UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday the creation of a new Hate and Bias Prevention Unit to address the rising tide of antisemitic and other hate crimes in the state.
The agency will spearhead public education and outreach efforts, serve as an early warning detection system in local communities, and mobilize rapid response in places where a bias incident has occurred.
"New York State will use every tool at its disposal to eliminate hate and bias from our communities," Governor Hochul said in a statement accompanying the announcement. "We will not let the rise in hate incidents that we see happening online, across the country and across the world, take root here at home."
The announcement came as the governor and New York City Mayor Eric Adams met with Jewish leaders to discuss security and antisemitism ahead of the start of Hanukkah next week.
He's calling for more dialogue across communities, saying we can and should learn from the past.
"We have to look at the historical relationships between communities in general but specifically the Black, Jewish relationship," Adams said. "So many of those who were the architects of those relationships and builders have transitioned or departed."
The meeting with members of the Orthodox Union at the Lincoln Center Synagogue also included NY Sen. Chuck Schumer and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
"Like all of you, I feel the same fear, the same dread, the same alarm, that past generations of Jews have felt when anti-Semitism rears its ugly head," said Schumer in opening remarks.
The meeting comes amid a spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes across the city and the nation, and after the arrests of two men who allegedly made violent threats against a New York City synagogue last month.
"The FBI reports that 63% of hate crimes in our country are motivated by antisemitism," Mayorkas said. "According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 2,717 incidents of antisemitic hate across the United States in 2021. A 34% increase over the prior year."
While crime overall was down last month in New York City, antisemitic attacks have been rising. Hate crimes were up 70% last month, compared to the same month a year earlier, led by a surge in antisemitic attacks, which rose 125%.
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