NY Gov. Hochul addresses hate crimes, hate speech amid tensions over Israel-Hamas war

WABC logo
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
NYC officials address rise in hate crimes, hate speech amid Mideast war tensions
Darla Miles has more on New York City officials addressing the recent rise in hate crimes and hate speech amid the Hamas-Israel war.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to create a ripple effect here in New York, with a rise in antisemitism and protests on college campuses by Jewish students who say they don't feel safe.

Gov. Kathy Hochul sought to address the situation Tuesday by delivering a message about hate crimes and hate speech in general.

"As Governor, I reaffirm that there is zero tolerance in New York for antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind, and it's critical we deploy every possible state resource to keep New Yorkers safe."

The governor said she has met with the presidents of SUNY, CUNY and private universities to make sure free speech doesn't cross the line into hate speech on college campuses among both faculty and students.

"Just yesterday I sat with Jewish students at Cornell University," Hochul said. "After receiving horrific threats online and hate mail sent to their dorms, they are understandably anxious. Some are fearful now of attending class or eating in the Kosher dining hall."

"We cannot allow any New Yorker to live in fear," the governor added.

She announced a person of interest has been identified and is in the custody of New York State Police for questioning.

In reiterating the state's policy on hate speech, Hochul highlighted significant funding and resources to enforce that policy, including:

  • $50 million available for local law enforcement agencies to prevent and solve hate crimes and other crimes;
  • $25 million in security funding for at-risk community groups and cultural centers;
  • an expansion of the New York State Police's social media analysis unit;
  • and a new initiative from the Division of Human Rights.
  • The governor also announced that Judge Jonathan Lippman, the widely respected former Chief Judge of New York and Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, will conduct an independent third-party review of the City University of New York's policies and procedures related to antisemitism and discrimination.

    Hochul's address came as the rise in antisemitism was also taking center stage in Washington.

    At a Homeland Security Senate hearing in Washington Tuesday morning, lawmakers discussed a 36% increase in antisemitism prior to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

    "Hate directed at Jewish students, communities and institutions add to a preexisting increase in the level of antisemitism in the United States and around the world," said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

    Across New York State, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes each year consistently ranks significantly higher than hate crimes against people from other religious groups.

    In 2022, out of total 419 anti-religion hate crimes, 355 (85%) were categorized as anti-Jewish, 26 (6%) as anti-Muslim and 15 (3%) as anti-Catholic.

    ALSO READ | Upper East Side resident returns to Israel for IDF active duty as war continues

    A man from the Upper East Side joined the Israeli Defense Forces to report for duty. Reporter Darla Miles has the story.


    * Get Eyewitness News Delivered

    * More New York City news

    * Send us a news tip

    * Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

    * Follow us on YouTube

    Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

    Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.