Georgia House votes to define antisemitism in state law
Supporters believe the proposed law would help prosecutors and other officials identify hate crimes and illegal discrimination targeting Jewish people.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Georgia House voted Monday to define antisemitism in state law, a move supporters say would help prosecutors and other officials identify hate crimes and illegal discrimination targeting Jewish people.
Lawmakers voted 136-22 to approve the measure just a few weeks after some residents in suburban Atlanta found anti-Jewish flyers left in their driveways inside plastic bags. Among them was Democratic Rep. Esther Panitch, one of the bill’s sponsors and Georgia’s only Jewish legislator.
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“Children who went out to play on their driveway picked up baggies filled with hate and asked their parents, `What is this?’” Panitch said, adding, “A bill of this type should be uncontested. It gives our legal system a clear definition of antisemitism.”
In 2020, Georgia passed a hate crimes law that allows additional penalties for crimes motivated by race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender or disability.
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Panitch and other supporters of House Bill 30 said its legal definition of antisemitism is necessary because officials don’t always recognize it. The bill advances to the Georgia Senate for further debate.
The measure would adopt into state law a definition by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which defines antisemitism as a “perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews” and can have both “rhetorical and physical manifestations.”
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