RICHMOND – While speaking to a group of Jewish leaders from across the state on Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day, Wednesday, Feb. 8, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares announced the creation of a task force to monitor and combat acts of antisemitism in the commonwealth.
The task force is in response to the recommendation of the Governor’s Commission to combat Antisemitism report issued in December.
The task force’s mission centers around four strategies: monitoring, information-gathering, educating, and investigating instances of antisemitism in the commonwealth. This state task force is the first of its kind in the United States.
“Antisemitism is the oldest and most sustained form of bigotry known to mankind,” said Miyares. “Although America’s commitment to religious diversity and pluralism has made it a relatively safe haven for Jewish people, American Jews have dealt with horrifying antisemitic discrimination and violence, and it continues today. My antisemitism task force will help our office monitor, combat, and educate Virginians about hate against Jewish people.”
The task force will include Office of Attorney General employees, including Special Advisor for Outreach David Brand and Office of Civil Rights Chief Christine Lambrou Johnson. In coming months, the attorney general will also appoint leaders from the Jewish community across the commonwealth to the Task Force.
Religious discrimination is illegal under the Virginia Human Rights Act ,and the Attorney General can investigate and prosecute religious discrimination in employment and places of public accommodation, including educational institutions. Criminal complaints or acts of violence should be referred to the local authorities and the Virginia State Police.
Virginians should report any instances of antisemitic discrimination to Attorney General Miyares’ Office of Civil Rights.
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