My Turn: Abby Lublin: Opposition to HB 942 “The SHALOM” Bill: Defending free speech and combating antisemitism

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

By Abby Lublin

The proposed HB 942, which seeks to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in North Carolina, is a development that threatens both free speech and effective efforts to combat antisemitism in our state.

While purporting to combat antisemitism, HB 942 would dangerously conflate legitimate criticism of the Israeli government and its policies with antisemitism. This not only stifles essential dialogue but also diminishes the severity of genuine antisemitic incidents of which we have documented many in North Carolina.

We stand united in opposing this bill, recognizing that equating criticism of Israel with bigotry undermines genuine efforts to combat antisemitism. By designating as hate crimes certain forms of legitimate political expression, HB 942 threatens the fundamental rights enshrined in the First Amendment and creates a chilling effect on public discourse.

Furthermore, it is evident that the sponsors of HB 942 are more concerned with signaling unwavering support for the current Israeli administration and its policies rather than genuinely addressing the concerns of Jewish individuals in North Carolina. This bill serves to further division and fear rather than fostering understanding and inclusivity. It prioritizes political agendas over the well-being and rights of Jewish citizens.

It is essential to understand that the bill does not eradicate the underlying beliefs or sentiments of antisemitism. Instead, it drives these beliefs underground, making them harder to address and challenge. True progress in combating antisemitism requires education, dialogue, relationships and understanding, not punitive measures that suppress dissent.

As advocates for free speech and the safety of all people, we vehemently oppose HB 942 and call on policymakers to reject this misguided legislation. Instead, we urge them to focus on initiatives that promote genuine dialogue, education, and the protection of constitutional rights for all residents of our state.

Abby Lublin is executive director of Carolina Jews for Justice. Contact her at or 919-301-9692.