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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Indiana governor vetoes HB 1002

This comes after the Indiana Senate passed an amended version of the bill, which removes any reference to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism

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Although the Indiana Senate unanimously passed House Bill 1002 – a bill that defines antisemitism as religious discrimination in the state education code – following an amendment of the original version that removes any reference to the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism, which includes wording pertaining to Israel, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed the bill.

RELATED: Indiana’s HB 1002: Addressing antisemitism or silencing free speech?

The amendment followed protests over the bill and its inclusion of the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism, which some argued would be harmful to students in support of Palestine.

“While a proclamation is not legally binding, we will continue to monitor free speech concerns across the state to prevent any misinterpretation or encroachment on constitutional rights,” said Maliha Zafar, Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network (IMAN) executive director.

“As religious minorities, we understand the impact of hate and stand in unwavering solidarity with the Jewish community in combating antisemitism. We will persist in our endeavors to safeguard free expression in educational institutions across Indiana and ensure the protection of our Muslim students.”

IMAN expressed disappointment over Holcomb’s decision to veto HB 1002.

In a statement to the Indianapolis Recorder, the organization said this action overlooks the bipartisan effort between the Indiana General Assembly and various communities to achieve a balanced agreement on the bill:

IMAN recognizes the importance of collaboration and compromise in the legislative process, and the veto of HB 1002 represents a setback in these efforts. 

From the beginning, we have made it clear that the examples referenced by the IHRA definition could be used to stifle freedom of speech in schools and on college campuses by labeling the criticism of Israel as antisemitic.

Governor Holcomb’s proclamation disregards our meritorious concerns.

The Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana (JAACI) expressed gratitude over Holcomb’s decision to veto the amended bill and his proclamation in support of the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism.

The Governor’s carefully crafted veto message recognizes both the importance of the legislation passed by the General Assembly and the need for legislation clearly stating the essential connection between Judaism and Israel.

The purpose of the legislation is to protect Jewish students from virulent Antisemitism in our educational institutions in the guise of relentless and vicious attacks on Israel.

JAACI said incorporating IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism into HB 1002 made a clear distinction between antisemitism and anti-Israel activity occurring on school and university campuses.

JAACI contributed to drafting the original bill authored by Rep. Chris Jeter and worked closely with him and sponsors of the bill to ensure passage.

The organization also said Attorney General Todd Rokita provided critical guidance and support to ensure that the legislation would accomplish its goal.

Ultimately, the bill fell short of accomplishing its intended purpose, but the group said it looks forward to working with all parties furthering Hoosier support for Israel and Jewish people.

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at (317) 762-7853 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON.

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