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December 19, 2014 4

How Europe Can Do More to Fight Anti-Semitism and Hate Crime

Many peo­ple ask: What are gov­ern­ments doing to com­bat anti-Semitism and hate crime?  The sober­ing answer can be found ina score­card on Europe’s response to anti-Semitism and hate crime  which doc­u­ments where most coun­tries are falling far too short. ADL is push­ing back with leading-edge analy­sis and advo­cacy in the 57 coun­tries from North Amer­ica, Europe and Eura­sia that make up the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­rity and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE).

OSCE

ADL’s Direc­tor of Gov­ern­ment and National Affairs, Stacy Bur­dett spoke directly to gov­ern­ments this week in Vienna, Aus­tria, where they were gath­ered to dis­cuss the fight against intol­er­ance.  She pre­sented the score­card and ADL’s Global 100 sur­vey to the 57 gov­ern­ments and out­lined model prac­tices and steps they could take to part­ner with com­mu­ni­ties to address anti-Semitism and hate crime.  Since a stun­ning 72 per­cent of OSCE coun­tries do not report or report zero hate crimes, ADL chal­lenged gov­ern­ments to reject “the false and super­fi­cial notion that report­ing a rise in hate crime makes a city or coun­try look like a dan­ger­ous place to live” and told them, “it means your coun­try is a safer place to call the police, where the pub­lic trusts them to take hate crime seriously.”

ADL also urged gov­ern­ments to take a hard look at hate inci­dents tar­get­ing com­mu­ni­ties reported by 109 Non-Governmental Orga­ni­za­tions (NGOs) in 45 OSCE coun­tries and where there was no gov­ern­ment mon­i­tor­ing.  Ms. Bur­dett told them, “You can’t have poli­cies to pro­tect them if you don’t have eyes on the prob­lem.” and recalled ADL’s expe­ri­ence when it first began its audit of anti-Semitic inci­dents in the U.S., at a time before­there was any offi­cial mon­i­tor­ing.  “That forced offi­cials to take a hard look at the need to under­stand the nature and mag­ni­tude of the prob­lem.  Today we have broad hate crime report­ing that is a pow­er­ful tool to con­front vio­lent big­otry”, she said.

ADL’sprimary mes­sage was that these gov­ern­ments must part­ner with com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions in order to be effec­tive.  “When gov­ern­ments work with civil soci­ety, they craft bet­ter pol­icy, they mobi­lize broader sup­port, and they imple­ment it more suc­cess­fully” and sug­gested some prac­ti­cal steps that could make a dif­fer­ence in how com­mu­ni­ties feel about the gov­ern­ment response.  Ms. Bur­dett noted in her remarks, “It may not be enough to erad­i­cate anti-Semitism and hate crime.  But there’s no ques­tion that, if we part­ner, we can trans­form a place that turns its face away from hate crime to a place where, in the face of hate crime, peo­ple have a place to turn.”

The OSCE is the lead­ing inter­gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion track­ing hate crime and its response and pro­vid­ing tools to help gov­ern­ments and civil soci­ety address it.  ADL has worked closely with the orga­ni­za­tion to develop resources for gov­ern­ments on effec­tive ways to con­front vio­lent big­otry, includ­ing resources on anti-Semitism, and key com­po­nents of their tool-kit to help states address hate crime: Pre­vent­ing and Respond­ing to Hate Crime: A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE Region, and ODIHR’s Hate Crime Laws: A Prac­ti­cal Guide, which pro­vides prac­ti­cal advice for law­mak­ers, com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions and law enforce­ment for respond­ing to bias crimes.

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December 17, 2014 1

Apparent Extremist Threatens Police Officers and a City Employee

brandon-gibbs

Bran­don D. Gibbs

Ear­lier this month, an appar­ent anti-government extrem­ist in Louisiana allegedly threat­ened to pep­per spray police offi­cers after they attempted to serve him with an arrest war­rant for pur­port­edly threat­en­ing a city employee.

On Decem­ber 2, Bran­don D. Gibbs, 29, of Gon­za­les, Louisiana, allegedly attempted to walk towards a police offi­cer with a pep­per spray can before offi­cers arrested Gibbs on aggra­vated assault, resist­ing an offi­cer, pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana, unlaw­ful use of or in pos­ses­sion of body armor, in pos­ses­sion of nar­cotics and improper tele­phone com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Wearinga face mask, a hel­met with pep­per spray attached and a knife strapped to his full body amour suit, Gibbs barely opened his door and asked police offi­cers to show their hands before he walked out of his house at the time of his arrest. This inci­dent pre­sum­ably stemmed from a dis­agree­ment regard­ing his city water service.

Prior to his arrest, Gibbs report­edly called the city’s util­ity depart­ment and threat­ened a clerk for the department’s deci­sion to turn off his water after he didn’t pay his bill. Dur­ing the call, Gibbs pur­port­edly claimed that “if you come back on my prop­erty, I’m going to put a bul­let in a tire or in somebody’s head.”

