Part of an exhibit on the Holocaust supported by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association. Photo: courtesy of IHRA. Photo: courtesy of IHRA.
Part of an exhibit on the Holocaust supported by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association.

Bill reportedly halted after amendment replaces IHRA definition of antisemitism as a ‘certain perception of Jews’ with a ‘negative perception of Jews.’

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

The General Assembly of Georgia may not pass legislation adopting what is widely considered the world’s leading definition of antisemitism after a state Senator removed it from a bill that was advancing through the legislature, a lawmaker told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.

According to Georgia House Rep. Esther Panitch (D) progress of the bill, HB30, was halted after a Republican lawmaker, Sen. Ed Setzler, amended the measure to remove the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and replace it with his own definition, which described antisemitism as a “negative” perception of Jews. The IHRA definition says antisemitism is a “certain perception of Jews.”

After Setzler proposed his amendment, three Democrats voted to approve it, prompting sponsors of HB30 to motion to table the bill. Final determination of its status is forthcoming.

Setzler has not responded to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.

On Wednesday, Representative Panitch (D), who is the only Jewish legislator in the state, told The Algemeiner that lawmakers in Georgia have a clear choice to make, noting that the state was one of the last in the country to pass any hate crime legislation.

“We need the definition,” she said. “All Jews want is to have the same protection as any other minority who is currently protected by the hate crime statute, and, as it stands, the Senate doesn’t believe we deserve that protection.”

She added that “it’s a next level chutzpah to tell someone outside of a community to tell those within it how to define the bias against them.”

Passed in the Georgia House of Representatives on March 7 with bipartisan support, HB30 would have required state officials to refer to the IHRA definition when investigating hate crimes and assessing complaints of antisemitic discrimination.

A similar bill stalled in the Georgia legislature in 2022, but a series of antisemitic incidents in the state, including antisemitic flyers dropped at homes in a suburb of Atlanta prompted new interest in passing it to protect the state’s Jewish community, according to the Associated Press.

First adopted in 2005 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the IHRA definition of antisemitism states that “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” and includes a list of illustrative examples ranging from Holocaust denial to the rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.