(USNewsMag.com) – On Oct. 19, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley’s unanimous consent resolution that would have condemned antisemitic speech on college campuses was blocked by Democratic Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen.
Hawley proposed the resolution because of the pro-Palestinian protests that have been held on college campuses across the country following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel that killed 1,400, including 32 Americans.
In introducing the resolution, Hawley stated that the “response of some people in this country” was “almost as disturbing” as the attacks.
From the floor, Hawley stated how Ohio State students were praising the attacks as “heroic resistance.” He also referenced University of North Carolina students who said to remain in “solidarity” with Gaza “no matter the pathway to liberation.” Hawley said that calling for “a genocide against Jewish people” is not just a different opinion. He said the “Senate should be clear” and “say ‘this is wrong.'”
Though Van Hollen stated that some of the words used in the protests were “repugnant,” he noted that most were not violent. He felt the unanimous consent resolution could potentially violate the students First Amendment rights by smearing all of the students who participated in the protests. Van Hollen stated that some of the student organizations may legitimately be concerned with “the loss of innocent civilian life in Gaza.” He stated that the resolution does not condemn antisemitism.
Hawley stated Van Hollen’s block of the resolution was a “failure of moral nerve.”
A bipartisan resolution to support Israel in its defense was co-signed by 99 senators and adopted by the Senate on Oct. 19.
On Oct. 16, Hawley also sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, seeking a Department of Justice investigation into the pro-Palestinian student organizations that have been involved with the protests on university campuses and whether they receive any funding from a third party such as Hamas. Hawley noted a letter signed by 34 student organizations at Harvard University, as well as incidents at Columbia University and the University of Virginia.
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