Indiana General Assembly Thanked by Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana for Removal of Controversial Clauses from SEA 1002

Written from press release

Bloomington, Indiana – March 12, 2024

Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana thanked the Indiana General Assembly on Friday for removing contentious clauses from SEA 1002 that it says threatened freedom of speech and violated the First Amendment.

Throughout the legislative session, proponents of SEA 1002 had pushed to incorporate what they termed as “IHRA examples” of antisemitism into the Act. These examples, according to Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana, wrongly equate criticism of the Israeli state with attacks on Jews and Judaism.

The Indiana House initially included these examples in its version of the bill. However, following public outcry, the Senate removed them from its version. Ultimately, the final version of the Act, approved by both chambers, did not include these examples.

“We appreciate the General Assembly’s decision to reject elements that would have stifled constitutionally protected criticism,” said a spokesperson for Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana. “The inclusion of such examples would have served as both a tool for state oppression and a misrepresentation of Jews and Judaism.”

While the Act now includes a definition of antisemitism, Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana emphasized that the fight against hate requires more than just definitions; it necessitates education and solidarity.

The organization credited a coalition of advocates for the successful pushback against the IHRA examples, stating that their efforts were crucial in persuading the legislature to amend the House version of the bill.

“As this legislative session concludes, we reaffirm our commitment to advocating for peace and justice,” the spokesperson added. “True Jewish safety cannot be achieved through baseless accusations of antisemitism or at the expense of Palestinians. When antisemitism is weaponized, it harms us all.”

The statement also expressed solidarity with other social justice and human rights organizations in opposing the use and codification of the IHRA definition.

Regarding SEA 1002, Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana highlighted the ongoing crisis in Palestine, condemning what it called a “genocide.” The organization urged for a ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank, emphasizing the need to prioritize saving lives over protecting state interests.

Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana, the local chapter of a national network of over 700,000 individuals, advocates against bigotry and oppression targeting Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities. It calls for an end to the Israeli occupation, security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians, justice for Palestinian refugees, an end to violence against civilians, and peace and justice for all peoples in the Middle East.

For more information, visit their social media pages on Instagram (@jvpindiana), Facebook (www.facebook.com/JVPIndiana/), and Twitter (@JVPIndiana).


# # # FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE # # #

JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE-INDIANA STATEMENT 

ON PASSAGE OF FINAL VERSION OF SEA 1002

Contact: [email protected]

March 12, 2024 — Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana thanks the Indiana General Assembly for stripping the dangerous examples from SEA 1002 which sought to chill free speech and violate the First Amendment.

Throughout this legislative session, some of SEA 1002’s proponents have attempted to stifle constitutionally protected criticism of the Israeli state and that state’s denial of Palestinian freedom. They sought to incorporate the so-called “IHRA examples” of antisemitism into the Act, because those examples incorrectly conflate criticisms of the Israeli state with attacks on Jews and Judaism. The proponents insisted upon the inclusion of the examples and the House included them in its version. Following public outcry, the Senate stripped the examples from its version, and they were not included in the final version of the Act approved by both chambers. To their credit. The inclusion of the examples would have been both a gift to state oppression and a slander of Jews and Judaism. 

Even as the General Assembly codified a definition of antisemitism, however, our work remains. Definitions do not fight hate; education and solidarity fight hate.   

The coalition that JVP-Indiana worked with to oppose the incorporation of the IHRA examples into SEA 1002 was critically important in convincing the legislature to amend the House version. We are deeply thankful to all who testified, called, wrote, and insisted upon our right to criticize the Israeli government and its policies. Without this unwavering, principled advocacy, we would not have seen the improvements that were made to the bill.  

As this legislative session ends, we recommit to continuing this struggle for peace and justice. We know that Jewish safety will never be achieved through false charges of antisemitism or at the expense of Palestinians. When antisemitism is weaponized, it is bad for us all. Because of this, JVP-Indiana joins other leading social justice and human rights organizations in our ongoing opposition to the use and codification of the IHRA definition.  As we remind ourselves at every year’s Passover seder, our futures are bound up together: none of us are securely free until all of us are fully free.

We must note that SEA 1002 has been enacted in, and is a distraction from, a time of genocide in Palestine. At this time of devastation, with more than 30,000 killed and thousands more missing or injured, our singular focus should be to save human lives, not to protect the state that is carrying out that genocide. As inheritors of Jewish theological teachings, we know that  G-d hears and hearkens to the cry of the oppressed. Their cries are haunting, and we can hear nothing else. Thus, our most urgent business is, and remains, to demand a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank.   

About JVP-Indiana: we are the Indiana chapter of a national network of over 700,000 people who oppose anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East. More at:

Instagram: @jvpindiana

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JVPIndiana/

Twitter: @JVPIndiana

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