Jewish Groups Call on State Attorneys General to Take Action to Stem Anti-Semitic Violence

A Jewish solidarity march in March 2020 / Getty Images
June 2, 2021

As anti-Semitism skyrockets across the nation, several prominent Jewish and pro-Israel groups are demanding the attorneys general in New York, Florida, and California do more to stop violent attacks against Jews living in their states.

All three states have experienced a spike in high-profile anti-Semitic hate crimes in the weeks since Israel went to war with the Iranian-backed Hamas terror group. New York, California, and Florida have the highest Jewish populations in the country, and as a result have seen a massive uptick in anti-Semitic attacks. State leaders have also been criticized for not doing enough to protect the Jewish population and speak out against the hate crimes, much as these same leaders have done when the targets are black, Hispanic, Arab, or Asian.

"We call on you to enforce the law and act to protect Jewish communities under attack. Prosecute these assaults on Jews as hate crimes under the relevant hate crime statutes," the 16 organizations write in a letter obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon. The letter was organized by the group End Jew Hatred and was signed by the Zionist Organization of America, Americans United with Israel, the Lawfare Project, Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, Endowment for Middle East Truth, and StandWithUs, among several others.

More than two dozen hate crimes against American Jews were reported in New York alone in May, when Israel launched defensive strikes against Hamas after it barraged the country with thousands of rockets. Attacks and incidents have been recorded across the nation, including in Florida and California. A Jewish man wearing a yarmulke in public, for instance, was beaten in Times Square; similar attacks occurred in Los Angeles. In Florida, a person screamed anti-Semitic remarks at a rabbi and dumped human excrement in front of his synagogue while shouting, "Jews must die!"

In some cases, the perpetrators have been caught, but it remains unclear if they will be charged with committing a hate crime, which typically carries a harsher penalty. The attacks broadly have not received the same media attention as other crimes against minorities in the United States, prompting the Jewish groups to petition state leaders to take a more public stand against anti-Semitism, particularly in states controlled by Democrats.

"Our community is in pain, and we are angry," the Jewish groups write in the letter addressed to California attorney general Robert Andres Bonta, Florida attorney general Ashley Moody, and New York attorney general Letitia James. "A conflict in the Middle East is never an excuse for attacking Jews in L.A., New York, or Florida."

Hate crime legislation, they say, "exists for a reason. We need action to empower Jews and dismantle Jew-hatred. Action starts with robust prosecutions of violent Jew-hating thugs on charges of hate crime."

The organizations are also concerned that America’s cities are becoming unsafe for Jews and that politicians have not expressed clear plans to address the matter.

The first step to restoring order, they say, "is protecting Jews in the streets.... This will help restore order to the streets and also reassure the Jewish community that protecting Jewish lives matters to our elected officials."