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Tell Florida Gov. DeSantis to veto bill limiting free-speech critical of Israel Human Rights Violations

(TAMPA, FL 05/08/2019) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations of Florida (CAIR-Florida), the state’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today urges all those interested in addressing the real threat of growing anti-Semitism and religious discrimination in Florida to call Gov. DeSantis and ask him to veto the disingenuous HB 741. Florida’s governor is scheduled to sign this bill into law during an all-expense taxpayer funded jaunt of the Florida Cabinet to Jerusalem (which is not in Florida).  

TAKE ACTION: Call Gov. DeSantis and ask him to veto HB 741. (850) 717-9337

CAIR joins over 30 of our fellow Floridians of Jewish faith who have also called on Gov. DeSantis to veto House Bill 741 which includes criticism of Israel’s human rights violations under the definition of Antisemitism. http://floridapolitics.com/archives/295202-group-of-jewish-floridians-hammer-anti-semitism-bill-call-for-veto?fbclid=IwAR30di4nXUoYhUveqjHjFRFxY5cpgbeID8hK0ud9f-ZG1NOIC8tFagoZmsg

Their letter states:

“At a time when we should be welcoming and valuing open debate on issues of social concern, HB 741 is a heavy-handed attempt to silence public criticism of the Israeli government’s human rights violations. Agree or disagree with the critics, the Florida Legislature has no business intruding on those discussions. Additionally, the accusation that such criticism is anti-Semitic does a disservice to the real issues of anti-Semitism that should concern all of us today.”

This disingenuously drafted bill will do very little to protect Floridians from actual religious discrimination - and is clearly an infringement on Floridians’ free speech rights. It also fails to address discrimination against Americans of Muslim faith - or any other faith for that matter. People who are hiding their identities because they are afraid or people whose churches are being burned. Religious discrimination is real – and Antisemitism must be fought like any other religious discrimination, but this is not the way. One must wonder about the real motives of the bill’s proponents and why they have bullied and viciously maligned everyone who questioned its deficiencies.

So please call the man who said in January that "Florida is the most Israel-friendly state in the country and we will not stand for discrimination against the Israeli people of any kind." Remind him that he is the governor of Florida and let him know that discrimination against Floridians for exercising their first amendment rights is also not acceptable.

Please also call the lawmakers who let this bill slide by them in the Florida House and Senate. They either failed to read the small print or let themselves be silenced and intimidated by the swift, cruel and well publicized bullying tactics of their proponents.

Freedom isn’t free. Lawmakers need to start reading the small print and stand up to bullies, that’s why we elected them to represent us. And more Floridians need to take an active role in watching: For instance, when the Florida legislature tries to pass a law that requires university professors to declare their political views - also allegedly in the name of ‘fighting discrimination’ against students who claim their ‘liberal professors’ are grading them unfairly.  

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

CONTACT: CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo A. Ruiz, 305-502-6749,wruiz@cair.com; CAIR Government Affairs Department Director Robert S. McCaw, 202-742-6448,rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,ihooper@cair.com

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