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September 16, 2014 0

From The Archives: Violence Against Women Act 20 Years Later

Twenty years ago, on Sep­tem­ber 13, 1994, Pres­i­dent Clin­ton signed the Vio­lence Against Women Act (VAWA), a law which reflects a core part of ADL’s mis­sion: the pre­ven­tion of bias-motivated crim­i­nal behav­ior. VAWA autho­rized gov­ern­ment action to improve crim­i­nal jus­tice and com­mu­nity responses to domes­tic and sex­ual vio­lence and pro­vided fund­ing for the estab­lish­ment of the National Domes­tic Vio­lence Hot­line. ADL’s sup­port for the law, which aimed to pro­tect women from vio­lence directed against them because of their gen­der, was a nat­ural exten­sion of its work on hate crimes. pres-clinton-bill-signing-1994-09-13

In 1996, two years after VAWA’s enact­ment, ADL added gen­der to its model hate crimes leg­is­la­tion, cit­ing the fact that gender-based hate crimes could not be eas­ily dis­tin­guished from other forms of hate-motivated vio­lence. In response to legal chal­lenges to VAWA fol­low­ing its enact­ment, ADL joined sev­eral ami­cus (friend of the court) briefs in sup­port of the Act. In 2000, in U.S. v. Mor­ri­son, ADL, along with a num­ber of other civil rights orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing Peo­ple for the Amer­i­can Way, the Amer­i­can Jew­ish Con­gress, and Hadas­sah, filed an ami­cus brief sup­port­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of VAWA’s civil rem­edy pro­vi­sion, which allowed sur­vivors of gender-motivated vio­lence to sue their attack­ers in fed­eral court.

Fol­low­ing the Court’s deci­sion to strike down the civil rem­edy pro­vi­sion, ADL con­tin­ued its sup­port for leg­is­la­tion that coun­ters dis­crim­i­na­tion and bias crimes—including on the basis of gen­der or gen­der iden­tity. In 2009, Con­gress enacted the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act crim­i­nal­iz­ing hate crimes tar­get­ing vic­tims because of race, color, reli­gion, national ori­gin, gen­der, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­tity or dis­abil­ity.  ADL spear­headed coali­tion efforts to pass the bill for more than a decade.

After fail­ing to reau­tho­rize an update to VAWA in 2012, Con­gress enacted new leg­is­la­tion in 2013, which included addi­tional pro­grams specif­i­cally designed to address domes­tic vio­lence against women of color, Native Amer­i­cans, new cam­pus hate crime require­ments, and inti­mate part­ner vio­lence involv­ing mem­bers of the LGBT community.

On this impor­tant anniver­sary, ADL reaf­firms its long-standing com­mit­ment to advo­cat­ing for legally-sound statutes at the fed­eral and state level that counter dis­crim­i­na­tion, bias crimes, and vio­lence against women.

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September 12, 2014 0

Anti-Immigrant Groups Attempt To Bring ISIS Into The Immigration Debate

anti-immigrant-islamIn response to the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in the Mid­dle East by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a ter­ror­ist group, Amer­i­can anti-immigrant groups are attempt­ing to exploit the public’s legit­i­mate con­cerns about ISIS by warn­ing that the group plans to enter the United States via Mexico.

In a blog posted on Sep­tem­ber 8, a fel­low for the anti-immigrant think tank Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS) argued that Sen­a­tor John McCain’s sup­port of the Senate’s immi­gra­tion reform bill S-744 in 2013, “has pro­vided ISIS with unfet­tered access to the United States for both its per­son­nel and their weapons of death and destruc­tion.” The blog con­cluded with the state­ment, “Should ISIS or some other ter­ror­ist group take advan­tage of McCain’s wel­come mat, he will only have him­self to blame as he goes in the eyes of many from war hero to collaborator.”

The anti-immigrant grass­roots orga­ni­za­tion Num­ber­sUSA and the California-based Cal­i­for­ni­ans for Pop­u­la­tion Sta­bi­liza­tion (CAPS) both sent fundrais­ing emails to activists in recent weeks link­ing ISIS to Pres­i­dent Obama’s rumored announce­ment of some form of exec­u­tive relief for undoc­u­mented immi­grants. Num­ber­sUSA claimed ISIS, “is cer­tainly encour­aged by the weak U.S. gov­ern­ment response to the bor­der surge this sum­mer…” A num­ber of state-based anti-immigrant groups also warned of the threat of ISIS ter­ror­ists enter­ing the U.S. via Mex­ico. Many of the groups cite a report from the conspiracy-orientated “watch­dog” group Judi­cial Watch. Judi­cial Watch is closely aligned with the anti-immigrant movement.

