South Carolina is currently trying to pass a very dangerous, free-speech-squashing bill, H.3643, that targets pro-Palestine speech on college campuses.
The bill has been introduced by right-wing Christian Zionist state Representative Alan Clemmons and it amends South Carolina’s education laws to include a controversial and vague State Department definition of anti-Semitism that conflates legitimate viewpoints on Palestine/Israel with anti-Semitism when investigating discriminatory practices on college campuses. The bill is a direct attack on First Amendment protected political speech and, instead of combating the rise of real anti-Semitism and other racist incidents, it intentionally blurs these lines to silence criticism of Israel.
Last Wednesday, February 22, Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of South Carolina and member organization the Carolina Peace Resource Center mobilized critics of the bill to voice their concerns at a SC House Judiciary Special Laws subcommittee meeting, concerns that were promptly ignored as the subcommittee approved the bill at the end of the meeting without discussion. H.3643 now goes to the full SC House Judiciary committee for consideration, so make sure to call the House committee members now and tell them to remove reference to the “What is anti-Semitism in Relation to Israel” factsheet from the bill!
Removing this factsheet will help ameliorate the free-speech-violation concerns from the bill. After you do that, send a message to your state Representative and tell them to encourage the removal of the reference to this factsheet from the bill.
If the bill passes out of the full House committee, it will go to the floor of the SC House for a vote where it is expected to pass. South Carolina, this is your fight…the time to speak out is now!
So make sure to:
P.S.– Check out Palestine Legal’s memo opposing H.3643 here to learn more about the bill.