Grieco says bill targeting anti-Semitic criticism of Israel in schools is long overdue

By Carrie Bradon | Feb 11, 2019

A Florida State Representative is working to pass a bill which would ban criticism of the state of Israel, as well as other types of speech against the Jewish culture. 

The bill, which was sponsored by Palm Beach County Representative Mike Caruso (R) and introduced on January 30 of this year, would require that all public institutions from kindergarten to the university level determine if an action is anti-Semitic in nature.

H.B. 371 has been co-sponsored by Rep. Michael Grieco (D) who is a strong supporter of Caruso’s efforts. 

“I serve a district with a large Jewish population, a community I have worked closely with for more than half a decade of service,” Grieco told Florida Record. “Providing religious protections against discrimination in our schools is long-overdue and is a no-brainer in my humble opinion.”

Rep. Michael Grieco   Courtesy of Michael Grieco

The bill will provide what Grieco believes is protection that is “long overdue,” when it comes to ridding schools of local discrimination. 

“I believe the proposal does a good job of addressing the issue with specificity to ensure little or no confusion as to what anti-Semitic speech and discrimination is,” Grieco said. 

H.B. 371 specifically states that “criticism of Israel that is similar to criticism toward any other country may not be regarded as anti-Semitic,” a measure that Grieco believes makes the bill even-handed. 

For Grieco, this bill is a great start for what he hopes will be more positive changes and protections for those who are often afflicted by criticism from society.

“I would love to see the bill go even further to provide similar protections to our LGBTQ youth and I may seek to make a friendly amendment when/if it is heard in committee,” Grieco said.

The other co-sponsors of the bill are Rick Roth (R) and Anthony Sabatini (R). 

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