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Anti-hate consultants name on feds to step up in opposition to rising antisemitism – New Jersey Monitor


Final week, Scott Richman did one thing uncommon as he ready for Rosh Hashana providers at his synagogue. He draped a tool with a panic button round his neck to alert authorities in case the unimaginable occurred.

“Like so many worshippers, I spent the service distracted by the concern that our synagogue could possibly be subsequent — the following Colleyville, the following Jersey City, the following Tree of Life,” mentioned Richman, referring to violent antisemitic assaults that killed 17 folks and terrorized numerous others in Texas, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Richman, the Anti-Defamation League’s regional director for New Jersey and New York, joined a handful of Jewish leaders, safety officers, and anti-hate consultants who spoke Monday throughout a two-hour Congressional hearing in Teaneck on violent extremism, terrorism, and antisemitic threats in New Jersey.

“As Yom Kippur begins tomorrow, I urge you to recollect the way in which that these threats tear on the cloth of our communities, our democracy, and our nation,” Richman mentioned. “Now! Now’s the time for motion.”

The Home Committee on Homeland Safety convened the listening to to lift consciousness of rising extremism and brainstorm options after antisemitism hit file highs final yr, in each New Jersey and the U.S.

Final yr, the Anti-Defamation League fielded 2,717 studies of antisemitism nationally, probably the most because it started monitoring such incidents in 1979, based on its annual audit. In New Jersey, 370 antisemitic incidents have been reported.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a committee member whose district consists of Teaneck, mentioned the surge in hate incidents has impacted each his constituents and himself — he’s a member of the Rutgers College fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Psi, that somebody egged final week in an act of antisemitism.

“I hear tales of residents having to hold pepper spray round city and concern letting their youngsters exit to play,” Gottheimer mentioned. “This shouldn’t be the brand new regular.”

Rising charges of antisemitism have an effect on greater than the Jewish neighborhood, as a result of they’re rooted in conspiratorial pondering that separates everybody into “us and them,” warned Kenneth Stern, director of the Middle for the Examine of Hate at Bard College.

“Antisemitism will get extra traction when democratic norms are threatened, endangering extra than simply Jews,” Stern mentioned.

White supremacists’ “nice alternative” narrative, pushed by conservative commentators like Tucker Carlson, originated in antisemitism, mentioned Susan Corke, director of the Southern Poverty Legislation Middle’s Intelligence Mission.

“This racist conspiracy, which says there’s a scientific, world effort to switch white European folks with nonwhite international populations, gives a central framework rooted in antisemitic ideology for the white supremacist motion,” Corke mentioned. “The speculation has motivated many lethal terror assaults.”

Corke mentioned her middle has recognized 26 hate and anti-government teams in New Jersey, many with antisemitic ideologies such because the Nation of Islam.

Testimony through the listening to coated numerous floor, with debate on all the things from whether or not anti-Zionism is similar factor as antisemitism, if politicians have an obligation to name out hate speech inside their social gathering, and whether or not educational freedom protects professors who weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian battle.

Attainable options

Stern instructed policymakers mandate nationwide service for top schoolers — bringing children of various backgrounds collectively — to extend understanding.

He additionally really helpful following the greenback.

“As a society, we calculate the price of many issues — potholes even. However what does hate value us?” he mentioned.

His middle is now engaged on an financial evaluation of what hate crime prices. He urged policymakers to incorporate monetary influence in common reporting of hate crime statistics.

Antisemitism will get extra traction when democratic norms are threatened, endangering extra than simply Jews.

– Kenneth Stern, Middle for the Examine of Hate, Bard College

Corke agreed that increasing anti-racism training would assist “inoculate younger folks in opposition to radicalization.”

She additionally urged lawmakers to fund digital literacy training and enact reforms to carry expertise and social media firms accountable for misinformation and hate that spreads on their platforms.

Rabbi Esther Reed, interim govt director of Rutgers Hillel, referred to as on committee members to speculate extra in safety for non secular establishments.

Rutgers Hillel has used federal funds to put in bollards in entrance of their constructing to forestall automobiles from ramming the constructing and rear fencing to forestall intruders.

“We don’t need our establishments and amenities to be ringed with safety units, however sadly, they need to be,” Reed mentioned. “The Jewish neighborhood wants extra funding to maintain us secure.”

She additionally requested lawmakers to require the U.S. Division of Schooling to raised defend the rights of Jewish college students, saying “dozens” of circumstances of antisemitism stay open, together with one filed in 2011.

“Lots of the different pending complaints are additionally over a yr outdated and have but to be investigated,” she mentioned. “Each week that goes by is one other instance of Jewish college students’ rights to equal alternative not being protected.”

Holly Huffnagle, the American Jewish Committee’s U.S. director for combating antisemitism, mentioned as a result of antisemitism happens most frequently throughout election cycles, Jewish holidays, and flareups within the Center East, authorities must be on alert and ready to offer help to the Jewish neighborhood at these instances.

She additionally urged policymakers to publicly condemn antisemitism and keep away from grouping it “with different hatreds and bigotry when it was solely the Jewish neighborhood attacked.”

Failing to name out antisemitism particularly, she mentioned, is “unhelpful and even hurtful.”



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