Jacksonville city council to propose bill fighting against ‘awful antisemitism’ across the city

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — First, it was the Florida vs. Georgia game back in October. Next, it was the Taxslayer Gator Bowl just a few weeks ago. Antisemitic messages being projected across the city has been a common occurrence over the past several weeks in Jacksonville.


Now, the Jacksonville City Council plans to propose a bill stopping these projections of hate in the future.

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The initial introducer of the bill, city Councilwoman and Jacksonville candidate for mayor Leanna Cumber, says the proposal would make all projections of any kind onto private buildings illegal without a permit.

City Councilman Rory Diamond told Action News Jax on Monday the bill would likely impose a misdemeanor criminal charge alongside civil penalties to those who violated the prospective ordinance. However, councilwoman Cumber says the details still need to be figured out.

For councilwoman Cumber, the main goal of this bill is clear: to protect Jacksonville’s Jewish community from further discrimination.

“To make sure that this does not continue to happen, and businesses are not subjected to this, but most importantly, the Jewish community and this city is not subjected to this just awful antisemitism,” Cumber told Action News Jax on Monday.

Read: Gov. DeSantis’ office releases statement denouncing antisemitic messages around Jacksonville

However, the proposal would also possibly serve to protect businesses from damage to their image, as people project hate speech onto their buildings without their consent.

“Businesses are reaching out to try and get customers and Jacksonville’s trying to reach out to get businesses to Jacksonville and when we got this kind of stigma that’s been trying to put against us, it doesn’t help,” City Councilman at Large Matt Carlucci explained.

Additionally, City Councilman Diamond argues that first amendment freedom of speech is no excuse in this case of continued hate speech.

Read: Jewish community reacts to antisemitic message shown across a portion of TIAA Bank Field

“This isn’t a first amendment issue, it’s a property rights issue. You can’t blast somebody else’s message on somebody else’s private property,” Diamond explained. “It’s the same as putting a bumper sticker that you like on someone else’s car. You’re not allowed to do it.”

This bill is expected to go in front of the city council on Tuesday, January 24th, with wide spread support expected as well.

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“My best guess is that every single member of the city council will get behind this,” Councilman Diamond stated. “And if you don’t, that’s fine, but there will be a huge majority, who says not here, not in Jacksonville, no thank you.”