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February 19, 2020 2:54 pm

New York City Commission on Human Rights Launches Campaign Against Antisemitism

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Illustrative. Photo: Reuters / Mike Segar.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights is launching a campaign to combat antisemitism.

A wave of antisemitic attacks have struck the New York City area over the past year, including multiple assaults on Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, a deadly shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City and a brutal stabbing spree in Monsey.

In light of these events, the commission will run full-page ads describing laws against religious harassment and discrimination, as well as how to report antisemitic incidents, in the Orthodox and Hasidic newspapers Hamodia, Jewish Press and Mishpacha, as well as online.

“Antisemitism has no place in New York City,” the text reads.

“Religious harassment and discrimination is illegal in housing, the workplace, and in all public places,” it says. “If someone harasses or discriminates against you based on your religion, report it to the Commission on Human Rights by calling 311.”

In a press release announcing the campaign, Carmelyn P. Malalis, chair and commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, said, “Every New Yorker has the right to practice their religion, celebrate with loved ones, and be who they are proudly and without fear of harassment, discrimination, or violence.”

“The alarming rate of antisemitic incidents in New York City — and the violent attacks in nearby communities like Jersey City, NJ and Monsey, NY — are unacceptable,” she added. “The NYC Commission on Human Rights rejects antisemitism and we are committed to eradicating this bigotry wherever it exists.”

Human Rights Commissioner Jonathan Greenspun said, “I applaud the NYC Commission on Human Rights for sending a strong message that acts of hate perpetrated against the Jewish community have no place in this great city.”

“We will never tolerate a climate where wearing a yarmulke in public makes anyone a target,” he vowed.

Human Rights Commissioner Sharon Kleinbaum, the senior rabbi at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, said, “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

“We choose love and solidarity with our fellow Jews and with our fellow human beings,” she added. “We thank the NYC Commission on Human Rights for their efforts against antisemitism.”

Jewish leaders from across the spectrum praised the initiative, with Rabbi Eli Cohen of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council saying, “It is really encouraging to see the Commission on Human Rights make this issue a priority. This effort makes a really strong statement that the City of New York stands with its Hasidic residents.”

President of the Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Rick Jacobs said, “It is essential that the government act to stop antisemitic violence, and I appreciate concrete steps being taken by NYC Commission on Human Rights to address this bigotry through public education.”

“The Union for Reform Judaism is committed to building a world of justice and compassion, and that includes a New York City in which all people are free to live without fear,” he continued. “This new campaign will help move us in that direction.”

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