The Palestinian American Community Center is Outraged Over the Passing of IHRA Bills S1292 and S2397 

The Palestinian American Community Center is Outraged Over the Passing of IHRA Bills S1292 and S2397 

 

On June 20, 2024, the New Jersey  Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation  Committee passed two profoundly troubling bills, S1292 and S2937. The bills advocate for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism, which falsely equates anti-Zionism and critiques of Israel with antisemitism. These bills were originally scheduled for a hearing on Monday, June 17, the 2nd day of  Eid Al-Adha. After concerns of the hearing falling on the second largest Muslim holiday and due to the overwhelming response of over six hundred constituents registered to testify, testimonies continued into Thursday. Among those who testified were Palestinians with direct family ties in Gaza, students who have faced harassment and violations for their advocacy for Palestine, members of organizations that advocate for Palestinians who are concerned about sustaining their work, and allies in solidarity with our community who understand the danger these bills would bring. They all reiterated a key argument: the passage of these bills will not protect against antisemitism, but will instead silence and censor Palestinian advocacy. Despite a resounding opposition, the committee unanimously voted  in favor of the bills, while Senator Turner voted absent. The committee has yet to release the count of votes for and against.

 

To learn more about why the IHRA definition is problematic and infringes on Palestinian advocacy, read PACC’s Op-Ed here and look through PACC’s informational packet here.

 

It is now day 258 of the ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Our community is in mourning as we witness the televised murder of innocent men, women, and children. Many New Jersey residents have lost hundreds of family members this year, and some were in Gaza when the violence began and remain there. We are horrified and indignant at the biased and unfair treatment our community is enduring here in the United States as well.

 

Although these bills have passed this committee, this is only the first step in a five-step process. That is why we must make sure that the bills go no further than here. We have stood united as a community before, demonstrating strength and resilience despite the pain and suffering we witness as our families and people suffer in Palestine. This was just one defeat in this ongoing struggle. PACC, along with many advocates for Palestine, recognizes that this fight extends far beyond this week and has been ongoing for decades.

 

Our resolve is unwavering. We will continue to advocate relentlessly for our right to speak out, for truth, and for justice. We refuse to be silenced or marginalized. The freedom and dignity of the Palestinian people are fundamental rights, and we will persist until justice is achieved. Mark

 

our words: our community will not back down. We vow to continue advocating fiercely for our rights, for truth, and for justice. Palestine has always been the exception; we will fight until it becomes the rule. None of us will be free until all of us, especially Palestine, are free. Our work continues but we need your help!

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