DeSantis Signs Bill Combating Antisemitism During Israel Trip

(Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed a bill into law Thursday designed to combat antisemitism while on a trip to Israel.

The bill, introduced by Republican state Rep. Mike Caruso and Republican state Rep. Randy Fine in January, will allow Florida law enforcement to charge individuals who intimidate or threaten someone based on their religious or ethnic heritage with a felony. The bill passed the state legislature last week, and DeSantis signed it into law Thursday during his trip to Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post. (RELATED: Elite University Students Invite Speaker Who Claimed Israelis Eat Palestinians’ Organs)

DeSantis said during the signing that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to force businesses and institutions to withdraw support from Israel, was now “DOA” or dead on arrival in Florida according to The Jerusalem Post.

“We are doing what we can do in Florida to enhance the ability to hold people accountable when that really crosses the line into threatening conduct,” DeSantis said. “We are fighting back. We must reject those who reject Israel’s right to exist that is antisemitism. [W]e have stood on the side of combating antisemitism.”

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – APRIL 27: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bills for legislation to fight antisemitism during a press conference at the Museum of Tolerance on April 27, 2023, in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

The law prohibits someone from deliberately littering on private property to intimidate or threaten, and a violation of this statute would result in a misdemeanor charge, but would be upgraded to a third-degree felony if the threats were deemed credible, according to the bill. Similarly, an individual who harasses, threatens or intimidates someone due to their religious or ethnic affiliation would be charged with a misdemeanor, but if combined with a credible threat the charge would also change to a third-degree felony.

Florida has been dealing with a rash of antisemitic incidents over the past several months, prompting Florida’s legislators to take action, according to WUSF Public Media, a local outlet. In January, police launched an investigation into a message that was projected onto an Orlando building that read “Vax the Jews,” and Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood recently called out members of the Goyim Defense League, a group known for their antisemitic rhetoric, for harassing and threatening Jews on multiple occasions.

The new law would also target projections like the one in Orlando by charging the perpetrator with a third-degree felony if police believe the message displayed was a credible threat toward the recipient.

“To Florida’s Nazi thugs, I have news: attack Jews on their property and you’re going to prison… [n]ever again means never again,” Fine said in a tweet following the signing Thursday.

DeSantis’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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