JUST IN: New Jersey Senate Committee Approves Bill Adopting Definition of Anti-Semitism

Following nearly 10 hours of testimony from hundreds of people, the New Jersey state Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee voted this afternoon to approve a bill which would adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism into state law.

The two-day long hearing was the third try for the bill, which is already law in nearly 40 states and dozens of countries around the world.

In March, a hearing on the bill was cancelled after the committee was already underway, after a large crowd showed up at the statehouse in Trenton in opposition to the bill.

And in May, a committee hearing was cancelled just days before it was scheduled to be heard, with Senate leadership citing “security concerns,” a decision that was sharply criticized by Shlomo Schorr, who serves as Director of Legislative Affairs for Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey office.

“The IHRA definition of antisemitism serves as an essential tool in combating the pervasive and insidious threat of antisemitism in our communities,” Schorr said in his statement, in which he urged the Senate leadership to “reconsider their decision and find alternative means to ensure both safety and the continuation of this important legislative process.”

Earlier this week, Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey office sent out an “action alert” urging residents to contact their state legislators to encourage their support.

“The IHRA definition of antisemitism provides a clear framework for identifying and addressing acts of hatred and discrimination against Jewish people and serves as an essential tool for law enforcement in combating threat of antisemitism in our communities,” the action alert noted.

Opponents of the law claim that the definition stifles their free speech and outlaws criticism of Israel.

Supporters of bill have noted that the bill does not restrict speech at all and allows for criticism of Israel.

“With the recent rise in anti-Semitic actions, it is imperative that we establish a baseline definition of antisemitism in a continued effort to fight back against these atrocities,” New Jersey state Senator Bob Singer, who is a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “Furthermore, the community outreach campaign aims to empower New Jerseyans to promote safety and collective action against bias criminal activity.”

The bill is sponsored by Senators James Beach and Bob Singer and by Assemblyman Gary Schaer, and has seven co-sponsors in the Senate, along with 24 co-sponsors in the Assembly.

The bill, which was approved by a 4-1 vote, now must face another committee hearing before going up for a full vote on the Senate floor.

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  1. if yidden want people to care about them, they need to care and be respectful to others. When yidden started moving into to toms river and Jackson a few years ago, the first thing they did, was start battles concerning the eiruv and zoning. For generations Jackson residents lived in piece and were happy with their county like setting, and zoning in place to make sure that doesn’t change. But in moves the powerful yid backed by powerful organizations with boat loads of gelt, and they go to war thinking they are big tzadikim, but in truth in clear violation of everything reb elchonon writes how a yid should act in golus! its time to do tshuvah !! and start learning some basic mussar sforim
    sam guttman

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