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Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 2:00pm

The American Jewish Congress was pleased to attend today the "Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Region" organized in Tirana, Albania. The disturbing rise in anti-Semitic speech and crimes is not only a phenomenon we witness in the United States - it is a hideous global threat that we must combat together.

The conference featured representatives from OSCE participating states, including the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Mr. Elan S. Carr. The gathering served as an important opportunity to provide an assessment of the issue and its impact on Jewish communities across the OSCE area, and to discuss concrete initiatives in the fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination. 

The American Jewish Congress will continue to work with national governments, international organizations, and civil society in our efforts to counter anti-Semitism in the United States and across the globe.  

Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 5:00pm

 

Today New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced significant additional measures aimed at protecting religious buildings and houses of worship across the state. The announcement, made at the 'No Hate In Our State' – 2020 Security Grant Conference, included an additional $25 million in state grant funding. This funding is intended to help organizations and communities vulnerable to hate crimes to protect themselves. This is part of a broader effort to strike back against hate crimes, including proposed legislation to categorize hate crimes as domestic terrorism and punish it accordingly. Governor Cuomo has also called for increased funding to the New York Police Hate Crimes Task Force, as well as expanded education efforts designed to protect our children from the influence of hate.

Although anti-Semitic hate, in particular, played a central role in Governor Cuomo's remarks, these new measures are intended to be inclusive and interfaith, as well as, protect New Yorkers across racial, ethnic, and religious lines. For over one hundred years, the American Jewish Congress has operated under the belief that, in order for any minority group to be protected, all must be protected. We were proud to attend the conference, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with Gov. Cuomo on his crucial initiative and salute his effort to ensure that the kind of violence inflicted on Jews in such places as Poway, Pittsburgh, Jersey City, and Monsey does not happen again. 
 
 
Jack Rosen, President
Munr Kazmir, Vice-President
Ben Chouake, Secretary 
Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 2:00pm

Speaking in front of New York City Jewish community leaders, U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced a new plan to fight anti-Semitism. In the pursuit of combating hate crimes, Attorney General Barr highlighted recent acts of anti-Semitic violence and intimidation, which he said will be pursued more vigorously. As hate crimes increase dramatically, so must the forces and resources fighting them.

Now, with the Attorney General’s office involved, state and local police will no longer be the sole combatants. The American Jewish Congress applauds Attorney General Barr’s decision to bring in the federal government, as federal resources have the potential to deal a bigger blow to hate and bigotry, and deter future copycat offenders.

But we cannot rely solely on law enforcement to fight anti-Semitism. As we have consistently stated, dialogue between the Jewish community and their surrounding communities will foster a better understanding. Besides the push in federal law enforcement, we welcome also Attorney General Barr second initiative, which will direct all U.S. state attorney offices across the country to “initiate or reinvigorate” their outreach to their Jewish communities. This is essential to building trust between local leaders and the Jewish community and will facilitate the reporting of anti-Semitic incidents. Overall, simply declaring that the administration will take on a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism is a precedent not seen from administrations before. We look forward to seeing this new initiative come to fruition.

 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 2:00pm

The American Jewish Congress welcomes the bold new Middle East peace plan "Peace to Prosperity" proposed by the Trump Administration. For too long, we have tried the same tired approaches that have consistently failed to make a difference; it is time for a new direction.

Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejected the deal long before it was unveiled and called on the international community to do the same. This is consistent with the PA's aversion to productive negotiations. If Palestinian leadership truly desires to change the status quo and work toward a tangible two-state solution, those leaders must come to the table with a willingness to engage; they must be prepared to offer pragmatic counteroffers and alternatives, rather than blanket rejection. 
 
President Trump and Jared Kushner deserve credit for constructing a plan that holds the best interests of both Israelis and Palestinians in mind. What the Palestinian people need most is the chance for economic growth, opportunity, and self-sufficiency, and the economic component of the peace plan will facilitate investment, trade, and cooperation. An important part of this will be cooperation with neighboring Arab states, and some of them are already on board with this initiative. We hope that President Abbas truly has the interest of his people in mind and that he will support this plan which sets a course for Palestinians to integrate into the global economy.
Monday, January 27, 2020 - 5:00pm

Today, as we mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are set to affirm their commitments to ensuring that the unspeakable acts of the Holocaust remain in history, as H.R. 943, titled The Never Again Education Act, comes to the Floor for a vote. Supported by nearly 300 Representatives, along with half the Senate supporting a companion bill of the same name and text (S. 2085), this important legislation designates $10M over five years to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of expanding and bolstering Holocaust education for American children and beyond.

With anti-Semitism experiencing a sharp resurgence across the nation and the world, it has never been more important for our youth to be educated on how 6 million men, women, and children were brutally murdered against a backdrop of collective silence.  Recent polling by Pew Research reveals that Americans are shockingly uneducated about the Holocaust – for example, only 45 percent of know how many Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, and 31 percent do not know the general time period in which the Holocaust took place. This should be a wakeup call for all of us; only by a thorough understanding of the ultimate consequences of anti-Semitism and hate can we keep the promise of ‘Never Again.’

