The GOP-sponsored bill passed unanimously in the state Senate on Monday and is now heading to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk, the
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Joe Gruters, referred to the shooting at Chabad of Poway before the bill was passed.
The 19-year-old suspected shooter allegedly yelled anti-Semitic slurs as he entered the synagogue on the last day of Passover,
“He knew nothing about the victims, other than that they were Jewish. That was enough for them to die in his own mind,” Gruters said about the shooter, according to the Miami Herald. “Anti-Semitism is on the rise, and we have the ability to do something about it. No one is born with hate in their heart.”
The Florida bill requires public school officials to treat anti-Semitic behavior by students or employees the way they treat racial discrimination. The measure includes a lengthy explanation of anti-Semitism, defining it as expressing hatred for Jewish people, making “mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical” allegations about Jews or Jewish organizations, and denying facts about the Holocaust.
The bill also incorporates Israel into its definition of anti-Semitism. It states that “delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination,” “blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions,” and “requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation,” should all be counted as examples of anti-Semitism.
The bill’s text states that “criticism of Israel that is similar to criticism toward any other country may not be regarded as anti-Semitic.”
The measure was first introduced in the Florida House in February, where it later passed unanimously. It was tabled in the Senate, but leaders in the legislature allowed it to be brought before legislators on Monday.
The bill comes amid a nationwide spike in anti-Semitism. According to the
The Poway shooting comes six months after
State Sen. Annette Taddeo, who is Jewish, said that the bill’s passage was a “
“Let’s continue to do mitzvot,” said Taddeo. “As it’s the best way to honor the victims of these acts.”