Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen blocked a resolution from Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley that would have condemned antisemitic student activities on college campuses.
Hawley introduced a Senate Resolution on Thursday condemning antisemitic student groups’ protests against Israel, protests that often celebrate and justify the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel.
“We must stand together with Israel and against hateful, violent rhetoric that threatens the safety and security of Jewish Americans in the United States,” Hawley wrote. “My resolution unequivocally condemns Hamas and the hateful, antisemitic rhetoric that the recent terrorist attack has inspired on our college campuses.”
“This is particularly urgent,” he added, “given the rise in threats against Jewish Americans across our country. I invite you to join me in standing with Israel and against hate.”
However, when Hawley introduced the resolution on Thursday, it was blocked by Van Hollen, who expressed concerns that the resolution “smeared” those students engaging in pro-Palestine protests.
“What this resolution does is condemn certain speech around the country,” he said.
“What this resolution does is attempt to smear students, many of whom engaged in antisemitic remarks, but many of whom did not,” Van Hollen continued. “My view is that when you come to the Senate floor to pass such a resolution and you’re talking about freedom of speech, it’s very important not to paint a broad brush and condemn everybody engaging in speech. This is what that resolution does. It’s an attempt to say even those who had legitimate statements to make about war and peace, to smear them all as making antisemitic remarks.”
Last week, Hawley had urged the Justice Department to investigate whether pro-Palestinian student groups have any potential financial ties to Hamas. Though the First Amendment protects the right to protest, he wrote, it does not protect “the provision of material support to terrorist organizations.”
“Public reports indicate that several far-left student groups have lined up to effectively cheerlead Hamas’s genocidal war against the people of Israel,” he wrote, Fox News reported.
“These student organizations are seemingly lobbying in support of the murder of innocent people, including children and babies,” Hawley added. “They are menacing Jewish Americans within our cities. And they are doing so in what appears to be a coordinated fashion.”
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