Accord­ing to state­ments Gibbs made to police offi­cers and to activ­ity on his Face­book account, his actions towards law enforce­ment and pub­lic offi­cials appear to be influ­enced by anti-government extrem­ist beliefs. After police offi­cers charged Gibbs with resist­ing arrest in May 2013, he allegedly told offi­cers that he trained every week­end in Mau­repas, Louisiana, with a 500-person mili­tia on shoot­ing and mil­i­tary tech­niques. In one of his Face­book posts, Gibbs claimed that he stud­ied abroad “in @ home” to learn “empro­vised [sic] weapons spe­cial­izm [sic] and “hand to hand com­bat” in order “to defend myself and my land against any treat [sic]” and to “make your entinc­tions [sic] abso­lutly [sic] clear shoot to kill.” The likes on his Face­book page include eight dif­fer­ent mili­tias and he is part of the “Three Per­centers for Con­sti­tu­tional Troops and Law Enforce­ment” Face­book group, which har­bors anti-government extrem­ist beliefs.

For­mer mili­tia move­ment adher­ent Mike Van­der­boegh of Pin­son, Alabama, cre­ated the Three Per­cent con­cept in 2008, based on the belief that only three per­cent of Amer­i­cans will not dis­arm dur­ing a future rev­o­lu­tion against the alleged tyranny of the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment. The con­cept itself is based on a his­tor­i­cally incor­rect myth that only three per­cent of the Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion fought against the British dur­ing the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. In 2012, Geor­gia mili­tia man Fred­er­ick Thomas claimed that Vanderboegh’s on-line novel Absorbed, a “tech­ni­cal man­ual” to over­throw the so-called total­i­tar­ian gov­ern­ment, inspired him to plot to kill gov­ern­ment employ­ees and blow up gov­ern­ment buildings.

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December 17, 2014 0

Bring Malala, Ferguson, Unaccompanied Minors and Ebola into the Classroom

Malala.  Fer­gu­son. Immi­gra­tion. Ebola. Voter ID Laws. Cli­mate Change.  These are just a few of the top­ics teach­ers are reg­u­larly and actively bring­ing into their classrooms.

Unaccompanied Minors essay pic for blogWhether they teach Eng­lish, Social Stud­ies, Advi­sory or another sub­ject and whether they have five min­utes or decide to do a week– long study, teach­ers know that top­ics in the news will engage and inter­est stu­dents in a deep and mean­ing­ful way.  Research shows that cur­rent events instruc­tion has a long list of ben­e­fits for stu­dents includ­ing skill devel­op­ment in read­ing, writ­ing, vocab­u­lary, crit­i­cal think­ing, media lit­er­acy, speak­ing and lis­ten­ing.  It also helps to develop life­long informed cit­i­zens and inter­est in the news.

Young peo­ple want to be part of the pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion and talk about what’s cur­rent and in the news.  Cur­rent events instruc­tion pro­vided an oppor­tu­nity to con­nect the present with the past; address impor­tant top­ics like bias, bul­ly­ing, diver­sity and social jus­tice; and build crit­i­cal social and emo­tional skills like emo­tions man­age­ment, empa­thy and eth­i­cal decision-making.

Julie Mann is a high school teacher in New York City. She teaches a Human Rights class and brings a wide range of top­ics, events and sto­ries to her stu­dents, most of whom are recent arrivals to the United States and Eng­lish Lan­guage Learners.

Malala Quote for Blog

In Octo­ber when Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize, Julie decided Malala would be a great per­son for her stu­dents to learn more about, as a youth activist who advo­cates for girls’ edu­ca­tion.  Julie wrote a Donors Choose grant to pro­vide copies of I Am Malala for all of her stu­dents and taught ADL’s Who Is Malala Yousafzai? les­son with her stu­dents.  Stu­dents learned more about Malala’s back­ground, per­spec­tive and what she stands for by read­ing an arti­cle and watch­ing her 2013 speech at the United Nations.  Then, stu­dents read and reflected on some of Malala’s most sig­nif­i­cant quotes, talked about their mean­ings and made posters out of the quotes.

Because many of Julie’s stu­dents are from the three “North­ern Tri­an­gle” coun­tries in Cen­tral Amer­ica (Hon­duras, Guatemala and El Sal­vador) most impacted by the chil­dren on the bor­der cri­sis which peaked this sum­mer, Julie decided to teach the Who Are the Chil­dren At Our Bor­der? les­son.  Stu­dents read sto­ries of two chil­dren who recently trav­eled to the U.S. by them­selves, watched a news video about the sit­u­a­tion, explored their own thoughts and feel­ings and finally, wrote per­sua­sive let­ters to Pres­i­dent Obama to con­vey their per­spec­tives, using “evi­dence” they learned to sup­port their points of view.

Ferguson student picture for Blog

As Julie’s stu­dents were deeply moved and impacted by the recent non-indictments of the police offi­cers involved in the deaths of Mike Brown (Fer­gu­son, MO) and Eric Gar­ner (Staten Island, NY), Julie again turned to ADL’s teach­ing mate­ri­als: Teach­ing About Fer­gu­son and Beyond  to help stu­dents learn more about the issue and sort through their thoughts and feel­ings.  She pro­vided back­ground read­ing, showed a Jay Smooth video  and had them look at rel­e­vant pho­tos while respond­ing to ques­tion prompts such as: What do you see in the image?  How does the image make you feel and why?  What are your hopes and wishes?

In explor­ing these three cur­rent events, Julie is teach­ing her stu­dents to think crit­i­cally, under­stand impor­tant events that are hap­pen­ing in the world, express their thoughts and feel­ings about the issue and do some­thing about it. For more les­son plans and cur­ric­ula resources, check out ADL’s Cur­rent Events Class­room.

 

 

 

 

 

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