Working group will travel around state to address rise in antisemitic incidents
Submitted on behalf of New York State Sen. Rob Ortt
New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt on Tuesday announced the creation of an antisemitism Working Group that will hold roundtables throughout the state to hear from stakeholders and make recommendations on ways to best address the alarming rise in antisemitic incidents in New York state.
New York State Sen. Jack Martins will serve as chair of the working group. Sen. Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick, Sen. Joseph Griffo, Sen. Peter Oberacker and Sen. Bill Weber will serve as additional members.
“We continue to see an alarming rise in antisemitic hate crimes here in New York,” Ortt said. “These types of violence have no place in our state and nation – no innocent, law-abiding New Yorker should ever feel threatened, especially on the basis of their faith. The Senate Republican conference is committed to restoring public safety, and protecting our Jewish brothers and sisters from hateful acts of violence. This working group will gather information and formulate solutions on how the Legislature can best reverse this rising trend, and I look forward to their report.”
Martins said, “Antisemitism is a continuing and growing scourge on today’s society. We must all do our part as New Yorkers to fight hate in all forms. Through this working group, I look forward to working with communities across the state to gather information and develop policies to ensure that all communities are safe and no one is threatened or persecuted for their religious beliefs.”
Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick said, “In the interest of working to protect my constituents and all Jewish people across New York state, I am proud to join with my colleagues in the Senate Republican conference to form this working group that will help to prevent and stamp out the scourge of antisemitism. I am disgusted by the rise of antisemitic hatred that we‘ve seen in New York. I very proudly represent a district with a large population of Jewish constituents, and the idea that any citizen should feel threatened on the basis of their deeply held religious beliefs is sickening. I believe that we will be able to push forth effective legislation that will ensure that our Jewish brothers and sisters no longer have to live in fear.”
Griffo said, “We continue to see antisemitic threats, attacks and vandalism in New York state and throughout the country. These reprehensible, unacceptable and inexcusable threats and actions have spread fear throughout the Jewish community. Those of the Jewish faith should not have to live in fear to practice their religion or to go about their daily lives. By using the input that we receive from these roundtable discussions, we can provide important recommendations and potential solutions to help prevent antisemitic incidents from occurring in the future.”
Oberacker said, “Heinous, violent acts in the name of antisemitism have been on the rise in New York, and we must take decisive action to halt these disturbing crimes. I want to thank in advance those from the Jewish community who will be coming forward to describe very personal tragedies; your words will be instrumental. Working together, we will develop true solutions to ensure no one comes under attack because of their faith or religion. While I am honored to serve on this special senate panel, I am deeply troubled that it is needed at all.”
Weber said, “I want to thank Leader Ortt for asking me to join the important antisemitism working group to help ensure we do everything possible to end hate in New York. Our conference will continue to stand against antisemitism, known as the world's-oldest hatred.”
Ortt’s team said, “Sadly, we have seen attacks on our Jewish communities on the rise here in New York. For example, on May 20, 2021 a Jewish man named Joseph Borgen was brutally beaten while on his way to a pro-Israel demonstration near Times Square. In yet another reflection of our broken criminal justice system, his perpetrators were given a slap on the wrist at their sentencing earlier this month.”
Antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the U.S. last year, according to a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League and a recent poll by the ADL. Most recently, a report was conducted by the AJC State of Antisemitism in America Report 2022 outlining five key takeaways:
√ More Jews feel less secure in America.
√ American Jews are proud, but altering behavior out of fear.
√ Antisemitism online and on social media is a continuing threat. But young American Jews experience it differently.
√ American Jews pursuing higher education are experiencing some lows.
√ Americans know antisemitism is a problem for society, but more can be done.
The working group will hold a series of discussions throughout the state, hearing testimony from stakeholders who have experienced and witnessed antisemitism, and those who work to educate about antisemitism. At the conclusion of the roundtables, the working group will issue a report and make a series of legislative recommendations.
The first roundtable will be announced soon.