New York Passes Bill to Prosecute Hate Crimes as Domestic Terrorism

Danielle Ziri
Danielle Ziri
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, New York, March 24, 2020
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, New York, March 24, 2020Credit: MIKE SEGAR/ REUTERS
Danielle Ziri
Danielle Ziri

New York State legislature voted to pass a bill equating hate crimes with domestic terrorism on Friday, days after the most critically injured victim of the Monsey stabbing attack in December, Josef Neumann, died from his injuries. 

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Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is renaming proposed state hate crime legislation, a move which he had proposed after the attack, in honor of the Monsey victim: the Josef Neumann Domestic Terrorism Act. 

Neumann had been in a coma from the time of the December 28 attack until his death at age 72 in March. Four others were injured in the stabbing rampage

“We owe it to Mr. Neumann, his family and the entire family of New York to get it done now,” the governor said prior to the vote. The act was passed as part of the state budget. 

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder commended state legislature for the passage of the act, accoring to which hate crimes will now be prosecuted as domestic terrorism in New York State. 

“The new legislation sends a clear message: Attacking someone based on race, religion, or creed is domestic terrorism, nothing less,” he said. “New York has taken a big step toward safeguarding the Jewish community.”

Lauder, who recently launched The Anti-Semitism Accountability Project, a $25 million political campaign taking action against anti-Semitism in American politics, institutions, and culture, said he also plans on “approaching other governors and state legislators to follow Governor Cuomo’s lead.”

Rabbi David Zwiebel, the executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella organization representing the Orthodox Jewish community, said the new law is a piece of “landmark anti-hate legislation” and serves as “an eloquent testimonial to our government leaders' appreciation of the critical importance of combating anti-Semitism.” 

“Haters are on notice: You are not welcome in New York State!" Zwiebel added.

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