MidEast

Florida Senate Passes Anti-Semitism Bill with Strong Bipartisan Support

The Florida Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill prohibiting anti-Semitism in public schools and universities, two days after a gunman shot Jewish worshippers in Poway, California at a Chabad synagogue.

“Antisemitism is on the rise and we have the ability to do something about it,” said Sen. Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) as he introduced the legislation. “I am heartened by the fact we are taking this up today, this very important bill,” added Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Jewish Democrat from Miami.

Bal Harbour Mayor Gabe Groisman, who drafted and passed the United States’ first municipal anti-BDS decree in his town, tweeted: “The State of Florida just passed HB741- Florida’s Anti-Semitism Bill – to protect students from antisemitism at schools and colleges across the State! Congratulations to all involved!”

Passed by a vote of 26-0, the legislation is now going to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his signature. DeSantis announced earlier this month a high-profile trade mission to Israel that will take place in May, which will be his first international trip since taking office.

“When people say that people like me who are in office support Israel because of ‘the Benjamins,’ they just don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said in reference to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s controversial dual loyalty remarks. “It’s about shared values and that’s why we have such a strong relationship.”

The legislation unanimously passed the Florida House earlier this year and adopts the U.S. Department of State definition of anti-Semitism. All public education institutions will be required to treat anti-Semitism the same way as all other forms of racial discrimination.

The definition has also been adopted by the 31 states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member. The definition notes that accusations of dual loyalty and the use of double standards against the Jewish State, as well as anti-Zionism like the denial of Jewish rights to self-determination, are also considered manifestations of anti-Semitism.

[Photo: Joe Gruters / YouTube]