North Carolina moves to adopt IHRA definition of ‘antisemitism’ with bipartisan SHALOM Act

Republican speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, Tim Moore. Photo: Olivier Douliery, AFP via Getty

North Carolina has joined a growing list of states which is pushing to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which asserts that even mild critique of Jews or their interests is an antisemitic act.

  • North Carolina’s House passed the “Standing up to Hate and Leading with Our Moral Principals Act,” aka the SHALOM Act, in a bipartisan vote that was nearly unanimous. The passing of the bill came one week after the U.S. House voted to codify the IHRA definition into the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • The controversial bill cleared the House chamber in just one day and is currently awaiting approval by the state Senate before going to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
  • The SHALOM act, like many other bills that adopt the definition, has been couched as a way to “empower” educators and law enforcement by giving them the legal rubric to discipline or criminally charge with hate crime statutes those found to be “antisemitic.”

Between the lines: The SHALOM Act’s primary sponsor is Republican House Speaker Tim Moore, who explained that the bill has been “in the works” since the events of October 7th.

  • Moore says that the bill’s passing has been fast-tracked due to growing pro-Palestine demonstrations held on college campuses in North Carolina—namely UNC-Chapel Hill—where a group of Jewish “Frat Bros” and Conservative influencers recently held a political stunt in support of Zionism.
  • Mass arrests and police crackdowns have occurred at the sites of many of these peaceful sit-ins. Moore claims that the IHRA definition would make it easier to disperse and prosecute anti-Israel dissent.

The Conversation: Rep Moore, who is running for Congress this Fall, is a controversial figure in North Carolina politics. Like many mainline Republicans, he has defended Israel and its interests, using his station to castigate protestors and others critical of the Middle East situation.

  • “The targets of this are clearly Jewish students, who are being singled out, who are being intimidated, who are being harassed, who are being physically assaulted…and that’s not right, and it needs to be dealt with,” he said.
  • In June of 2023, it came to light that Moore was the center of a sex scandal after a lawsuit accused him of having group sex with those seeking “political favors. Additionally, it charged Moore with having a years-long affair with the wife of a town councilman.

In the Headlines: North Carolina is not the only state pushing for increased powers to throttle anti-Zionist rhetoric on campuses.

  • Just today, it was reported that Republican U.S. Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the No Flights For Terrorists Act, which would amend the U.S. Code to demand the FBI place pro-Palestine protestors and other alleged “antisemites” on a Federal no-fly list.
  • In April, House Republicans in New York put forward draconian new laws that would make it illegal to challenge Israel or Jewish people on public property. Under the auspices of fighting “antisemitism,” the laws would make ripping down “kidnapped” posters and other pro-Jewish propaganda illegal.
  • In April, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton equated pro-Palestine sit-ins at New York’s Columbia University as a “nascent pogrom,” urging President Joe Biden to send in the National Guard to suppress criticism of Israel by force.
  • In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott used his office to sign an executive order to “punish” so-called “antisemitic rhetoric” in Texas colleges. He also referred to the concept of free speech as “an enemy,” stating that one of his goals was to “punish” those who espoused pro-Palestine rhetoric.

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