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Governor DeSantis approves amendment to Florida law to include definition of anti-Semitism

After a bill to define anti-Semitism in state law received unanimous support in a typically divided legislature, it has now received the governor's signature.

Governor. Ron DeSantis adopted legislation (HB187) provided that Florida defines anti-Semitism as “a particular perception of Jews that may be expressed as hatred toward Jews” and as rhetorical and outward manifestations of such hatred “directed against Jewish or non-Jewish individuals, their property, community institutions, and religious institutions.”

The measure contains 11 examples of anti-Semitism that are consistent with its definition. These include “dehumanizing” stereotypes that Jews control industry and government, “demonizing” symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism, such as Blood libelHolocaust denial and double standards in criticism of Israel, the only country with a Jewish majority.

But the measure explicitly states that the term “anti-Semitism” does not apply to criticism of Israel that is similar to criticism of other countries. It also says that the measure “shall not be construed to diminish or violate any right protected by the First Amendment … or to conflict with federal or state anti-discrimination laws.”

The definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (HERRA), passed in 2016, already exists in Florida law, but is hidden in an education-specific section of the law.

The measure takes place in the midst of a breathtaking climb in hate crimes against Jews. It would not create a new law or crime. Rather, the definition could be used in conjunction with Florida's existing hate crime and discrimination laws.

Anti-Semitic incidents in the USA Increase of 360%According to the Anti-Defamation League, since October 7 attack in western Israel by Palestinian Hamas terrorists and the subsequent – ​​and still ongoing – war in the Gaza Strip.

Democratic Representative from Davie. Mike Gottlieb co-sponsored the bill with Democratic Senator from Boynton Beach. Lori BermanBerman described the IHRA definition as the “gold standard” that 43 UN member states and 11 US states have adopted.

“By adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, we are sending a strong message that discrimination against Jews will not be tolerated in our state,” she said. “We are taking a proactive stance to ensure Florida remains a welcoming and inclusive place for all.”

HB 187 takes effect on July 1.

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Anna Harden

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