Caution police tape

A subcommittee hearing examined what the government is doing to stop these incidents.

Democratic Rep. Max Rose held a subcommittee hearing this month to discuss an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents and what the government is doing to stem the rise of domestic terrorism. 

Two of the deadliest attacks on Jews in the United States happened in 2018 and 2019, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh killed 11 worshippers and injured two more. This attack was one of 39 reported cases in 2018, and contributed to a 105% increase in physical attacks against Jews when compared to the previous year. 

Harassment also saw an increase in frequency in recent years. The vast majority of anti-Semitic incidents were cases of harassment, according to the Anti-Defamation League. There were 1,066 cases of harassment in 2018, a 5% increase from the previous year.

“The horrific rise in anti-Semitic domestic terrorism is an issue that has deeply affected my district, my community, and the whole New York City area,” Rose said in his opening statement

“Jewish people have been coming to America since before it was even called America in order to freely practice their religion, escape persecution, and build a better life for their families. Yet now we are under assault by extremists, many of whom are emboldened to act and often encouraged by content on social media platforms. The time for thoughts and prayers has passed—the time now is for action.”

Rose is the first Jewish member of Congress from Staten Island. The New York-New Jersey area saw anti-Semitic violence first hand in 2019, when two assailants opened fire in a Kosher supermarket in Jersey City. The hours long standoff with police left six people dead. Later that month, a man stabbed five people celebrating Hanukkah at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, just north of New York City. 

“Anti-Semitism in all its forms is steeped in ignorance and bred of muddled and incoherent conspiracy theories, and while this has been the case for quite some time, it is more easily spread and consumed these days because of social media,” John Miller, who oversees counterterrorism for the New York City Police Department, said during the hearing.

“For these reasons, a lasting solution to bigotry and hatred will never be grounded solely on law enforcement and heightened security. That will only be achieved when every citizen works collectively to educate each other and to reinforce our shared values of tolerance and unity,” Miller said.

During his time in the House, Rose has focused on finding solutions to anti-Semitism. 

“Government officials, at all levels, have a duty to protect Jewish individuals, communities and institutions from anti-Semitic violence and must put forth comprehensive strategies to address it,” Rose said during the hearing.

He noted that efforts like outreach, partnerships and looking at extremism on a global scale should all be included in the government’s attempts to combat anti-Semitism.