South Carolina passed a law this week codifying a discredited definition of anti-Semitism that conflates criticism of Israel and Zionism with anti-Jewish bigotry.
“The law will inevitably violate students’ First Amendment rights if enforced to restrict or punish campus speech critical of Israel,” Dima Khalidi, director of the civil rights group Palestine Legal, told The Electronic Intifada.
Students now face increased scrutiny, investigations, censorship and possible punishment for their activities advocating for Palestinian rights on South Carolina campuses, Palestine Legal has warned.
The anti-Semitism definition, which has been pushed by Israel lobby groups in the US and Europe, is sometimes referred to as the “State Department Definition” because a version of it was adopted by the US State Department.
The measure was added as a rider on South Carolina’s 2018-2019 budget bill, which makes the law valid for only one year.
It will require state-funded institutions to use the definition when investigating alleged incidents of anti-Semitism on campuses.