Jewish Leaders, Rep. Maloney, Catsimatidis, Manhattan DA’s Office, and NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Call for Increased Federal Actions Against Recent Wave of Anti-Semitic Actions, Condemn Anti-Semitism

Mar 3, 2017
Press Release
NYPD reports a 55% increase in hate crimes, 94% uptick in anti-Semitic hate crimes

NEW YORK, NY – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), member of Congress’s Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism, today brought together Jewish community leaders, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, and the NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism to call for more federal action in response of the recent wave of anti-Semitic sentiment and actions, including multiple reports of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers and vandalism at Jewish cemeteries. The leaders, gathering at the Park East Synagogue in Maloney’s district, condemned anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred, and celebrated the news that an arrest has been made in connection to the threats on at least 8 Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) across the country and to New York’s own Anti-Defamation League.

Congresswoman Maloney called on the Department of Justice to create an anti-Semitism task force, for doubling the funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), announced a new bill for Holocaust education and asked for the Department of Education to adopt a standard definition for anti-Semitism and issue guidance to keep students safe.

“Combating anti-Semitism and any kind of hate-driven crime must be a multi-pronged effort. While we rely on law enforcement to keep us safe and bring the perpetrators to justice, we must also engage in community education efforts to stop the hatred before it starts or escalates,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12). The Department of Justice must create a focused taskforce whose purpose is to investigate this recent wave of anti-Semitic hate crimes, and Congress must double our funding allocation for the NSGP so that all synagogues and community centers can receive the funding they need to pay for proper security. We must protect our students on college campuses, and that should start with the Department of Education’s adoption of a standard definition of anti-Semitism. It is up to all of us in our communities to teach people to stand up against hate. We can start this in our schools by providing materials about the Holocaust by passing my Simon Wiesenthal Holocaust Education Assistance Act. We need to teach tolerance and we need to embrace our differences.”

Congresswoman Maloney was joined at the event by Park East Synagogue Senior Rabbi Arthur Schneier, NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism John Miller, Chief Assistant District Attorney to the Manhattan DA’s office Karen Friedman Agnifilo, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein, President of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York Charles Temel, and Chairman of the Red Apple Group John Catsimatidis.

“As a holocaust survivor I am pained and saddened that not only in Europe but even in our land of freedom we are facing widespread anti-Semitic acts,” said Rabbi Arthur Schneier. “Synagogues, schools, and community centers represent the jugular vein of our community, are the front line targets of hatred. This is no time to be silent; I commend my friend Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her concern, for her constituency and beyond, and the concrete measures that she has taken to protect the Jewish community and all Americans. We have faith in the American people, we have faith in America, and we know that we can count on federal state and local government leaders to safeguard, protect, and ensure the security of all Americans. On behalf of Appeal of Conscience Foundation and the leaders of major religious faiths we stand united to help educate and inspire our people for mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.”

“The increasing anti-Semitic incidents across the United States requires a concerted, coordinated effort on the part of government officials, at the federal, state, and local levels, religious leaders, academics, the media, entertainment and sports figures, and other influentials to speak out against the perpetrators and those who incite or aid and abet them,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. “There must be a clear policy of zero tolerance for intolerance. Those responsible must be brought to justice and be held to full account. This is not a matter of infringing on the right of free speech but the safety and security of our communities and campuses. We thank all of those who have spoken out and the assistance that has been provided to enhance the physical security of our institutions. We thank Congresswoman Maloney for organizing this opportunity to address this important issue.”

“We thank Congresswoman Maloney for introducing the Simon Wiesenthal Holocaust Education Act which will help create Holocaust education materials that speak to younger generations,” said Charles Temel, President, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. “As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I know how vital it is that our children and grandchildren remember what took place during the Shoah and learn what happens when decent people don’t speak and take action until it is too late. The outburst of anti-Jewish hate in our time, both here and around the world, is frightening. We, as individuals and as a community must speak out to condemn bigotry of all forms and demand that our leaders forcefully do so as well. We are grateful for the initiative taken by Congresswoman Maloney and will do all in our power to see to it that this Holocaust Education Act is passed by Congress.”

"These cowardly acts of vandalism and bomb threats are acts of ignorant bigotry,” said John Catsimatidis, Chairman, Red Apple Group. “These cowards are as guilty as any terrorist when they attack our Jewish brothers, our African American brothers or American citizens who have come from another country just as I have.”

“We are deeply disturbed by the wave of JCC bomb threats across New York and the recent vandalism committed against the Jewish community’s cemetery in Rochester,” said Evan R. Bernstein, New York Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League. “We hope authorities can bring the perpetrators to justice and send a message that this kind of behavior is simply unacceptable. In response to the Rochester cemetery vandalism, ADL is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible."