By unanimous decision, the Miami-Dade County (FL) Association of Chiefs of Police passed a resolution recognizing the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism when investigating crimes.
This decision is in response to statistics recently released by the FBI revealing that of the 1,584 victims of religious hate crimes, over half the incidents were motivated by anti-Semitism. These figures, based on incidents during 2016, indicate a growing pattern, a fact supported by the Anti-Defamation League’s “2017 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents” that showed a 57% increase in anti-Jewish activity from the previous year.
Adopting the State Department’s anti-Semitism definition is not new to Miami-Dade County.
Last December, Bal Harbour, Florida became the first municipality in the country to implement an ordinance that provides law enforcement with a definition of anti-Semitism, enabling them to investigate such incidents as hate crimes.
“The Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police supports initiatives and laws that protect the rights of all individuals in Miami-Dade County,” stated the association’s president, Captain Raleigh Flowers. “The Anti-Semitism ordinance enacted by Bal Harbour and other municipalities in Miami-Dade provides a guide for law enforcement officers to use when investigating any potential anti-Semitic offenses.”
Flowers added that when Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman spoke to the police leaders of Miami-Dade County, “the association, without hesitation, unanimously agreed to prepare a resolution encouraging all Miami-Dade law enforcement agencies to consider the anti-Semitism definition by the Department of State and establish protocols for each agency to follow when investigating and combating anti-Semitic and hate crimes.”
Although the resolution is not mandatory, it “encourages all police agencies to consider potential anti-Semitic motivation for criminal offenses in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its Jewish community.”
“I applaud the Miami-Dade County Chiefs of Police Association for standing against anti-Semitism and passing this historic resolution,” said Groisman. “The use of a uniform definition of anti-Semitism protects the interests of our citizens by providing our law enforcement officers a critical tool needed to ascertain the intent of persons who engage in unlawful activities, such as assault or vandalism.”
Groisman expressed gratitude to South Carolina Representative Alan Clemmons, Joseph Sabag of the Israel Allies Foundation, and Kenneth Marcus of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for “lending their expertise and policy resources in support.”
Clemmons is credited with writing the nation’s first anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) legislation that prohibits the state of South Carolina from contracting with any business that singles out Israel for boycott. Marcus is the Trump administration’s nominee for assistant secretary of education for civil rights.
Paul Miller is president and executive director of the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on twitter @pauliespoint.