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Friday, June 14, 2024

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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

New Plan Combats Antisemitism Across U.S.

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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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