Voices for Justice in Palestine urges the NC Senate to defeat S.B. 739. Should the NC Senate approve the bill in its current form, we urge Governor Cooper to veto it.

Voices for Justice in Palestine opposes S.B. 739 for the following reasons:

  1. It relies upon the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definitions of antisemitism, which are vague and unworkable.
  2. The IHRA fails to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitic hate speech. As a result, the IHRA has been used to vilify Israel’s critics, fraudulently labeling as antisemites American citizens who offer principled, evidence-based objections to the policies and practices of the Israeli government.
  3. Kenneth Stern, the lead writer of the IHRA, clarified that he never intended for the document to function as law or to be used to establish “speech codes.”
  4. In 2023, more than 100 organizations asked the United Nations to reject the definition because it wrongly labels criticism of Israel as inherently antisemitic, which it emphatically is not, and therefore chills and suppresses nonviolent protest, activism and speech critical of Israel and/or Zionism.
  5. There are better guidelines to antisemitism, such as the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (2021) and the Nexus Document (2019). Neither document is perfect, but they both do a much better job of accurately describing what antisemitism actually is, helping to prevent it, while avoiding the problems noted above.
  6. Laws like S.B. 739 have already been challenged in court as unconstitutional. Save the state’s resources from defending bad laws that will not stand scrutiny.