The American Jewish Congress declares this a proud day for our community, the living memorial that is the Holocaust Museum, and our perpetual responsibility to proactively combating evil.  Bipartisan support generated for H.R. 943 by its lead authors and cosponsors Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY), along with Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for S. 2085, as well as President Trump and his Administration, is a promising reminder that, even in these politically divisive times, our nation’s leaders are united in remembering some of humanity’s darkest hours, safeguarding our promise to support and protect future generations.

 

BACKGROUND

The 116th Congress’ bipartisan Never Again Education Act (H.R. 943/S. 2085) would establish a federal fund at the Department of Education – the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund – which will finance grants to public and private middle and high schools to help teachers develop and improve Holocaust education programs. The funding could cover training for educators, textbooks, transportation and housing for teachers to attend seminars, transportation for survivors to be brought to a school, and field trips. The bill would also direct experts at the Department of Education to work with trained Holocaust educators to conduct regional workshops to help teachers incorporate the sensitive subject of the Holocaust into their classrooms.

Background provided by Senator Rosen.

 

Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 4:00pm
The New York State Assembly recently passed a controversial bill to prevent judges from setting bail for certain nonviolent offenses. However, the bill came with a critical oversight: It would also apply to some hate crimes that have recently terrorized Jewish communities in the tri-state area. Hate crimes like those allegedly done by Tiffany Harris, a Brooklyn woman who was arrested and then released without bail after slapping three Orthodox Jewish women.
 
That is why, last week, legislation to fix this blind spot and protect Jewish Americans and other minorities targeted by hate crimes was introduced in the Assembly. The American Jewish Congress believes that changes need to be made to the bail reform legislation enacted in New York state last year. We are heartened that our political leadership led by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins are open to changes to the bail reform law.
 
We have seen time and time again that even minor hate crimes contribute to an atmosphere of fear and pave the way for future violence. When taking on the difficult issue of criminal justice reform, government officials must stand firm against the scourge of hate crimes.
 
 
Jack Rosen
President
American Jewish Congress
Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - 5:00pm

On Sunday, 25,000 people marched in New York City to show solidarity with Jewish Americans and protest and reject the wave of anti-Semitic hate sweeping our nation. In the wake of a series of terrible anti-Semitic actions and attacks in New York City, Jersey City, and the tri-state area, this was a powerful and moving event. We are grateful to the organizers of the march and all those who joined in this meaningful gesture.

The American Jewish Congress was proud to take part in the march. AJCongress President Jack Rosen and staff took this opportunity to meet with elected officials in New York who are tackling the issue of anti-Semitism head-on and seeking actionable solutions. Among them were Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and Congressman Gregory Meeks, all of whom have been strong partners with the Jewish community in the fight against hate.

 

Sunday, December 29, 2019 - 5:00pm

As the world welcomes a new year, Jews yet again face the old reality of anti-Semitic hatred and violence. The stabbing attack yesterday against Jews celebrating Hanukkah in the home of a rabbi in Monsey, NY caps a week in which there was an anti-Semitic attack against Jewish New Yorkers every single day. Every single day. 

 

What is supposed to be a joyous time celebrating family and faith, this Hanukkah has become an open season for attacks against the Jewish community. Despite repeated calls from community organizations and authorities to quell increased violence and rhetoric against Jews, the number of hate crimes across the country continues to climb. The fact that the Greater New York City area has seen its ninth anti-Semitic attack this week alone—following the brazen shooting at a kosher deli in Jersey City, NJ earlier this month—further demonstrates that violence can only be stopped when we as Americans take a collective stand against it. 

 

For billions of people, a new year augurs change. Betterment. So how is it that for Jews, a people who have persisted through centuries of persecution and violence, we cannot have even a single day in which the better angels of our common man are summoned to embrace us and deliver us from harm? What does this say about progress? Change? Hope? We face a new year and a new decade. Let peace be our common endeavor. Let us root out hate in all its forms because where it festers—against religion, color, or creed—it threatens us all.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress
 

Thursday, December 19, 2019 - 6:00pm
The American Jewish Congress welcomes New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement of more than $10 million in funding to provide security for schools and cultural centers, including religious-based institutions, against hate crimes. This effort constitutes part of New York’s Security Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant Program.
 
As hate crime rates continue to rise every year, with a disproportionate number directed at Jewish communities, the security of educational, community, and cultural institutions is paramount. We hope Governor Cuomo’s strong leadership on this issue will encourage others at all levels of government to take meaningful action against the scourge of anti-Semitism and all hate crimes.

 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 5:16pm

The American Jewish Congress welcomes President Trump's executive order targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses. The President has made the right decision. For too long, hate, in the form of extreme anti-Israel rhetoric, has flourished on campuses across the country, making Jewish students feel unsafe and unwelcome while setting the stage for other forms of anti-Jewish hate.

 

In particular, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, a deeply anti-Semitic movement that has been linked to terror organizations, is widespread at universities and has led to the targeting of Jewish students. The U.S. Congress has already made clear its bipartisan opposition to BDS. We must be blunt, the government should not be in the business of funding hate and college campuses are no exception. Like members of any minority group, Jewish students deserve to feel welcome and protected at their schools, and President Trump's order brings us closer to attaining that reality.        

 

Jack Rosen
President
American Jewish Congress