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Bill defining anti-Semitism on South Carolina college campuses stalls for the year
Maya T. Prabhu Post and Courier
May 11, 2017

 

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Senate on Thursday put the brakes on a bill that would spell out a specific definition for anti-Semitism on state college campuses.

Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, earlier this week said he wanted the bill to include actual language defining anti-Semitism within the text of the proposed law.

That insertion would be instead of referring schools to a federal fact sheet published by the U.S. State Department for guidance.

On the last day of the 2017 legislative session, Hutto said he planned to work on drafting an appropriate amendment during the summer.

Senators had given the bill its second reading on Tuesday without much debate to allow Hutto time to create an amendment this week while planning to debate the bill on third and final reading.

On Thursday, senators agreed to withdraw their second-reading approval, moving the legislation back a step in the legislative process. Lawmakers can pick the measure up again when the 2018 session convenes in January.

The proposal quickly and easily passed the House earlier this year, receiving a vote of 103-3 and having about 115 of the 124 state representatives co-sponsoring it.

Main sponsor Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach, has made a name for himself in pro-Israeli circles for drafting and sponsoring pro-Israel legislation, including those that seek to undermine public campaigns calling for economic boycotts of Israel because of the country's continued expansion of settlements in West Bank.

Clemmons on Thursday afternoon decried Hutto's stalling of the bill.

"By doing so he is refusing South Carolina an opportunity to push back against the noxious bigotry," Clemmons said. "It empowers forces of Jew hatred to go unchecked on South Carolina campuses."

The proposed definition in the bill is pulled from an example provided on the State Department's website that defines anti-Semitism as justifying the killing or harming of Jews, making dehumanizing allegations about Jews or accusing Jews of being responsible for "real or imagined" wrong-doing committed by Israel.

But college students and professors argued the proposed definition in the bill, speaking during hearings in both the House and Senate, was overly broad and could limit academic discussion and debate over the continued Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


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Research Articles
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Over 50% of Jewish American college students report that they experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism on their campuses during the 2013-2014 academic year. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced that campus anti-Semitism “is a serious problem which warrants further attention.” Campus anti-Semitism can include subjecting Jewish students to different treatment, harassment, violence or a hostile environment. In some cases, campus anti-Semitism is related to anti-Israel sentiment. In other cases, it is not. For most purposes, we define anti-Semitism according to the U.S. Department of State definition of anti-Semitism. .
 
 
 
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Tevi Troy
Tevi Troy is a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute, and a writer and consultant on health care and domestic policy.
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