The House of Representatives on Monday passed legislation recognizing Ohio’s Kol Israel Foundation Holocaust Memorial — one of the oldest Holocaust memorials in the US — as a national memorial. The Kol Israel Memorial in Bedford Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, would be the first Holocaust memorial to receive the designation. Jewish insiderreports Marc Rod.
Never again: “I thought it was important as we see antisemitism continue to rise both nationally and internationally … that we actually affirm and emphasize the sense of never forgetting,” said freshman Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH), who is the legislation supported Jewish insider on Tuesday, recalling Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s recent statements questioning the Holocaust. “My goal was to ensure that this memorial gets the recognition it deserves.” The memorial is in Brown’s Ward. Making the memorial a national monument would “elevate its relevance for people to recognize the historical significance of this treasure that we are so blessed with in the 11th congressional district,” Brown continued.
Buckeye’s bipartisanship: In the House of Representatives, the bill, passed by vote, was introduced with several other members of the Ohio delegation: Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Tim Ryan (D-OH), David Joyce (R-OH), Mike Carey (R-OH) and Anthony Gonzalez (RAW). Supporting Senate legislation was introduced by Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH). The House Legislature now has a total of 29 co-sponsors, and the Senate Legislative Companion was approved by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in July.
Community Perspective: Mark Frank, former chair of the Kol Israel Foundation and chair of the committee that tracked the monument’s national recognition, noted to JI that the nomination by Congress would provide the monument with further protections — including making vandalism a federal crime is being made – and potentially raising awareness of the site beyond the local community. “In today’s climate, rising anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and recognition as a national memorial would validate the horrific history of the Holocaust,” Frank told JI.
To move fast: Andrew Mizsak, a lobbyist and member of the Kol Israel Foundation board who served as liaison between the board and the Ohio congressional delegation, said he received positive responses from the offices of Rep. Brown, Joyce, Sen. Brown and Portman, when he first approached the legislature about the possibility of legislation. “It was like warp speed and more,” Mizsak told JI. “It usually takes a couple of years to get that kind of designation… Five months from introduction in the house to goodbye in the house is just amazing.”
Read more here.
Bonus: On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution tabled by MPs Ted Deutch (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Kathy Manning (D-NC) and Peter Meijer (R-MI) encouraging the European Union to adopt the Label Hezbollah as a terrorist group. The EU only describes Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist entity, not its political wing. The resolution, along with other pieces of legislation, passed by a vote of 361 to 69.