TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Legislature unanimously approved legislation Thursday adopting a new definition of antisemitism. 

The final version of the bill was passed by the House during the first-ever "Israel Day" at the Florida Capitol. The Senate passed its version of the bill on Wednesday.

What You Need To Know

  • The Florida House approved the final version of a bill that redefines antisemitism Thursday

  • The legislation passed unanimously

  • Supporters say the new definition will help address hate crime in Florida.

  • The bill needs Gov. DeSantis' approval. 

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance drafted the definition Florida is adopting. If approved, Florida would become the 13th state to do so.

The legislation's definition of antisemitism is as follows:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

More information on the IHRA definition is available online.

Supporters say Florida's legislation empowers prosecutors and police to address hate crimes more effectively.

The bill, House Bill 148, now awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis' consideration. 

"We will continue this fight to tempt down inequality in the State of Florida and raise up those who need to be raised," said the bill sponsor, Democratic State Rep. Mike Gotlieb.

Antisemitism nationwide is on the rise, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

"When conflict erupts in Israel, antisemitic incidents soon follow in the U.S. and globally," said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

"You can use the definition when there is a hate crime," said Boynton Beach Democratic State Sen. Lori Berman. "You can use the definition when there's discrimination." 

Despite bipartisan support, at least one lawmaker voiced concern.

Palm Bay Republican Rep. Randy Fine said he supports the bill, but fears that some local leaders may not utilize it.

"It will not matter if we don't demand that they act on these laws as we pass them," said Fine, a Jewish lawmaker. 

DeSantis often touts Florida as the "most pro-Israel state" in the nation. 

To date, he's embarked upon two Israeli trade missions and provided logistical support to Israel after the Oct. 7 attack. 

"Florida is doing everything right, and it should be done across the country and across the world," said Consul General of Israel to Florida, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky. 

Other pro-Israel legislation this session includes policy boosting security at Jewish schools and a new state holiday — Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The 2024 Legislative Session ends March 8.