(July 16, 2020 / JNS) Florida State University’s Student Government Association (SGA) passed a resolution on Wednesday to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
The final tally following the hours-long meeting was 26-14.
The IHRA definition says: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Resolution 59 also focuses on supporting the Jewish community and fighting anti-Semitism. It calls for increasing Jewish representation in the Student Senate, holding Senators accountable for educating themselves about anti-Semitism, and supporting action by the administration to address antisemitism on campus.
The meeting to adopt the IHRA definition wasn’t without controversy.
Two Florida state lawmakers—Broward County Rep. Richard Starke and Palm Beach Rep. Emily Slosberg, both Democrats—on the Zoom call were denied the opportunity to speak during the meeting by SGA senate president Ahmad Daraldik, who survived a vote of no confidence last month, 19-16-6, despite his past anti-Semitic posts.
“One of the biggest reasons that I am not going to allow the representatives to speak is due to the fact that in multiple media outlets in many different instances, they have made clear their intent on how they feel on different pieces of legislation and the internal affairs of how this student government works,” said Daraldik. “And due to the fact that we are a student government, I do not feel comfortable to allow legislators to sway senators to feel a different way or vote a specific way or whatever it may be that their intent is.”
Following several failed attempts by numerous student senators to override Daraldik’s choice, FSU student government president Jonathan Levin used his executive powers, ordering Daraldik to allow the lawmakers to speak as his guests.
“They let us come to and speak to them, we should let them come and speak to us,” said Levin. “Honestly, this is ridiculous.”
“I am not pleased with people bending the rules to not allow free speech,” said Starke. “So thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak and sit here and waste three hours of my time just to speak for three minutes.”
Slosberg added that “we constantly waive the rules. We wave the rules for many different reasons, and especially out of respect for our visitors and guests and the public. We always try to bend over backwards.”
Neither Starke nor Slosberg directly addressed the resolution.
Out of 41,005 students at FSU, 4,088 of them, or almost 10 percent, are Jewish, according to Hillel International.
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