On Sunday, 25,000 people marched in New York City to show solidarity with Jewish Americans and protest and reject the wave of anti-Semitic hate sweeping our nation. In the wake of a series of terrible anti-Semitic actions and attacks in New York City, Jersey City, and the tri-state area, this was a powerful and moving event. We are grateful to the organizers of the march and all those who joined in this meaningful gesture.
The American Jewish Congress was proud to take part in the march. AJCongress President Jack Rosen and staff took this opportunity to meet with elected officials in New York who are tackling the issue of anti-Semitism head-on and seeking actionable solutions. Among them were Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and Congressman Gregory Meeks, all of whom have been strong partners with the Jewish community in the fight against hate.
As the world welcomes a new year, Jews yet again face the old reality of anti-Semitic hatred and violence. The stabbing attack yesterday against Jews celebrating Hanukkah in the home of a rabbi in Monsey, NY caps a week in which there was an anti-Semitic attack against Jewish New Yorkers every single day. Every single day.
What is supposed to be a joyous time celebrating family and faith, this Hanukkah has become an open season for attacks against the Jewish community. Despite repeated calls from community organizations and authorities to quell increased violence and rhetoric against Jews, the number of hate crimes across the country continues to climb. The fact that the Greater New York City area has seen its ninth anti-Semitic attack this week alone—following the brazen shooting at a kosher deli in Jersey City, NJ earlier this month—further demonstrates that violence can only be stopped when we as Americans take a collective stand against it.
For billions of people, a new year augurs change. Betterment. So how is it that for Jews, a people who have persisted through centuries of persecution and violence, we cannot have even a single day in which the better angels of our common man are summoned to embrace us and deliver us from harm? What does this say about progress? Change? Hope? We face a new year and a new decade. Let peace be our common endeavor. Let us root out hate in all its forms because where it festers—against religion, color, or creed—it threatens us all.
American Jewish Congress
The American Jewish Congress welcomes President Trump's executive order targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses. The President has made the right decision. For too long, hate, in the form of extreme anti-Israel rhetoric, has flourished on campuses across the country, making Jewish students feel unsafe and unwelcome while setting the stage for other forms of anti-Jewish hate.
In particular, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, a deeply anti-Semitic movement that has been linked to terror organizations, is widespread at universities and has led to the targeting of Jewish students. The U.S. Congress has already made clear its bipartisan opposition to BDS. We must be blunt, the government should not be in the business of funding hate and college campuses are no exception. Like members of any minority group, Jewish students deserve to feel welcome and protected at their schools, and President Trump's order brings us closer to attaining that reality.
Yesterday in Jersey City, we were reminded once again of something that shouldn't need reminding: That anti-Semitism is alive, well, and unchecked in America today. We now know that the shooter published anti-Semitic vitriol online—unsurprising, given that the shootout that left 6 people dead occurred primarily in a kosher market. We at the American Jewish Congress want to express our profound sorrow and condolences to the victims, the victim’s families, and the whole Jersey City community. We applaud Mayor Fulop for quickly identifying this as an anti-Semitic attack and Jersey City first responders for their quick and decisive action to minimize the carnage.
Time and time again, anti-Semitic rhetoric online has gone hand-in-hand with acts of hateful violence. Even in New York and New Jersey, among some of the world's most vibrant Jewish communities, anti-Semitic acts of violence have become largely normalized. The question is, could we have done something to stop it?
We can no longer afford to take anti-Semitism, in any form, lightly. This also means holding in check the few politicians who traffic in anti-Semitism and adversely affect the public discourse. In mainstream politics and media, anti-Semitic rhetoric has become normalized once again, giving more legitimacy to the toxic delusions of white supremacists and anti-Semites. We cannot afford to ignore anti-Semitism in any form; there is too much at stake.
Dear Senator Sanders,
It is with deep regret that I find myself writing to you again about your embrace of Linda Sarsour, a controversial activist with a well-documented history of anti-Semitic and bigoted statements. I asked you in my previous letter to consider dropping Sarsour as your campaign surrogate, but your silence was deafening.
Last week, Linda Sarsour did it again. She “enriched” her long list of anti-Semitic comments with another vitriolic diatribe. Speaking at the American Muslims for Palestine conference in Chicago, Sarsour started by criticizing progressive Zionists and ended with the claim that Israel “is based on supremacy, built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else” - literally connecting and equating Israel with Nazi ideas of White Supremacy.
While shocking, these comments are not surprising. What is surprising to me, as much as to everyone else in the Jewish community, is how can you be silent in light of these horrendous statements and continue to shield Sarsour. While continuing to officially represent your campaign, Linda Sarsour seems to have embraced the same white supremacist talking points propagated by David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Senator, we need more than articles on how you are going to fight anti-Semitism; we - the Jewish community - demand concrete actions towards actually fighting anti-Semitism. We expect from you, as much as from every other elected official and candidate, the strength to condemn not only anti-Semitism coming from the other side of the aisle, but also the courage to determinately denounce anti-Semitism from your campaign and the likes of Reps. Omar and Tlaib.
