South Carolina Bill Breaks Barriers on Fight Against Anti-Semitism

After a passionate speech on the House floor by Republican State Representative Alan Clemmons, South Carolina lawmakers passed H. 3643 by a margin of 103 to 3. The legislation adopts the State Department definition of anti-Semitism, providing educators and administrators with a clear definition of anti-Jewish bigotry.

“Senator [Tim] Scott encouraged me, along with Senator [Lindsey] Graham, as you can see in the letter on your desk, to move this bill forward in South Carolina, to give our educators a tool for defining anti-Semitism, to take the guesswork out of it, have a uniform definition, which is where we must start to push back on anti-Semitic behavior or any type of bigotry,” Clemmons told the South Carolina House.

“The bipartisan bill codifies the State Department definition of anti-Semitism. It cites “the three Ds” of anti-Semitism as it relates to Israel: demonizing Israel, double standard for Israel and delegitimizing Israel,” explained Peggy Shapiro, midwest director for the Israel education group StandWithUs. “The State Department definition specifies that ‘criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.’  It’s meant to track unprotected behavior (harassment, vandalism, threats) and treat anti-Semitism as other forms of hate speech.

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