Miami-Dade County Police Chiefs Adopt State Department Definition of Antisemitism
The Miami-Dade County Chiefs of Police Association has unanimously adopted the US State Department’s official definition of antisemitism as a guide to investigating and prosecuting anti-Jewish hate crimes.
Captain Raleigh Flowers — president of the association — said the decision was based on a municipal ordinance passed by the town of Bal Harbour at the urging of Mayor Gabriel Groisman.
“The motivating factor to adopt the antisemitism definition,” Flowers told The Algemeiner on Tuesday, “was when we found out about Mayor Groisman’s ordinance that was passed in Bal Harbour, and we found out that several other municipalities in the surrounding areas that have a large demographic of Jews in their community” were doing so.
As a result, he continued, “I brought it up to the association, to see if there was something they’d be willing to come up with uniformly with all police agencies here in Miami-Dade County. So after reading it and digesting the ordinance, I thought it was a very good idea for the police departments here in Miami-Dade County to get on board with that.”
According to Flowers, the new definition of antisemitism, “gives our officers, each individual agency, if they so choose, to establish protocols on when there are reports of antisemitic crimes or hate crimes. It gives them a codified definition … of what antisemitism is, what hate crimes are, and it gives them sort of like a guide … to use when they’re investigating crimes such as these.”
Groisman — who wrote the original municipal ordinance — told The Algemeiner that the new definition was important because the line between antisemitic and anti-Israel hate crimes has become blurred. “When it becomes more difficult is when, like what people are doing now, which is spray-painting on a shul something like ‘Israel Kills Children’ or something,” he said. “Some big anti-Israel slogan. Is that a hate crime or is that political speech? In Miami last summer they spray-painted ‘BDS’ in front of all Jewish businesses in a certain neighborhood. So is that political speech or is that hate speech?”
Adopting the State Department’s definition clarifies the situation, Groisman noted, because “the State Department said, ‘Look we have to be able to keep up with the times of what’s being used as hate speech and hate conduct in the United States now, and also Europe, and most of it is being used under anti-Israel sentiment.’”
The State Department’s official definition of antisemitism includes examples wherein criticism of Israel is considered to be Jew hatred.
Groisman appeared before the Chiefs of Police Association “and I gave them a presentation about the rise of antisemitism, the latest numbers that came out from the ADL, my experiences with this over the last couple of years, and presented to them what we did in Bal Harbour,” he said. “And they had a vote and it passed unanimously.”
The definition will now be used by police forces in 34 cities located in Miami-Dade County.