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December 30, 2019 10:42 am

Jewish Groups, 2020 Presidential Candidates React to Monsey Machete Attack on Hanukkah

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Police monitor the aftermath of a stabbing attack at the home of Rabbi Chaim L. Rottenberg in the Forshay neighborhood in Monsey, N.Y., on Dec. 28, the seventh night of Hanukkah. Photo: Screenshot.

JNS.org – Jewish groups and politicians, including all of the 2020 presidential candidates, expressed condemnation in the aftermath of a black male carrying a long machete allegedly entering a home and prayer hall known as Rabbi Rottenberg’s Shul in Monsey, NY, on Saturday night, slashing and injuring five of the dozens of celebrants at a Hanukkah candle-lighting party.

It was just the latest in a spate of antisemitic attacks in New York, particularly in neighborhoods in the borough of Brooklyn, where many Torah-observant Jews reside.

“We are saddened, disturbed, and outraged by last night’s attack in Monsey, NY, at a celebratory Hanukkah party,” said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a statement. “Again, here we are: mourning another act of senseless antisemitic violence committed against our community and praying for those who were the victims of this hate.”

Greenblatt mentioned the incident is “at least the 10th antisemitic incident to hit the New York/New Jersey area in just the last week.”

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He mentioned the attack exemplified the need for increased security for the Jewish community.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the antisemitic attack in a rabbi’s home in Monsey, NY, during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. We pray for the full recovery of those wounded by the assailant, who was reportedly carrying a machete,” said American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris in a statement. “And we thank law enforcement for its swift response and the later arrest of the alleged suspect in New York City.”

Harris went on to say the attack exemplified a bigger issue.

“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,” he said. “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.”

“We join with the entire Jewish community in expressing outrage at this attack, which is part of a growing epidemic of antisemitic violence,” stated the Jewish Federations of North America. “It is incomprehensible to think that we are not safe in a home, a supermarket, or a sanctuary for prayer. It is unacceptable.”

“All of us in the Jewish community share the pain of the Monsey community following this horrific act. The time for talk about antisemitic attacks is over—this is a time for action,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane.

In a series of tweets, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations posted:

“We’re outraged at the latest attack at a synagogue celebration in Monsey, NY that reportedly left 5 wounded, several very seriously. There have been many attacks in the past week. There must be real measures by law enforcement, governmental leaders and judicial authorities at the city, state and federal levels. Immediate steps should be taken while longer term actions are pursued. There must be serious consequences for perpetrators. We urge leaders of religious, ethnic and other communities to speak out. All must work to end the incitement and join in clear condemnation of all who espouse hate.

New York police announced that they had apprehended the stabbing suspect, after his getaway car’s license plate number was reported by eyewitnesses.

“Jews in NY metro area again are targets of antisemitic violence. A machete attack at a Chanukah celebration in Monsey has left at least five hurt. Jews in Brooklyn, New Jersey and now Monsey are under daily threat. A concerted, real-time effort is needed at all levels of government and community to end these attacks,” tweeted B’nai B’rith International.

“We are shocked & saddened by the terrible attack in #NY & praying for the recovery of those injured. #Antisemitism is not just a #Jewish problem- we must all work together to confront this rising evil which is a real global threat. We need to talk about it, denounce it & stop it,” tweeted the Israeli embassy in the United States.

A number of organizations, including the ADL, stated they are working with authorities in the aftermath of the tragedy.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center called for US President Donald Trump to create an FBI special taskforce in the aftermath of Saturday’s incident.

“Enough is enough! Jews should not have to fear for their lives in America to go to their houses of worship,” said SWC in a statement. “The FBI must step up and take the lead in all recent violent hate crimes targeting religious Jews. This in wake of a violent machete attack against Jewish worshippers in Monsey New York, Saturday night.”

On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “The antisemitic attack in Monsey, New York, on the 7th night of Hanukkah last night is horrific. We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of antisemitism. Melania and I wish the victims a quick and full recovery.”

Democrats looking to take on Trump in the 2020 election tweeted their condolences.

“The horrifying rise of antisemitism is tearing apart the fabric of our communities and the soul of this nation. We’ve got to stand together as a country and fight these flames of hatred,” tweeted former US Vice President Joe Biden. “My deepest sympathies are with the victims, their families, and the Jewish community.

“I’m heartsick for the victims of this horrific attack. This is unfortunately just the latest of a series of antisemitic attacks in New York and New Jersey. We must fight antisemitism and make clear that hateful bigotry has no place in our society,” tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

“My prayers are with the victims of these horrific acts of antisemitism and hate. This cannot be tolerated. On the morning of the last night of Hanukkah, let us all rededicate ourselves to ensuring that light beats back darkness. Never again,” tweeted South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“I’m outraged by the knife attack in Monsey. We must confront this surge of antisemitic violence, prioritize the fight against bigotry, and bring people together—instead of dividing people up,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“My heart goes out to the victims in Monsey and the entire Jewish community. Antisemitism is a horrifying scourge that has no place in America. We must do all we can to prevent, punish and investigate these crimes and protect all who gather and worship in peace. We must do more,” tweeted entrepreneur Andrew Yang. “I have many Jewish friends and I can’t imagine how it must feel to have one’s community targeted in such a despicable fashion. It turns a time of celebration to one of fear and mourning.”

“As I said during my Dover town hall, this was a horrific act of antisemitic violence during a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, New York last night. We must combat hate crimes in every form at every turn. They do not belong in America and must stop,” tweeted Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

“The senseless violence against people celebrating Hanukkah in Rockland County is despicable and it should shock our collective conscience. This was an act of domestic terrorism. My heart goes out to the victims and their families in Monsey, and to the entire Jewish community,” tweeted billionaire Tom Steyer.

“Heartbreaking news out of Monsey, New York tonight. My thoughts are with the Jewish community as they cope with what appears to be another hateful attack on their humanity during Hanukkah. We must combat the rise of antisemitism and hate,” tweeted former US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) tweeted, “My heart breaks for the victims of this attack. No one should be afraid to worship, especially in their home. No one should be afraid because of who they are. We must stand together in the face of antisemitism and the daily attacks this week. We will not be divided.”

“The increasing frequency of antisemitic attacks is horrifying. We must all join to stop them in their tracks and root out the hatred and ignorance at their core. My heart is with the victims in Monsey, their families, and the entire Jewish community,” tweeted Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

“As an American, a New Yorker, & a Jew I am shocked and saddened by last night’s attack—and horrified by the rise of antisemitism in this country. America was founded to be a place where people of all religions could worship safely & free from persecution. And it can be again,” tweeted former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The leadership of the Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations—consisting of Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Will Hurd (R-Texas), John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY)—also issued a statement.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the antisemitic attack in Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s home in Monsey, NY, during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah,” said the group in a statement.

“This surge in antisemitic attacks is a disturbing trend both here in the United States and abroad. We cannot tolerate these discriminatory, hateful and cowardly acts,” they continued. “We stand with the victims in Monsey, their families and the entire Jewish community, who have been victims of violent attacks during Hanukkah, a holiday that celebrates religious freedom.”

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