Rep. Hunter says antisemitism bill elevates Jews above everyone else, and that is ‘not right’

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Rep. Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines) spoke against the antisemitism bill on Thursday. He opened by quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

“We are not even coming close to recognizing Dr. King’s dream,” Hunter said. “This increased divisiveness that we’ve seen in the last couple of years has given birth to bills such as House File 2504.”

Hunter said he wouldn’t judge the intentions of the bill, but said the unintended consequences of the bill is to create more divisiveness.

Hunter said the bill creates an entirely new section on antisemitism.

“First of all, crimes against Jews are not the most common crimes of these types,” Hunter said. “According to the FBI, there were 7,120 hate crime sin 2019. Race-based hate crimes were once again the most common type of hate crime, as it was in every previous year that this survey has been taken.”

Hunter said the majority of those crimes were driven by hatred against blacks.

“Crimes against Jewish people are evil,” Hunter said. ‘And should not be tolerated. But neither should crimes against any other religion. Or people for being gay, black, Muslim, Hispanic, Asian or any other person in the state of Iowa.”

Hunter added by setting up a new code dealing with antisemitism, we are saying crimes against Jews are more serious than crimes against gays, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims — any other Iowan.

“I know that’s not your intention, but that is the message you’re sending,” Hunter said. “That it is less of a crime to attack Muslims than it is to attack Jews. That it is less of a crime to attack blacks than it is to attack Jews. That gays are somehow less valuable than jews. In the current state of affairs in today’s world, that is a dangerous message.

“House File 2504 is a bill that elevates one group and excludes others. Instead of doing this, we should seek to elevate all people in the state of Iowa.”

Hunter went on to say all people and all groups should be afforded the protections given by the state and nobody should be excluded from seeking those protections.

He then quoted the preamble of the Declaration of Independence.

“It doesn’t say some men, it says all men,” he said. “It doesn’t say all rich men, it says all men. It doesn’t say all white men, it says all men. It doesn’t say all protestants, it doesn’t say all straight men, it doesn’t say all Jews. It says all men. All men are created equal and they should not be prioritized.”

Hunter said the price we will pay for our continued oppression of minorities, religious groups, LGBT, immigrants and women is a loss of our democracy and of Dr. King’s dream.

“All people are created equal,” he said. “No one should be prioritized.”

He claimed that the bill puts Judaism on a level above all other groups.

“And that is not right,” he said.

He closed by saying:

“We must fight for laws that are fair for all Iowans and defeat those laws that discriminate or pit one group against the other. We must hold the creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,’ front and center in our deliberations in the Capitol. That is why we must vote no on House File 2504.”

Author: Jacob Hall