24/7/365 Support for Victims of Systemic Bias; Will Field Anonymous Complaints
Kingston, August 16 — A Hotline to report anti-Semitic incidents was launched today by the Jewish Federation of Ulster County (UCJF), according to a joint statement by the Federation’s president, Rondavid Gold, and its executive director, David Drimer. The organization first announced the creation of the Ulster Co. Anti-Semitism Hotline in a statement published on the organization’s website, UCJF.org.
The Hotline will avail itself of additional resources and technical and logistical support from the Secure Community Network (SCN) and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB).
SCN is the not-for-profit, official homeland security and safety initiative of the organized Jewish community in North America. Founded under the auspices of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, SCN serves as the central organization dedicated exclusively to the safety and security of the American Jewish community.
LDB is an independent, non-partisan institution for public interest advocacy, research and education. The Center’s mission is to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and to promote justice for all. The Center is once again under the leadership of noted Civil Rights attorney Ken Marcus, who took a hiatus from the organization he founded to serve as Assistant US Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. He is joined at LDB by noted appellate litigator Alyza Lewin, a former president of the American Association of Jewish Lawyers & Jurists, and other experienced lawyers.
Victims of and witnesses to anti-Semitic acts can report the incidents to the Ulster County Federation by calling a local phone number (845) 859-9858 or filling out an interactive form on the UJFC’s website (UCJF.org). Calls will be fielded round-the-clock by Federation staffers and then referred to Duty Officers at the SCN Duty Desk, which is also staffed 24-hours per day. Reports received will be verified and referred to appropriate authorities, including law enforcement agencies when appropriate, and UCJF will work with its partners in evaluating potential legal action, engaging government agencies and coordinating news media response, if applicable. Callers’ identities will not be divulged to third parties if they wish to remain anonymous. UJFC stresses that the first response to all violent or threatening anti-Semitic incidents is to immediately call local law enforcement.
“We have long planned developing some mechanism to appropriately respond to anti-Semitic incidents in our area. A few weeks ago, the New Paltz Police investigated a Swastika graffiti incident in Hasbrouck Park, and promptly reported it to our Federation office, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and a local Rabbi. Subsequently, virulently anti-Semitic and threatening multipage manifestos were hand-delivered to a Synagogue and a private business in our area. Receiving three incident reports in the space of four weeks hastened our decision to launch the Hotline now,” Mr. Gold, the Federation’s president, explained.
“Instances of anti-Semitic harassment online, specifically on social media platforms, are epidemic. We plan to vigorously respond to any confirmed reports of this type of activity that we receive, since Jewish youth are especially susceptible to exposure to this kind of hateful messaging,” he added.
“The US has seen a surge of anti-Semitic incidents of late, but especially since recent unrest in Israel that led to armed conflict in Gaza. So, the handwriting was on the wall that we would see some reflection of that hostility locally,” Mr. Drimer, the Federation’s executive director, said.
“In fact, research provided by ADL reveals 63% of American Jews experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism over the last five years. 59% of respondents said they felt less safe than they did a decade ago, and 49% fear a violent attack at a Synagogue,” he added.
“Through JFNA, the local Federation’s international umbrella organization, the group is able to provide resources for area Jewish organizations and Synagogues to assist them in applying for Homeland Security grants to upgrade the physical safety of their employees, visitors and congregants,” Drimer concluded.
“Anti-Semitism is a real-world threat that history teaches us can rear its ugly head any time and any place. It would be imprudent to wait until a serious incident occurs here to build the infrastructure necessary to help prevent a tragedy,” Mr. Gold concluded.
The Hotline’s program staff can be reached via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at the Federation offices (845) 845-8131.