Florida bill defines 'anti-Semitism,' bans it in schools

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
 | 
Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com)

anti-SemitismThe head of a Florida-based pro-family organization is praising state lawmakers for passing an anti-Semitism bill, saying such legislation is long overdue.

Just two days after a gunman opened fire in a California synagogue, killing one and injuring three others, Florida's Senate unanimously passed a bill prohibiting anti-Semitism in the state's public schools and universities. Lawmakers mentioned the shooting before passing HB 741, which would mandate that discrimination against Jewish people be treated the same as acts of racial discrimination in public schools.

The bill – which also passed unanimously in the House on April 11 – defines "anti-Semitism," including expressing hatred for Jews, calling for the killing or harming of a Jewish person, criticizing the collective power of the Jewish community, or accusing Jewish people or Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

This is a long overdue bill, says David Caton, president of the Florida Family Association.

"It's legislation that is needed because there's a need for direction in our colleges and schools that anti-Semitism is just not acceptable," he tells OneNewsNow. "This is legislation that should be enacted in all states."

Caton

The Jewish Virtual Library reports the Jewish population in Florida is the third-highest in the U.S., trailing only New York and California.

According to Caton, the anti-Semitism on college campuses is especially egregious with groups like the Muslim Student Association, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations having unfettered access to students.

"[Those groups are] all very anti-Semitic and they should not be allowed on campuses," he argues. "This is the kind of legislation that is needed to keep people like Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from coming on our campuses and spreading her hate."

Omar is one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, and since taking office in January has been accused of making several anti-Semitic comments in speeches and on social media.

HB 741 has been sent to Governor Ron DeSantis for his signature. (View bill's legislative history)

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