RICI has an active month of advocacy


Rhode Island Coalition for Israel (RICI) continues to focus its efforts on exposing and pushing back on anti-Semitism in Rhode Island.

On one front, RICI recently worked to bring the Va’ad Harabbonin – the Orthodox Council of Rabbis – into the growing circle of organizations that have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism.

In other news, RICI took a leading role in the ongoing controversy over the flying of the Black Lives Matter Movement’s flag on the Barrington town flagpole. Through an affiliated group, a request to fly a “STOP ANTI-SEMITISM” flag has been submitted to the town council but has not yet received approval under a new town ordinance. None of this activity is meant to deny the assertion that Black lives matter, or the urgent need to address racism.

In education, RICI’s affiliate the RI Campus Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, has formally submitted  proposals  to the University of Rhode Island administration and to the Student Senate for adoption of the IHRA Working Definition of Anti-Semitism. Though no determination has been made yet, the administration is evaluating the proposal and the URI Hillel board reviewed it at its February meeting.

In the area of civil rights, spokespersons for a broad-based group organized by RICI met in February with officials of the Rhode Island Attorney General’s  office to introduce them to the IHRA Working Definition of Anti-Semitism. The focus of the meeting was examining how the definition might be applied to various crimes which would then be eligible for enhanced sentencing under the Hate Crimes Sentencing Act.

RICI leaders and members took note of a recent Saturday Night Live “joke” that was widely criticized as anti-Semitic. About a dozen community members sent letters to the appropriate NBC executives.

For information on RICI go to ricoalitionforisrael.org.

Submitted by Howard Brown of the Rhode Island Coalition for Israel