Press Release

House passes the Shalom Act amid rise in anti-Semitism

On Wednesday, the NC House of Representatives passed HB 942, the SHALOM Act, in a bipartisan vote of 105-4, one week after it was filed by House Speaker Tim Moore.

“Considering the recent rise of violence and hate speech toward Jewish individuals across the country, it is imperative that we recognize antisemitism when we see it,” Moore said in a press release. “I am proud to sponsor the SHALOM Act, which provides a working definition for antisemitism, and I am encouraged by the bipartisan support the bill received today in the House.”

HB 942 would amend Chapter 12 of the North Carolina General Statutes to define antisemitism as described in the bill, reported by the Carolina Journal last week. 

Moore held a press conference Wednesday morning, followed by a House Judiciary Committee meeting in which the bill was discussed and reported favorably, before eventually returning to the House for a vote. 

The bill’s primary co-sponsors are Rep. Erin Paré, R-Wake, Rep. Stephen Ross, R-Alamance, and Rep. Tricia Ann Cotham, R-Mecklenburg.  

“What we’ve now seen is that the violence of those who are just supporting radical terrorism is now seeping its way into the United States and right here in North Carolina,” said Moore during his press conference. “While I believe roughly 2% of our population is Jewish, we have seen an inordinate amount of antisemitism — behavior, attacks, vandalism, you name it, physical assaults, and enough is enough. And so, what this law that we have filed that will be heard in committee and in the House today is to provide a working definition of what antisemitism is. That’s very important because if there’s going to be an application of laws that we have that are already on the books and already in place under Chapter 14, we need to know what that working definition is.”

“Our young people are seeing and hearing anti-Israel protests break out on college campuses all around the country, and of course, right here in North Carolina,” said Paré during the press conference. “While we as Americans have the right to free speech, hate of any kind has no place in our communities. We cannot address antisemitism if we cannot define it. “

Paré said it is up to the General Assembly as leaders in North Carolina to clearly define what antisemitism is and to guide young people, teachers, administrators, and local leaders to recognize antisemitism when it occurs. She said 31 states and the District of Columbia have also adopted the such a definition, which should not be construed to diminish or infringe upon any rights protected under the First Amendment. 

“I had an opportunity back some years ago on a trip overseas to visit Auschwitz, and I walked away from there a changed person because I had heard things as I grew up as a kid, but I never really realized it until I walked in there and saw the atrocities of what took place,” said Rep. Ross. “We’re actually in a period right now where we’re talking about and remembering the Holocaust, and I think we should never, ever forget certain things in history, and that is one of them, and so that’s the purpose for me signing on to this bill.”

After seeing acts of violence taking place around the country, especially on college campuses. Ross felt it was time for him to stand up with his colleagues and agree upon a common definition that would help protect those of the Jewish faith and background.

Glenda Bernhardt, CEO of the Greensboro Jewish Federation, and Phillip Brodsky, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Raleigh, also made statements during the press conference. 

Jewish community members made strong statements in support of and against HB 942 during the House Judiciary Committee meeting.

“The Jewish people deserve to have a place that they belong in,” said Alexandra Oken, a member of Stand with Us. “Israel is where we belong. The belief that we don’t deserve to have a home, that we should be pushed out ‘from the River to the Sea’ is a belief rooted in hatred and the antisemitic belief that you should be eradicated and should continue living in the diaspora with nowhere to call home.”

Oken said that anyone professing such beliefs is an anti-Semite and threatening the peace and security of Jewish people and everyone else.

“The second you cross the line from respectful criticism to loud and threatening speech which threatens students in need, that speech needs to be called out and shut down immediately in order for students and people like me to continue to feel safe in our schools,” she said.

Some members and groups have opposed the legislation as political divisions emerge even within the Democratic Party when it comes to the Israel/Palestine conflict and associated protests. Many politicians, and special interest groups on the Left have taken to sympathizing with anti-Israel protesters and their actions.

Those who voted against the bill were Reps. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, Nasif Majeed, D-Mecklenbrrg, Marcia Morey, D-Durham, and Renee Price, D-Orange. 

However, a recent Carolina Journal poll shows reveals bipartisan opposition to anti-Israel protesters actions in recent weeks.

Carolina Journal Poll

The bill now goes on to the Senate for a vote.

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