Ben Taylor, Green Party Candidate for NJ’s 9th Congressional District Condemns HR 6090

Statement on HR 6090

In 2019, then-president Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13899. The order instructed all federal agencies to consider adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which includes so-called “contemporary manifestations,” of antisemitism; or, in other words, criticisms directed toward the state of Israel. As the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (or BDS) movement was gaining traction across college campuses, this Trump-era executive order allowed the Department of Education to crack down on students protesting Israel’s actions in occupied Palestine. This was the reality that I faced at Rutgers New Brunswick while studying for my political science degree. After joining demonstrations with the Rutgers University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (or SJP), the fate of the BDS movement was called into question.

At the time, this executive order was understood entirely as Trump’s far-right policy of banning Palestinian solidarity movements, thus shielding the Israeli regime from domestic criticism. 

Today, on May 1st, 2024, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to make Trump’s executive order mandatory. Representative Bill Pascrell of NJ-09 voted in favor of HR 6090, also known as the Antisemitism Awareness Act, in a blatant move to betray his constituency. Even though New Jersey’s representatives are mostly Democrats, only two of them voted against the act. The rest voted to support Trump’s fascism as our university students are being brutalized by military-style police units. Democrats and Republicans are working together to silence and arrest opponents. They are using every tactic at their disposal to erase Palestinian culture.

In the wake of Israel’s genocide campaign against occupied Palestine in Gaza, I felt moved and compelled to give the people of New Jersey the option to vote against the mass murder. To say no to genocide. To stand with the Palestinian people. That was my reasoning behind launching my campaign with the New Jersey Green Party, running for congress in the 9th congressional district. I could no longer sit idly by and watch as the Israeli military flattened Palestinian communities and murdered their people. As we approached yet another general election this year, I, like many other New Jerseyans, was appalled that we were faced with another impossible choice between Democrats and Republicans. 

Thus, I openly denounce HR 6090, and any act that impedes our inherent duty to protest against genocide. This is a fundamental core belief of the Green Party, and a belief that is explicitly mandated by the Genocide Convention of 1948. I’ve written this statement to make my denouncement abundantly clear. 

My opponent, Bill Pascrell, has made two points clear today: that a vote for him is a vote for unimpeded genocide against Palestinians, and that he supports former president Donald Trump’s executive order. The two ruling political parties are one and the same. 

Ben Taylor