Israel continued seeing support from Congress this week, with several legislators denouncing the rise in European anti-Semitism accompanying Operation Protective Edge.
Congressmen Grace Meng (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) issued statements on the House floor on Tuesday to urge their colleagues “to discuss the dangers of anti-Semitism with their communities and to build bridges between communities so that we may reduce hatred and bigotry.”
Programs bringing together members of various faith and ethnic groups must proliferate in the United States, she said, adding that “it is also far easier to hate someone you don’t know than to hate someone that you do know.
Meng also pressed American lawmakers to engage the international community and “fight for a Europe and world of lesser anti-Semitism.”
Citing reports of anti-Semitic riots and the targeting of Jewish institutions across Europe and, to a lesser extent, the US, Meng declared that the “plague of anti-Semitism” that has “ravaged the world for thousands of years” has today “reared its ugly head globally, in a way we have not seen in a long time.”
Hearing protesters against Israel’s military operations chant “gas the Jews” is “truly shocking,” she said, asserting that such instances were not isolated.
“We are seeing hundreds and thousands of people rallying and sometimes attacking synagogues in Europe. It is one thing to protest against events going on in the Middle East, but there is simply no justification and no reason for doing it right outside any Jewish place of worship,” she said.
“These are brazen acts of anti-Semitism.”
Meng called on Congress to involve itself in the battle against anti-Semitism in countries such as France, which has seen the bulk of the anti-Jewish violence that has occurred over the last several weeks.
“So what we have here are two sides: virulent anti-Semites on one side, and on the other, a democratically elected government that appears resolved to take them on. Rather than throw our hands in the air and say that France is a horribly anti-Semitic place and that all the Jews should leave, we ought to get in this fight,” she said.
American legislators have been outspoken in their public support for Israel and its war effort.
Earlier this week Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) came out swinging on CNN, calling the United Nations Human Rights Commission anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic due to the body’s allegations of Israeli war crimes.
This week the Senate charged the United Nations Human Rights Council with hypocrisy, passing a resolution that questioned why the organization would charge Israel with war crimes in Gaza without mentioning the willful targeting of civilians by Hamas.
On Tuesday the Senate also passed a bill requiring Secretary of State John Kerry to offer a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of the murderers of American-Israeli teenager Naftali Fraenkel, who was killed alongside fellow yeshiva students Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in June.
Michael Wilner contributed to this report.