For Immediate Release: 
May 18, 2022
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in support of H. Res. 1125, which honors Jewish American Heritage Month and condemns the sharp rise in recent years of violent antisemitism. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.

“Madam Speaker, I want to thank my friend, the Congresswoman from Florida, Rep. Wasserman Schultz, for introducing this resolution. It is an important resolution. It is a vital resolution. It is a resolution that must be adopted so that Congress can make clear at this moment in our history that Jewish Americans can feel safe and at home in our country and that antisemitism has no place here.

“Throughout the month of May, we celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month. Why is that so important? It is important because when we celebrate the achievements and contributions of a community, we affirm that this community matters, that those in it are valued members of our American family. When we fail to recognize or celebrate the history and heritage of a particular community, it sends a signal that they are not valued, that they do not matter, that they are not equal, that they do not count. Again and again, throughout history, Jewish people were seen as ‘lesser-than.’  Indeed, disturbingly, they were often not even seen as human, which led to discrimination, violence, and genocide. Jewish people who came to our shores were seeking a place to live in safety and freedom.

“Here in America, like so many others, Jewish immigrants and refugees sought a haven where they could live without fear, worship freely, build safe and vibrant communities, and participate in our democracy as equal citizens. And that they have, helping to build a strong, safe, prosperous, free, and democratic America. They have done so in the face of discrimination – both legal and social – as well as in the face of the same economic hardships that confronted so many immigrant and refugee communities in their arrival here.

“Tragically, antisemitism followed Jewish Americans from the old world to the new one, and it has become a growing cancer on our body politic. Too many Americans need to hear the loud voice of their Congress calling out antisemitism and condemning it because too many of our fellow citizens are hearing leaders they support and trust give voice to antisemitism and many of its centuries-old tropes.

“In recent weeks, we’ve heard more and more about the ‘great replacement’ theory, a twisted conspiratorial ideology rooted in historic antisemitism that has been used by those seeking to justify heinous acts of domestic terrorism targeting minorities. We recall it from the billowing echoes of ‘Jews will not replace us’ from the marchers in Charlottesville in 2017. We’ve also heard accusations of dual loyalty and tropes about Jewish financial and political control that inspired the Nazis and soviets alike in their horrific persecutions of Jews in the twentieth century. Now, in the twenty-first century, much of this antisemitism is fueled online and through social media. And we ought to condemn it, not ignore or even defend it, as too many in our politics have done.

“We have a chance to do that today. So, as we celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, let us do so with gratitude and joy – but also with concern and vigilance: concern for what antisemitism does to Jewish communities in America and for what it does to our nation and our democracy and vigilance against those who would infect our politics and our culture with the same evils that gave the world places like Auschwitz, Dachau, and Babyn Yar.  

One of the most important ways Americans can support for our Jewish brothers and sisters in this country during this time of dangerous and rising antisemitism is to say: ‘we see you, we stand with you, you matter, you count, you are a part of this country’ and to do so without qualification or equivocation.

“Every Jewish American deserves to feel safe in America because every American deserves to feel safe in our country. Period.

“Let us affirm that today. Let us declare that with one strong voice. Vote ‘yes’ on this resolution. Vote ‘yes’ to celebrate Jewish American Heritage in our country. Vote ‘yes’ to reject antisemitism. Vote ‘yes.’”