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Jewish groups laud House for passing TikTok bill

“TikTok has helped fuel a horrific spike in antisemitism that our communities are feeling every day,” said Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Jewish Federations of North America.

TikTok. Credit: Pixabay.
TikTok. Credit: Pixabay.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 7521, the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, by a margin of 352-65 on Wednesday.

The legislation, which next heads to the Senate, bars the distribution, maintenance or web hosting of a “foreign adversary controlled application,” which means that the Chinese Communist Party-tied ByteDance would have to sell TikTok or see the video app banned in the United States.

“With the CCP tumor surgically removed from TikTok, Americans will be free to share whatever content they like—no matter how bad the dance moves may be,” stated Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who introduced the bill. 

“But instead of being fed whatever the opaque, CCP-controlled algorithm dictates, it will be theirs alone,” added Gallagher, chair of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), ranking member of the committee, co-sponsored the bill. “Today, the House passed my bipartisan bill with Rep. Gallagher to force ByteDance’s divestment from TikTok to end Chinese Communist Party control of the app,” the Illinois Democrat wrote. “The CCP must not be able to use TikTok against Americans, and this bill would prevent that while keeping TikTok available.”

Jewish groups applauded the House for passing the bill.

TikTok is “the most popular social-media platform driving antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiments,” according to the Jewish Federations of North America.

“TikTok has helped fuel a horrific spike in antisemitism that our communities are feeling every day, and it’s time to take action” stated Eric Fingerhut, Federations president and CEO. “Today’s vote showed the strong, bipartisan support for ensuring that TikTok cannot continue to push hateful messages into our communities, and we urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass this legislation.”

“A society that can’t control the virus of antisemitism from spreading through a social media platform will soon find itself facing existential threats to the very fabric of civic life,” Federations added. 

The Republican Jewish Coalition also supported the bill. “Many Jewish Americans awoke to the peril of TikTok after the October Hamas massacres, when the platform gained notoriety as a hotbed of pro-Hamas and antisemitic propaganda,” the RJC wrote.

Pam Keith, a Florida Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for Congress, blamed a pro-Israel group for the bill’s passage. “Wow! I am f**king shocked that Dems are voting to ban TikTok,” she wrote. “This is AIPAC at work.” (AIPAC doesn’t appear to have commented on the bill.)

Tal-Or Cohen Montemayor, founder and executive director of the online antisemitism monitor CyberWell, said Congress should take action to motivate social-media platforms “to ramp up their moderation efforts against hate speech.”

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