New York Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to name the new bill after Rabbi Josef Neumann, 72, who was stabbed at a synagogue in Monsey over Hanukkah. Rabbi Neumann died of his wounds on Sunday.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers remarks at a news conference. New York City, New York, U.S., March 2, 2020
(photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – New York state legislators approved legislation to combat antisemitism on Thursday. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to name the new bill after Rabbi Josef Neumann, 72, who was stabbed at a synagogue in Monsey over Hanukkah. Rabbi Neumann died of his wounds on Sunday.
The legislation classifies any assault of a group based on its race or religion as a terror attack.
The bill also allocated $25 million to vulnerable religious nonprofit organizations and $2 million to support the state police’s hate crime task force.
According to the Jewish Insider, it also creates a statewide education curriculum on diversity and tolerance for students.
The bill’s original name was “No Hate in Our State Act,” but Cuomo said that it would be named the “Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act,” in order to reclassify certain hate crimes so that their punishment will now be a life sentence and without the possibility of parole.
“We owe it to Mr. Neumann, his family, and the entire family of New York to get it done now,” Cuomo said in a statement on Monday.
Grafton Thomas, 37, broke into the home and synagogue of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg and stabbed five people. The other four have been discharged from the hospital.
Federal prosecutors filed hate crime charges against Thomas on Monday. FBI agent Julie Brown reported that Thomas kept journals containing antisemitic statements and Nazi references. Additionally, the FBI agent said his cell phone was used to search “Why did Hitler hate the Jews?” on four separate occasions.
Ronald Lauder released a statement following the passage of the new bill. “I commend the State Legislature on passing the Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act,” he wrote.
“I am profoundly grateful to Governor Cuomo for his unwavering leadership and commitment to this cause. The new legislation sends a clear message: attacking someone based on race, religion, or creed is domestic terrorism, nothing less. New York has taken a big step toward safeguarding the Jewish community, and I plan on approaching other governors and state legislators to follow Governor Cuomo’s lead.”