(JNS.org) The U.S. House of Representatives announced Monday its relaunch of a bipartisan taskforce for combating anti-Semitism in the wake of a recent wave of anti-Jewish incidents.
Since January 2017, there have been 90 bomb threats called into Jewish organizations, including more than 60 to Jewish community centers, with the latest threats coming Feb. 27.
Last week, an estimated 170 Jewish graves were found toppled at the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery in University City, Mo., and an estimated 100 headstones were toppled at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia Sunday.
The latest FBI statistics show that the number of anti-Semitic criminal offenses in the U.S. rose from 635 in 2014 to 695 in 2015.
The lawmakers heading the taskforce include U.S. Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Kay Granger (R-Texas), Marc Veasey (D-Texas) and Peter Roskam (R-Ill.).
“At home and abroad, we continue to witness anti-Semitism that is both dangerous and complex,” the taskforce members said in a statement. “The recent desecration of Jewish grave sites and bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers and Jewish day schools across the country are deplorable. And overseas, the anti-Semitic threats, vandalism, and violence aimed at Jewish schools, synagogues, kosher supermarkets, homes and property are unacceptable. In light of recent events, it is more important than ever that Democrats and Republicans work together to root out hatred and racism in all its ugly forms. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Congress to find innovative solutions that match the 21st-century face of this ancient bigotry.”
The taskforce—with more than 100 Republicans and Democrats—works to ensure that Congress plays an integral role in condemning anti-Semitism and spearheading initiatives that promote tolerance worldwide, according to its statement.
The group said it “serves as a forum for educating [House] members on this distinct form of intolerance and to engage with the Trump administration, foreign leaders and civil society organizations to share best practices and collaborate on solutions to rebuff this systemic problem." Its members also vow to promote Holocaust remembrance in concert with exploring innovative ways to teach tolerance and confront hate.