Wave of Legislation Seeks to Penalize Criticism of Israel as Antisemitism

By Lee Fang

Federal and state laws’ new definition of antisemitism includes subjective actions like holding Israel to a “double standard” not applied to other nations.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to advance a bill that would empower the federal government to crack down on student protests by defining antisemitism in a way that includes certain criticism of Israel. Sponsored by Rep. Mike Lawler, a Republican from New York, the bill’s passage reflects a broader national trend.

Earlier this year, Gov. Brian Kemp signed H.B. 30, which revised Georgia’s hate crime statute to include certain forms of speech critical of Israel. In March, Gov. Kristi Noem signed legislation into the South Dakota civil rights statute that codified some forms of speech critical of Israel as a form of illegal discrimination. Nearly identical hate crime legislation passed the South Carolina legislature last week and now awaits signature by Gov. Henry McMaster.

Florida legislators are rapidly advancing a similar bill that provides enhanced criminal penalties, including extended prison time, for hate crimes involving some forms of speech related to Israel.

In New York, state legislators proposed legislation that would make it a Class A misdemeanor – punishable by up to a year in prison – to vandalize “any banner, poster, flyer, or billboard” that supports “the country or citizens of Israel in any way.”

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Gaza children running across demolished high rise building.



Starving girl in Rafa
Starving girl in Rafa, Gaza


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