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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).

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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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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March 7, 2014 0

ADL-Led Coalition Defends The Hate Crimes Prevention Act

The Anti-Defamation League has filed an ami­cus brief in a case pend­ing before the Sixth U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a broad coali­tion of civil rights, reli­gious, edu­ca­tional, and law enforce­ment orga­ni­za­tions in sup­port of the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the Mathew Shep­ard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act (HCPA).  This is the first coali­tion brief defend­ing the Act, and it attracted some of the most promi­nent and impor­tant civil rights, reli­gious, law enforce­ment, LGBT, edu­ca­tional, and pro­fes­sional orga­ni­za­tions in the country. HCPA-brief

The cases involve Samuel Mul­let Sr., the self-appointed Bishop of an Old Order Amish sect in cen­tral east­ern Ohio, who ordered more than a dozen of his fol­low­ers to engage in vio­lent beard-and hair-cutting attacks against church mem­bers who had rebelled against his dom­i­neer­ing control.

The vic­tims of these religiously-motivated crimes were being pun­ished: they had not obeyed Mullet’s edicts and “strayed from the true path.”  Mar­ried men in this Amish com­mu­nity typ­i­cally grow long beards and the women grow their hair long and keep it cov­ered under a prayer bon­net.  Beards and hair are sacred sym­bols of their reli­gious identity.

The assailants invaded the vic­tims’ homes or lured them into the open before attack­ing them. They forcibly cut their hair and beards using a vari­ety of imple­ments, includ­ing horse shears and elec­tric beard trim­mers. The attack­ers took pic­tures of their assaults to com­pound and memo­ri­al­ize the vic­tims’ shame, and then buried the camera.

The attacks inspired fear through­out the Amish com­mu­ni­ties in the region. In Sep­tem­ber 2012, Mul­let and his fol­low­ers were tried and con­victed of fed­eral con­spir­acy, kid­nap­ping, and vio­lat­ing the HCPA. U.S. Dis­trict Judge Dan Aaron Pol­ster elo­quently described the defen­dants’ actions dur­ing sen­tenc­ing: “you did more than just ter­ror­ize, trau­ma­tize, dis­fig­ure your vic­tims, you tram­pled on the Con­sti­tu­tion, and par­tic­u­larly the First Amend­ment which guar­an­tees each and every Amer­i­can reli­gious freedom.”

The defen­dants, Mul­let and his fol­low­ers, are now appeal­ing the case, chal­leng­ing their con­vic­tions and sen­tences on the grounds that the HCPA is uncon­sti­tu­tional, a vio­la­tion of the First Amend­ment, and that the HCPA can­not apply to a case in which the per­pe­tra­tors and vic­tims are of the same religion.

The ADL coali­tion brief coun­ters each of these arguments.

First, the brief argues the fact that the per­pe­tra­tors iden­tify as the same reli­gion as the vic­tims does not shield them from cul­pa­bil­ity under the HCPA: “To exempt intra-faith crimes from the HCPA would ignore many acts of bias-motivated vio­lence that that dev­as­tat­ing effects on communities.”

Sec­ond, the brief clearly demon­strates that the HCPA does not infringe on the defen­dants’  reli­gious free­dom rights:  “Appel­lants are, and always have been, free to speak their minds and free to wor­ship in any way they wish.  They sim­ply are not free to tar­get vic­tims for vio­lent crimes because of religion.”

The list of orga­ni­za­tions join­ing ADL and the Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence on Civil and Human Rights on this brief includes American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Com­mit­tee, Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of Peo­ple with Dis­abil­i­ties, Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of Uni­ver­sity Women, Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers, Amer­i­can Jew­ish Com­mit­tee, Asian Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Jus­tice, Bend the Arc: A Jew­ish Part­ner­ship for Jus­tice, B’nai B’rith Inter­na­tional, GLSEN, Cen­tral Con­fer­ence of Amer­i­can Rab­bis, Hindu Amer­i­can Foun­da­tion, Human Rights Cam­paign, Human Rights First, Inter­faith Alliance Foun­da­tion, Japan­ese Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens League, Jew­ish Coun­cil for Pub­lic Affairs, Jew­ish Women Inter­na­tional, Mus­lim Advo­cates, National Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Col­ored Peo­ple, National Cen­ter for Trans­gen­der Equal­ity, National Coun­cil of Jew­ish Women, National Dis­abil­ity Rights Net­work, National Orga­ni­za­tion of Black Law Enforce­ment Exec­u­tives, National Orga­ni­za­tion for Women Foun­da­tion, National Urban League, OCA – Asian Pacific Amer­i­can Advo­cates, Peo­ple For the Amer­i­can Way Foun­da­tion, PFLAG National, Police Exec­u­tive Research Forum, Sikh Amer­i­can Legal Defense and Edu­ca­tion Fund, Sikh Coali­tion, Soci­ety for Human­is­tic Judaism, South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Together, South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter, Union of Reform Judaism, UNITED SIKHS, Women of Reform Judaism, and Women’s League for Con­ser­v­a­tive Judaism.

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