New Plan Combats Antisemitism Across U.S.
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
The Biden administration has unveiled a plan to combat the rise in antisemitism across the U.S. In New York, Anti-Defamation League data finds incidents of hate against Jewish people increased 39% between 2021 and 2022. The new plan aims to increase safety and security for Jewish communities, and increase awareness and education about antisemitism.
Myra Clark-Siegel, regional director of American Jewish Committee, Westchester/Fairfield, with the American Jewish Committee, said this should have been created before.
"It is not a small undertaking to bring the federal government together, to marshal the resources across 40 different government agencies, which is what this plan does," she said. "And, I think that there is a real recognition to do something."
She added once the policies and provisions of the plan are launched, any shortcomings or additional areas needing to be addressed will become apparent. A report from the American Jewish Committee finds 38% of Jewish people changed their behavior out of fear of antisemitism in 2022. But, 91% of non-Jewish Americans understand antisemitism is a serious problem that affects everyone, including Jewish people.
One pillar of the plan is to reverse the normalization of antisemitism and anti-Jewish discrimination. Along with a flurry of antisemitism awareness campaigns across numerous federal agencies, this includes adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's working definition of antisemitism.
But, Clark-Siegel noted a wrinkle in using it.
"It's a working definition; it's not legally binding," she explained. "It's, instead, a definition so that we understand what antisemitism is, and then we can develop the tools and the resources to address it."
She added municipalities and states can adopt this working definition to build on their antisemitism plans. In 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of hate-crime prevention legislation. Along with this, funding was allocated to community-based organizations for them to strengthen safety measures and protect people against hate crimes.
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