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The Georgia General Assembly will on Wednesday consider for the last time before the legislative session ends a hate crimes bill that would require state officials to refer to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The bill, HB 144, must be approved by the Senate and then voted on again by the House of Representatives before midnight. Its passage remains in jeopardy because a Georgia lawmaker proposed an amendment Wednesday morning “to strip IHRA from the bill entirely,” Mark Goldfeder, director of the National Jewish Advocacy Center told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.

“Doing this would set a terrible precedent because it would take out some of the main reasons why people attack Jews, giving tremendous empowerment to antisemites to do what they want to do,” Golfeder added. “The IHRA definition has also repeatedly been tested and upheld in court as a way for assessing discriminatory intent. We’re upset about this and hoping we have some champions in here.”

Passed in the Georgia House earlier this month, progress of the bill was halted after a Republican lawmaker and judiciary committee member, Sen. Ed Setzler, amended it to replace the IHRA definition of antisemitism with his own definition describing 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 the bill to motion to table it. Lawmakers revived the bill earlier this week, advancing it through a different committee, the Senate Children and Families Committee, with new name, HB144. It passed in committee a by 6-2 vote.

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.

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