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.
- Georgia lawmakers push to legally define antisemitism, increase penalties
- Antisemitism in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody leads to renewed push for legislation
“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.
FULL COVERAGE OF CROSSOVER DAY AT THE STATE CAPITOL
- All bets off: Georgia lawmakers nix legal sports betting
- Georgia Senate: $6,000 for those leaving low-rated schools
- A number of bills move along on Crossover Day at Georgia State Capitol
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.”
Full coverage of this year’s Georgia General Assembly
Copyright 2023 WANF. All rights reserved.