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South Dakota Adopts IHRA

(Pierre, South Dakota - February 23, 2024) - South Dakota has adopted HB 1076, which codifies the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. The bill passed the House on February 23, 2024, and passed the Senate the day before. This landmark legislation ensures that South Dakota’s Division of Human Rights will consider the IHRA definition when reviewing unfair or discriminatory practices suspected of antisemitism. HB 1076 now awaits the governor’s signature.

 

StandWithUs thanks leading sponsors, Representatives Fred Deutsch and Senator Jim Melhlhoff, as well as the governor’s office for helping move this hallmark bipartisan legislation to fruition. StandWithUs also thanks its partner IAC for Action for spearheading this legislation. South Dakota now joins a growing portfolio of over 30 states to have adopted the IHRA definition.

 

Jordan Cope, StandWithUs’ Director of Policy Education, observed, “With antisemitism having exploded worldwide post-October 7, the IHRA definition remains a tool of paramount importance for helping identify and quell the mounting tide of antisemitism. South Dakota’s moral clarity on this matter sets a clear example from which other states ought to draw inspiration as Jews around the world desperately seek assurances of their own safety.” 

 

There has been confusion—sometimes intentional—about what adopting the IHRA definition means. Neither HB 1076 nor the IHRA definition creates a special non-discrimination class for Jewish people. The IHRA definition is simply a guiding tool for identifying antisemitism that may assist in the application of already-existing laws where antisemitism may be involved.       

 

HB 1076 clarifies confusion about what antisemitism is, by adopting a definition that was drafted by leading world experts to express the needs of antisemitism victims. The IHRA definition has been adopted or endorsed by over 1,100 governments, institutions, and organizations, including the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Departments of Education and State, governments of roughly 40 countries, etc. The IHRA definition has been supported by both Republican and Democrat presidential administrations.

 

Importantly, adopting the IHRA definition does not infringe upon First Amendment (free speech) rights. People still have their own free speech rights and responsibilities to condemn incidents of hatred and bigotry, and even use them as teachable moments. Referencing the IHRA definition to confront antisemitism does not violate anyone’s constitutional rights—no one has a right to be free from criticism after promoting hate. 

 

About StandWithUs

 

StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, nonprofit 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.

 

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs throughout the U.S., in Israel, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, the Netherlands and Australia.

 

For the last eleven years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator and Guidestar, two charity watchdog groups that assess hundreds of thousands of charities in the United States. 

 

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