ALBANY, NY (WNY News Now) – Though the Holocaust ended over seventy years ago, the antisemitic views that gave rise to the horriffic violence is still alive and well today.
Leaders in New York State say that remembering the six million lives lost is not enough, and that we must work to eradicate the prejudice all together.
“It’s still targeting Jews across the world and yes, in our own state because we’ve had 570 antisemitic crimes perpetrated against Jewish New Yorkers this year,” claims Hochul. “That’s not in the last decade, the last five years. That is this year alone. And according to the ADL, New York State has led the nation in antisemitic incidents in 2021, up 24 percent from the year before, which is already a high year from the year before.”
According to Governor Kathy Hochul, 22 percent of American Jews are afraid to wear emblems of their religion in fear that it will make them the target of a crime.
With New York containing the largest population of Jewish people outside of Israel, Hochul believes it is imperative to establish a system that protects the vulnerable.
So far, Hochul has provided $43 million in funding for security and $25 million for safety in institutions such as yeshivas and synagogues.
“We’re also strengthening the laws, the laws that have been on the books against those that commit heinous crimes to be more accountable. That is something we did when we addressed the reform of the bail reform in our last budget because hate crimes had been swept out of the crimes covered that would be bail eligible. And I said, that cannot be. At a time when we’re seeing an escalation in hate crimes, how can we say that someone who perpetrates one would simply get an appearance ticket and be able to go back until their court date? So they can go do it again and again and again” asks Hochul.
Wednesday, Hochul signed in legislation to honor and support Holocaust survivors in educational, cultural, and financial institutions. This includes a law to ensure that the 1994 mandate of teaching about the Holocaust in schools is being upheld to make sure we can learn from past mistakes.
“I’ll be signing a bill that directs the Commissioner of Education to survey our school districts, ask the question, what are you really doing? How much are you sharing? What grades, how much, how is the testing going?” wonders Hochul. “Are you sure this is penetrating the minds of our young people because that is our best hope to stop the radicalization or the penetration of their hearts with hate that they may be seeing out there from other sources?”
The Governor also claims she is working to address social media algorithms that feed radicalization by pushing out more content the more users seek it.
“Also, I have two more bills I’ll be signing today to help us never forget. One is that the crimes committed during the Holocaust and its survivors who are still with us today, one is making sure that museums, New York museums— now think about this, that they have to prominently post alongside us along the side of artworks that were stolen during the Nazi era in Europe. They have to give credit. They didn’t go buy these somewhere. These were stolen. They’re stolen from people who are the rightful owners during this reign of terror,” says Hochul.
According to Hochul, over 600,000 paintings were stolen during the Holocaust from Jewish owners in Europe, equating to over 20 percent of the art in Europe at the time.
The final law will provide for Holocaust survivors financially, in addition to the $3 million Hochul already announced.The law will publicize the New York banks that will waive the fees associated with Holocaust reparation payments.
The state will also provide funding for counties to put together their own response to domestic terrorism, to stop the spread of hate locally.