Legislative Updates – Pray for America's Leaders

Legislative Updates

Pennsylvania | August 31, 2021

ZOA Officials Feldman/Tuchman/Klein Condemn Philadelphia Librarians for Indoctrinating Children with Anti-Israel Material

Pennsylvania | August 31, 2021

A public library system in Philadelphia is promising to make operational changes after drawing criticism for what some community members are considering an effort to indoctrinate children and parents against Israel through books, videos and resource links that show a biased pro-Palestinian agenda.

The issues were first discovered by members of the Jewish community, who contacted the Philadelphia Chapter of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) to express their concerns. ZOA Philadelphia’s executive director, Steve Feldman, a former reporter for The Jewish Exponent, looked into the concerns and said that he was disturbed by what he found on the website of the Free Library of Philadelphia—the country’s 13th-largest system of public libraries.

He found out that the 55 branches of the library system had individual Facebook pages where librarians would often post book suggestions and readings for children and their caretakers.

“I started looking, and I kept finding more and more disturbing content that was first of all directed at young people—children, middle-school age or maybe even younger frankly—and that it was all of an anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist nature,” said Feldman. “There seemed to be a campaign going on to indoctrinate young Philadelphians, or whoever else uses the websites in the library or the branches of the library, to indoctrinate young people and their parents to be anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish, anti-Israel.”.. (Excerpts from ZOA)

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District of Columbia | July 22, 2021

White House: Antisemitism monitor to be named ‘in the coming weeks’

District of Columbia | July 22, 2021

The White House will nominate an antisemitism monitor within weeks, a top White House official said at a Jewish Federations of North America conference on antisemitism.

Melissa Rogers, the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, addressed the JFNA’s “Cabinet Activation against Antisemitism” on Tuesday, the JFNA said in a release.

The release said Rogers gave the news to the gathering of 250 members of the JFNA’s “Young Leadership Cabinet,” a leadership development program.

Jewish organizations have been pressuring the Biden administration to name someone to the job for months. JFNA arranged the fly-in to address the recent spike in antisemitic attacks, particularly following the Israel-Gaza conflict in May….

(Excerpts from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

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Tennessee | July 22, 2021

Tennessee Rep. Kustoff Condemns Ben & Jerry’s Boycott of Jewish West Bank Settlements

Tennessee | July 22, 2021

Calling Israel America’s “greatest ally in the Middle East,” Representative David Kustoff (R-TN-8) on Tuesday decried the decision of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Company to cease selling its products in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and contested parts of East Jerusalem. 

“This shouldn’t even be a debate,” he told Sean Spicer and co-host Lyndsay Keith on a broadcast of Newsmax’s Spicer & Co. “They shouldn’t have started this controversy.” 

The congressman noted Ben & Jerry’s has received a sharp backlash as a result of its move, including from the Israeli government and from many Americans, which could take the form of a counter-boycott. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has admonished Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, that such a response would spell “severe consequences” for the corporation.

Along those lines, Keith cited the Wheaton, Maryland-based Shalom Kosher Market, which has announced it will no longer sell Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. 

“When people around the world look to the United States to lead an example, and we need to show strong support for Israel—they’re our leading democracy in the Middle East—and an ice cream company makes it political, it’s a real shame,” Kustoff said.

Kustoff, who is himself Jewish, likened the corporation’s decision to anti-Israel vitriol voiced by some congressional Democrats. One such Democrat is Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN-5), who tweeted last month that “we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.” Another is Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13), who last year retweeted a message declaring “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” an expression calling to mind the elimination of the Jewish state….

(Excerpts from the Tennesse Star)

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Texas | June 17, 2021

Texas Adopts IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Texas | June 17, 2021

We congratulate Texas for officially adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. After receiving bipartisan support in both the State Senate and House of Representatives, Governor Abbott has officially signed this crucial milestone into law. We proudly stand with the Lone Star State in its efforts to eradicate antisemitism in all its forms…

(Excerpt from Christian United for Israel)

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District of Columbia | June 7, 2021

Anti-Semitism Is an Attack on American Principles

District of Columbia | June 7, 2021

The renowned British historian Paul Johnson has called anti-Semitism “a disease of the mind.” There seems to be no permanent cure for this disease. It has flared up again, not just in the usual international settings—in the United Nations General Assembly, for example—but much closer to home.

During the first week of the Israel–Hamas conflict, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) received 193 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States. Two weeks ago, Jews were attacked by gangs in New York City and Los Angeles, and synagogues were vandalized in Skokie, Tucson, and Salt Lake City.

Attacks on Jews, however, began long before the most recent clash between Israel and the Islamist terrorist organization of Hamas. In 2019, the ADL recorded more than 2,100 anti-Semitic acts, the highest number in the 40-year history of the organization’s report. The murderous rampages in synagogues in California and Pittsburgh, a shooting at a kosher grocery store in Jersey City, the arson at the Portland Chabad Center for Jewish Life, the stabbing at the rabbi’s home during Chanukah in Monsey, N.Y., and brutal assaults on Hasidic men in Brooklyn—such incidents are no longer a rare occurrence…

(Excepts from the Heritage Foundation)

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New York | June 7, 2021

Victim of Antisemitic New York City Attack: Support From Jewish Community ‘Giving Me the Strength to Continue’

New York | June 7, 2021

The young Jewish man who attacked by a gang of pro-Palestinian thugs in the streets of New York City said that he was intent on continuing to be a “proud Jew” and that the support of the Jewish community and his loved ones has given him the strength to deal with the assault, in an interview Friday.

Joseph Borgen, 29, was ambushed, beaten and pepper sprayed by five assailants while returning from a May 20 pro-Israel demonstration, and while he was wearing a kippah.

His attackers voiced antisemitic slurs during the attack.

One of the men, Waseem Awawdeh, 23, said after being arrested, “I’d do it again.”

Speaking with Meghan McCain on the talk show The View, Borgen said, “I’ve been a proud Jew my entire life, I’ve lived in New York my entire life. Never once before was I accosted verbally or felt threatened by the fact that I was Jewish, for wearing a kippah, or anything of that ilk or that nature.”..

(Excerpts from the Algemeiner)

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