New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced she has signed new legislation intended to honor and support Holocaust survivors in educational, cultural and financial institutions.
The announcement came Aug 10, which saw the Governor visit the Holocaust exhibit at New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage.
The legislative package ensures that schools throughout the state will provide high-quality education regarding the Holocaust, require the New York State Department of Financial Services to publish a list of financial institutions that voluntarily waive fees for Holocaust reparation payments as well as require museums to acknowledge art stolen by the Nazi regime.
“We’re going to be signing legislation that we believe is going to be significant in our continued efforts to erase antisemitism, a journey that everyone in this room cares deeply about,” Gov Hochul said during her address. “So, there is hatred out there and it’s spreading, and that is why we talk about it here in this place. But in this place, it’s not enough. This has to be taught in our schools and we have to make sure that’s actually happening.”
The governor referenced the increased number of hate crimes perpetrated against the Jewish population nationwide – with reported attacks reaching a record high in 2021.
“It’s [anti semitism] still targeting Jews across the world and yes, in our own state because we’ve had 570 antisemitic crimes perpetrated against Jewish New Yorkers this year,” the governor said. “That’s not in the last decade, the last five years. That is this year alone. And according to the ADL, New York State has led the nation in antisemitic incidents in 2021, up 24 percent from the year before, which is already a high year from the year before.”
Governor Hochul indicated that the increase of hate crimes could be combated by ensuring that as many New Yorkers as possible educate themselves about the Holocaust. Hochul cited a study that stated as many as 58% of younger New Yorkers in 2020 were unable to name a single Holocaust concentration camp, with 60 million people believing the Holocaust itself never occured.
Hochul also suggested that the rise of anti-Semitism and facist ideology across the country correlated with the lack of knowledge so many Americans have regarding the Holocaust.
The governor also stated that her administration would be making ending antisemitic hate crimes a high priority. During the statement, she announced that $25 million would be specifically allocated from the state’s infrastructure budget to increase safety, security and cameras in order to protect the Jewish population.
She also referenced the executive order she initiated following the shooting in Buffalo, NY which ordered all counties in New York State to develop plans to identify and confront threats of domestic terrorism – including those who are ethnically, religiously or racially motivated.
An additional $10 million will be distributed to counties to help them discourage white supremacy and domestic terrorism all while educating and maintaining their communities.
The governor emphasized how crucial it was for her to ensure that every New Yorkers, regardless of gender, race, age, religion or creed should feel safe.
“I don’t want the citizens of my state to live in fear ever, ever, so, we will take action in any way, any form, and be tough about it and be as tough as we need to be to say you cannot do this in my state, in our state,” Hochul said. “And if you have hateful feelings and you can’t deal with it, well go somewhere else because we’re not going to let you harm people in our state.”