Jewish community leaders from across New York and New jersey gathered Monday with federal, state and local leaders to address the rising tide of antisemitism at a symposium convened by the Orthodox Union at Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City.
New York City saw a whopping 125 percent leap in hate crimes last month over November 2021. According to the NYPD, of those there were 45 antisemitic hate crimes, compared to 20 antisemitic hate crimes in November 2021.
Less than 24 hours earlier, a gang of six young thugs chased a young Jewish boy with a taser on East 16th Street near Avenue J in the Midwood section of Brooklyn.
HATE CRIME IN FLATBUSH: These perpetrators are wanted for running after Jewish boy's while firing a taser gun & yelling "RUN JEWS, GET OUT OF HERE." On Ave J and East 16 St. @NYPD70Pct & @FCSPshmira are investigating. Have any info? Call 911 & Shmira 718-871-4444. @NYPDHateCrimes pic.twitter.com/rpUlPTPGgA
— Shmira Public Safety (@Shmira) December 11, 2022
Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at the two-hour symposium together with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, New York’s US Senator Chuck Schumer and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
In her remarks, Hochul announced the formation of the Department of Human Rights’ Hate & Bias Prevention Unit to address the problem. She noted that legislation was recently passed to ensure Holocaust teachings are “actually” taught in schools “instead of checking the box and saying, yes, we took care of that.”
Funding was also recently allocated for community organizations to develop ways to protect themselves as well, she added. “We know the vulnerable sites, so we have $50 million available for organizations to apply for to protect the people who gather within the synagogues, the yeshivas, the community centers,” she reminded the participants.
Adams, for his part, called for “zero tolerance” for hate crimes. “There should be a ‘no plea bargaining rule’ — if you are arrested for hate crimes. No plea bargaining!” he declared.
The mayor also challenged judges in the criminal justice system to treat hate crimes as serious offenses. “You should not have that assault downgraded to harassment,” he said.
In addition, he urged a campaign against social media platforms that allow hate speech. “They have a social and corporate responsibility,” he said, “to use artificial intelligence and algorithms to identify those with hateful speech, hateful rhetoric, and hateful recruitment, and immediately stop them from proliferating on social media and poisoning the minds [of] — and radicalizing — individuals.”
His comments drew loud applause.