LANSING, Mich. State Representative Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield) introduced legislation to strengthen Michigan’s response to rising antisemitism.

“Michigan’s Jewish community has felt the steep rise in antisemitism for over a decade, without a commensurate response from state government. I ran for office on a pledge to combat rising hate and bigotry in Michigan, and I am proud to make good on that pledge by introducing this legislation that will forge a more comprehensive approach to combating anti-Jewish discrimination,” Arbit stated.

Arbit’s House Bill 4327 enshrines a gold-standard definition of antisemitism within Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The standard adopted would help relevant authorities, agencies, and institutions better identify and evaluate potential cases of discrimination against Jews in Michigan. As with the entirety of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, the standard adopted by HB 4327 would only apply to discriminatory conduct, not constitutionally-protected free speech.

Arbit said, “Despite antisemitism being one of the oldest and most deadly hatreds, it remains very poorly understood. This legislation seeks to address a very basic problem, which is: how can we combat discrimination against Jews, if we don’t fully understand what it looks like, or how it most commonly operates?”

While the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act protects individuals from employment, housing, education, and public services discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, and sexual orientation, among other protected characteristics, it does not provide protections from discrimination based on ethnicity, an oversight particularly relevant to combating discrimination against Jews.

Arbit said, “It is often assumed that Elliott-Larsen protects Jews under the category of religion, but this fails to recognize that discrimination against Jews most often takes the form of racial or ethnic prejudice, rather than religious. By adding ethnicity as a protected class, my bill improves Elliott-Larsen’s ability to protect Jews, recognizing that Jewishness is an identity that straddles categories of race, religion, ethnicity, and nationality.” HB 4327 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it awaits a hearing.



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