Wednesday, December 05, 2007

IU Jewish Student Center Target Of Vandals

Religious leaders are calling recent vandalism directed at the Jewish Student Center on IU Bloomington's campus a hate crime. Vandals removed the word "Jewish" from the building and threw a bottle through a window of the student center. WTHR's Jennie Runevitch reports:

Religious and community leaders are troubled after vandalism at a Jewish Student Center on the campus of Indiana University. The theft - called a hate crime by some people - has prompted a city-wide response to promote religious tolerance.

This week is Chanukah, the festival of lights.

"Like in so many traditions, this is the time that we're kindling lights in the midst of darkness," said Rabbi Mira Wasserman, Bloomington United.

But darkness dampened this year's celebration in Bloomington.The sacred holiday representing religious freedom was tarnished by vandals.

In October, someone threw a bottle through the window of Chabad House, IU's Jewish Student Center. Then a few weeks ago, police say someone defaced the center, stripping away the word 'Jewish' from the building.

Religious leaders call it a hate crime and an act of anti-Semitism.

"The fact that it was the word 'Jewish' suggests to us that this was a pointed attack on the Jewish community as a whole," said Rabbi Wasserman.

"It's very disturbing to us. It's very disturbing to our students," said Rabbi Yehoshua Chincholker, Chabad House director. "to specifically target the letters 'Jewish', it speaks for itself."

Bloomington police say its isn't a hate crime according to the report. Even if it was a hate crime, it wouldn't matter. Indiana is one of only five states in the nation without a hate crimes law. Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis), who sponsored a bill last year, plans to reintroduce it again during this upcoming legislative session. Last year's legislation was defeated after the religious right launched a bigoted assault on the bill because it included language defining a bias crime to include crimes committed because of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Religious right bigots claimed it amounted to the recognition of special rights for "homosexuals and cross-dressers." Porter's legislation will have the backing of Indiana State University where a recent campus-related hate crime occurred. ISU officials pledged to fight for the law after the incident this fall.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think Rep. Jackie
Wildhorsesky's amendment that
killing a fetus would be treated
as a hate crimeis what effectively
caused the bill to fail.

Anonymous said...

Ugh.

A cold, snow-covred night, and I'm just starting to warm up, and oyu bring up Jackie W.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ok, look, it's another attempt to intimidate an entire community. They did not target an individual, but rather a whole group. It's time Indiana changed on this issue.

BTW Gary, I did not catch the incident at ISU.. What was it?

Anonymous said...

ISU had a hate crime?!?! There was a small noose laying by a tree at HALLOWEEN TIME?!?!?!? Lets overreact as usual from the liberal bastion of Ignorant State University.

Angry Republican said...

As a Jew, I can't tell you how vehemently I oppose hate crime legislation. Vandalism is vandalism, whether or not it was targeted at Jews. The destruction or defacing of property is just as bad, regardless of whose property it is.

I object to such legislation because, frankly, it says that the same crime committed by two different people is worse if it's motivated by the particular group of the victim. That makes no sense to me.

Yes, this action at IU is crap, and someone ought to find out who did it and take them to the woodshed.

Hate crimes legislation wouldn't make it any better.

AR

Hoosiers For Fair Taxation said...

Max Katz, media spokesperson for Hoosiers For Fair Taxation, told me he appreciates your local coverage of this story.

We cannot stress enough the importance of authentic tolerance of diversity.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to be attacked by you guys but why is it different? My business was damaged recently. They stole things, broke the window and caused some pain and fustration for all of us that work there. Why should the crime be different because someome is Jewish, black, white, or gay? I don't think that the people should get more time for damaging the Jewish center than the people that damaged my business. How would that be right? Like I said, I just don/'t understand.

Jeff Newman said...

AR and 7:32, the point I think you are missing about hate crimes is that a hate crime is not necessarily the crime itself (in this case the act of vandalism), but whether the crime was intended to intimidate an entire group.

If you beat up a black man because he was messing with your girlfriend, no, you could not classify that as a hate crime (of course it is still a crime to beat someone up).

If you beat up a black man to send the message that blacks aren't welcome on this street after sundown, then you have indeed committed a hate crime.

Anonymous said...

There it is in a nut shell! Thanks, Jeff!

Anonymous said...

Hate is a motive, nothing more. The motive behind a crime doesn't make me create a criminal charge that is any different. Motive is simply another fact I must prove in court when I'm trying a scumbag.

AR and anonymous 7:32 have the right idea.

- Anonymous Prosecutor

Advance Indiana said...

anon 8:57, for a prosecutor, you make a lousy argument. A person can kill another person and be charged with any number of crimes depending upon his/her state of mind. Hate crimes legislation simply allows for enhanced sentencing based upon the person's state of mind. There's at least a dozen examples of such criminal enhancements in Indiana law already as you know.

Anonymous said...

Gary,

I'm wondering if this murder of an Indianapolis Men's Chorus member wasn't a hate crime, too, in case you hadn't heard or seen:

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071206/LOCAL/712060506/1006/LOCAL

The perp lived in the same complex, so it seems a real possibility of misunderstood intentions.