Rep. Caruso Files Bill to Fight Antisemitism
Representative Mike Caruso is taking a stand against antisemitism. A new bill filed by the Delray Beach republican would impose heavy penalties for certain public nuisances demonstrating a “religious or ethnic animus.” The bill is a response to several recent displays of antisemitism within Palm Beach County and around the state.
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Earlier this month, two men in ski masks used a projector to display a swastika on the side of the AT&T building in downtown West Palm Beach. The incident lasted for around half an hour. That same week, antisemitic flyers were distributed to multiple Boca Raton homes. Police said they believed the two incidents were connected.
Caruso said his bill would provide greater latitude in dealing with these antisemitic incidents.
“it establishes that the projection of anything onto any public or private property without the written permission from the owner of the property or a permit from a city… it’s a first-degree misdemeanor,” Caruso said in an interview with WPBF 25 News. “Now if they project something of a hateful nature… then it’s elevated to a hate crime and therefore a third-degree felony.”
Police later arrested one of the individuals connected to the antisemitic propaganda. Under Caruso’s bill, he would face felony charges.
Caruso has been working on the bill for more than a year in response to increasing antisemitic disturbances across Florida. The language regarding the projection of hateful images was added in response to this month’s incident in West Palm Beach.
The bill must follow a long process, including review by several committees, before it can be passed. After that, it would require the governor’s approval.
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“All Floridians, including those of Jewish faith, should be able to have quiet enjoyment in their communities and practice their faith without fear of harm. “ Caruso said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post. “When we say never again, we mean never again.”
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