Long Island Pols Back Bill to Revoke College Aid to Antisemitic Students 

State Assemblyman Ari Brown urged passage of a bill banning antisemitic students from getting state-funded financial aid.

Republican New York State lawmakers from Long Island are urging the Democratic majority in Albany to pass legislation that would block antisemitic college students from receiving state Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards.

The proposed Combating Campus Antisemitism Act comes amid a rise in reports of antisemitic incidents and as protesters have clashed with authorities at campuses nationwide while rallying for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas War.

“We cannot allow college campuses to become breeding grounds for hate and discrimination,” state Assemblyman Ari Brown (R-Cedarhurst) told reporters during a May 8 news conference. “This legislation is a crucial step in safeguarding our institutions and fostering a culture of inclusivity and respect.” 

State Sen. Bill Weber (R-Rockland County) introduced the bill to prohibit taxpayer-funded TAP awards — which can amount to up to $5,665 annually — to students who knowingly engage in promoting antisemitism in a manner that incites or produces imminent lawless action constituting “true threats,” according to the senator.

“While it is disheartening to witness the overt embrace of antisemitism across our state, it is especially troubling to see it manifesting within our institutions of higher learning,” he said. “There is no room for hate in New York, and it is our duty to put an end to this divisive behavior.” 

The senator cited statistics from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that found a 400% increase in antisemitic incidents nationwide after the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas massacred more than 1,200 Israelis and took about 240 hostage during a surprise attack on Oct. 7. Protesters have rallied against the 35,000 people killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, since the outbreak of the ensuing conflict.

“This has been felt intensely on U.S. college campuses where Jewish students have borne the brunt of antisemitic incidents, including violent assaults, intimidation and harassment by fellow students,” according to the ADL. 

The push for the proposal’s passage comes about a month before the State Legislature’s session ends for the year — a time of when lawmakers make their final pitches for bills they want to get signed into law amid a flurry of last-minute lawmaking. It was not immediately clear if state Democratic legislative majority leaders would allow the bill to come up for a vote.

“Taxpayers should not be funding antisemitism,” said Assemblyman Joe DeStefano (R-Medford). “We must take swift and decisive action to address this alarming rise in hate and ensure the safety and well-being of all students.”