Bal Harbour Passes Ordinance to Define Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes

Bal Harbour on Wednesday made history after becoming the first municipality in the United States to pass an ordinance that defines an anti-Semitic hate act.

The ordinance aims to assist police in identifying and processing such anti-Semitic crimes.

"It directs the police department to consider the definition of anti-semitism put forth by the state department in 2010," Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman said. "So it doesn't change the hate crime laws, but it gives them the language and the importance of what – constitutes a hate crime."

The ordinance is already in effect and community leaders hope other municipalities in Florida and elsewhere n the United States follow suit.

"Each and every one of us has a role in fighting against bigotry and Jew-hatred," Zionist Organization of America representative Sharona Whisler said. "It's very commendable that this city and that this council is playing this role in such a proactive way."

For example, graffiti involving the depiction of a swastika will be treated as a hate crime under the new ordinance instead of simply as vandalism.

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