Bernie Sanders Blocks Resolution Condemning Campus Anti-Semitism

Bernie Sanders
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May 8, 2024

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) on Tuesday blocked a resolution that sought to condemn campus anti-Semitism amid tumultuous anti-Israel protests on college campuses across the United States.

Sanders, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, on Tuesday blocked a resolution introduced by Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) that aimed to condemn "the rise of antisemitism on campuses of institutions of higher education across the United States" and "administrators of institutions of higher education who have enabled ongoing antisemitism on their campuses." 

Sanders justified his objection to the resolution on the Senate floor, saying he would prefer a resolution that upholds "freedom of speech and dissent" and denounces all forms of discrimination. 

He later wrote on X, "Today I offer a simple resolution: NO to antisemitism. NO to Islamophobia. NO to racism and bigotry in all its forms. YES to free speech and protest under the 1st Amendment, whether on a college campus or across our nation."

Scott in response to Sanders’s objection accused the self-declared democratic socialist of trying to mischaracterize the recent campus protests nationwide. 

"The two-thousand-plus arrests on college campuses weren’t because of violence against black folks or violence against Muslims or violence against Hispanics or violence against Asians," Scott said. "It was violence against Jewish students."

"An objection to my resolution is an objection to the reality that, today, our Jewish students are facing disgusting environments on college campuses and the administrators sit back with their hands under their butts," the South Carolina Republican added.

Sanders’s blocking of the resolution continued his pattern of stalling congressional action on campus anti-Semitism, according to National Review. The Senate committee under Sanders’s leadership has not held a hearing on anti-Semitism, despite repeated requests by the committee’s ranking member Bill Cassidy (R., La.). 

The committee's House counterpart—the Education and Workforce Committee—has held hearings with leaders of Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University. The House committee has also summoned the presidents of Northwestern University, Rutgers University, and the University of California, Los Angeles, to testify on May 23. 

President Joe Biden last week slammed the anti-Israel demonstrations that have sprung up on college campuses, stressing the United States is not a "lawless country" but "a civil society [where] order must prevail."

"Destroying property is not a peaceful protest," Biden said. "Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations—none of this is a peaceful protest."