(JTA) — Jewish and Arab-American are joining in support of a bipartisan bill in the House and Senate that would streamline the reporting of hate crimes.
The NO HATE bill introduced Thursday would train law enforcement across the country to report hate crimes according to a single standard.
Anti-defamation groups have long complained that assessing hate crimes in the United States is frustrated by wildly varying standards among police departments determining what crimes should be designated as hate crimes, when law enforcement reports the crime at all.
Among the groups backing the new bill in a joint release were the Jewish Federations of North America, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council and the Arab American Institute.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Reps. Don Beyer, D-Va., Fred Upton, R-Mich., Judy Chu, D-Calif., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., introduced the measure. Blumenthal is Jewish.
Jewish Federations of North America spearheaded a letter last month signed by 30 Jewish organizations covering all Jewish religious streams, and ranging from left to right, from Ameinu to the Zionist Organization of America, urging backing for the bill, which was then in draft mode. That letter was pinned to reports of a rise in crimes targeting Asian Americans spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.
Others joining in praising the introduction of the bill included Asian American umbrella groups; the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, an umbrella group; law enforcement in Miami and Washington, D.C.; and the families of Heather Heyer and Khalid Jabara. The bill is named in part for Heyer, killed in 2017 during a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Jabara, who was murdered in Tulsa in 2016 by a neighbor who for years had targeted Jabarin’s family with anti-Arab epithets and violence.
The bill also backs programs that rehabilitate perpetrators of hate crime through community service and education.