Georgia bill to classify antisemitism as a hate crime falls short

Daily Caller News Foundation

Georgia elected officials failed to vote on a bill Wednesday that would have included a working definition of antisemitism into state law, effectively killing the legislation.

The bill HB 30 proposed to include antisemitism as a hate crime and adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition so that state agencies can better determine antisemitic intent when dealing with potential hate crimes, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After multiple bipartisan attempts to push the bill through, the Senate failed to vote on it before the General Assembly adjourned to end the legislative session.

Republican House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration, one of the bill’s sponsors, expressed his frustration to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the senate failed to pass the bill.

“I am disappointed that the state Senate failed to put this legislation to define antisemitism on the floor for a vote,” Efstration said. “The state House overwhelmingly supported this measure, with all Republicans and many Democrats voting yes. We will continue our work next year to pass this important bill.”

Democratic state Rep. Esther Panitch, who also co-sponsored the bill and is Jewish, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she was “disappointed” by the Senate’s lack of urgency.

“I’m disappointed that Jews under assault [wasn’t] a priority,” Panitch said. “But I’m not going anywhere and am more determined than ever.”

The IHRA definition defines antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The bill had stalled earlier this month but was added at the last minute to HB 144  by the Senate Children and Families Committee, according to the AP. The bill’s proponents have said that the bill would make it easier for state officials to determine when a hate crime against Jews has taken place, but detractors argue that it would simply censor speech.

Carson did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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