Some anti-immigrant groups are also respond­ing to the media spot­light on ISIS by espous­ing anti-Muslim rhetoric. In a Face­book post on Sep­tem­ber 9, the Tea Party Immi­gra­tion Coali­tion headed by racist Rick Olt­man asserted, “We must rethink the 1st amend­ment as it applies to Islam. Islam is NOT a reli­gion; rather, it is a supra­na­tional orga­ni­za­tion hell bent on world dom­i­na­tion and killing any­one, any­where and at any time to do so.”

The anti-immigrant move­ment often attempts to tie together the issues of immi­gra­tion and ter­ror­ism. This was the case even before the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks. Since 9–11, the move­ment has con­cen­trated on link­ing ter­ror­ism and immi­gra­tion under the guise of national secu­rity. This is a key argu­ment for the move­ment in oppo­si­tion to any form of immi­gra­tion reform.

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September 12, 2014 0

Hezbollah Android App Re-Launched For The Third Time

Update — 9/19/14: In response to the removal of the app from the Google Play store, Al Manar posted a state­ment attribut­ing the removal to a “cam­paign by the Jew­ish Anti-Defamation League” and promised to find “alter­na­tive ways to pro­vide the appli­ca­tion for Android phones.”

Update — 9/13/14: ADL alerted Google to the re-launched app on Sep­tem­ber 12. The app was removed from Google play later that day. ADL applauds Google’s response to Al-Manar’s repeated attempts to re-introduce this app. 

Last week, al-Manar, Hezbollah’s media arm which is listed as a “Spe­cially Des­ig­nated Global Ter­ror­ist Entity” by the U.S. gov­ern­ment, launched an Android phone app through the Google Play online store pro­vid­ing mobile access to its satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tion, also known as al-Manar.

Hezbollah's al-Manar app for android

Hezbollah’s al-Manar app for android

Al-Manar adver­tised the launch of the app on the land­ing page of its web­site. The announce­ment asked media net­work fol­low­ers to install the app on their phones to receive al-Manar con­tent and news, includ­ing high pri­or­ity alerts.

This is the third time Hezbol­lah has launched an app with that func­tion; the two prior apps were removed from Google Play. In July 2012, Al Manar first adver­tised its newly-launched appli­ca­tion pro­vid­ing mobile access to its satel­lite TV. Avail­able orig­i­nally through Apple’s iTunes ser­vice, Apple soon removed the app for vio­lat­ing its terms of ser­vice. After the app was removed from iTunes, Hezbol­lah tried to re-launch it again for Android phones only, but the app was soon removed from Google Play as well. In March 2014 free mobile appli­ca­tions appeared on iTunes and Google Play to pro­vide access to Al Manar pro­grams via iPhone and Android smart­phones once more.

Hezbol­lah has attempted to use mobile apps in other con­texts as well.  In June 2014, Al Manar TVlaunched an online com­pe­ti­tion in time for the World Cup called “Expect and Win” that used the California-based instant mes­sag­ing ser­vice What­sApp.The com­pe­ti­tion called on users to sub­mit pre­dic­tions for which teams would win and offered prizes for select­ing the win­ning teams. In Jan­u­ary 2014, Al Manar started using What­sAppto deliver “break­ing news” via text mes­sages to sub­scribers and to allow its sup­port­ers to inter­act with the sta­tion.  In Feb­ru­ary 2013, the mil­i­tary branch of Hezbol­lah, The Islamic Resis­tance (“Al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya”) pro­vided a col­lec­tion of free Farsi and Ara­bic lan­guage pod­casts on iTunes. The pod­casts pro­moted both the ter­ror­ist group’s and the Iran­ian regime’s mil­i­tant propaganda.

Con­tin­u­ous attempts by the ter­ror­ist group to re-launch their smart phone app demon­strate their deter­mi­na­tion to exploit mod­ern tech­nol­ogy to broad­cast mes­sages of hate and ter­ror­ism to their sup­port­ers worldwide.

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