HARRISBURG – Recognizing the rise in antisemitism in Pennsylvania and recognizing more needs to be done in Pennsylvania’s education system following congressional testimony by former University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill, several House Republicans Monday announced an upcoming package of legislation aimed at combatting antisemitism in Pennsylvania’s education system.
“It is hard to believe that, in 2023, we have to say that genocide against the Jewish population, or any religious group, is wrong. These actions are wrong. The rise of antisemitism in our systems of education, both at the primary and higher levels, must be stopped – period,” said Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne), who stood in support of the legislative package Monday. “Antisemitism at any level in society must be stopped, period. Recent actions and comments across the country, and right here in Pennsylvania, show that our laws must take a greater stand and say without equivocation that this wretched behavior, rooted in hate, must end.”
Rep. Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny) is sponsoring legislation to require institutions of higher education receiving state taxpayer support to recognize antisemitism and calls for the genocide of the Jewish people as bullying, harassment and intimidation as part of the institution’s code of conduct.
“We are taking a stand as the representatives of the people of Pennsylvania to show that equivocation on the issue of antisemitism on college campuses or anywhere else is unacceptable,” said Mercuri. “Taxpayer funding should only follow with a university’s commitment to combat antisemitic behavior and demonstrate leadership on campus by clearly identifying calls for genocide as against the code of conduct.”
Noting a recent survey in The Economist showing one in five young people believe the Holocaust is a myth, Rep. Kristin Marcell (R-Bucks) said she will sponsor legislation requiring curriculum transparency in Holocaust education occurring in schools and noted that parents and the community deserve to know how these events are being taught in Pennsylvania’s schools.
“While the Department of Education establishes the curriculum guidelines, schools that choose to offer lessons on the Holocaust and genocide may use any curriculum that is consistent with the law’s requirements. However, across Pennsylvania there is currently no standardized, simple, and user-friendly way for parents to review the curriculum to see how the Holocaust is taught to their children,” Marcell said. “Teaching about the Holocaust is not just about learning history; it is about safeguarding democratic values and promoting a more just and tolerant society.”
In addition to co-prime sponsoring the Holocaust curriculum transparency legislation, Rep. Joe Hogan (R-Bucks) said he will author a resolution declaring Nov. 9, 2024, as Antisemitism Awareness and Education Day in Pennsylvania. That date also coincides with the International Day Against Fascism.
“The rise in antisemitism across Pennsylvania is real, it is happening, and it is impacting families across the entire Commonwealth,” Hogan stated. “This package is meant to increase awareness about the real impacts of antisemitism and increase facts and transparency in Pennsylvania’s Holocaust education.”
View the co-sponsorship memo relating to the legislation here
Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jason Gottesman
Media Contacts for Bill Sponsors:
Rep. Rob Mercuri: Tim Craine – email@example.com
Rep. Kristin Marcell: Dave Foster – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Joe Hogan: Joe Szymanski – email@example.com