OpinionAntisemitism

Attorney General Garland refuses to fight antisemitism

Why is Garland giving a free pass to those who attack and kill Jews?

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland at the 2023 United States Attorneys’ National Conference hosted by the Department of Justice in Washington on Oct. 26, 2023. Credit: Tia Dufour/U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland at the 2023 United States Attorneys’ National Conference hosted by the Department of Justice in Washington on Oct. 26, 2023. Credit: Tia Dufour/U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Farley Weiss
Farley Weiss is chairman of the Israel Heritage Foundation (IHF) and former president of the National Council of Young Israel.

Attorney General Merrick Garland claims that he is enforcing the law in an unbiased fashion. However, his failure to do precisely this against those who attack Jews belies his claim. 

As early as November 2022, FBI Director Christopher Wray noted, “A full 63% of religious hate crimes are motivated by antisemitism—targeting a group that makes up just 2.4% of our population.” 

Wray’s statement came well before Garland’s June 4 testimony in which he said there has been a “terrible explosion of antisemitic threats” since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. 

Despite the massive discrepancy between those attacking Jews and those attacking any other religious group—including Muslims—Garland went on to talk about “anti-Arab, anti-Muslim threats in this country that make all of these communities afraid.” 

Garland went on, “We regard it as an important element of our civil rights work to deter and to investigate and to prosecute and to stop these threats.” 

But Garland failed to explain his glaring lack of prosecutions against those attacking Jews.

For example, university anti-Israel encampments have led to Jewish students being physically prevented from going to class. They have also included the harassment of Jewish students on campus. 

There are no Jewish encampments on university campuses and no one is preventing Muslim students from going to class. Jewish demonstrations are completely peaceful. Jews are not invading school buildings. Yet the Jews must suffer and the antisemites get a free pass.

The fact is that under Garland’s leadership, there have not been anywhere near enough indictments and federal prosecutions of antisemitic attacks on Jews. Thus, there is no deterrence against such attacks and Jews in America feel afraid.

Not only Jews are being harassed. Even pro-Israel legislators like Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. John Fetterman, Rep. Richie Torres and Rep. Brian Mast have been subject to demonstrations and harassment by antisemitic thugs, including at Cruz’s and Fetterman’s homes. 

Jewish homes have also been subject to thuggery, including those involved in the Jewish Museum in Brooklyn and the former head of AIPAC in California. 

There should be laws that restrict demonstrations outside private residences and the arrest and prosecution of demonstrators violating those laws. 

In November 2023, 69-year-old American Jew Paul Kessler was demonstrating against a pro-Hamas “protest” in a suburb of Los Angeles. The “protest” included Muslim professor Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji. Alnaji was likely a leader of the pro-Hamas demonstration, as he was holding a megaphone used in that demonstration.

He then used that megaphone to hit Kessler on the head, killing him. County medical examiner Dr. Othon Mena testified that Kessler died from blunt force caused by the blow from the megaphone and the subsequent fall. Kessler’s DNA was found on Alnaji’s megaphone.

The police took over a week to charge Alnaji. Initially, the killer’s bail was set at $1,000,000. Then it was massively dropped to $50,000. After a preliminary hearing, Alnaji was charged with two felonies: involuntary manslaughter and battery causing serious bodily injury with special allegations of personally inflicting great bodily harm injury on each count. 

Thus, Alnaji faces a maximum sentence of a little over four years. He was not even charged with a hate crime. The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office claimed that it did not do so because Alnaji did not say anything to Kessler before the attack.  

It should have been obvious from Alnaji’s antisemitic social media posts and his presence at an antisemitic demonstration that his murderous attack on Kessler was a hate crime. 

Attorney General Garland has the authority to charge Alnaji with a hate crime for violating Kessler’s civil rights. He has not done so. So much for “civil rights work.”

This is part of a pattern of depraved neglect. The group Americans Against Antisemitism recently examined 194 antisemitic attacks on persons and 135 attacks on Jewish property in the New York area that occurred since 2018. The group’s July 2022 report found that only two of the criminals were given jail time. 

Attorney General Garland has the authority to prosecute many of those attackers for hate crimes. He has failed to do so. So much for his pledge “to prosecute and to stop these threats.”

Garland’s failure to enforce existing U.S. laws and prosecute those who attack and kill Jews like Paul Kessler has helped lead to the rapid rise of antisemitism in America. Garland must fulfill his promise to fight such hate by taking action. If he does not, his hypocrisy will speak much louder than his words. 

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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