Wiesenthal Center calls on Trump to create FBI task force on antisemitism

33 percent of those arrested for antisemitic attacks in NYC in 2019 were black NYPD police data reveals.

A Jewish man walks near the area where 5 people were stabbed at a Hasidic rabbi's home in Monsey, New York (photo credit: REUTERS)
A Jewish man walks near the area where 5 people were stabbed at a Hasidic rabbi's home in Monsey, New York
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on US President Donald Trump to instruct the FBI to establish special task force to tackle the upsurge in antisemitic assaults and violent attacks against Jews, following the mass-stabbing attack in Monsey earlier this week.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the SWC said that there has “never been a more dangerous time in US history” for Jews than now, and warned that “relentless campaigns by antisemites” could make antisemitism an everyday fact of life in the US.
“We’ve reached a danger point in American history and  the consequences could be like Europe, where you cant practice your religion openly,” averred Hier.
He said that the way to combat the outbreak of antisemitism was to establish a special task force within the FBI to deal with antisemitism alone in order to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of antisemitic attacks to demonstrate the severe consequences for hate crimes against Jews.
“The longer we ignore it, the harder it is to solve the problem. If we don’t take this seriously it will get worse. These perpetrators need to be brought to justice and they need to know there are serious consequences.”
Hier said that the responsibility for tackling antisemitism was “outside the responsibility of US states and local governments,” and that the FBI should tackle the problem on a national level in order to score successes in bringing the perpetrators of antisemitic violence to justice.
The rabbi said that an educational effort was also needed to help combat the rise of antisemitism in the US, and lamented what he said is the near absence of Holocaust education in public schools.
Immediately following the Monsey attack, the Simon Wiesenthal Center called for African American leaders to speak out against antisemitism in light of the fact that the assailant in Monsey, as well as those in recent antisemitic shooting inJersey City and numerous incidents in New York City, have been black.
Hier mentioned notorious antisemite and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farakhan as a leading figure in having stoked antisemitism within parts of the African American community, saying that he continues to be an influential figure with a considerable following who spread his antisemitic ideas.
According to statistics from the New York Police Department, there have been 45 arrests for anti-Jewish hate crimes in New York City in the first three quarters of 2019, 15 of whom were black, some 33 percent, with the majority, 60% committed by white individuals.
This represents a similar rate to that in 2018, when of the 69 arrests made for antisemitic hate crime, 25 of those arrested were African American, or 36 percent of all such hate crimes.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, former longtime Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said that there is “a problem with many young people in the black community, but not just young people.”
He also pointed to antisemitic comments made by Joan Terrell-Paige, a member of the Jersey City Board of Education, following the Jersey City antisemitic shooting, who alleged that “brutes of the Jewish community” had “waved bags of money” at black homeowners, and alleged that “six rabbis were accused of selling body parts.”
Hikind also noted that members of the the Hudson County Democratic Black Caucus representing elected officials at the state, county, and local levels in New Jersey said that while it did not agree with “the delivery of the statement” made by Terrell-Paige, the said that the issues she raised “must be addressed and should be a topic of a larger conversation,” between the African American and Jewish communities.
“This is unreal,” said Hikind.
“This to me indicates something much deeper at play. Whatever it is we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss it.”
Alexander Rosemberg, the Anti-Defamation League’s Director of Community Affairs for the New York and New Jersey Region, said that “rhetoric from high levels of leadership on the right and left” have created a permissive atmosphere for “individuals to speak and act in a certain way.”
And he said that “age old tensions,” such as those witnessed in the 1991 Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn New York in 1991, in which Jews were attacked by black neighborhood residents after a black child was struck and killed by a vehicle in the motorcade of Chabad leader Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Rosemberg added that some of these tensions are a result of the Jewish and black communities  living together side by side, as well as online and social media hate which he said was a cocktail that has fueled antisemitism and other forms of hatred.
He said that the situation in Brooklyn where there have been dozens of attacks against Jews in the community was “disheartening,” and that the ADL has been “trying to do outreach to the Afro-Caribbean community in Brooklyn specifically.”
He noted that two months ago the ADL announced an increase in our education programming in Brooklyn “specifically because we saw the highest number of assaults there.”
He also said that the ADL has taken church pastors from Jersey City to Poland to see the to the Nazi death camps “in order to facilitate bridge building and dialogue so that these tensions can be dialed down.”
Rosemberg said however that the ADL was concerned about antisemitism in specific neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey and not necessarily about antisemitism amongst specific communities.
He insisted that the suspects in each antisemitic incident could have different motivation, noting that in many cases the motive was unclear.
Rosemberg pointed specifically to the Jersey City shooting as an incident where the antisemitic, and anti-White, motivation of the two assailants was clear, as were those of the white supremacist perpetrators in Poway and Pittsburgh.
But he said that in many other cases, perpetrators did not leave such clear indications as to their motivation and that therefore assumptions about the nature of the attack should not be made.
“When someone issues a manifesto before they enter synagogue, or before they walk into a Walmart in El Paso, Texas then people will call that out too. It becomes murky when the perpetrator has not expressed a clear ideology,” said Rosemberg.
“We need to understand that each perpetrator needs to be evaluated clearly for their intentions,” he added, saying that two antisemitic incidents in Brooklyn over the last two weeks were committed by people who were mentally unstable.