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February 24, 2017 7:59 am

South Carolina Latest US State to Tackle Campus Antisemitism

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The South Carolina State House. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The South Carolina State House. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – South Carolina lawmakers are considering a new bill to help school administrators better combat antisemitism at state universities, making their state the latest to tackle the phenomenon.

The bill, H.3643, ensures legal protections for Jewish students by using the US State Department’s definition of antisemitism, while providing South Carolina’s state universities with the means to fight anti-Jewish discrimination.

“According to the latest FBI tracking, there were more Jewish hate crime victims than victims of all other religious groups combined. And nowhere is this problem worse than on college campuses, where antisemitism is spiking at an alarming rate coast to coast,” said Kenneth L. Marcus, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, which has endorsed the South Carolina legislation. Marcus helped to draft the policy under which the US Department of Education investigates antisemitism claims.

“We are grateful to South Carolina Representative Alan D. Clemmons for his leadership in the national fight to combat escalating antisemitism,” added Marcus.

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In testimony to the South Carolina subcommittee considering the bill, Marcus said that the measure would “provide much-needed clarity, especially about assaults, vandalism, and other illegal conduct that is motivated by a hatred of Jews.”

“This is particularly important for addressing and defining a core and often times confusing problem on campus, anti-Semitic incidents that have some relationship to anti-Israel activity,” he said.

In January, Virginia lawmakers introduced a bill to help school administrators at state universities better combat antisemitism, following a string of incidents in the past year. Lawmakers in Tennessee introduced a similar bill this month.

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