The South Carolina House of Representatives has unanimously passed a new bill, H3643, to combat anti-Semitism, sponsored by the state’s U.S. Representative Alan Clemmons.
The StandWithUs non-profit Israel education organization applauded the passage of the legislation.
The bipartisan bill codifies the State Department definition of anti-Semitism and cites the so-called “3-Ds” of anti-Semitism relating to Israel: demonizing Israel, having a double standard for Israel, and delegitimizing Israel.
The State Department definition specifies that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.” It is meant to track unprotected behavior (harassment, vandalism, threats) and treat anti-Semitism as other forms of hate speech.
In a statement released Friday, Peggy Shapiro, Midwest Director of StandWithUs cited FBI tracking showing there were more hate crimes against Jews than all other religious groups combined. The rise in anti-Semitic crimes on campuses is especially alarming.
“With the increase of intimidation and anti-Jewish vandalism, this legislation is necessary,” Shapiro said. “The point of the bill is not to restrict or punish anti-Semitic speech. It is to protect Jewish students from discrimination against them.”
A letter written by U.S. Senators Lindsey O. Graham and Tim Scott was sent to Congressman Alan Clemmons and the South Carolina House of Representatives to support the bill. Following is the text.
“We are deeply troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic incidents that have recently taken place here in the United States and abroad. It is why we feel it necessary to add our voices in support of South Carolina House of Representatives bill H.3643, which addresses the rise of anti-Semitism.
Where it is in the United Nations, the capitals of Europe, the Middle East or even in the State of Israel, Jewish communities around the world are reeling from the growing presence of anti-Semitism.
We must take a stronger stand against anti-Semitism and we are proud that South Carolina will play a leading role in this effort.
Your bill is a step in the right direction and we encourage the members of the South Carolina General Assembly to quickly pass this important legislation.”