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Florida cites Poway shooting to pass controversial anti-Semitism bill

Florida cites Poway shooting to pass controversial anti-Semitism bill
Just days after the fatal shooting at a California synagogue, the Florida Senate passed an anti-Semitism bill that critics say will criminalize any criticism of Israel.

The bill prohibits anti-Semitism in Florida public schools and universities, and defines it broadly as any speech that makes stereotypical depictions of Jews, Holocaust denial, inciting of violence or explicit expressions of racial hatred – as well as “criticizing the collective power of the Jewish community.”

Such a broad definition could be used to outlaw the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, critics have pointed out, arguing that the bill violates the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

BDS campaigns for businesses to desist from enterprise with Israeli companies until certain demands are met by the Israeli government in regards to rights and territories for Palestinians.

The Senate bill has been sent to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican who was elected in the 2018 mid-terms.

One woman was killed and three other people injured in the Saturday attack at the Chabad of Poway, a suburb of San Diego, California. The 19-year-old gunman targeted the synagogue during the week of Passover, and was arrested after his AR-15 jammed during the attack.

The shooting came six months after the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that killed 11 and injured seven.

Also on rt.com 1 killed, 3 injured as gunman opens fire at California synagogue

Both attacks have been cited by gun control advocates and pro-Israel activists in support of their respective causes. Last week, a federal judge blocked a 2017 Texas law that would have prohibited state employees and contractors to engage in BDS, saying it “threatens to suppress unpopular ideas” and would “manipulate the public debate through coercion rather than persuasion.”

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