WASHINGTON—Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Kay Granger (R-TX), Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Peter Roskam (R-IL) are announcing the re-launch of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism in the House of Representatives for the 115th Congress.
According to the latest available FBI statistics, the number of anti-Semitic criminal offenses rose from 635 in 2014 to 695 in 2015. Since January 2017, over 60 Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) have been targeted by telephonic bomb threats, including several more Monday morning. Over the last week, an estimated 170 Jewish graves were found toppled at a cemetery in Missouri and an estimated 100 headstones were toppled at a cemetery in Philadelphia.
As co-Chairs of the Taskforce, the Members issued the following statement:
“At home and abroad, we continue to witness anti-Semitism that is both dangerous and complex. The recent desecration of Jewish grave sites and bomb threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and Jewish day schools across the country are deplorable. And overseas, the anti-Semitic threats, vandalism, and violence aimed at Jewish schools, synagogues, kosher supermarkets, homes and property are unacceptable. In light of recent events, it is more important than ever that Democrats and Republicans work together to root out hatred and racism in all its ugly forms. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Congress to find innovative solutions that match the 21st century face of this ancient bigotry.”
Background on the Taskforce:
Reinstated in the 114th Congress with over 100 Republicans and Democrats, the Taskforce works to ensure that Congress plays an integral role in condemning anti-Semitism and spearheading initiatives that promote tolerance worldwide. The Taskforce will continue to serve as a forum for educating Members on this distinct form of intolerance and to engage with the Administration, foreign leaders and civil society organizations to share best practices and collaborate on solutions to rebuff this systemic problem. It will also promote Holocaust remembrance in concert with exploring innovative ways to teach tolerance and confront hate.