Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Anti-Semitism is a growing problem in Orange County, just ask Abbe Distelburger with the local Jewish Federation.
"It's very easy for a lot of people to lash out at us and be anti-Semitic when they really have no basis to be," said Disetelburger.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), New York State is growing in anti-Semitic incidents. They said that number jumped 14 percent from last year.
"A lot of times, any type of prejudice is based on ignorance," said Distelburger.
According to the ADL, New York State ranked number one in the number of anti-Semitic incidents. Last year there were 231 reported incidents, most of them being vandalism.
Distelburger said she believes those who are anti-Semitic simply don't understand the issues going on in the community.
She points to the Village of Kiryas Joel and how people have criticized their proposed expansion.
She said instead of targeting KJ as a group, they should target the process in which the expansion is happening.
"People that are not educated and are not informed take a look at Kiryas Joel see all the residents are Jewish and start making anti-Semitic comments," said Distelburger.
She said the same goes for the Chestnut Ridge Development in Bloomingburg that's expected to attract Hasidic Jews.
"The criticisms are valid criticisms, it's the people that don't know and are making comments about we don't want those Jews there, I'm sorry that's anti-Semitism," said Distelburger.
And just three years ago, parents in Pine Bush filed a lawsuit against the school district saying alleged anti-Semitic bullying happened there for years.
Though the State Police dropped the case last year, Distelburger said it all comes down to education.
"History does repeat itself and nobody should ever turn a blind eye to what's happened," said Distelburger.
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