South Dakota Gov Kristi Noem Signs the’Strongest’ Hate Crime Bill in America to ‘Stop Antisemitism’

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) on Thursday boasted that she signed the “strongest” hate crime bill in America into law to “stop antisemitism” and “ensure the security of God’s chosen people.”

Noem said in a press release after signing the bill that South Dakota is giving Jews additional special privileges under their anti-discrimination laws because they are “God’s chosen people.”

Kristi Noem’s full statement below:

Ensuring the Security of God’s Chosen People

By: Governor Kristi Noem

March 8, 2024

When I was growing up, my dad would always gather our family together and we would pray for Israel. It was instilled in me from a very young age that the Jews were Gods [sic] chosen people, that Israel was the Holy Land, and that we should always pray for them.

I brought those fundamental ideals with me when I was in the State Legislature, when I served in Congress, and now as Governor of South Dakota. Supporting the State of Israel and our Jewish community has always been extremely important to me. It’s important to support Israel for spiritual, historical, and national security reasons. I am continuing to stand with the Jewish people by signing historic legislation to protect them from antisemitism.

I was shocked and devastated to see the horrific terrorist attacks on the State of Israel on October 7th, 2023. And I have continued to be heartbroken to see radical individuals in the United States of America standing with Hamas – standing with terrorists. Ever since October 7th, we have seen a shocking spike in antisemitic acts of hatred around the world. We have even seen isolated incidents right here in South Dakota.

No one should ever feel concerned for their safety when going to school, when going to work, when they are just trying to live their normal lives. But that is the reality for so many Jewish people across America right now. We see antisemitism on college campuses, among high school students, and even as young as middle and elementary school students. That is unacceptable.

I was very proud to sign HB 1076, a very important bill to combat antisemitism. This bill defines antisemitism and makes it easier to prove when discriminatory conduct is motivated by antisemitism. It is an impactful piece of legislation that will ensure the safety of Jewish people and strengthen South Dakota’s anti-discrimination laws.

We held a beautiful, moving signing ceremony for this bill in the Rotunda of our State Capitol in Pierre. Many prominent Jewish leaders attended, including Elan Carr, the CEO of the Israeli-American Council for Action, nationally renowned Jewish leader and founder of the Jacobson Society Dan Rosen, Rabbi and Director of the National Jewish Advocacy Center Dr. Mark Goldfeder, Rabbi Mendel Alperowitz of the Chabad Jewish Center of South Dakota, Renie Schreiber on behalf of Yinam Cohen, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, and Jordan Cope from Stand With Us. A few of our special guests said some words about the impact this legislation will have for the Jewish people. You can view footage of the full bill signing ceremony here.

There are a few other people to thank for their efforts in getting this bill passed and signed into law, including Representative Mike Stevens, Representative Rebecca Reimer, Dan Lederman, and Stephen Rosenthal.

The prime sponsors of this bill, Representative Deutsch and Senator Mehlhaff, put in a lot of hard work with my office and with members of the Jewish community to make sure this is the best bill possible to stop antisemitism and hate. This bill puts the gold standard International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism into state law.

I hope that more states across our great nation will follow this example that we are setting here in South Dakota. It is more important now than ever for our nation’s leaders to stand up and fight against antisemitism. We must always work to ensure the security of God’s chosen people.

Though the ADL had privately warned against said anti-BDS laws, other Jewish groups forged ahead with them and the ADL not only got on board with the anti-BDS effort but became an enthusiastic supporter.

Anti-BDS laws have since been passed in 38 states.

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