Florida Senate Unanimously Passes Antisemitism Bill April 29, 2019
(Tallahassee, FL - April 29, 2019) -- The Florida Senate unanimously passed an anti-antisemitism bill which was previously passed by the Florida House unanimously. The bill now moves to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to sign.
The new bill defines antisemitism and mandates that discrimination against Jewish people be treated the same as acts of racial discrimination in Florida's K-20 public education institutions. SB1272 was filed by State Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota). A similar bill HR 741, sponsored by State Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay), was approved last week by the Florida House in a 114-0 vote.
Florida State Senators took into consideration the troubling rise of antisemitism at schools and universities and the tragedies in Pittsburgh and San Diego. They decided that words of condemnation and condolence are insufficient. They wanted legislation to directly impact anti-Semitic crimes before it gets worse. The state will adopt the State Department Definition of antisemitism and in so doing not depend on arbitrary definitions imposed by various administrations. All public education institutions required to treat antisemitism the same as they treat all race-based discrimination
The definition of antisemitism has also been adopted by the 31 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member. This definition is consistent with and builds upon the information contained in the 2010 State Department definition. As a member of IHRA, the United States now uses this working definition and has encouraged other governments and international organizations to use it as well.
Roz Rothstein, CEO StandWithUs states, "We thank the lawmakers for holding a moment of silence for the victims of the Poway shooting and recognizing Lori Gilbert-Kaye's brave actions. We praise them for recognizing the need to pass strong legislation defining antisemitism thus making it easier for law enforcement to investigate unprotected conduct such as harassment and vandalism as hate crimes. Florida is acting as a role model during these challenging times. We encourage every state to follow Florida's lead and protect all of its citizens, especially its students, from discrimination based on race, religion or ethnic origin."
StandWithUs (SWU) is an eighteen year-old, international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.
Based in Los Angeles, the organization has 18 chapters and offices throughout the U.S., in Israel, the UK, Canada and Brazil.