U.S. lawmakers are introducing bills in an effort to combat a surge of anti-Semitic violence targeting the Jewish community across the country.
The surge of violence was observed amid the recent conflict between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas, which have now reached a ceasefire following 11-days of fighting. Multiple incidents of anti-Semitic attacks have been reported in the United States and overseas including in the Times Square area of New York City, Los Angeles, southern Florida, Germany, and the United Kingdom, among other places.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) formally introduced the “Preventing Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Act” (pdf here and below) on Tuesday that will require the Justice Department to facilitate an expedited review of hate crime threats targeting the Jewish community. It also directs the attorney general to issue guidance to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to expand “public education campaigns aimed at raising awareness of anti-Semitic hate crimes and reaching victims.”
A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).
“Within days, this same sentiment of bigotry spilled into several major U.S. cities. Graphic videos showed pro-Hamas mobs intentionally target random Americans simply because they were Jewish,” McCarthy said in a statement.
The Republican lawmakers have also sought to condemn the anti-Israel sentiments and rhetoric they say are being perpetrated by progressive Democratic congressmembers. Over the past several weeks, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), a progressive group of congresswomen with a socialist agenda who have been dubbed “the Squad,” made several controversial anti-Israel remarks as violence intensified between Israel and Hamas.
“These hateful attacks contradict the very essence of our nation’s core principles. Yet socialist Democrats continue to endorse and promote repulsive anti-Semitic rhetoric, while Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer refuse to unambiguously condemn the unhinged statements from members of their own party,” McCarthy added.
McConnell delivered similar remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday night, where he characterized the rise in attacks as “despicable.”
BY JANITA KAN