Senator Sanders, while you decline to refute her claims and distance yourself from her bigoted and hurtful comments, Linda Sarsour is not only feeling emboldened, but she is also getting a national platform to spew hate against Jews and the state of Israel. Not only that, but she is also putting out a not welcome sign to any pro-Israel individual in the progressive movement - ironically yourself included.
That should count more than the votes you may gain from Sarsour and the few people espousing her same hate-filled viewpoints would bring you. Condemning Sarsour’s remarks and dropping her as your campaign surrogate is the moral thing to do.
The American Jewish Congress greets the passing of House Resolution 326 (H. Res. 326). We applaud the efforts of the House Leadership, especially Speaker Pelosi, to shepherd this resolution through, and we applaud Democrats for reiterating their commitment to the bipartisan consensus on the U.S. - Israel relationship. As movement in some quarters of the democratic party push for changes to the party platform that would condition military aid to Israel, today’s amendments position the House and the democratic party with the overwhelming majority of the American People.
Today's resolution reaffirms the central role that the two-state solution plays to affirming peace between Israelis and Palestinians. While we do not agree with every provision in the resolution, the amendments brought forth by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5), and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-23) serve as strong repudiations of the proposal by some elected officials and presidential candidates to condition security aid to Israel. The amendments reiterate the commitment to the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding of 2016 between the United States and Israel, and the continuation of the critical security assistance as signed and without new conditions.
Jack Rosen, President of the American Jewish Congress, greeted today’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and emphasized the importance of these amendments: “I want to thank Speaker Pelosi, the 192 democrat co-sponsors, and the 226 bipartisan legislators who voted for this important resolution. I want to also thank Representatives Reed, Gottheimer, and Deutch, for their tireless work in support of the Amendments to the resolution.
“With the heat of the ongoing primary campaign towards the 2020 presidential race, some candidates have espoused radical positions in terms of reshaping the relationship of the United States with Israel, one of its most important allies. Senator Bernie Sanders shockingly embraced the talking points of radical anti-Israel progressives and said that he supported conditioning aid to Israel, going as far as to suggest that part of the security aid to Israel should instead go to Hamas-controlled Gaza. At the same time, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg disturbingly stated that they were open to considering conditioning aid.
“Today’s resolution and particularly the bipartisan amendments show once again that efforts to politicize the alliance with Israel and calls to condition U.S. security assistance to Israel will be met by a bipartisan Congressional response. These calls go against the overwhelming bicameral majority in Congress and the unquestionable bipartisan support for Israel.”
Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-23), whose leadership was pivotal in the bipartisan effort to reiterate the strong support of the United States towards Israel through the proposed amendments commented:
“Israel is an unwavering ally to the United States and a critical partner in our combined effort to ensure Middle East stability. We should not let the dysfunctional state of extremist politics at home get in the way of critical defense funding for Israel. We hope the inclusion of this amendment in the text of this resolution will show both the American people and the world we care about Israel, and we want to ensure they have fair access to the resources they need to defend themselves from the constant barrage of threats they face on a daily basis.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5), a true friend of Israel and whose leadership contributed towards strengthening the resolution with the aid-related amendments stated: “This vote officially puts to rest the splinter view of adding new conditions on aid to Israel and reinforces our historic commitment to preserving a two-state solution. We know that this aid helps save countless lives, and we know the United States is better off when Israel is fully equipped to defend itself.
The American Jewish Congress will continue to work towards strengthening the United States-Israel relationship and will continue to fight against all efforts aiming to question the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and the Jewish state.
The American Jewish Congress commends President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador for aligning with the United States and with all those that support freedom and democracy in Venezuela.
President Bukele recognized the evident truth that Nicolas Maduro’s government is illegitimate and ordered all Venezuelan diplomats serving the Maduro regime to leave El Salvador. In his statement, El Salvador’s President reiterated his decision to recognize Juan Guaido as interim President of Venezuela and condemn the actions of Maduro. This is a bold and decisive action from President Bukele, whom we had the honor to host at our 2018 International Mayors Conference in Israel, when he was serving as Mayor of San Salvador.
Since assuming office, Maduro has degraded democracy in Venezuela by rigging elections. Furthermore, he has recurred to violence and has jailed civil society representatives and political opponents. Two years ago, a victim of Maduro’s repression was Mayor Antonio Ledezma, the former Mayor of Caracas and a former participant in our International Mayors Conference. Together with other opposition leaders, Mayor Ledezma was unjustly arrested by Maduro, as part of the latter’s ongoing campaign to repress dissent and discourage the Venezuelan opposition.
The American Jewish Congress invites other countries in Latin America to follow the courageous example of President Bukele. We will continue to support a democratic Venezuela and its freedom-loving people.