James Patillo.

Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2023

by May 7, 2024Government0 comments

This topic blew up all over X, so I decided to take a look at what the actual bill says. This was my first time actually reading a bill, checking out references, and really trying to understand the purpose and implications of the content. A couple of big points that stand out are:

    • This is a formalization of action that has already been issued via executive order.
    • The bill seems reasonable on the surface.
    • The fact people are up in arms about this bill says there may be valid concerns about infringements on pre-existing rights.
    • Most detractors probably haven’t read the bill.


HR 6090
Sponsored by Rep Michael Lawler (R-NY)
Passed 320-91 5/1/24

Source: congress.gov https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/6090/all-actions

IHRA Definition of antisemitism: https://holocaustremembrance.com/resources/working-definition-antisemitism

House Summary

This bill provides statutory authority for the requirement that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights take into consideration the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA’s) working definition of antisemitism when reviewing or investigating complaints of discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. According to the IHRA’s working definition, antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.


The Department of Education can legally use the definition of antisemitism as set forth by the IHRA when they decide to go after people for speaking out about or acting discriminatory against Jews.

It should be noted that the Act never actually mentions the Office of Civil Rights. Presumably that means other arms of the Department of Education could take action as well.

Section 2 – Overview

Here we are given to understand the reasoning Congress is using to write the bill.

Title VI already prohibits the discrimination of a person on race, color, or national origin in programs that receive Federal funds. A Jewish person in the religious sense is not covered by Title VI, but a Jewish ethnic person is. This Act is supposed to add protections against antisemitism by way of enforcement in the same manner other types of discrimination are protected against by Title VI.

The last part of this section more clearly outlines the goals of the Act.

This is based on the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism 5/25/2023:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of antisemitism. This includes its threat to America (what this is exactly, I’m not sure).
  • Improve safety and security for Jewish communities
  • Reverse the normalization of antisemitism and counter its discrimination
  • Expand communication and collaboration between communities

Section 3 – And now, the justification.

Congress is going to make some claims here with no backing data.

Antisemitism is on the rise and impacting Jewish students K-12, in colleges, and universities.

The definition as provided by the IHRA is a vital tool to help individuals understand and identify the various ways antisemitism is manifested.

President Biden signed Executive order 13899 12/11/19 which already extended protections under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to cover antisemitism using the IHRA definition to enforce Title VI. This has been going on since 2018.

What does this tell us? The President already got the ball rolling on this years ago. What we are seeing now is a formalization. The questions I have are: what event prompted the Executive Order? Who has this been used against and to what end?

Going back to the point of this Act,  a point is made that alternative definitions of antisemitism impairs enforcement because multiple standards lead to failures in identifying some of the ways antisemitism manifests itself. This is going to come into play later when we review the examples of antisemitism as set forth by the IHRA that accompany the definition.

Section 4 – Important Note About the Definition

The definition of antisemitism in use is the one the IHRA adopted 5/26/16. So any changes to the definition will not be a part of this Act unless the act is amended.

The definition includes the examples the IHRA has listed. This means they will be used during enforcement as violations of the Act. They are not simply guides to help make enforcement decisions.

The Department of State is noted to have already adopted the definition. I’m not sure why that is mentioned except to perhaps put some weight behind the definition. Mentioning the Department of State here, is concerning in many ways.

Section 5 – How this Will Be Used Against You

So the definition will be used in the enforcement of Title VI.

The victim(s) perceived or actual Jewishness will be in play.

The Department of Education will use the definition to determine whether the actions were motivated by antisemitic intent. (This is where the examples will be damning whether the intent is there or not).

Section 6 – Disclaimer

  • The Congress wants to make it clear that the power of this Act has restrictions:
  • The Secretary of Education’s authority is not expanded
  • The Department of Education’s standards (policies) for determining harassing conduct shall not be altered.
  • No other rights protected by law are to be diminished or infringed upon

The last thing noted is the most important.

The First Amendment is not to be diminished or infringed.

We all know this does not work out in reality, but at least the appearance is there.


At the end of the day, the text of this bill seems like a reasonable addendum to Title VI. The concern really lies with the examples accompanying the definition. It seems like if someone wants to go after another for political purposes, this could easily be weaponized against them.

Now, the fact that this bill is focused on the Department of Education makes it much less threatening. That is, unless you work at, attend, or contract to a school.

I wonder where this antisemitism definition will pop up next?

The more I think about this, the more I dislike all the race focus in this country. If it’s not the Blacks, it’s the Jews. I wonder who’s next? The T’s?