In wake of Israel-Hamas War SB7 adds Ethnicity to Hate Crimes and Makes Penalties Higher for Antisemitic Discrimination
— Senator Bryce Reeves
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES , January 31, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ — Virginia Senator Bryce Reeves may be elected by his 28th District constituents, but he protects the lives and rights of many. Reeves’ bipartisan Hate Crimes & Discrimination Bill (SB7) was introduced to the Virginia General Assembly on November 20, 2023. Hate Crime legislation in Virginia previous to Reeves’ bill covered nationality and religion, but not ethnicity. So, if a Jewish man were attacked in a synagogue the assault would be prosecuted as a hate crime; however, if the same man were attacked merely walking down the street, unless his religion were in some way apparent, the assault would not be considered a hate crime.
SB7 adds ethnicity to the definition of a hate crime, protecting Jews from all antisemitic acts and “unlawful discrimination.” The bill makes penalties higher for antisemitic discrimination in employment and adds Jews “to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault & battery, or trespass for the purpose of damaging another’s property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense.”
Reeves explains his conviction for passing SB7. “Jews have been persecuted since before the biblical enslavement of Israelites and their Exodus from Egypt. Antisemitism in America is insidious, so much so, that we often don’t even recognize the bias. Sentiments of Jewish slander are accepted as common colloquialisms in everyday speech, leading to subconscious distain of Jews in Americans of all religions. It is imperative that we enact protection from Antisemitic hate crimes and ensure historical cycles of Jewish genocide like the Holocaust of WWII will never occur on American soil.”
Although SB7 was just introduced during the 2024 Legislative Session of the Virginia General Assembly, the timing could not be more imperative. Senator Reeves, a former Army Ranger and Narcotics Detective, is no stranger to the devastation of blind hatred. “With tensions rising in Gaza and throughout the Middle East, we must be vigilant about protecting our Jewish Citizens at home. I hope that this bill is the first of many pieces of legislation across America that will protect our Jewish population until their contributions to society are recognized.”