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More Brooklyn schools to receive anti-bias training amid rise in anti-Semitic incidents

November 12, 2019 Noah Goldberg
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Twice as many Brooklyn schools will receive anti-bias education to combat the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents in the borough, the Brooklyn borough president and Anti-Defamation League CEO announced Tuesday morning.

The ADL, an anti-hate organization, will be expanding its No Place for Hate initiative, which already operates across 22 schools in Brooklyn. The program will function in about 40 Brooklyn schools over the 2019-2020 school year, specifically targeting schools in Crown Heights and Williamsburg, where there are large Jewish populations.

“The repeated violence and harassment of Orthodox Jews in this borough is unacceptable and must stop now,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL. “Since hate crimes are born of ignorance for the ‘other,’ we believe that education, especially in the early years, can go a long way to building a foundation for understanding and a respect for diversity.”

Anti-semitic incidents in New York City rose 90 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to the ADL’s statistics. Thirteen of 17 anti-semitic assaults citywide occurred in Brooklyn in 2018, according to the statistics.

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“Brooklyn is a garden of diversity,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “And the weeds of hate, they have infiltrated this garden and we can’t just prune it away. We have to go to the core and to the seed where it lies to ensure it won’t continue to grow and continue to destroy all of the healthy flowers of diversity that we have in this borough.”

The No Place for Hate initiative currently reaches about 8,000 students. The ADL committed $250,000 Tuesday to expanding the initiative.

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez explained that a key reason the program is important is that, often, people committing anti-Semitic crimes are juvenile offenders.

“Alarmingly and most concerningly, a lot of these crimes, especially the most recent crimes, the ones you’ve seen on the news, have been committed by juveniles,” Gonzalez said. “It’s astounding. It’s heartbreaking, that our young people are filled with this rage.”

Citywide, anti-Semitic hate crimes are up more than 50 percent, according to NYPD crime stats through September. There were 170 anti-Semitic incidents reported through September of 2019 as opposed to 111 through the same time in 2018.

As a response to the rise in anti-Semitic incidents, the City Council created a new Office of Hate Crime Prevention in January. Mayor Bill de Blasio expedited the office’s opening in June after anti-semitic hate crimes continued to rise.

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