Legislator Drucker: Establish Special Legislative Task Force to Combat Anti-Semitism in Nassau County


"It is time to act here in Nassau County and across the nation," Legislator Drucker said.

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Legislator Arnold W. Drucker speaks outside the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building.

Photo by: Office of Legislator Drucker

In response to a shocking increase in incidents of anti-Semitic violence, hatred and harassment in New York and across the United States and the world, Nassau County Legislator Arnold W. Drucker (D - Plainview) is urging his colleagues to support the creation of a new Special Legislative Task Force to Combat Anti-Semitism.
Working under the guidance of the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism as adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the task force would be directed to host one or more public hearings to engage governmental and community leaders, law enforcement personnel, clergy, academics, members of the public and key stakeholders to gather facts about the origins and extent of anti-Semitism in Nassau County.
Upon the completion of these hearings and a public comment period of at least 60 days, the task force would submit a report containing recommendations for legislative action no later than International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, 2022.
Citing statistics from the Anti-Defamation League which illustrate the alarming and frighteningly persistent increase in anti-Semitic incidents during the last four years, Legislator Drucker, who co-introduced the resolution with Legislators Ellen W. Birnbaum (D - Great Neck) and Joshua Lafazan (Woodbury), implored his colleagues to act swiftly and decisively on the local level.
“We have learned through the millennia that when we overlook the existence of anti-Semitism or are indifferent to its presence, we enable it to spread - and history has shown time and again the gruesome, catastrophic outcomes of inaction,” Nassau County Legislator Arnold W. Drucker said. “I am tired of wringing my hands - it is time to act here in Nassau County and across the nation. This committee will help us identify root causes of hatred so that we can confront anti-Semitism and eradicate it wherever it lurks.”
Legislator Drucker’s proposal swiftly earned the support of Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who signed a Nassau County executive order on June 28 to commit to the observance of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.
“Last week I signed an executive order to recognize the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism because in order to combat anti-Semitism effectively, it is important to be clear about what it is and how it may manifest itself,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “With anti-Semitism on the rise, Nassau County is standing with our Jewish brothers and sisters. I commend Legislators Drucker, Birnbaum, and Lafazan for this important initiative and look forward to continuing our work as one Nassau to ensure hate never finds a home in our communities.”
Membership of the Special Legislative Task Force to Combat Anti-Semitism would consist of six Legislators - three appointed by the Nassau County Legislature’s Presiding Officer and three chosen by the Minority Leader - who would then select five additional community leaders based upon their expertise and background in opposing anti-Semitism and intolerance. The County Executive or a designee will also serve an ex officio advisory member of the task force.
“When paired with County Executive Curran’s commendable executive action to adopt the IHRA’s working definition of anti-Semitism and ongoing law enforcement efforts to crack down on anti-Semitic violence, discrimination and harassment, I am confident that this task force will position Nassau County to confront bigotry and hatred more strongly than ever before,” Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum said.
“As we know all too well, anti-Semitism is not new, but what is new is the brazen nature of these acts of violence, harassment, menacing, and intimidation directed towards Jewish citizens,” Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (Woodbury) said. “By forming this Special Legislative Task Force to Combat Anti-Semitism, Nassau County will equip policy makers and community leaders with the necessary tools and insights to destroy this pernicious wave of hatred. I am proud to join Legislator Birnbaum as a co-sponsor of this proposal and thank Legislator Drucker for his leadership in developing this bipartisan, community-driven response.”
In addition to its fact-finding mission, the Special Legislative Task Force to Combat Anti-Semitism will be tasked with educating youth by hosting a Virtual Youth Roundtable Against Anti-Semitism. Focused upon how the law and public policy can help to diminish bias and insensitivity, the event will be known as “Cardozo Day” in honor of esteemed New York jurist and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo.
“Recently, we’ve seen an alarming rise in anti-Semitism right here in Nassau County, and it’s going to take all of us working together to beat back this hate and forcefully reject it from our community,” New York State Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D - North Hills) said. “I applaud the efforts of Legislator Drucker as a partner in the fight against anti-Semitism, and I’m proud to support the creation of a Task Force to Combat Anti-Semitism in Nassau County.”
Beyond the halls of government, the proposal has gained the support of an array of community organizations dedicated to the mission of confronting and eradicating anti-Semitism and hatred.
“The Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island (JCRC-LI) is deeply concerned and horrified with the statistics that state American Jews do not feel as safe in this country as they did just a few years ago.  No one should fear living in their community because they are Jewish,” Mindy Perlmutter, Executive Director of JCRC-LI, said. “Residents of Nassau County must stand up to hate in all its forms.  We applaud Legislator Arnie Drucker for his efforts in combating antisemitism and support his proposal to create the Special Legislative Task Force to Combat Antisemitism. JCRC-LI looks forward to continue working with Legislator Drucker and thanks him for his leadership.”
“The American Jewish Committee’s Long Island Region thanks Legislators Drucker, Birnbaum and Lafazan for submitting a bill to establish a Special Legislative Task Force to Combat Anti-Semitism,” Arnie Herz, President, and Eric Post, Director, for the American Jewish Committee Long Island Region said. “We believe the task force will go a long way in raising awareness of what anti-Semitism is, how to combat it, and offer prevention strategies to mitigate the problem moving forward. The emphasis on youth education is also extremely important. We are grateful that this Task Force will be guided by the International Holocaust Remembrance IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, which has been recently adopted by Nassau County.”
“Jews represent less than two percent of the population. Yet, over 50 percent of religiously motivated hate crimes in this country are against Jews. However, we also know that when it comes to hate crimes, some of the incidents are not reported. We welcome the hearings this resolution calls for, which will give us a better picture of what has been happening, where the issues are and how we can prevent antisemitism from spreading here in Nassau County,” Avi Posnick, Regional Director of StandWithUs Northeast and New England, said. “We are also seeing anti-Semitism on the rise in our schools. Because today's students are the leaders of tomorrow, we must educate them today before their hearts and minds are poisoned tomorrow. We welcome the youth task force that is being created by this legislation and at StandWithUs, we will continue to work with the elected officials and leaders who are here to educate and empower more students on college campuses and in high schools to fight antisemitism and hate. We thank Legislators Drucker, Birnbaum and Lafazan for sponsoring this important resolution. We are all concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism here in New York and around the world.”