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Overview

Tennessee does not have any binding legislation in effect targeting advocacy for Palestinian rights. While Tennessee has attempted to pass multiple antisemitism redefinition bills and anti-boycott bills, none have passed. In 2015, the legislature passed a joint resolution condemning BDS and boycotts for Palestinian rights.

State Legislation

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SB 1250
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
June 2020
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read SB 1250 

This antisemitism redefinition bill requires public educational institutions to consider a distorted definition of antisemitism to determine whether there has been a violation of anti-discrimination laws and policies in Tennessee’s public schools and universities. The bill adopts the 2010 US State Department fact sheet definition of antisemitism, including its contemporary examples related to Israel: “[d]emonizing of Israel,” “[s]etting double standards for Israel,” including by “[f]ocusing, by multilateral organizations, on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations,” and “[d]elegitimizing Israel.” The definition is so broad and vague that it could encompass any and all criticism of Israel, circumscribing political speech in support of Palestinian rights, potentially in violation of the First Amendment. Related Bill: HB 600.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 600
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
June 2020
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HB 600 

This antisemitism redefinition bill requires public educational institutions to consider a distorted definition of antisemitism to determine whether there has been a violation of anti-discrimination laws and policies in Tennessee’s public schools and universities. The bill adopts the 2010 US State Department fact sheet definition of antisemitism, including its contemporary examples related to Israel: “[d]emonizing of Israel,” “[s]etting double standards for Israel,” including by “[f]ocusing, by multilateral organizations, on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations,” and “[d]elegitimizing Israel.” The definition is so broad and vague that it could encompass any and all criticism of Israel, circumscribing political speech in support of Palestinian rights, potentially in violation of the First Amendment. Related Bill: SB 1250.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SB 2139
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
April 2018
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read SB 2139 

This antisemitism redefinition bill requires public educational institutions to consider a distorted definition of antisemitism to determine whether there has been a violation of anti-discrimination laws and policies in Tennessee’s public schools and universities. The bill adopts the 2010 US State Department fact sheet definition of antisemitism, including its contemporary examples related to Israel: “[d]emonizing of Israel,” “[s]etting double standards for Israel,” including by “[f]ocusing, by multilateral organizations, on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations,” and “[d]elegitimizing Israel.” The definition is so broad and vague that it could encompass any and all criticism of Israel, circumscribing political speech in support of Palestinian rights, potentially in violation of the First Amendment. Related bills: SB 2389, HB 2357.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SB 2389
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
April 2018
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read SB 2389 

This antisemitism redefinition bill requires public educational institutions to consider a distorted definition of antisemitism to determine whether there has been a violation of anti-discrimination laws and policies in Tennessee’s public schools and universities. The bill adopts the 2010 US State Department fact sheet definition of antisemitism, including its contemporary examples related to Israel: “[d]emonizing of Israel,” “[s]etting double standards for Israel,” including by “[f]ocusing, by multilateral organizations, on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations,” and “[d]elegitimizing Israel.” The definition is so broad and vague that it could encompass any and all criticism of Israel, circumscribing political speech in support of Palestinian rights, potentially in violation of the First Amendment. Related Bills: HB 2357 (companion), SB 2139.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 2357
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
March 2018
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HB 2357 

This antisemitism redefinition bill requires public educational institutions to consider a distorted definition of antisemitism to determine whether there has been a violation of anti-discrimination laws and policies in Tennessee’s public schools and universities. The bill adopts the 2010 US State Department fact sheet definition of antisemitism, including its contemporary examples related to Israel: “[d]emonizing of Israel,” “[s]etting double standards for Israel,” including by “[f]ocusing, by multilateral organizations, on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations,” and “[d]elegitimizing Israel.” The definition is so broad and vague that it could encompass any and all criticism of Israel, circumscribing political speech in support of Palestinian rights, potentially in violation of the First Amendment. Related Bills: SB 2389 (companion), SB 2139.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SB 1727
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
April 2018
Type(s)
State Contracts, State Investments
Full Text
Read SB 1727 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state contracts with and state investment in companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel or persons or entities doing business in Israel or territories occupied by Israel. The bill requires contractors to sign a written certification that they do not and will not engage in boycotts of Israel. The bill calls for the creation of a blacklist of companies that boycott Israel and prohibits public retirement systems from investing in such companies. Related bill: HB 2142.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 2142
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
April 2018
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts, State Investments
Full Text
Read HB 2142 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state contracts with and state investment in companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel or persons or entities doing business in Israel or territories occupied by Israel. The bill requires contractors to sign a written certification that they do not and will not engage in boycotts of Israel. The bill calls for the creation of a blacklist of companies that boycott Israel and prohibits public retirement systems from investing in such companies. Related Bill: SB 1727.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 885
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
April 2018
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HB 885 

This antisemitism redefinition bill requires state educational institutions to consider a distorted definition of antisemitism to determine whether there has been a violation of anti-discrimination laws and policies in Tennessee’s public schools and universities. The bill adopts the 2010 US State Department fact sheet definition of antisemitism, including its contemporary examples related to Israel of “demonizing Israel,” “applying a double standard to Israel,” and “delegitimizing Israel.” The definition is so broad and vague that it could encompass any and all criticism of Israel, circumscribing political speech in support of Palestinian rights, potentially in violation of the First Amendment. Related bill: SB 581.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SB 581
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
April 2018
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read SB 581 

This antisemitism redefinition bill requires state educational institutions to consider a distorted definition of antisemitism to determine whether there has been a violation of anti-discrimination laws and policies in Tennessee’s public schools and universities. The bill adopts the 2010 US State Department fact sheet definition of antisemitism, including its contemporary examples related to Israel of “demoniz[ing] Israel,” applying a “double standard for Israel,” and “delegitimiz[ing] Israel.” The definition is so broad and vague that it could encompass any and all criticism of Israel, circumscribing political speech in support of Palestinian rights, potentially in violation of the First Amendment. Related bill: HB 885.

Resolutions

Legislation
SJR 170
Status
Passed
Date Passed
April 2015
Full Text
Read SJR 170 

This non-binding resolution condemns boycott, divestment, and sanctions efforts, and academic boycotts, in particular. The resolution falsely claims that BDS campaigns have resulted in animosity toward Jewish students and attempts to link boycotts for Palestinian rights to rising antisemitism. The resolution reaffirms the legislature’s support for Israel and opposition to “all attempts to deny the legitimacy of Israel as a sovereign state.”

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