By COLlive reporter
New York City Council members and Jewish community leaders gathered in Williamsburg Monday to address a growing crisis: Anti-Semitic hate crimes in the city, and to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to fully fund a new office that seeks to prevent hate crimes.
NYPD recently reported that Anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York were up 82% in the first four months of this year, compared to the same period last year. Since then, there have been numerous reports of assaults against Jewish men in Williamsburg and Crown Heights.
The Anti-Defamation League also released a report this year that found Anti-Semitic hate crimes across the nation doubled in 2018. New York counted 340 hate crimes against Jewish people in 2018, second only to California. The City Council created the Office of Hate Crime Prevention this year and is pushing Mayor de Blasio to fully fund the office.
The Office of Hate Crime Prevention, created by the City Council in January, will coordinate between relevant city agencies like the NYPD and district attorneys in their responses to hate crimes, and will review and recommend budget requests for agencies and programs related to hate crimes, the Brooklyn Eagle reported.
Mayor de Blasio, however, did not include any funding for the new office in his $92.2 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2020, which begins July 1.
The office needs $475,000 for the first year and $713,000 annually moving forward, according to a fiscal impact statement made by the City Council.
“The mayor should have included it both in the preliminary budget — because we passed it months ago — and in the executive budget,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
Rabbi Chanina Sperlin and Rabbi Eli Cohen were in attendance, representing the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, where many of the attacks on Jews have occurred.
Cohen said it was encouraging to see the outpouring of support.
“In another time and in other countries, Jews were attacked and the government and the authorities ignored it,” Cohen said. “But here we see so many elected leaders from all different communities coming together to call for an end to these attacks.”
Joining the press conference were Councilmember Chaim Deutsch and Jewish community leaders Rabbi David Niederman, Executive Director, UJO of Williamsburg, Avi Greenstein, Executive Director, JCC of Borough Park, Eli Slavin, representing Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Michael Miller, Executive Vice President of Jewish Community Relations Council of NY, Evan Bernstein, NY/NJ Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League and Rabbi Joe Potasnik, Executive Vice President, NY Board of Rabbis.