In the twenty-first century United States, Jews stand out as the group most likely to suffer from discrimination, mistreatment, and attack—as they have in so many times and so many places. FBI statistics on hate crimes show that on a per capita basis, Jews are subject to more attacks than any other ethnic, religious, racial, or national group—year after year after year. While Jews make up less than 2% of the population, they are the victims of approximately 60% of all religiously motivated hate crimes in America.
Unofficially, but anecdotally and realistically, actual incidences are multiples of that. The danger is even greater for individuals and institutions immediately recognizable as Jewish. Synagogues, JCCs, cemeteries, schools, kosher markets, and anything visibly connected to Israel require security measures—and costs—far greater than do their non-Jewish neighbors and counterparts. Individuals wearing distinctively Jewish garb or symbols —like a yarmulke, tzitzit, a Magen David, or a T-shirt with Hebrew writing—are subjected to street-level attack and harassment far out of proportion to their numbers.
The growing problem in the U.S. is part of a deeply troubling trend. Antisemitism is on the rise, throughout the Western world, on multiple fronts. That rise poses a serious threat, not only to the Jews but to broader Western societies.
Antisemitism is widely recognized as a cultural illness; it’s a sign of a society on the verge of collapse and looking for scapegoats. If America cannot defeat the multiple rising threats against the Jews, it cannot defend itself.
The Jewish Legal Defense Fund (JLDF) is thus first and foremost founded to protect Jews. But its importance is truly universal. The Jews live – unwillingly - on the frontlines of America’s increasingly extreme culture wars. The welfare of America’s Jewish community is a bellwether for the health of American society writ large.
The fight against antisemitism is at the forefront of today’s struggle for civil rights. It’s a battle to be fought on many fronts. JLDF will be there.
I – JLDF LEGAL SERVICES CENTER
Objectives: Raise and maintain public awareness of all relevant legal rights, responsibilities, and resources. Facilitate availability of representation and enforcement.
· Public Information - informs various sectors of the public of their rights and responsibilities;
· Intake - analyzes cases;
· Representation - either direct representation or match up with lawyers who have been trained;
· Professional Education and Training - accredited CLE/CJE courses on an entire array of legal issues relating to antisemitism. Curriculum development for:
o Law schools/students
o Lawyers/Corporate Counsel
· Legal Services Clinic - independent and/or university-partnered clinic that teaches/trains law students how to deal with BDS and other anti-Jewish hostility, incitement, and assault.
II – JLDF CENTER FOR RESEARCH
Objective: Conducting the investigations and research necessary to track outbreaks of antisemitism back to the sources most responsible.
· Money Trail Project – studying the relationship between funds (particularly from foreign sources and nonprofits) to schools and universities, and the antisemitic attitudes and acts in those exposed to those institutions' teaching.
· Epidemiological Mapping Project – assessing and tracking potential factors, from top-down cultural “Identity Politics” to bottom-up street level “Broken Windows,” to discern their impact on attacks on Jewish targets. In essence, treating antisemitism as a communicable disease and attempting to understand the mechanisms that spawn and spread it and those that combat and contain it.
III – JLDF CENTER FOR EDUCATION
Objective: Developing the curricula necessary to educate all levels of the public about the nature and threat of antisemitism, and training the professional we need to combat it.
· K-12 and University-level Lectures, Courses, and Curricula in:
o Antisemitism as a conspiracy theory;
o The changing nature of Jew-hatred through history.
o Holocaust education as a study in antisemites and antisemitism;
o Religious freedom in American history;
o Contemporary antisemitic movements;
o History of Jewish responses to Jew-hatred.
· Professional Education and Training Materials for:
o Law students & practicing lawyers;
o Judges & prosecutors;
o Law enforcement officials;
o Teachers and school administrators;
o HR professionals;
o Journalists and media;
o Government officials.
· Videos, articles, artistic expressions, and other short media oriented towards educating the broad public.
IV – JLDF CENTER FOR POLICY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Objective: Developing, recommending, and helping to enact legislation, regulation, and best practices necessary and appropriate for combating antisemitism.
· Advocating for Federal, State, and Local legislation including:
o Hate Crimes
· Collaborating with law enforcement agencies to establish crisis response mechanisms.
· Assisting eligible organizations and individuals in the preparation of grant applications promoting public safety and community security.
· Promoting widespread adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism as the most effective first step of identifying the antisemitism we need to combat.
· Assessing resource prioritization and working with agencies and foundations to ensure that funds are allocated wisely to protect the most vulnerable targets.
· Launching “David’s Shield,” a community grassroots program to enlist general public support in standing against antisemitism.
The Jewish Legal Defense Fund (JLDF) is a d/b/a for the American Restoration Institute (ARI), a tax exempt, not-for-profit educational organization as defined under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
ARI’s mission is to research, develop, promote, and share educational information and materials useful in promoting the foundational ideals of the United States of America. ARI defines these ideals as including but not restricted to objective morality, individual freedom, personal responsibility, limited government, citizenship, nondiscrimination, Americanization, civil society, economic growth, and competition.