DeSantis Signs Anti-Semitism Bill

May 29, 2019
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill into law May 29 at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem that protects Jewish students and employees from anti-Semitism on campus.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the bill, HB-741, codifies anti-Semitism as “dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations” accusing Jews of controlling powerful institutions as part of a global conspiracy. It also defines criticism of Israel that veers into “applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel.”

Anti-Semitism has no place in our state,” DeSantis said to reporters after he signed the bill,  adding that any “institution that adopts any anti-Semitic policies or guidance” will “be verboten.”

Republican State Sen. Randy Fine, who co-sponsored the bill, recounted an instance 32 years ago when a male student failed an Algebra class because the teacher wouldn’t excuse him from taking a test on Yom Kippur, saying, “If that was a real holiday, we would have all had it off.” Fine then said he has aimed to ensure that the aforementioned story would never happen to his children.

Israeli American Coalition (IAC) for Action Chairman Shawn Evenhaim said in a statement, “In 2018, IAC for Action took the lead in resourcing the Florida legislature’s development of HB-741. Recognizing the sharp increase in anti-Semitic activity, our approach was to pursue legislation that delivers a practical regulatory response. The signing of this law goes far beyond simply showing symbolic support for the plight of the Jewish community. We sincerely thank Representative Randy Fine, Governor DeSantis, and legislators on both sides of the aisle for standing boldly against anti-Semitism.”

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