Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: February 24, 2023
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Christian Martinez,

Governor Glenn Youngkin Praises Passage of Bill to Combat Antisemitism

RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin today praised the General Assembly for passing House Bill 1606 patroned by Delegate Anne Ferrell Tata, which was passed with wide bipartisan support. This law adopts the non-legally binding Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on May 26, 2016. 

“Hate has no place in the Commonwealth and I’m proud to take continued steps to fight antisemitism,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I am truly inspired by the devotion shown to transform what started as an idea into a law that will change how we combat antisemitism in the Commonwealth. I want to thank everyone who poured their heart and soul into seeing this bill pass.”  

“As the chief patron of HB 1606, I am proud and honored by the overwhelming bipartisan support from the Virginia General Assembly, which represents a strong step forward in eliminating antisemitic hate and discrimination in Virginia and nationwide. Today, Virginia sent a firm message that intolerance will not stand in the Commonwealth,” said Delegate Anne Ferrell Tata. 

“Education, conversation, and awareness are the best methods to overcome bias. That’s why HB 1606 is important. It gives us a tool to start combatting the root causes of hate, and ultimately defeat the scourge of antisemitism in Virginia,” said Senator Siobhan Dunnavant. “I am honored to be a part of bringing the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism into Virginia law so that educators and law enforcement are empowered to recognize and respond to antisemitic acts.” 

“In the report of the Commission to Combat Antisemitism, the very first recommendation was for Virginia to adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism. Today, the General Assembly deserves great credit for its bipartisan vote to enact HB 1606 and officially define antisemitism in Virginia law. This is a vital first step to help confront the growing problem of Jew-hatred and its varied manifestations,” said Commission to Combat Antisemitism Chairman Jeffrey Rosen. 

“Virginia was the first state in the nation to convene a Commission to Combat Antisemitism, and the Commonwealth rightfully recognized the growing threat that hate poses to the nearly 200,000 Jewish Virginians. I was so pleased to see a bipartisan effort like enacting the IHRA definition shine through the partisan divides that have permeated politics. The actions by the General Assembly today demonstrate that our political leaders can still work together to find common ground on issues as critical as fighting rising hatred against Jews,” said Commission to Combat Antisemitism Legislative Chair Connie Meyer. 

Governor Youngkin on his first day in office signed Executive Order Number 8 establishing the Commission to Combat Antisemitism, which released a report on December 5, 2022 and recommended that Virginia formally adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.

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