New South Carolina law outlaws referring to “occupation” of Palestine

South Carolina State Representative Alan Clemmons delivers an address from the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse in 2011. (photo: Mint Press News)

According to its author, discussing the military occupation of the West Bank, a reality recognized even by israel’s Supreme Court, would be considered anti-Semitic under the new law.

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | May 1, 2018

In 2015, South Carolina became the first of at least 22 states to prohibit state agencies or institutions from contracting with any vendor participating in a boycott of Israel.

The state of South Carolina will become the first state in the nation to legislate a definition of anti-Semitism that considers certain criticisms of the Israeli government to be hate speech. The language, which was inserted into the state’s recently passed $8 billion budget, offers a much more vague definition of anti-Semitism that some suggest specifically targets the presence of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement on state college campuses. The law requires that all state institutions, including state universities, apply the revised definition when deciding whether an act violates anti-discrimination policies.

Once it is reconciled with an appropriations bill previously passed by the state House, the measure will become law and take effect this July. However, the law will last only until the next budget is passed, meaning that the new legal definition of anti-Semitism must be renewed on a yearly basis unless new legislation making the language permanent is passed in the future.

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