A bill that would have seen the state of Georgia adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism has failed to pass.
The measure, House Bill 30 did not pass after a Senate committee adopted an amendment that watered down the IHRA definition in the legislation, Fox5 reported. Its sponsors said it was needed to aid prosecutors and public officials in identifying hate crimes and discrimination against Jewish residents of the state.
One of the lawmakers who sponsored the bill, state Rep. Esther Panitch, is Georgia’s only Jewish politician. A few weeks before the measure passed the state House, she was one of the people who found antisemitic flyers in her suburban Atlanta driveway.
According to the StopAntisemitism advocacy organization, the Goyim Defense League (GDL) hate group was behind the flyers, which were found in the Atlanta districts of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, areas that have large Jewish populations.
Panitch told Fox5 that the failure of the measure left her “incredibly disheartened.”
“The African-American community had to wait until Ahmaud Arbery was dead in order to get the hate crimes bill passed. I’m hoping we don’t have to wait for the same to get a definition of antisemitism in the books,” she said.
Panitch and co-sponsor Rep. John Carson pulled the bill after the state Senate Judiciary Committee adopted an amendment from Senator Ed Setzler on Monday that altered the IHRA definition of antisemitism, replacing it with an explanation of antisemitism that defined discrimination against Jews as only the “negative perception of Jews instead of a ‘certain’ perception,” the report said.
“[Setzler] defines antisemitism as only the negative perception of Jews,” Panitch said. “There are plenty of positive perceptions of Jews that get Jews killed, such as believing that Jews are wealthy.”
If passed, the measure would have adopted the IHRA definition into state law.