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August 31, 2015 0

A Special Trip to Atlanta, and a New Campaign to Combat Hate Crimes in America

By Jonathan Green­blatt
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt with  Congressman John Lewis at an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the lynching of Leo Frank.

ADL National Direc­tor Jonathan Green­blatt with Con­gress­man John Lewis at an event com­mem­o­rat­ing the 100th anniver­sary of the lynch­ing of Leo Frank.

Last week was a spe­cial week for me per­son­ally and more impor­tantly, I hope, for the Anti-Defamation League as we began a cam­paign to ensure every Amer­i­can is pro­tected by a state hate crime law.

In Atlanta, Geor­gia, near the site of the lynch­ing of Jew­ish pen­cil fac­tory man­ager Leo Frank a cen­tury ago (an inci­dent which, com­ing just two years after the for­ma­tion of ADL, sent shock waves through the Jew­ish com­mu­nity and gal­va­nized our work), we launched #50StatesAgainstHate, a nation­wide effort to shore up hate crime laws in America.

Along with two dozen groups, includ­ing the Human Rights Cam­paign and the National Coun­cil of La Raza, we made a com­mit­ment to pass hate crime laws in the five states that do not have them (includ­ing Geor­gia and South Car­olina, site of the hor­ri­ble Charleston 9 mur­ders ear­lier this sum­mer), strengthen laws on the books in other states so they include crimes against the LGBT com­mu­nity, and train law enforce­ment on how to pros­e­cute these crimes.

This work embod­ies ADL’s found­ing mis­sion: To stop the defama­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple, and to secure jus­tice and fair treat­ment to all.

This dual and com­ple­men­tary mis­sion is what we brought me to Atlanta – to launch this new cam­paign and to speak with lead­ers of both the Jew­ish and African-American com­mu­ni­ties there, two peo­ples with very dif­fer­ent his­to­ries, but a shared com­mit­ment to an inclu­sive Amer­ica where equal treat­ment and oppor­tu­nity are avail­able to all.

Mr. Greenblatt in Atlanta discussing ADL's new campaign for tougher hate crimes laws across the country

Mr. Green­blatt in Atlanta dis­cussing ADL’s new cam­paign for tougher hate crimes laws across the country

My fam­ily and I cel­e­brated Shab­bat (the Jew­ish Sab­bath) with Con­gre­ga­tion Or Hadash, a syn­a­gogue that rel­a­tives of mine attend which has made social jus­tice a key part of its mis­sion. There, I spoke about the Iran deal and how the Jewish-American com­mu­nity must not let it dis­agree­ments over it tear us apart.

The next day, I was hon­ored to take the pul­pit of Ebenezer Bap­tist Church, Dr. Mar­tin Luther King Jr’s church and cen­ter of the Civil Rights Move­ment. There, we mourned the news of Julian Bond’s death, and then looked for­ward to the work ahead: includ­ing pass­ing a hate crimes law in Geor­gia. It was won­der­ful to meet Mar­tin Luther King III and his fam­ily who was at the ser­vice, and the warm wel­come that the con­gre­ga­tion gave me – a man of a dif­fer­ent race and faith – is some­thing that I will always remember.

On Mon­day, the anniver­sary of the Leo Frank lynch­ing, our local ADL lead­er­ship was joined by Geor­gia Attor­ney Gen­eral Sam Olens, for­mer Geor­gia Gov­er­nor Roy Barnes, and Con­gress­man John Lewis as we marked the somber occa­sion and kicked off the #50StatesAgainstHate cam­paign. For those that doubt the Jew­ish and African-American com­mu­ni­ties can come together, I say: come to Atlanta and see how ADL and Jew­ish com­mu­nal lead­ers are work­ing together toward shared goals that will pro­tect us both and make our coun­try stronger.

While the week­end was inspi­ra­tional and invig­o­rat­ing, I am under no illu­sions that the work ahead of us will take many months – and even many years. But know­ing that our cause is just, I know that ADL and our part­ners will keep at it – day after day – until we are able to say that we hon­ored the mem­ory of Leo Frank and all those killed by hate-filled mur­der­ers and passed hate crimes laws in all 50 states.

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August 25, 2015 1

When Hateful Speech Leads to Hate Crimes: Taking Bigotry Out of the Immigration Debate

By Jonathan Green­blatt
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

When police arrived at the scene in Boston, they found a Latino man shak­ing on the ground, his face appar­ently soaked in urine, with a bro­ken nose.  His arms and chest had been beaten.  One of the two broth­ers arrested and charged with the hate crime report­edly told police, “Don­ald Trump was right—all these ille­gals need to be deported.”

