HATE SURGE IN NEW YORK CITY

March 06, 2018 at 4:45 am

Hate crimes are on the rise in New York City. A new report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) notes that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in New York rose by over 90% in 2017 compared to 2016. Perhaps even more troubling, are reports of a doubling of incidents involving harassment suffered by children in K-12 schools. Evan Bernstein, ADL New York regional director, is here with the disturbing facts.

Aired on March 5, 2018. 

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>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS."
THESE ARE TRYING TIMES FOR OUR
COUNTRY, TAKE A LOOK AT OUR
KINDERGARTENS, HIGH SCHOOLS AND
COLLEGES, THERE'S NOT JUST A GUN
PROBLEM BUT A HATE PROBLEM AS
WELL.
SPECIFICALLY, HATE AGAINST JEWS.
THE NUMBER OF ANTI-SEMITIC
INCIDENTS HAVE SKYROCKETED
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
THE FACTS AND STATISTICS ARE
FRIGHTENING.
IN ITS ANNUAL AUDIT, THE
ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE UNCOVERED
1,986 INCIDENTS AGAINST JEWS
NATIONWIDE.
THAT'S AN INCREASE OF 1267 CASES
FROM LAST YEAR.
LET THAT SINK IN.
90%.
AND ACROSS THE RIVER, NEW JERSEY
SAW A 32% INCREASE SINCE 2016.
NATIONALLY, THE NUMBERS HAVE
DOUBLED.
THE QUESTION THEN IS WHY?
HERE TO PROVIDE ANSWERS IS EVAN
BERNSTEIN.
WELCOME.
LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT SOME
SPECIFICS HERE.
I THINK THERE'S SOME THAT JUMPED
OUT AT ME.
>> SURE.
>> STARTING OFF WITH, FROM
KINDERGARTEN THROUGH 12th GRADE.
IN THAT CATEGORY, WE SAW THE
NUMBERS DOUBLE.
>> YEAH.
>> DOUBLE.
WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
AND WERE YOU SURPRISED AT THAT
DRAMATIC INCREASE?
>> I WAS SHOCKED BY THAT.
WE KNEW THE NUMBERS WERE GOING
TO BE UP.
WE'RE ON THE GROUND EVERY DAY.
WE'RE GETTING THE CALLS INTO OUR
OFFICE, AND WE'RE CONSTANTLY
TRACKING, WHEN WE PUT EVERYTHING
TOGETHER IN A COMPILATION AND
SEE THOSE NUMBERS K-12, THAT WAS
SHOCKING TO ME.
AND I THINK IT'S SPEAKING TO
KIND OF THE DISCOURSE NOW THAT'S
IN AMERICA IS NOW TRICKLING DOWN
TO SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN.
>> WE KNOW AS PARENTS, WE KNOW
THAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE FORMED AT
THAT VERY AGE.
THERE'S SOME, SOME FOLKS WHO
WOULD SAY AFTER A CERTAIN NUMBER
OF YEARS, THEIR VIEWS AND THEIR
APPROACHES AND HOW THEY DEAL
WITH PEOPLE HAS HARDENED.
SO IF YOU'RE SEEING K-12 WITH
THAT SORT OF DRAMATIC INCREASE,
WHAT KIND OF FEAR DOES THAT
PROVIDE FOR YOU?
>> IT'S A LOT OF FEAR.
I HAVE A 7-YEAR-OLD AND A
10-YEAR-OLD, AND YOU KNOW THESE
KIDS ARE LEARNING THIS
SOMEWHERE.
HATE IS A LEARNED BEHAVIOR.
WE KNOW THAT.
SO THEY'RE EITHER GETTING IT
ONLINE, AND WE SEE A TREMENDOUS
AMOUNT OF HATE ONLINE, ON
FACEBOOK, ON TWITTER.
PARENTS CAN'T MONITOR TEENAGERS
ALL THE TIME, AND THEY'RE
GETTING THIS INFORMATION WHICH
IS VERY SCARY.
