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New initiative equips law students with legal tools to fight rising antisemitism

WASHINGTON, DC – The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, in conjunction with Hasbara Fellowships, on Friday, Nov. 2 launched JIGSAW Initiative, a innovative pilot program to train law students to combat and prevent resurgent antisemitism.

“Antiemitism is escalating at a frightening rate in the U.S.,” said Alyza D. Lewin, Brandeis Center president and general counsel. “We must reverse this rising tide of antisemitism and ethnic racism, and there is no substitute for legal action. By properly training a select team of law students to work with undergraduates and utilize specific legal tools and strategy, we can begin to take the offensive in this battle.”

According to the FBI’s latest reporting, in the United States there were more incidents of antisemitism than all other religious hate crimes combined. The ADL reports antisemitic incidents rose 57% across the nation last year, and 89% on college campuses alone.

JIGSAW – an acronym for that stands for Justice Initiative Guiding Student Activists  Worldwide – will train a specialized corps of law students to utilize legal tools and expertise to combat both classic/white supremacist and anti-Israel antisemitism. After they graduate, former JIGSAW Fellows will have the knowledge and personal expertise to address incidents nationwide. They will engage in both joint training with the the Brandeis Center’s Hasbara Fellows, as well as a separate legal-based curriculum specifically developed by Brandeis Center attorneys. In addition, JIGSAW Fellows will participate in a trip to Israel, where they will meet Israeli government officials, Palestinian representatives, academics, journalists, and representatives from humanitarian organizations.

According to Lerman, the pilot program will begin by training 12 law students and will grow each year. “Our goal is to select students who are dispersed geographically across the country, so that each law student can cover a geographic region, and to eventually expand the program to other countries, such as Canada and the U.K.,”  she said.

The Brandeis Center is now accepting applications for the JIGSAW Initiative today. For information, visit brandeiscenter.com.

The Louis D. Brandeis Center, Inc., is an independent, nonprofit organization established to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people. It is not affiliated with Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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