hate watch

ADL chief: Antisemitic attacks against N.Y. Jews should be ‘national news’

Jennifer Liseo/ADL

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on Tuesday bemoaned what he described as a lack of national media attention to a dramatic rise in antisemitic attacks across New York City, saying that the current polarized political environment has made it difficult to meaningfully address the uptick in violence against Jews in the major metropolis.

“The idea that you have 200 incidents [of antisemitism] here in New York City — [that] should be a national news story. It doesn’t belong in the metro section of The New York Times. It belongs on the front page,” Greenblatt told Jewish Insider during a press conference in Brooklyn, N.Y. “But here’s the thing: In a world which is so polarized, so charged, and so political, everything needs to fit to a narrative. You know what? I don’t care how you vote!” 

The fight against antisemitism, Greenblatt stated, has to be, in the name of “decency, diversity and dignity,” a national focus. “When you don’t value these things, when you allow hostility to happen, when you sit and ignore intolerance, that is unacceptable.”

The ADL also announced an initiative in partnership with the Brooklyn Borough President’s office that will double the number of schools participating in its “No Place for Hate” program, with a goal of reaching as many as 40 schools in neighborhoods with significant Jewish populations. The move comes in response to a dramatic increase in violent antisemitic incidents across Brooklyn.

The announcement comes the same day as the FBI released its annual report on hate crime statistics. The report noted that anti-Jewish bias was the source of 57 percent of religion-based hate crimes reported in 2018.

“No one should fear for their safety or be victimized because of their religious beliefs,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Since extremist, hate-filled rhetoric has become awakened and stoked across this country — particularly in Crown Heights right here in Brooklyn — this unacceptable behavior is increasingly becoming the norm for some.”

Greenblatt stressed that a national response, irrespective of political affiliation, is required regardless of who is the target. “Whether you are a borough president, whether you are a school board president, or the president of the United States, all of us have a responsibility to step up and speak out when hate happens on our watch, whether or not it affects us,” he said.

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