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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 5, 2023 09:22 AM
From: Senator Doug Mastriano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Defunding Antisemitism on PA University Campuses
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to combat the growing antisemitism on state funded college and university campuses in Pennsylvania.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents are up 400% in the wake of the October 7th massacre of Israelis carried out by Hamas. College campuses around the nation and here in Pennsylvania have played host to many of these incidents where Jewish students literally fear for their lives and safety.

At an event just days ago on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus, pro-Hamas activists marched through the heart of campus calling for a “intifada revolution.”  University buildings were also defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti. Calls for “intifada” are a reference to two violent periods in Israel during the late 1980s and early 2000s when more than 1,000 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian terrorists.

At another rally last month on Penn’s campus, a student and writer for Penn's student newspaper, glorified the October 7th massacre of Jews during a speech stating, “I remember feeling so empowered and happy...I want all of you to hold that feeling in your hearts."

The university also hosted a “Palestine Writes” festival earlier this year featuring a panelist who was previously quoted as saying “Jews were hated in Europe because they played a role in the destruction of the economy in some of those countries.” Another panelist who participated in the festival stated that “Someday we will demolish Israel… and the world will be a better place for it.”

Temple University’s campus played host to a student walk out and rally in October attended by students and faculty in the heart of campus. Included during that rally were chants of “From the River to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The saying is a well-known call to action for the complete annihilation of the state of Israel and the Jews who live there.  

This kind of hate would not be tolerated by university officials if it was perpetrated against any other ethnic or religious minority on campus. Why is it permitted when that hate is directed toward Jewish students and faculty?  

Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars should no longer subsidize institutions which enable or support antisemitic activities.

My legislation will end taxpayer support to any state-owned or state-related colleges / universities that authorize, facilitate, or otherwise support any event promoting antisemitism on campus.  All institutions that participate or otherwise support antisemitism will be disqualified from receiving any state funding for the next academic year.

For the purposes of this legislation, the definition of antisemitism shall be the same as the definition adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, including the contemporary examples of Anti-Semitism cited by the Alliance.

A similar federal effort to defund antisemitism on college campuses passed the U.S. House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support. It is my sincere hope we can accomplish the same here in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Please join me as a co-sponsor.