A Florida mayor's battle against BDS

Bal Harbour mayor explains the legislation that allows police to identify anti-Israel crimes as anti-Semitic.

Yoni Kempinski,

Gabriel Groisman
Gabriel Groisman
צילום: Courtesy of Gabriel Groisman

Arutz Sheva spoke to Bal Harbour, Florida Mayor Gabriel Groisman, who drafted and passed the United States' first municipal anti-BDS Israel boycott ordinance in his village, that set an example for nearly half of the US states.

The ordinance, the first of its kind for a municipality, allows police officers to consider whether a crime had anti-Semitic motivation, and to investigate it as a violation of the ordinance in addition to state and federal hate-crime laws.

In the full video interview attached above, Groisman says that the US administration could and should do much more to fight anti-Semitism, and notes that the state of Israel is starting to cooperate more efficiently and significantly with the global initiatives fighting BDS.

He explained that the since there was no codified definition of anti-Semitism, police departments throughout the United States had a hard time identifying and investigating hate-crimes.

The ordinance pointed to the State Department’s 2010 definition of anti-Semitism but gave law enforcement discretion in determining whether to call a crime a hate incident.

"The State of South Carolina had just passed the nation's first state anti-BDS law, and I realized we can do the same thing on a municipal level and really have an effect immediately on the situation we're going to be dealing with in my city, and then it ended up spreading across the country."

Griosman spoke about the economic, psychological, and political impact the boycott has, what is current strategy is, and how legislation can help. He also told Arutz Sheva why he makes no distinction between Judea and Samaria and Israel, and why such distinctions are fallacious.

"The purpose of this legislation is to codify what anti-Semitism is, and you have it in a lot of different areas of discrimination but not in anti-Semitism. Because if a police officer is looking at an incident, it's hard for them to understand, they're not really involved in what's happening around the country and around the world to understand that it's anti-Semitism.

"I'll give you a very simple example: If someone is beating someone else up while saying 'Free Palestine' on a college campus, the police officer has no immediate way of understanding unless they're really knowledgeable about what's happening that this Jewish kid who's walking across the campus and was just assaulted - he was assaulted because he was Jewish, which makes it a hate-crime. Why? Because of the 'Free Palestine', when this Jewish kid has nothing to do with what's happening there or anywhere else in the world, and he's being attacked because he's Jewish and that's an anti-Semitic hate crime."

Media reception
צילום: Courtesy of Gabriel Griosman







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