Hate Crimes

January 1998

Civil & Human Rights

Combating Antisemitism

Hadassah,  The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc., applauds President  Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore for convening the recent "White  House Conference on Hate Crimes" highlighting the problem of bigotry and  violence.

As Jews and as women, the members of  Hadassah cannot help but have special understanding of the dangers of  bigotry.  Hate crimes are an extreme manifestation of bigotry and,  historically, Jews and women alike have been targets.  Hadassah believes  that hate crimes threaten the viability of our community and that the  federal government has an obligation to protect all of its citizens from  such violence.

Despite the important attempts  made to address hate crimes since the “Civil Rights Act” in 1964,  further federal hate crimes legislation is being sought by groups that  find additional protections necessary.  Many states are passing  legislation providing such protections for additional groups and stiffer  penalties for hate crime offenders which  indicate the need to  strengthen and expand current federal law.

One  recognized shortcoming of existing hate crimes law is its failure to  specify hate crimes for all groups of people.  Although crimes against  many of these groups have been documented under the “Hate Crimes  Statistics Act,” they are not currently prosecuted as federal offenses.   Moreover, it has become increasingly clear that attacks made on these  groups demand stiffer penalties and must provide for criminal as well as  civil penalties.

Hadassah calls for federal  legislation detailing bias attacks or hate crimes as those crimes  against victims based on their race, ethnicity, religion, color, sexual  orientation, gender, national origin or disability.  Such federal  legislation is needed to send a strong message that hate crimes against  any groups will not be tolerated.

Hadassah's Policy Statements represent the organization's official stance on a wide variety of issues facing our nation, Israel and other international matters of concern. Policy Statements are debated and voted on at national meetings by Hadassah’s national board and delegates from our membership. Once approved, statements become official policies of the organization and serve to define Hadassah's overall agenda and advocacy priorities. Hadassah, as a charitable organization classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is prohibited from any direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, candidates for public office.