SC State Rep. Alan Clemmons recently smeared the liberal Jewish peace group J Street as “anti-Semitic”, an extreme opinion that was widely panned. But the SC House recently passed a bill sponsored Clemmons that would enshrine the same kind of smear tactics into SC law. H.3643 invokes a controversial and vague State Department definition of anti-semitism to smear and silence legitimate criticism of the state of Israel on campuses in South Carolina. Language in the bill referencing a “What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?” fact sheet is a direct attack on First Amendment protected political speech and intentionally blurs the line to conflate and equate legitimate viewpoints on Palestine/Israel with anti-Semitism, a backdoor form of censorship. We’ve challenged the bill in both House and Senate subcommittees; both mostly ignored our concerns and rubber stamped the bill without discussion. However, the bill was blocked in the last session by Senator Brad Hutto. Now there is a rush now to get the bill passed with the new session in January of 2018.
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