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December 29, 2019 4:57 am

Major Jewish Groups ‘Horrified,’ Call for Special FBI Task Force in Wake of Latest Violent Attack Against Jews

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Jewish leaders respond after a stabbing attack at a rabbi’s house in Monsey, New York. Photo: Anti-Defamation League.

Major Jewish groups reacted with horror to news on Saturday night of a violent stabbing attack that left five injured, two critically, at a Hanukkah celebration at the home of a rabbi in Monsey, New York.

Officials at the Jewish human rights NGO the Simon Wiesenthal Center urged President Donald Trump to “instruct the FBI to create a special task force in the wake of unending attacks against Jews and their religious institutions.”

“Enough is enough!” said Rabbi Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, Dean and Founder and Associate Dean of the Center. “Jews should not have to fear for their lives in America to go to their houses of worship. The FBI must step up and take the lead in all recent violent hate crimes targeting religious Jews.”

The group also urged black leaders to speak out against the spate of recent hate crimes in New York and New Jersey carried out by African-Americans.

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The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the leading Jewish umbrella group in the US, voiced “outrage” at the latest attack. “There have been many attacks in the past week,” the group pointed out, and called for “real measures by law enforcement, governmental leaders, and judicial authorities at the city, state, and federal levels. … There must be serious consequences for perpetrators.”

The group also called on leaders of “religious, ethnic and other communities” to speak out.

The Anti-Defamation League said it was “horrified” by the attack, and referred to multiple other assaults on Jews in New York over the past week. The group called for law enforcement to take greater steps to secure the Jewish community.

“After the hateful assaults we saw this past week in Brooklyn and Manhattan, it is heart-wrenching to see the holiday of Hanukkah violated yet again,” said CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on Twitter. “We are outraged because the answer is clear: the Jewish community NEEDS greater protection. Whether worshiping in synagogue, shopping in the supermarket or celebrating at home, Jews should be safe from violence. We need authorities to provide increased protection NOW and ensure that the full force of the law is brought down on those who perpetrate such horrific crimes.”

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris also condemned the attack, saying, “We are witnessing a full-fledged epidemic of antisemitic attacks in the New York region. In the last week alone, there has been at least one each day.”

“What we need is a sustained, get-tough, zero-tolerance policy by local and state officials. And that policy must take equally seriously each incident, whatever its source might be. Antisemitism is antisemitism,” he said.

“This surge in attacks must also be seen in the larger context of rising antisemitism around the world, including elsewhere in our country and in significant parts of Europe,” Harris asserted. “That calls for greater cooperation in the sharing of information and best practices in combating this age-old hatred.”

“We cannot, must not, allow ourselves to become numb to the meaning of these repeated attacks. We cannot let them become the new normal,” Harris concluded.

In more deadly recent antisemitic attacks, a gunman killed a woman and wounded three people during services at Congregation Chabad in Poway, near San Diego, on the last day of Passover in April 2019.

Earlier this month, three were killed in a shooting attack at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City. The killer had posted antisemitic and anti-police messages online.

Six months before that, a gunman killed 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in the deadliest antisemitic attack in US history.

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates the 2nd century BC victory of Judah Maccabee and his followers in a revolt against armies of the Seleucid Empire.

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