A new bill passed unanimously by the Indiana House of Representatives on Thursday defines antisemitism as religious discrimination in the state education code, repeating a 2023 vote after a similar bill died in the state Senate, The Associated Press reported.

Backers hope the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and ensuing war in Gaza have spurred renewed support for the bill this legislative session.

Indiana House Republicans included the bill, House Bill 1002, as one of their five priorities for the 2024 session. The legislation — largely aimed at higher education — would define antisemitism as religious discrimination and “provide educational opportunities free of religious discrimination.”

Advocates for the bill said instances of antisemitism have increased at college campuses in Indiana since the October 7 attack.

Supporters of the legislation say a working definition of antisemitism in the state education code has been wanting long before October. Opponents of the bill worry it will be used to silence support for Palestinian Arabs and criticism of Israel, according to AP.

The language of the bill currently says antisemitism “does not include criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country.” Critics say the provision is vague and will not adequately protect students, faculty and others who are critical of Israel military operations in Gaza.

The House unanimously passed a bill with the same language during the 2023 legislative session. The 2024 bill now goes to the Senate, where it failed to get a committee hearing last year.

Campus antisemitism has been on the rise not just in Indiana but in other states as well since the Hamas attack and ensuing war.

According to data published last month, there has been a 700% increase in the number of antisemitic incidents against Jewish students on US campuses since the October 7 Hamas attack.

The US House of Representatives last month passed a bipartisan resolution condemning antisemitism on college campuses.

Incidents of campus antisemitism include a 21-year-old student who was charged with assault after he punched one person and slammed the thumb of another during a pro-Israel demonstration at New York University’s main library.

At Cornell University, a professor said he was “exhilarated” by Hamas’ attack on Israel, and declared that “Hamas has challenged the monopoly of violence”. The professor, Russell Rickford, later apologized.

Also at Cornell, a student was criminally charged after allegedly making threats of a mass shooting and antisemitic violence.

In another incident, Jewish students at Cooper Union College in New York City were forced to lock themselves inside the library as a mob of anti-Israeli protesters blocked the doors.

About 40 minutes later, security escorted the students out of the building via a tunnel.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)