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Indiana House bill defining Jew-hatred heads to Senate

Hoosier senators will now consider the legislation that addresses antisemitism in state public schools. 

Indiana State Capitol, in Indianapolis. Credit: Steffen Wurzel via Wikimedia Commons.
Indiana State Capitol, in Indianapolis. Credit: Steffen Wurzel via Wikimedia Commons.

Legislation that aims to better define and prevent antisemitism at Indiana public schools passed the state’s House on Jan. 18 and advanced to its Senate.

Chris Jeter, a Republican, wrote House Bill 1002, or “enforcement of equal educational opportunity,” with 47 co-authors. It defines antisemitism, “specifies that the public policy of the state is to provide educational opportunities free of religious discrimination, and provides that antisemitism is discrimination on the basis of religion.”

“It defines antisemitism and prohibits it from being taught as a policy in K through 12 or higher ed curriculum in the state of Indiana,” Jeter said.

“Now, you can’t prohibit something if you don’t define it,” he added. “While no definition is perfect, the definition in this bill authored by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is as universal as definitions get.”

More than 40 countries, as well as many other entities and local governments, have adopted the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism which is considered nonbinding.

“Our own universities have not been immune, with students having reported through major news media outlets that they did not feel safe,” Jeter added. “While anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli slogans and banners popped up on many of our campuses.”

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