AND YOUNGER CHILDREN ARE GETTING
IT FROM THEIR PARENTS AND
REFWURNL TAITING IT IN THEIR
SCHOOLS.
>> I THOROUGHLY ENJOY BEING ON
COLLEGE CAMPUSES, BUT THERE'S
BEEN A RISE OF 130% ON COLLEGE
CAMPUSES.
AGAIN, HOW AND WHY?
>> WE'VE SEEN THIS OVERALL
GENERAL OPENING UP OF HATE IN
OUR SOCIETY, REALLY, SINCE THE
ELECTION SEASON.
AND IT'S JUST BEEN MAINTAINING
ITSELF.
AND YOU'RE SEEING THIS LANGUAGE
IS BEING USED ONLINE AND IT'S
STARTING TO FILTER INTO OUR
NORMAL CONVERSATION AND HOW
WE'RE INTERACTING WITH PEOPLE.
AND PEOPLE'S FILTERS THAT WERE
ONCE VERY MUCH ESTABLISHED ARE
BECOMING LESSENED.
AND YOU'RE SEEING THAT IN ALL
PARTS OF SOCIETY BUT
SPECIFICALLY NOW ON COLLEGE
CAMPUSES.
PROFESSORS ARE GETTING NOTES
THAT ARE ANTI-SEMITIC.
CONVERSATIONS AMONG STUDENTS ARE
BECOMING DIFFICULT.
AND ALSO WE'RE SEEING A VERY
LARGE RISE OF WHITE SUPREMACIST
MOVEMENTS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES.
SOMETIMES THEY'RE ANTI-SEMITIC
IN NATURE.
OTHER TIMES GENERAL HATRED.
WHETHER IT'S THE KLAN.
AND THAT SETS UP AN ENVIRONMENT
FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE CONVERSATION
WHERE THEY DIDN'T FEEL
COMFORTABLE BEFORE AND NOW THEY
DO.
>> IS IT A SITUATION WHERE WE'RE
SEEING MORE PEOPLE WHO ARE
INVESTING IN THESE HATE-FILLED
BELIEFS?
OR IS JUST THAT THEY'VE BEEN
THERE ALL ALONG, AND NOW THEY'RE
MORE COMFORTABLE EXPRESSING
THEM?
>> IT'S A GREAT QUESTION.
I THINK WE DON'T FEEL THAT THERE
ARE MORE PEOPLE ANTI-SEMITIC IN
AMERICA.
WE'VE BEEN DOING POLLING SINCE
THE '60s.
WE FEEL IT'S BEEN HOLDING
BETWEEN 10% AND 12%.
WE DON'T FEEL THAT NUMBER IS
GROWING.
WE FEEL THAT GROUP IS MORE
EMBOLDENED THAN IN A VERY LONG
TIME.
WE'RE CLEARLY SEEING THAT WITH
THE NUMBERS, WHAT WE'RE SIGEEIN
ONLINE AND THE REPORTS WE'RE
GETTING, FROM MINORITY LEADERS
AND ACROSS THE STATE AND
COUNTRY.
THIS IS NOT JUST A JEWISH
PROBLEM BUT A PROBLEM FOR ALL
MINORITIES.
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE'RE
SEEING ACROSS THE BOARD.
>> ANOTHER FACT THAT SURPRISED
ME.
I'M GOING TO ASK ABOUT YOUR
THOUGHTS ABOUT IT.
BUT THAT WAS THE INCREASE HERE
IN MANHATTAN AS OPPOSED TO THE
OTHER BURROUGHS.
WHY IS THAT SURPRISING?
?
W
>> WHEN I STARTED ABOUT TEN
YEARS
YEARS, THE INCIDENT, THE
MAJORITY WERE IN BROOKLYN OR
QUEENS BECAUSE YOU HAVE A LARGE
GROUP OF ORTHODOX JEWING THAT
ARE EASY TARGETS.
THEY'RE WEARING SHADELES AND KEY
FAS.
