Looking ahead: For many Jews, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur signify new beginnings — time for reflection, apologies and forgiveness. The tradition of blowing the shofar (loud horn) serves as a wake-up call to examine our deeds, responsibilities, and where we have fallen short. We are reminded to strive for Tikun Olam — repairing the world. As we hope for peace in a world where many suffer, let the sound of the shofar reverberate all year long in our decisions as a reminder of our ability and our responsibility to help.
Looking ahead: With the new school year in motion, the Anti-Defamation League has already planned anti-bullying, anti-cyberbullying and prejudice-reduction workshops for students and teachers at more than thirty schools and education centers across South Florida through our No Place for Hate® initiative. It is inspiring to know that this type of training has become a priority for so many South Florida schools.
Last week: In advance of the Jewish High Holidays, the Anti-Defamation League just held annual high-level security awareness seminars to meet the immediate security needs of Jewish institutions in South Florida. While ADL knows of no current threats targeting any Jewish institution, we firmly believe that security is a long-term process that typically cannot be efficiently or effectively deployed only when there is an emergency. We thank our local law enforcement agencies for their vigilance and continued partnerships. Working together, we can best help prevent and more effectively respond to hate crimes.
Last week: FAU Student Body President Peter Amirato just returned from ADL’s Campus Leaders Mission to Israel. Against the backdrop of resumed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and tumultuous times in Egypt, Peter gained a firsthand perspective of Israel by meeting with Arab and Jewish leaders from an array of communities, cultures and backgrounds, including decision-makers, government and military officials, diplomats, journalists, and students. Peter will now have the opportunity to share his experiences and impressions with his FAU campus community.
Looking ahead: If you agree with the Anti-Defamation League’s ongoing advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform legislation, and our calls for civil debate on the issue, please support our national campaign here in Florida by contacting your members of Congress during the August recess.
Looking ahead: Following a five-year stalemate, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed peace talks in Washington earlier this week. Secretary of State Kerry described the talks as constructive and positive, and stated that the goal is to reach a comprehensive agreement within the coming months. The resumption of negotiations, which were welcomed by ADL, had long been advocated for by the Israeli government. As the world watches this process from afar, we should remember there is a daily struggle for peace on the ground, even when the media isn’t watching. While the decisions needed will be tough, we hope the parties will succeed.
Last week: For 100 years, ADL has been on the frontline of combating all forms of anti-Semitism, and we are encouraged by the 20 percent decrease in anti-Semitic incidents in Florida from 2011 to 2012 reported last week in ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. Yet, the fact that we still have anti-Semitic incidents occurring in Florida, and that such anti-Jewish hatred still exists within our communities, is disheartening and unacceptable. This reality requires that we remain steadfast in our mission to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, and to accept nothing less than communities of respect.
Last week: Race was certainly the elephant in the room throughout the 17 months of the Trayvon Martin case. However, this case also raises serious questions about the wisdom of stand-your-ground laws, which eliminate the duty to retreat when a defendant can safely avoid harm, and the easy access to concealed weapons permits in Florida. A question that must be asked is whether this tragedy would have occurred had different laws been in place?
Last week: Last week, a nationally syndicated crossword puzzle appeared in the Sun-Sentinel. One of the clues, “Shylock, e.g.,” elicited a three-letter response: “Jew.” ‘Shylock’ is a reprehensible stereotypic fictional Jewish character from Shakespeare’s play, “The Merchant of Venice.” This stereotype has been used to fossilize and perpetuate the age-old canard of Jews as greedy money-lenders. In response to a letter that ADL wrote to Tribune Media Services requesting a printed apology and a refrain from using clues that reinforce negative stereotypes, we welcomed a formal apology that was issued in newspapers nationwide.
Looking ahead: Summer internships are underway as the Supreme Court deliberates significant rulings, including affirmative action, voting rights and marriage equality. Nearly 50 summer associates representing 13 South Florida law firms and all three Miami-area law schools are conducting pro bono legal research on cutting edge civil rights issues facing the Anti-Defamation League. This research, covering the areas of religious freedom, bullying, First Amendment speech, discrimination and civil liberties serves as a critical resource for ADL’s advocacy year round. South Florida can be proud of our legal community and our law students for taking on this important work.
Looking ahead: As early as next week, the U.S. Supreme Court could announce a critical voting rights decision on the legality of Section V of the Voting Rights Act - one of our nation’s most transformative civil rights laws. This law requires certain Florida counties to pre-certify any changes to voting practices with the DOJ prior to implementation. Should the Court strike the Act down, voters – particularly minorities – in Florida and nationwide, could encounter additional barriers to voting.
June 16, 2013
Last Week: Facebook’s recent announcement that it is committing to take proactive steps to monitor and remove hate speech, specifically through a campaign to end gender-based hate speech, is an important leap forward toward fostering a more civil online community. In general, containing the spread of viral hate, racism, bigotry, homophobia and anti-Semitism online has been challenging on many fronts and remains an uphill battle.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was just tapped by Facebook, as the convener of the Anti-Cyberhate Working Group (a broad coalition including industry representatives, NGOs and others), to identify a collaborative approach to protecting groups who have historically faced discrimination in society from being discriminated against online.
An industry trailblazer in addressing online hate, Facebook responsibly understands the need to detoxify the online environment, and is leading the way for other social networking sites to create a civil online atmosphere. In addition to Internet providers creating policies, the solution will in part require Internet users to actively report hate speech to providers, whereby providers can assess their site’s postings and be accountable to their own terms of service.
To this point, last week ADL released a new book outlining the challenges of online hate as well as providing suggested solutions entitled, Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet. Further, to help Internet users navigate this ostensibly complicated process, on June 10th, ADL launched a user-friendly online one-stop-shop platform where consumers can easily report bigoted, bullying or hateful speech to major Internet providers such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, YouTube and eBay to name a few.
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