Florida Bans Anti-Semitism in Public Schools

Senators in Florida unanimously approved an anti-Semitism bill tackling the problem in the state. The bill comes two days after Jewish communities in the United States were shocked by a deadly synagogue shooting. A 19-year-old gunman, identified as John T. Earnest forcefully entered the Southern California located Chabad of Poway and started to shoot an AR-15 style gun. He murdered Lori Kaye, a 60-year-old woman, and wounded a total of three people, including an eight-year-old girl and the rabbi of the synagogue.

The Senate bill passed the Rules Committee of the chamber, where it was tabled. This bill was pushed in after due permission from Lizbeth Benacquisto, the Rules Chair, an elected Republican from Fort Myers. The bill will now be sent to the desk of Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor and was sponsored by Senator Joe Gruters. He referred to the Chabad of Poway shooting prior to the passage of the bill. Earnest, the gunman, allegedly shouted anti-Semitic slurs when he went inside the synagogue. It was on the final day of Passover and according to Gruters, Earnest knew nothing about the victims. The only fact he knew about the Jews is that they were Jewish and that was enough motive for him to maim and kill. The senator said there is a rise in anti-Semitism and the Florida Senate can do some action regarding this. The legislator pointed out that no person carried hate from the womb.

As per the Florida bill, public school officials must regard anti-Semitic behavior by both students and employees as they encounter as racial discrimination. This measure incorporates a long explanation of the anti-Semitism problem, describing it as an expression of hatred for the Jewish people, like dehumanizing, mendacious, stereotypical, or demonizing the Jews or the Jewish organizations. Denying Holocaust facts will also be a crime. The Florida bill also includes Israel into the anti-Semitism definition, stating that delegitimizing the existence of Israel by denying Jewish people self-determination rights and blaming Israel as the cause of all political or all inter-religious tensions could be counted as anti-Semitism examples. Critics of this anti-Semitism bill point out that the rules protect only the Jewish people from religious discrimination and silent on other religious minorities.

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