By CLC Staff

    On Thursday, the House passed the “Shalom Act,” legislation that would define antisemitism in state law. House Bill 942 adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism; it passed with a nearly unanimous bipartisan vote of 105-4.

    More than forty countries (including the United States) and a wide-range of more than 30 state and local governments have adopted or endorsed the IHRA’s definition, which states:

    “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

    The group also includes several examples of what would constitute antisemitism, including calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion and accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

    “The way this bill works is that if somebody commits a crime, then a judge can use the definition of anti-Semitism in the examples while thinking about sentencing,” explained Representative Caleb Rudow, the only Jewish member of the state House, during the floor debate. “To be clear, they don’t have to, but it provides them an option. This isn’t about creating a new type of crime. It is about giving judges the context to understand antisemitism during sentencing.”

    The bill does not create any new criminal penalties and explicitly states that its provisions “shall not be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or the Constitution of North Carolina.”

    “Under this new law, someone can say out loud or post online any of the examples that says in the definition,” continued Rep. Rudow. “This is not about chilling speech, as it states very clearly in the bill as well. So let’s take the example that says it is anti-Semitic to accuse the Jews as a people or Israel as a state of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust. Someone could still post that online, they could shout it out loud. They would still be protected under freedom of speech laws. But if that person then assaulted a Jewish person, that prior statement could be considered by a judge during sentencing.”

    The May 8 vote comes as leftist radicals continue to protest in support of Hamas, the militant Palestinian terrorist organization that provoked war with Israel in a savage attack on October 7 of last year. Hamas murdered some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 250 hostages, including Americans. It was the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

    “North Carolina already has hate crime statutes in place, but there really is not a working definition of what truly constitutes antisemitism,” said Speaker of the House Tim Moore, the primary sponsor of the legislation.” This is very timely because of what we have seen across this country, and even right here in North Carolina.”

    Protests on our state’s college campuses have led to violence and dozens of arrests.

    “Considering the recent rise of violence and hate speech toward Jewish individuals across the country, it is imperative that we recognize antisemitism when we see it,” Moore continued.

    The four legislators who voted against the measure — Pricey Harrison, Nasif Majeed, Marcia Morey, and Reneé Price — were among the twelve House members who walked off the floor last year in defiance of a bipartisan vote supporting Israel.

    They weren’t alone in their opposition to the bill. A half-dozen left-wing protestors demonstrated outside the Legislative Building the morning of the vote.

    And during the Judiciary I Committee meeting the same day, several members of the public spoke out both for and against the bill that’s worth watching (see video below).

    Photo above courtesy of the American Jewish Committee