Contact: Sophie Ellman-Golan |

NEW YORK -- Following the release of Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget, Alicia Singham Goodwin, Political Director at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ,) released the following statement:

“While hate violence, antisemitism, and Islamophobia are critical issues that New York State must address, expanding the list of offenses eligible to be charged as hate crimes is a misguided response that will cause more harm than good. Expanding hate crimes charges does not actually prevent hate violence; it simply means that more people will face longer sentences if convicted. Studies show that longer sentences have a limited deterrent effect. And we know that incarcerating someone causes lasting damage to the individual and to their community.”

“We do have successful models to follow: In 2019, when a 12-year-old allegedly drew swastikas on the playground of PS 139 in Rego Park, Queens, JFREJ opposed a police-driven response with criminal penalties. Instead, we immediately reached out to the school and the community, and held an antisemitism workshop for children in the neighborhood led by a team of professional youth educators.”

“The most effective way to combat hate violence and bias incidents is through strategies focused on the long-term impact, healing, and learning. This prevention work is best done in our communities, not by the police or by prosecutors. The best programs also work toward economic and racial justice for our diverse communities and strengthen our democracy. This includes fiercely protecting New Yorkers’ free speech and right to protest – all the more important right now, as concerted efforts are being made to conflate expressions of solidarity with Palestinians as antisemitic hate speech. If New York State is serious about combating hate violence, we must invest in restorative, community-based education and healing – not symbolic punitive measures that only cause more harm.”


Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) is a 6,000-member grassroots organization and the home of New York’s Jewish Left. For over 30 years, JFREJ members have organized alongside our neighbors to transform New York from a playground for the wealthy few into a real democracy, free from all forms of racist violence.