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May 16, 2017 4:48 pm

ACLU, CAIR Lead Opposition to Florida Bill Allocating Security Funds to Jewish Schools

avatar by Rachel Frommer

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Illustrative. A police officer outside a JCC that received a bomb threat. Photo: Michael Lieberman via Twitter.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have both come out in opposition to Florida legislation passed to bolster security for the state’s Jewish schools, the Miami Herald reported late last week.

Kara Gross, ACLU of Florida’s legislative counsel, was quoted as saying that aiding only one religion with $654,000 earmarked in the state budget passed on May 12, “raises serious concerns about unconstitutional discrimination, whether intentional or not.”

“Many groups are seeing a spike in violent threats in recent months — not only Jews, but also Muslims, Sikhs and immigrants,” Gross stated. “If the state sees responding to these threats as a priority public safety issue, funding should be available to all similarly targeted groups.”

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The earmarked sum in the $82.4 billion state budget is meant to be used for video cameras, fences, bullet-proof glass, alarm systems and other security equipment at Jewish schools in nine counties, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the Florida chapter of CAIR was reportedly surprised that Jews were singled out for state funding, with the group’s communications director telling the Miami Herald that “similar money should be also assigned to any other school or religious organization who has been the victim of similar threats or crimes.”

CAIR-Florida’s fundraising banquets last year were emceed by Zahra Billoo, director of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter, who has tweeted on multiple occasions that “Zionism is racism.” In 2014, she wrote, “If you support apartheid, racism, and Zionism by Israel, I don’t think we can work on civil rights together in the US.”

The legislation was introduced by the Orthodox Union, with the help of a group called Teach Florida, in response to the dozens of bomb threats that targeted American Jewish institutions earlier this year.

The suspect in the bomb threats case, who was arrested in March, is a 19-year-old Israeli-American hacker from Ashkelon.

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