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By Jacob Henry

(New York Jewish Week) — Last month, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Jewish Democrat, proclaimed April 29 “End Jew Hatred Day,” citing “an urgent need to act against antisemitism in Colorado and across the country.”

Similar proclamations came from New York Rep. Mike Lawler, a Republican, and dozens of other elected officials nationwide.

But in the New York City Council, an identical effort proved controversial. While the overwhelmingly Democratic council approved April 29 as End Jew Hatred Day annually, six council members either abstained from or voted against what organizers had intended to be an unanimous decision.

The initiative behind the proclamations, called the End Jew Hatred Movement, is a relatively new presence based in New York City that is increasingly making its voice known nationally — through rallies, petitions, a relentless press campaign and now in the halls of government. One measure that demonstrates the initiative’s growth is the number of April 29 proclamations. Last year, there were a handful. This year, according to End Jew Hatred, there were 30.

The movement also provided the spark for the unexpected opposition in the New York City Council. Lawmakers who did not support the proclamation said they demurred because the End Jew Hatred Movement, while run by people who say they “set aside politics and ideology,” has been associated with right-wing Jewish activists.

End Jew Hatred doesn’t publicize much about its structure or funding. It is not a registered nonprofit organization, and would not tell the New York Jewish Week its annual budget.

Its backers call it an unapologetic voice that’s fighting a growing problem, antisemitism, while its critics say it is an attempt to inject hawkish rhetoric into a national effort to combat anti-Jewish persecution. Amid that debate, the movement’s growth, and its successful spearheading of resolutions nationwide, show how an initiative founded by conservative activists has wielded influence in the conversation about antisemitism, even in liberal political spaces.


Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, a progressive group, also opposed the resolution. Rafael Shimunov, a member of the group, said the resolution was “clearly associated with the right,” and noted that at a hearing ahead of the vote, an activist decried bail reform, something right-wing advocates have pushed for years to repeal.

Shimunov also took issue with remarks Vernikov has made about George Soros, the billionaire Jewish liberal megadonor who has become an avatar of right-wing antisemitism, and whom Vernikov called ”an evil man, who happens to be Jewish.” JFREJ activists also noted that also noted that some Republican cosponsors of the bill, such as Vernikov, Vickie Paladino and Joann Ariola, have called for transgender women to be barred from women’s sports at schools and universities. In addition, Paladino has a history of anti-LGBTQ comments. The activists say these views undercut the council members’ calls to oppose hatred directed at Jews.

Read the full piece at The Jewish Telegraphic Agency