Holcomb vetoes bill defining antisemitism

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (IUSTV News) — Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued his eighth veto as governor Monday, striking down a bill that would have banned and defined “antisemitism” in educational institutions, citing “confusing language” as the reason for rejecting the bill.

House Bill 1002 was authored by Republican Indiana State Representative Chris Jeter, of Fishers. An amended version of the bill passed in the Indiana Senate in a 42-6 vote and was later passed by a bipartisan conference committee earlier this month.

“While I applaud the General Assembly’s effort to address and define antisemitism, I cannot agree with the outcome therefore I vetoed HEA 1002. The language that emerged in the final days of the legislative session fails to incorporate the entire International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and its important contemporary examples. Additionally, the confusing language included in the bill could be read to exclude those examples therefore I must veto HEA 1002. However, I also refuse to leave a void as to Indiana’s stance on antisemitism. That is why I am happy to share I have also signed a proclamation reiterating that Indiana condemns all forms of antisemitism and ensures we join numerous.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb, (R) Indiana

The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) supported the governor’s veto, releasing the following statement:

“We remain committed to working with HEA 1002 author Representative Chris Jeter (R-Fishers) and Senate sponsor Senator Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) and thank them for their tireless work. We would also like to thank Speaker of the House Todd Huston (R-Fishers) for making HEA 1002 a House Republican priority bill. JCRC will work diligently with members of the Indiana General Assembly, executive agencies, statewide educational institutions, and statewide educational organizations to ensure that the guidance of Governor Holcomb’s proclamation is correctly applied to identify and confront antisemitism and meet the needs of Jewish students in K-12 and higher educational settings.”


The Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network (IMAN), however, voiced their disappointment in Holcomb’s veto, expressing concerns that following the IHRA definition of antisemitism could dampen free speech in schools, especially college campuses. IMAN released the following statement:

“The Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network (IMAN) expresses disappointment regarding Governor Holcomb’s decision to veto HB 1002. This action overlooks the bipartisan effort between the Indiana General Assembly and various communities to achieve a balanced agreement on the bill. IMAN recognizes the importance of collaboration and compromise in the legislative process, and the veto of HB 1002 represents a setback in these efforts. 

From the beginning, we have made it clear that the examples referenced by the IHRA definition could be used to stifle freedom of speech in schools and on college campuses by labeling the criticism of Israel as antisemitic. Governor Holcomb’s proclamation disregards our meritorious concerns. While a proclamation is not legally binding, we will continue to monitor free speech concerns across the state to prevent any misinterpretation or encroachment on constitutional rights.

As religious minorities, we understand the impact of hate and stand in unwavering solidarity with the Jewish community in combating antisemitism. We will persist in our endeavors to safeguard free expression in educational institutions across Indiana and ensure the protection of our Muslim students.”