Update 5/30/2019: As anticipated, Governor DeSantis signed House Bill 741 into law during his visit to Israel. NCAC remains gravely concerned with the growing movement to classify political speech and constitutionally-protected political expression, such as boycotts, as anti-Semitic.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is considering legislation intended to combat anti-Semitism that poses a serious threat to the free speech rights of Floridians. Together with PEN America, NCAC has written the governor to express our grave concern with House Bill 741.
Like other Americans, we have been shocked by the recent acts of anti-Semitic violence in our country and share the belief that more must be done to fight anti-Semitism. H.B. 741 is unconstitutional and likely to face a legal challenge.
Speech on matters of public interest is core political speech that courts afford the highest protection under the First Amendment. The definition of anti-Semitism in H.B. 741 is so broad that it could apply to constitutionally protected speech in Florida schools and universities that is critical of the Israeli government or supportive of Palestinian rights. If the bill becomes law, it could be used to silence political activists, including Jews.
Prominent members of the Jewish community have spoken out against H.B. 741. They describe the legislation as an effort to silence criticism of the Israeli government.
NCAC and PEN agree and urge Governor DeSantis to encourage education about anti-Semitism and reject the unconstitutional quick fix offered by H.B. 741.
Read the full letter to Governor DeSantis below. Click here for a full screen view: