WASHINGTON (JTA) – A bipartisan task force to combat anti-Semitism around the world was established by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The task force launched Tuesday is designed to educate Congress about anti-Semitism, which its members referred to as “the 21st century face of this age-old bigotry.”
Congress members will share ideas with the executive branch, foreign leaders and other organizations on combating anti-Semitism. It also will promote Holocaust remembrance through teaching tolerance and confronting hate.
“Jewish populations are facing increased levels of hatred, frequently under the guise of political differences or other alibis, but in reality it is solely because of their faith,” task force co-chairs Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Kay Granger (R-Tex.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said in a statement.
“It is the responsibility of everyone who believes in basic universal liberties and freedoms to condemn this trend and work together to root out the hatred which underlies anti-Semitism,” the statement said.
Smith, the chairman of the House’s human rights subcommittee, chaired a subcommittee session on anti-Semitism on Tuesday.
Among the witnesses were Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress; Roger Cukierman, the president of CRIF, the French Jewish umbrella organization; and Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, president of the Danish Jewish Community.
Lauder called on the United States to show greater leadership in combating the phenomenon.
“In my travels to all of these communities, I am asked the same question around Europe and the world: Where is the United States?” he said. “Why isn’t the United States leading the world in this crisis?”
Congress seeks funding for US-Israel energy and water development
Bipartisan effort to support program which provides grants to private sector innovators
WASHINGTON (JTA) – A bipartisan group of US lawmakers requested $2 million in funding for a US-Israel energy and water development program.
Led by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California), 106 members of Congress joined in the request last week for the United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Program, which began in 2006. The funds would be added to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill.
The program, which deals with energy security and independence, leverages small grants for private sector innovation. Ongoing projects include funding for research and development in energy technologies and efficiency in the American and Israeli private sectors.
The projects involve hydroelectric energy production, the lowering of energy consumption for water treatment, wind energy storage, reduction of fuel consumption and noise control.
From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Lawmakers introduce bill to stymie Israel boycotts
(JTA) — Two Republican congressmen introduced legislation to prevent boycotts of Israel.
Under the Boycott Our Enemies, Not Israel Act introduced Wednesday by Reps. Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Ron DeSantis of Florida, prospective contractors with the U.S. government would be required to certify that they are not participating in any boycotts against Israel. The bill also includes penalties for false certification, including permanently banning a company from doing business with the government.
“Our government business practices should not play any role in harming our greatest ally in the Middle East,” Lamborn said in a statement, adding that the bill was introduced to “thwart efforts by Palestinian organizations to pressure different corporations, companies and educational institutions to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel.”
“The BDS movement represents a disgraceful attempt to single out Israel for punitive treatment,” he said.