Midyear Meeting

ABA resolves to 'take a leadership role in opposing antisemitism'

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Marchers at a protest hold signs against hate and antisemitism

A "No Hate, No Fear" rally was held in New York City to oppose antisemitism in 2020. (Photo by Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Citing events like the 2017 riots in Charlottesville, Virginia; the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol; and recent synagogue shootings in Pennsylvania and California, proponents of Resolution 514 asked the ABA to formally condemn antisemitism.

Resolution 514 was passed by the ABA House of Delegates, which met Monday at the ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans. Besides condemning antisemitism, the resolution calls for the government to take steps to improve security at Jewish institutions and organizations, and supports policies that promote law enforcement training to counter antisemitism. Additionally, the resolution supports bar associations providing education to respond to and remedy antisemitism, including victim support.

The ABA sponsors of the resolution were the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, the Coalition of Racial and Ethnic Justice, the International Law Section, the Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and the Senior Lawyers Division. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association was also a sponsor. No speakers rose to oppose the resolution.

“I grew up as a Jewish boy in Texas,” said Robert Weiner, a House of Delegates member from Washington, D.C., who spoke in favor of the resolution. “We were not subject to the discrimination inflicted on Blacks and Hispanics, but there were places we could not go. There were organizations you could not join. And there were jobs we couldn’t get. Now, antisemitism is on the rise to an unprecedented degree.”

Follow along with the ABA Journal’s coverage of the 2023 ABA Midyear Meeting here.

According to the Department of Justice, out of 7,262 reported hate crimes in 2021, more than 300 were antisemitic incidents. The data is from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which receives voluntary information from more than 18,000 city, university and college, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies, the website states.

First Amendment rights are referenced in the Resolution 514 report.

“The tiki-torch-bearing marchers who converged on Charlottesville in August 2017 chanting ‘Jews will not replace us!’ had the constitutional right to assemble and march in support of racist ideas,” the report states. “This resolution does not limit those Constitutional rights of anti-Jewish bigots; rather, it urges the ABA to fight their false and evil speech with true and moral speech.”

Mark Schickman, a House delegate for the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, spoke in favor of the resolution.

“We are huge proponents of free speech. This resolution does not, and it never has, stopped those kinds of activities. And we can’t stop the hard-core Jew haters from doing it,” said the California lawyer.

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