The vic­tim, a home­less man, was appar­ently sleep­ing out­side of a sub­way sta­tion in Dorch­ester when the per­pe­tra­tors attacked.  His only offense was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The broth­ers attacked him for who he was—simply because he was Latino.

In recent weeks anti-immigrant—and by exten­sion anti-Latino—rhetoric has reached a fever pitch.  Immi­grants have been smeared as “killers” and “rapists.”  They have been accused of bring­ing drugs and crime.  A radio talk show host in Iowa has called for enslave­ment of undoc­u­mented immi­grants if they do not leave within 60 days.  There have been calls to repeal the 14th Amendment’s guar­an­tee of cit­i­zen­ship to peo­ple born in the United States, with alle­ga­tions that peo­ple come here to have so-called “anchor babies.”  And the terms “ille­gal aliens” and “ille­gals”— which many main­stream news sources wisely rejected years ago because they dehu­man­ize and stig­ma­tize people—have resurged.

The words used on the cam­paign trail, on the floors of Con­gress, in the news, and in all our liv­ing rooms have con­se­quences.  They directly impact our abil­ity to sus­tain a soci­ety that ensures dig­nity and equal­ity for all.  Big­oted rhetoric and words laced with prej­u­dice are build­ing blocks for the pyra­mid of hate.

Biased behav­iors build on one another, becom­ing ever more threat­en­ing and dan­ger­ous towards the top.  At the base is bias, which includes stereo­typ­ing and insen­si­tive remarks.  It sets the foun­da­tion for a sec­ond, more com­plex and more dam­ag­ing layer: indi­vid­ual acts of prej­u­dice, includ­ing bul­ly­ing, slurs, and dehu­man­iza­tion.  Next is dis­crim­i­na­tion, which in turn sup­ports bias-motivated vio­lence, includ­ing hate crimes like the tragic one in Boston. And in the most extreme cases if left unchecked, the top of the pyra­mid of hate is genocide.

Just like a pyra­mid, the lower lev­els sup­port the upper lev­els.  Bias, prej­u­dice and discrimination—particularly touted by those with a loud mega­phone and cheer­ing crowd—all con­tribute to an atmos­phere that enables hate crimes and other hate-fueled vio­lence.  The most recent hate crime in Boston is just one of too many.  In fact, there is a hate crime roughly every 90 min­utes in the United States today.  That is why last week ADL announced a new ini­tia­tive, #50StatesAgainstHate, to strengthen hate crimes laws around the coun­try and safe­guard com­mu­ni­ties vul­ner­a­ble to hate-fueled attacks. We are work­ing with a broad coali­tion of part­ners to get the ball rolling.

Laws alone, how­ever, can­not cure the dis­ease of hate.  To do that, we need to change the con­ver­sa­tion.  We would not sug­gest that any one person’s words caused this tragedy – the per­pe­tra­tors did that; but the rhetor­i­cal excesses by so many over the past few weeks give rise to a cli­mate in which prej­u­dice, dis­crim­i­na­tion, and hate-fueled vio­lence can take root.

Rea­son­able peo­ple can dif­fer about how we should fix our bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem, but stereo­types, slurs, smears and insults have no place in the debate.

Immi­grants have been a fre­quent tar­get of hate, and unfor­tu­nately, prej­u­dice and vio­lence are not new.  Many of our ances­tors faced sim­i­lar prej­u­dice when they came to the United States. In the 1800s, the attacks were against Irish and Ger­man immi­grants. Next was a wave of anti-Chinese sen­ti­ment cul­mi­nat­ing with the Chi­nese Exclu­sion Act in 1882. Then the hatred turned on the Jews, high­lighted by the lynch­ing of Leo Frank in 1915.  Then came big­otry against Japan­ese immi­grants and peo­ple of Japan­ese dis­sent, which led to the shame­ful intern­ment of more than 110,000 peo­ple dur­ing World War II.  Today, anti-immigrant big­otry largely focuses on Lati­nos.  The tar­gets have changed, but the mes­sages of hate remain largely the same.  It is long past time for that to end.

ADL, as a 501©(3), does not sup­port or oppose can­di­dates for elec­tive office,but we have a sim­ple mes­sage for all pol­i­cy­mak­ers and can­di­dates:  There is no place for hate in the immi­gra­tion debate.  There is noth­ing patri­otic or admirable about hatred and hate-fueled vio­lence.  The only accept­able response to hate crimes is unequiv­o­cal, strong con­dem­na­tion.  And the same is true for the bias, prej­u­dice, and big­oted speech that have recently per­me­ated the immi­gra­tion conversation.

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December 19, 2014 6

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).


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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