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Study: Holocaust education reduces hate crimes against minority communities

“When you see antisemitism, that’s not just hatred against Jews. That’s a breakdown in the fundamental systems that protect us all,” said Daniel Pomerantz, CEO of RealityCheck.

Platform 17, a Holocaust memorial, in Berlin. Photo by Menachem Wecker.
Platform 17, a Holocaust memorial, in Berlin. Photo by Menachem Wecker.

Mandated Holocaust education in U.S. schools reduces hate crimes both against Jews, as well as across a wide swath of minority communities, according to data from RealityCheck Research, a new nonprofit based in New York, Tel Aviv and London.

Hate crimes against black communities went down more than 55% in states with Holocaust-education laws, while antisemitic crimes dropped 54.8%.

Those states also saw drops in hate crimes against Muslims (24%), LGBTQ people (43%), Latinos (34%) and Asian Americans (13%), as well as disabled Americans (48%), according to RealityCheck data.

The nonprofit used FBI hate crime and U.S. Census data to calculate the per capita rate of hate crimes against each group, and it compared states with and without Holocaust education laws.

“For people who understand Holocaust education, this isn’t surprising. We know the fundamental principle that when you see antisemitism, that’s not just hatred against Jews. That’s a breakdown in the fundamental systems that protect us all,” Daniel Pomerantz, CEO of RealityCheck, told JNS.

“But communities outside of Jewish communities don’t necessarily know this,” he added.

When RealityCheck shares its results with non-Jewish communities, the latter “discover that supporting our work benefits their own self-interest as well. This is fundamentally true, but for the first time, we actually have data to prove it,” said Pomerantz.

While he noted that law enforcement is critical to battling hate crimes, Pomerantz added that the study’s results demonstrate that more police, larger budgets and new criminal laws aren’t necessarily the top priority for tackling such crimes.

“When people understand that the health and safety of Jewish communities and fairness toward Israel implies health and safety and fairness toward all communities, we develop greater support and cooperation around the world,” Pomerantz told JNS.

“When people don’t understand this, we move toward increased polarization and increased danger and hate crimes against all vulnerable communities in America,” he added.

RealityCheck is currently conducting a national follow-up study on this subject.

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