Wave of Legislation Seeks to Penalize Criticism of Israel as Antisemitism

June 20, 2024

The Lawler legislation differs from the state legislation in that it deals primarily with higher education. Kenneth Stern, an antisemitism expert who helped develop the IHRA definition of antisemitism, has since criticized efforts to enshrine the definition into law. While the Lawler bill passed by a 320-91 bipartisan vote, pockets of resistance existed in both parties. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., called the Lawler legislation a “ridiculous hate speech bill” that would empower a new Department of Education speech police. Lobbying disclosures show that the organization has pushed for the Lawler legislation since at least 2018, and the group celebrated its passage in a message sent to supporters yesterday.