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November 14, 2018 4:27 pm

Amid Antisemitism Surge in US, American Jewish Groups Urge Government to Do More to Combat Hate Crimes

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A woman reacts at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue following the Oct. 27 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo: Reuters / Cathal McNaughton.

Top American Jewish groups are calling on the government to do more to combat hate crimes following the FBI’s publication on Tuesday of data showing there was a 37 percent increase in antisemitic offenses in the US in 2017.

“The clarion call to confront head-on this menace to individuals, to communities, indeed to American society, must come from leadership at the highest levels of our government,” American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Clearly, current strategies are not working sufficiently,” he added. “The upward trend in hate crimes is deeply troubling and demands an assertive response at all levels of government in our nation, beginning with Washington.”

“Voluntary reporting of hate crimes to the FBI is inadequate,” Harris noted. “Comprehensive data is essential to grasping the depth of the problem, to understanding the sources, and there are many, of antisemitism and other forms of hatred that infest American society, and to develop effective strategies to combat the scourge. The message needs to be absolutely clear that hate crimes contradict every American value, and law enforcement needs tools for effective deterrence, monitoring and prosecution. Hate crimes cannot be accepted as a ‘norm’ of American life.”

ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt stated on Tuesday, “Two weeks ago, we witnessed the most deadly antisemitic hate crime in American history. Today, we have another FBI study showing a big jump in hate crimes against Americans because of their race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. This report provides further evidence that more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America. That begins with leaders from all walks of life and from all sectors of society forcefully condemning antisemitism, bigotry, and hate whenever it occurs.”

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