in an attempt to restrict academic freedom and punish political speech.”

If signed into law, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Education Department Kenneth L. Marcus would likely use the act to attack American student and faculty groups that advocate on campuses nationwide against Israel’s human rights abuses and in favor of the rights of Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

Last year, CAIR joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Arab American Institute (AAI) and other civil liberties groups in raising serious free speech concerns about the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018.

CAIR has a decades-long track record of denouncing bigotry in all its forms, including anti-Semitism. Like many other American civil and human rights groups, CAIR is concerned about the rise of hate speech and crimes across the nation and on U.S. campuses, including increased acts of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

SEE: CAIR-OK Condemns Anti-Semitic, White Supremacist Vandalism Targeting Oklahoma City Metro

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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