According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports: Hate Crime Statistics, there were 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes in the U.S. in 2014. Of the 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes: 56.8 percent were against Jewis citizens.
Now, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) have joined all 100 members of the U.S. Senate in a letter to Trump Administration officials to address recent bomb threats that have been made against Jewish community centers, Jewish day schools, and synagogues in Ohio and throughout the country. The senators urged Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and FBI Director James Comey to continue efforts to combat what they referred to as anti-Semitic acts and to keep the Senate apprised of future action.
The letter also called for federal assistance in investigating and persecuting threats made against Jewish community organizations and in calling for federal grants that could be used to enhance security measures. The senators asked the respective federal agencies to work with state and local law enforcement to outline obligations under the Hate Crimes Statistics Act and other federal laws.
“These cowardly acts aim to create an atmosphere of fear and disrupt the important programs and services offered by JCCs to everyone in the communities they serve, including in our states,” Brown and Portman said in the letter. “We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs, many of which are institutions in their communities.”
The American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Community Center Association of North America, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Orthodox Union, Jewish Federations of North America and Union for Reform Judaism all supported today’s letter.
“We encourage you to communicate with individual JCCs, the JCC Association of North America, Jewish day schools, synagogues and other Jewish community institutions regarding victim assistance, grant opportunities or other federal assistance that may be available to enhance security measures and improve preparedness,” Brown and Portman said in their correspondence. “We also recognize the anti-Semitic sentiment behind this spate of threats and encourage your Departments to continue to inform state and local law enforcement organizations of their obligations under the Hate Crime Statistics Act and other federal laws.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.