U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost was the only member of Florida’s congressional delegation to vote against a resolution condemning those who support antisemitism and terrorist organizations on college campuses, although he says his objections focused on the details of the measure rather than the core message.
In an interview Friday, Frost said he has taken a strong stance against antisemitism, condemning neo-Nazi demonstrations in Orlando, but he voted against the resolution because he thought the full text was not accurate. Instead, he supports a resolution condemning antisemitism in higher education that passed the Senate.
The resolution approved by the House condemned “the support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations at institutions of higher education, which may lead to the creation of a hostile environment for Jewish students, faculty and staff.”
It called on campus administrators to denounce antisemitism and ensure that Jewish faculty, students and guests can exercise their free speech rights without intimidation. It also urged enforcement of federal civil rights laws to protect Jewish students from antisemitism.
Frost said “rising antisemitism on college campuses is appalling,” but he thought the resolution mischaracterized incidents that had taken place on university campuses.
It included multiple examples of antisemitism on college campuses but wrongfully implied that they were allowed to go unpunished by their universities, he said.
“I want to make sure I am not feeding into any misinformation. … Unfortunately in this resolution there were lies,” Frost said.
For instance, the resolution mentions an incident where a Cornell University professor referred to the Hamas attacks as “exhilarating” but omits that he is on leave and the university issued a statement denouncing the remarks.
The resolution calls out college administrators for failing “to speak out clearly” after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. It also says “a disturbing number of student organizations at institutions of higher education placed blame solely upon the State of Israel for the attack and expressed support for the terrorist actions of Hamas through the glorification of violence and the usage of antisemitic rhetoric.”
Frost said he supports a Senate resolution condemning antisemitism in higher education that he thinks is more accurate.
Others in opposition included Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky was the only Republican to vote against the measure. He cited free-speech concerns in a posting on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Supporters said Jewish students are being harassed, threatened and targeted in a surge of antisemitism, and a strong message needed to be sent.
“It’s unthinkable that students are unable to walk between classes to their dorms or the dining hall, but it’s the reality for Jewish students on campus today,” U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean, a Republican from the Jacksonville area, said during House debate. “The history of the Holocaust warns us what can happen when hatred is met with silence. We cannot stand by while Jewish students feel threatened.”
Last month, Frost supported a resolution standing with Israel as “it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists.”
He’s also one of 18 Democrats who signed onto a resolution calling for an “immediate de-escalation and ceasefire” in the region.
“I support Israel’s need to end the campaign of terror by Hamas, but the current tactics have led to the death of thousands of innocent people in Gaza,” Frost said in an Oct. 17 statement. “At this time, I am calling for Israel to suspend their bombing campaign in order for more innocent civilians to evacuate, to establish a humanitarian safe zone, and for humanitarian aid, which has been championed by the Biden Administration, to be able to enter Gaza.”