FOR MANHATTAN, YOU KNOW, IT HAS
ITS FAIR SHARE OF ORTHODOX JEWS,
BUT IT'S NOT THE SAME CLIMATE AS
A BROOKLYN OR QUEENS, TO HAVE
THE MOST NUMBER OF ANTI-SEMITIC
INCIDENTS IN THE STATE OF NEW
YORK IS REALLY SHOCKING.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE
UPPER EAST, UPPER WEST SIDE WHO
HAVE BEEN LEADING LIVES AND FELT
THAT ANTI-SEMITISM WAS DEAD,
SOMETHING GONE AFTER THE CIVIL
RIGHTS MOVEMENT.
THEY'RE NOW EXPERIENCING IT IN
THEIR COMMUNITIES, AND
COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE NOT
EXPERIENCED IT INEC HAD A SYNAG
MIDTOWN GET SWASTIKAED.
>> MAYBE IT HAPPENS OUT THERE
BUT IT DOESN'T HAPPEN HERE.
>> EXACTLY.
IN TO US.
>> EXACTLY.
SO MANY CONVERSATIONS I'VE HAD
WITH JEWS IN OUR COMMUNITY THAT
HAVE REALLY SAID INITIALLY, THIS
IS STILL NOT A PROBLEM, EVEN
DESPITE THE NUMBERS.
IT'S NOT A PROBLEM.
IT'S NOT A PROBLEM.
THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN SOMETHING
HAPPENS TO THEIR FRIEND OR THEIR
CHILD OR SOMEONE IN THEIR
COMMUNITY.
THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THEN IT
BECOMES A PROBLEM.
I THINK WE HAVE TO BE, OUR EYES
HAVE TO BE WIDE OPEN AND NOT
JUST WAIT FOR TO AFFECT US.
YOU HAVE TO SEE THAT THIS IS
REALLY AFFECTING A LARGE NUMBER
OF PEOPLE.
IT'S VERY ACADEMIC WHEN YOU LOOK
AT NUMBERS.
THERE ARE PERSONAL STORIES
BEHIND EACH ONE OF THOSE, AND
I'VE HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH
THOSE VICTIMS.
AND IT IS VERY, VERY T
DISCONCERTING AND VERY PAINFUL
WHEN SOMEONE HAS THE WORD "JEW"
WRITTEN ON THEIR HOUSE OR
SOMEONE HAS A SWASTIKA PUT ON
THEIR LOCKER.
>> HAVE WE SEEN PEOPLE
ESSENTIALLY HAVE CHANGES IN
THEIR LIVES?
YOU TALK ABOUT PAIN, I DON'T
MEAN TO MINIMIZE THE NOTION OF
PAIN.
>> SURE.
>> BUT HAVE A REAL IMPACT ON HOW
THEY LIVE THEIR LIVES?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
PEOPLE THAT WERE COMFORTABLE,
ANTI-SEMITISM IS NOT AN ISSUE,
PEOPLE ACCEPTED JEWS.
AND ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU HAVE A
MASSIVE SWASTIKA PAINTED ON YOUR
HOUSE WITH THE WORD "JEW" ON IT,
UNDERNEATH THE SWASTIKA, YOU
START TO QUESTION, AM I SAFE TO
BE HERE?
DO I WANT TO BE HERE?
THOSE ARE QUESTIONS THAT PEOPLE
WEREN'T HAVING TO ASK, YOU KNOW,
IN A LOT OF KACASES UNTIL
RECENTLY.
THAT'S VERY TROUBLING.
>> TAKE A LOOK BACK
HISTORICALLY.
THERE HAVE BEEN PERIODS WHEN
THERE HAVE BEEN INCREASES IN
APP
ANTI-SEMITIC BEHAVIOR.
>> USUALLY WHEN THERE ARE SPIKES
BECAUSE IT'S ACTIVITY IN ISRAEL.
THERE'S BEEN KIND OF A SPIKE,
THE SPIKE HAS HELD, AND IT'S
HELD FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF
TIME.
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT'S A BIT
OF AN ANOMALY.
FOR US, DOING THIS KIND OF
TRACKING SINCE 1979.
