NEW YORK (VINnews) — Today, Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union)–the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization—testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism to urge elected officials to take action against anti-Semitic attacks across the United States, particularly the recent increase in assaults on Orthodox Jews.
“Now, in the year 2020, in the United States of America, the Children of Abraham are afraid in a way we have never been before. We are under threat of violence as we walk down a city street or enter our synagogues to pray. Jews have faced such threats for centuries. But in the United States, even if there was discrimination against Jews, it was not predominantly of this violent kind. But now it is,” Diament testified.
“Orthodox Jews being explicitly slandered and Jews generally being subjected to classical anti-Semitic accusations – that visible, recognizable Jews are being targeted for physical assaults and verbal abuse and suffering this reality in an unprecedented way in this great country.”
More action must be taken by elected leaders to stem the wave of anti-Semitic attacks and incidents, said Diament, noting that some key officials already have begun to do so.
“Elected leaders from President Trump to New York Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Murphy and many others have not only spoken out against this surge of anti-Semitic and anti-Orthodox Jewish attacks – but undertaken concrete actions to have our federal, state and local governments begin to respond and begin to make our communities safer gives me hope.”
Further, Diament urged Congress to dramatically increase federal resources, through the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, to make synagogues, religious schools and other houses of worship more secure. Diament called for raising the funds available in DHS’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program and for allocating a portion of DOJ’s grant to local police departments for the purpose of local police providing greater protection to houses of worship.