Governor Gray Davis - Digital Library
tree vista

Celebrating Diversity: Working with the Jewish Community

Throughout his career, Governor Gray Davis has worked hand-in-hand with California's Jewish community. He has led the fight to expand opportunity, end all forms of discrimination and fight the forces of hatred and intolerance.

Fighting for Holocaust Survivors and Families
As home to 20,000 Holocaust survivors and heirs, California has the second largest survivor population in the U.S. The Governor:
• Signed legislation exempting Holocaust survivors from paying taxes on benefits and reparations.
• Established the CA Taskforce on Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights and Tolerance Education.
• Signed the Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights and Tolerance Education Act, to create a statewide educational program for teaching about the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide.
• Worked to uphold the Holocaust Victims Insurance Relief Act, although the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately struck down the law in June 2003.

Combating Hate Crimes, Teaching Tolerance
• Made hate-motivated murder punishable by the maximum penalties available under the law-life imprisonment and the death penalty.
• Expanded the definition of hate crimes to include "national origin" and "sexual orientation."
• Created a Blue Ribbon Panel chaired by Warren Christopher and George Deukmejian to conduct a comprehensive study of current laws to combat "hate groups" and paramilitary organizations operating in California.
• Following the events of September 11, Governor Davis announced an initiative by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to assist victims of alleged hate crimes arising from the attack on America.
• Following disturbances on college campuses in 2002, the Governor convened a meeting with Jewish community leaders, UC Regents and State University Trustees to discuss and recommend guidelines for dealing with problems on campuses generated by possible anti-Semitism.
• Provided funding for programs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance and the Skirball Cultural Center, including educational programs for teachers and law enforcement officials.

Strengthening our Partnership with Israel
Governor Davis was the first sitting governor of California to visit Israel, and he has visited the country four times in all.
• In 2002, the Governor created a Declaration of Principles, signed by 44 of America's Governors to encourage the peace process forward. The Declaration stated a belief in the peace process, a condemnation of violence, terror and suicide bombings and the belief that all people in the region deserve to live in peace.
• Created and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Israeli government establishing the California-Israel Cultural Cooperation Commission.