Statement on HR 6090 and Antisemitism

Statement from the American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine regarding passage of HR 6090 and the IHRA definition of antisemitism

“The American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine (AFRP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a sense of community among Palestinian-Americans with roots in Ramallah and advocating for the rights and heritage of the Palestinian people. With a rich history of promoting cultural, educational, and humanitarian initiatives, the AFRP strives to build bridges of understanding and cooperation between the Palestinian community and the broader American society.

It is with grave concern that we address H.R. 6090, the Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2023, which has recently passed in the House of Representatives and is now before the Senate. This bill endorses the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. While combating antisemitism is a vital and noble cause, the adoption of the IHRA definition is highly problematic and controversial.

We align ourselves with organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC), and many more in opposing the application of this definition. The IHRA definition conflates legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Zionism with antisemitism, which not only silences free speech and stifles academic freedom, but also criminalizes the Palestinian narrative. This conflation is particularly concerning as it is inherently anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian, as it demands that Palestinians accept their own ethnic cleansing and erasure from their homeland as a condition for being recognized as non-racist. We join in the existing calls from American civil society to reject H.R. 6090 which not only is counterproductive for protecting Jewish students from discrimination, but also causes profound harm to Palestinian students.

The American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine urges the Senate to reject the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism as outlined in H.R. 6090. We call for a more nuanced and inclusive approach to defining and combating antisemitism, one that does not infringe on the rights of Palestinians and other communities to advocate for our rights and freedoms.

We stand firmly against all forms of hatred and discrimination, including antisemitism, and we believe that the fight against such prejudices should not come at the expense of silencing the voices of Palestinians and our allies. We urge our elected officials to consider these serious implications and work towards a definition that genuinely protects all communities without causing harm to others.”

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