The state of South Carolina has become the first state in the country to ratify legislation that would combat anti-semitism on college campuses. Supporters of the legislation say that the measure is needed and will help to negate the rising number of incidents of discrimination taking place on college campuses in the country.
The bill was voted on by the House in South Carolina and passed by a vote of 86-4 on Wednesday. Republican Alan Clemmons, the state representative that sponsored the bill expressed pride at the fact that his state was willing to become the nation’s leader in the fight against anti-semitic speech and behavior. The bill’s opponents say that the bill goes too far in its restrictions of individual’s expressing critical ideas regarding the actions of the Israeli government.
The bill is expected to be signed into law as soon as it reaches the desk of South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
The anti-defamation league reported in February that the number of incidents relating to anti-semitic discrimination increased by nearly 60% in the last year. This was the highest increase ever for a one-year period.
The bill in South Carolina has listed a broad base of behaviors that can be labeled as anti-semitism including calling for attacks on Jewish people, placing blame on Israel for political problems, and speaking words to suggest the right of Israel to exist. Opponents say that the bill is a gross violation of individual free speech and could have negative consequences on academic thought and debate.
Senator Brad Hutto expressed his disappointment with the bill by saying the bill’s supporters are thrusting lawmakers in the state into debates concerning foreign policy.
The bill’s sponsor, Bill Clemmons, says that the bill is much needed to provide individual’s with protection from anti-semitic sentiments and is long overdue.