Jewish-Black coalition against hate crimes started in NY

NYPD: Number of anti-Semitic incidents up roughly 35.5 percent in 2007.

dov hikind 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
dov hikind 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
"Racism and anti-Semitism hurt all of us," said Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who announced a new citywide Jewish-Black alliance this week, following a noticeable rise in hate crimes towards both communities over the last year. "The time is now for our communities to stand together and advocate for the betterment of all," said Hikind who inaugurated the new "Blacks & Jews Together" alliance Sunday, two weeks before Martin Luther King Day. Though hate crimes as a whole in New York are at their lowest in 15 years, the number of anti-Semitic incidents was up roughly 35.5 percent in 2007, according to NYPD. Last year, 145 incidents were reported, compared to 107 in 2006. Seventy percent of those incidents involved graffiti, and 25% involved aggravated harassment, which includes verbal threats or written threats. There were four incidents of assault. Tracking down perpetrators is more difficult in many of the anti-Semitic cases because they rarely involve person-to-person incidents, said Michael Osgood, commanding officer of the NYPD hate crimes task force. Last year police made arrests in 10 cases. No arrests have yet been made in the incident following Iranian president Ahmadinejad appearance at the UN and Columbia University, when a wave of swastikas were spray-painted in several parts of Brooklyn. "We knocked on 1000 homes to see if anyone heard or saw anything, and distributed 8,000 fliers," said Osgood. "Not one person has come forward." The most publicized incident involved the assault of several Jews over Hanukkah on a New York City subway. And the latest was a 70-centimeter wide swastika, with "F--- the Jews" scrawled across the doors of a synagogue which also operates as a senior center, on New Year's. According to the Anti-Defamation League's annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents, which has not yet been finalized, the number of anti-Semitic incidents - which includes vandalism and harassment - increased by roughly 25% from the previous year. So far, 362 incidents have been tallied for 2007, an increase from 293 in 2006. Anti-black incidents in the city spiked after a controversy that began when white teens hung nooses outside a school in Jena, Louisiana. In September, six black teens were charged with attempted murder after a scuffle, leading to a civil rights protest in the small town. Less than a month later, a hangman's noose was left on the door of a black professor's office at Columbia University Teachers College in October. Police said 16 noose cases have been reported to the NYPD since the Columbia incident. The group of 30 citywide elected officials agreed to stand together and speak out in one voice on common issues, arrange forums to advance understanding between our communities, reach out to youth, and create a new format for communication between Black and Jewish New Yorkers.