Bronx Defenders To Pay $170,000 To Harassed Jewish Employee

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    JERUSALEM (JNS) – A legal-aid agency in New York City with a history of anti-Israel bias reached a settlement with a former Jewish employee, who claims that she was harassed and treated so poorly that she had to quit her job.

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    The nonprofit Bronx Defenders will pay $170,000, including attorney fees, to former employee Debbie Jonas, according to the New York Post. Jonas, a Zionist, has said that she will donate $40,000 of the settlement to Israeli charities.

    During her eight years at the Bronx Defenders, Jonas was “cursed at and badgered,” and told that her children, who are dual U.S.-Israeli citizens (some served in the Israel Defense Forces), were murderers.

    Justine Olderman, executive director of Bronx Defenders, which admitted no wrongdoing, apologized to Jonas. As part of the settlement, Bronx Defenders employees will undergo required antisemitism training from the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C.

    Alyza Lewin, president and general counsel of the Brandeis Center, told JNs that unfortunately, it’s become more and more necessary to train people about antisemitism. She thinks that is partly due to diversity, equity and inclusion programs overlooking Jews and antisemitism.

    Sometimes, “they go beyond just leaving out Jews and antisemitism, and inadvertently foster a hostility to Jews because they will treat all Jews as powerful, white oppressors and repeat what are really traditional anti-Jewish stereotypes,” she said.

    Lewin expects to discuss plans for the training this week with Olderman.

    It is “important and meaningful” to ensure that Bronx Defenders attorneys, who fight for those who face discrimination, “understand the full range of communities that experience harassment and discrimination,” she said.

    “I think that when they learn how antisemitism manifests itself, they will begin to understand what antisemitism is and how to recognize it. My hope is that they will be able to separate what is happening from the political,” she said. “I anticipate some good conversation, and I hope it will be a worthwhile learning experience.”

    Dov Hikind, a former New York assemblyman and head of the Americas Against Antisemitism, took to Twitter to discuss the “big victory but also a vital lesson on why victims need to seek justice so that there are consequences.”

    In May 2021, Bronx Defenders sent a “blistering email attacking the Jewish state, accusing Israel of genocide, creating a toxic and fearful work environment” at a time when the Hamas terror group was in the process of launching more than 4,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip towards the civilian population in Israel, said Hikind.

    “Never throw the towel in,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Approach those who care and pursue the injustice that is directed at the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”


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    6 Comments
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    Get Over It
    Get Over It
    8 months ago

    I think the phrase “Jewish former employee” is a better choice than “former Jewish employee.” Unless of course the employee doesn’t identify as Jewish anymore.

    anonymous
    anonymous
    8 months ago

    Bronx Defenders of Evil, is a name more suited for these MORONS. I’m glad they will need to pay 170k to Ms. Jonas, they deserve to pay and she deserves to be the recipient, thereof !!!

    How did that happen??
    How did that happen??
    8 months ago

    How and why did she get the job in the first place?

    Zvi TUSK
    Zvi TUSK
    8 months ago

    Hurray for our side.
    Now duck because stones are going to fly. Halacha, Eisav soneh ess Yaakov.