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New Hampshire legislature passes bill codifying IHRA antisemitism definition

The Granite State is “setting an example for other states around the country,” said Shawn Evenhaim, board chair of IAC For Action.

The New Hampshire State House in the capital of Concord. Credit: Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.
The New Hampshire State House in the capital of Concord. Credit: Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.

The New Hampshire state Senate passed a bill on Thursday that codifies the most widely used definition of Jew-hatred into state law.

“It is clear that Jews are increasingly targeted and victimized for antisemitic discrimination on the basis of their national origin connection to Israel, and that perpetrators hide behind the lie that they are motivated by ‘politics’ and not bigotry,” said James Spillane, a state representative, following the vote.

SB 508, which codifies the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of antisemitism, passed the state House on May 9.

Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, is expected to sign it into law.

“There is a crisis in this country that needs to be addressed,” said Spillane, a Republican and co-chair of the New Hampshire state House’s USA-Israel Relations Caucus.

He called the vote “an important step to ensure fair and equal application of New Hampshire’s antidiscrimination laws, to ensure that Jews receive equal protection.”

Shawn Evenhaim, board chairman of the Israeli-American Council for Action, called the vote “a bold stand against antisemitic and national origin discrimination.”

“By acting today, New Hampshire is not only protecting their citizens against anti-Jewish bias and hatred, which has been at crisis levels since Oct. 7, but is also setting an example for other states around the country,” he said.

New Hampshire would be the 36th state to codify the IHRA definition.

“By passing SB 508, New Hampshire has sent an important message, not just within the state, but across the United States, that every form of antisemitism is unacceptable,” stated Joe Sabag, executive director of IAC for Action.

“Without the IHRA definition, our community has suffered a civil rights deficit, where perpetrators of antisemitic discrimination would target Jews and Jewish institutions and then hide behind the false pretense that they were motivated by anti-Israel politics and not anti-Jewish bigotry,” he stated. “New Hampshire’s passage of SB 508 is an important step forward in a national effort to deal with the current antisemitism crisis we are facing.”

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