Surely by now, you’ve heard all about Florida’s House Bill 269. If you haven’t already, you can read the full text of the bill and track its progress here:
As has been pointed out by several Gab users, this bill goes far beyond punishing the specific forms of street activism we mentioned in our original post.
From page 4, “A violation of this subsection includes any physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a Jewish or non-Jewish individual or his or her property or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities, Jewish cemeteries, or Jewish gravesites. Such expression includes the use of a Nazi symbol such as a swastika.”
If the coming months could be our last legally distributing our materials, then we’ll be focusing on doing as much of that as we can while we can, not stopping in the hopes we’re not forced to stop. It makes no sense. And again, this was coming either way. We’ve been seeing a lot of finger pointing, and that isn’t doing any of us any good. These people do not care if we ease up or stop “giving them what they want.” They don’t need it.
If you don’t live in Florida, don’t think this isn’t your problem. This will set a precedent which completely shatters any illusion of constitutional rights in this country and your state won’t be far behind. HB269 makes it a felony to offend any Jew or Jewish institution, in any way, for any reason whatsoever, or to display any symbolism interpreted as being in any way related to a person or movement who did so. The moment this bill becomes law, it will be much harder to do what we do.
This country and our freedoms have died a thousand deaths by now, but it’s our job to be here fighting it every time. Don’t think that because we may not have the power to stop this bill, that there isn’t value in fighting it. If everything we try fails, at the very least this is an opportunity to help another chunk of Americans understand that the rights they think they have don’t exist. A constitution is only worth what it means to those currently in power. Nothing is guaranteed.
You can sign the petition to stop the bill here (just do it):