July 12, 2023 — Miami, Florida
American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced a new effort to help small business owners recognize, respond to, and help prevent antisemitism and other forms of hate.
In a ceremony today at Florida International University, AJC and SBA signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum in conjunction with the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism released in May.
At AJC Global Forum 2023, AJC CEO Ted Deutch announced that AJC will launch a task force to help implement the White House action plan.
“We are excited to collaborate with SBA on this important project. We know far too many instances of vandalism, intimidation, and physical attacks take place at small businesses – from the tragic shooting at a kosher grocery store in Jersey City in 2019 to the assault on Jewish diners at a Los Angeles restaurant during the Israel-Gaza conflict in May 2021," Deutch said. “This is an important moment as it will not only advance the White House strategy but provide a crucial pillar of the American economy with the tools to fight antisemitism and other forms of hate.”
As part of the National Strategy, SBA will provide small business owners and their employees with training and resources to understand, respond to, and prevent antisemitism and other forms of hate. AJC will work with the SBA to create these resources. SBA will also encourage businesses to report antisemitic incidents to local law enforcement agencies and community organizations.
“Hate and discrimination have no place on Main Street,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We are proud to partner with AJC to combat antisemitism and other forms of hate as part of the President’s National Strategy. This first-of-its-kind partnership will help us support small business owners and their employees with the tools necessary to identify, recover and prevent hate in their communities to help ensure Jewish Americans and all Americans feel safe going about their daily lives.”
The SBA initiatives are part of a comprehensive effort by dozens of federal agencies to come up with concrete proposals for a whole-of-society approach to tackle antisemitism. As President Biden noted in a preamble to the strategy: “History teaches that hate never fully goes away; it only hides until it is given just a little oxygen. That is why we must confront antisemitism early and aggressively whenever and wherever it emerges from the darkness.”
The National Strategy incorporates dozens of recommendations from AJC’s Call to Action Against Antisemitism, a society-wide guide that outlines how various sectors can tackle antisemitism. Recommendations for businesses include:
- An acknowledgment that antisemitism looks different from other forms of hate in that it is based on a conspiracy theory. Companies must have a plan when Jews are attacked whether it's based on pure hatred or because of their perceived power.
- The creation of clear policies on anti-Jewish discrimination and harassment and enforcement of those policies. Include examples involving Jews in training on conscious or implicit bias.
- The unambiguous and unequivocal condemnation of all forms of antisemitism to the same degree that other forms of hate are called out. Assure Jewish employees their workplace is a safe space.
- Include Jews in DEI training, ensuring that Jewish employees–their stories and concerns–are acknowledged as other groups are.
“Companies and businesses can play an essential role in setting the right tone and show why a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism must be a top priority,” Deutch said. “Rejecting hate in whatever form it may take will always be good for business.”
AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC's mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world.