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Virginia Senator’s Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to urge the Department to take steps to combat antisemitism and islamophobia on college campuses.
Since the start of the Israel-Hamas crisis, institutions of higher education have seen a rise in antisemitism and islamophobia including hate speech, harassment, and violence which has created an environment of fear and vulnerability for students.
The letter brings attention to a few recent incidents including the hit and run attack on an Arab Muslim student at Stanford University and violent threats posted online against the Jewish community at Cornell University.
The senators call for:
- expansion of the Antisemitism Awareness Campaign
- creation of an Islamophobia Awareness Campaign
- additional outreach efforts to the affected communities
- providing resources to colleges and universities from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights
To view the senator’s full release, click here.
Members of the Virginia House of Representatives voted to approve House Bill 1606 which adopts the Working Definition of Antisemitism into Virginia Law.
The definition states that, “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/ or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Virginia has seen a rise in antisemitic attacks recently with 350 acts reported in 2022.
Governor Youngkin made a statement in support of Bill saying that “Hate has no place in the Commonwealth” and that he is “inspired by the devotion shown to transform what started as an idea into a law that will change how we combat antisemitism in the Commonwealth.”
Governor Youngkin signed an executive order on his first day in office establishing the Commission to Combat antisemitism which later recommended the use of this working definition.
Governor Glenn Youngkin announced the new members of the Commission to Combat Antisemitism.
The Commission plans to study antisemitism in the state, propose actions to combat antisemitism and reduce the number of incidents.
They will also compile materials to provide assistance to educational entities in relation to antisemitism and its connection to the Holocaust.
The commission selected 19 new members after a selection process which began in February.