AND WE'RE TRYING TO, YOU KNOW,
GET OUR ARMS WRAPPED AROUND THAT
IS CORRECT BECAUSE IF THE
TREND'S GOING TO CONTINUE, THOSE
ARE NOT GOOD TRENDS.
WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN
TO PUSH BACK ON THAT.
>> HOW CONCERNED SHOULD WE BE
THEN THAT WE MIGHT BECOME
DESENSITIZED TO THESE INCIDENTS.
THEY ARE HAPPENING SO OFTEN THAT
THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GET THE
COVERAGE THEY USED TO HAVE.
AND THEY BECOME A SENSE OF THIS
PERVERSE NORMALITY.
>> I'VE SEEN THAT.
THERE WAS A SWASTIKA INCIDENT,
THERE WAS PRESS RELEASE, MAJOR
COVERAGE.
>> IT LEAD THE NEWS.
>> LEAD THE NEWS.
NOW IT BECOMES JUST ANOTHER
NUMBER WITHIN THE AUDIT.
AND IT BECOMES ANOTHER INCIDENT
TAKING PLACE IN THE CITY.
SO THE ELECTED OFFICIAL THS AND
OTHERS DON'T RESPOND WITH THE
SAME VIM AND VIGOR.
THAT IS CONCERNING.
TO ME, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE LEVELS
THAT WE ACCEPT AND BECOME NORMAL
IN OUR SOCIETY.
SO IF ANTI-SEMITIC VANDALISM
BECOMES NORMALIZED, WHAT BECOMES
NORMALIZED NEXT?
ASSAULTS?
YOU CAN'T LIVE IN THE BUILDING?
YOU CAN'T GO TO OUR SCHOOL?
ALL THINGS WE WERE ABLE TO
ACCOMPLISH.
AND JEWS RIGHT NOW HAVE BEEN
ABLE TO ENJOY THE BIGGEST
SUCCESS.
WE CAN'T TAKE THAT FOR GRANTED.
WE'RE CERTAINLY LIVING BETTER
AND FREER LIVES THAN WE DID 67
YEARS AGO IN THIS COUNTRY, BUT
WE CAN'T TAKE THAT FOR GRANTED
AS A PEOPLE AT ALL.
IN HERE'S A QUESTION, THE
NUMBERS ARE STAGGERING.
THEY'RE TROUBLING AND
FRIGHTENING.
WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
>> TO ME, IT'S TWO FRONTS, ONE,
GETTING OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
MORE ENGAGED, GETTING THEM TO
UNDERSTAND THE CHANGE IN THE
NUMBERS.
TAKING THESE THINGS SERIOUSLY,
ENSURING AS CONSTITUENTS OF
THESE LELECTIONS THAT THEY GET
THEM TO SPEAK OUT LOUDLY.
CREATE A PLAN, BE THERE FOR THE
COMMUNITY.
UNDERSTANDING THIS IS AN ISSUE
AND DOESN'T NEED TO BE SWEPT
ASIDE.
NUMBER TWO, IT'S ABOUT
EDUCATION.
EDUCATION OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE,
GETTING THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT
BIAS OF ANY KIND, TOWARDS JEWS
OR ANY OTHER MINORITIES IS
COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE.
IT'S IMPORTANT TO GBE PROACTIVE
NOT REACTIVE AND TO GET
SUPERINTENDENTS TRAINED ON HOW
TO HANDLE, THESE THINGS ARE
HAPPENING, THE TRENDS ARE THAT'S
CORRECT LE-- THERE, LET'S GET
PROACTIVE.
>> THEY'RE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
AFTER.
LET'S DO SOMETHING BEFORE.
>> THEY ARE TROUBLING NUMBERS.
AND HOPEFULLY BY SHINING A LIGHT
ON THIS, WE CAN DO SOMETHING
POSITIVE IN DEALING WITH IT.
WE APPRECIATE YOU SPENDING SOME
TIME WITH US.
YOU TAKE CARE NOW.
>> THANK YOU.