FBI director: We’re not going to tolerate in antisemitism in this country

At a webinar hosted by ADL, Christopher Wray addressed the attack on Congregation Beth Israel: “This was not some random occurrence. It was intentional, it was symbolic.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on "Threats to the homeland" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2017.  (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on "Threats to the homeland" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2017.
(photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke on Thursday in a webinar hosted by the Anti-Defamation League and addressed the recent attack at Congregation Beth Israel.

“We are all extremely grateful that things ended peacefully Saturday night and that the rabbi and the other three hostages were not physically harmed,” he said. “We understand all too well that these kinds of attacks are terrifying and that they’re not only terrifying to the individuals directly and physically involved. They’re also terrifying for all the members of congregation Beth Israel and really for the entire Jewish community, many of whom understandably worry about other threats still out there.”

He went on to say that while the investigation was still ongoing and some details remain unknown at this point, “You can be confident that we at the FBI are committed to thoroughly and aggressively and rigorously investigating Saturday’s attack.

“The FBI is and has been treating Saturday’s events as an act of terrorism targeting the Jewish community,” Wray emphasized. “Our joint terrorism task forces all across the country will continue to investigate why this individual specifically targeted congregation Beth Israel on their day of worship.

“This was not some random occurrence,” he continued. “It was intentional, it was symbolic, and we’re not going to tolerate antisemitism in this country. We recognize that the Jewish community in particular has suffered violence and faces very real threats from across the hate spectrum.”

An FBI vehicle (credit: REUTERS/AMR ALFIKY)An FBI vehicle (credit: REUTERS/AMR ALFIKY)

He said the FBI considers the enduring threats to the Jewish community to be among its very highest priorities.

“No member of a faith-based community should have to worry about acts of violence at their services. To be targeted at your place of worship – a space meant as a sanctuary in every sense of the word, is in my view one of the most heinous acts of violence that can be committed,” said Wray.

He reiterated his call to establish a direct line of communication between the FBI’s 56 field offices and faith-based communities in order to maintain open dialogue and share information.

“I know it is disheartening to see that these kinds of attacks continue to happen and that there are people out there who target members of the Jewish faith, but you can be confident that we at the FBI stand with you,” said Wray. “And it is my hope that you will continue to see us as a trusted partner and as a valued resource, as we work together in our collective fight against violent extremism.”