Legislation to Combat Anti-Semitism Introduced in Congress

Posted on Monday Mar 27, 2017 9:02 PM

The Jewish Community is pleased to share important, welcome news that legislation will be introduced in Congress this week to fight back against the relentless wave of anti-Semitic threats to Jewish institutions.

The Combating Anti-Semitism Act of 2017 makes clear that threats against religious real property, including community religious centers, are a federal crime, and specifies that any violation of the statute that results in property damage or destruction is punishable by up to five years imprisonment. The bill would explicitly criminalize threats against community religious centers and add a specific penalty for property damage to the federal criminal code.

The Federation and the Puget Sound Jewish Community thank Rep. Derek Kilmer of Washington State and Rep. David Kustoff of Tennessee for introducing the Combating Anti-Semitism Act. We also thank the co-sponsors of the legislation: Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington State), Ted Deutch (Florida), Joseph P. Kennedy III (Massachusetts), and Ted Poe (Texas). We are grateful the sponsors worked with Jewish community organizations to refine the legislation.

We recognize that many communities have recently been targets of vandalism and hatred and hope this will be welcome news to them all.

“The unprecedented number of bomb threats against Jewish community centers and schools across the nation, including our own Stroum Jewish Community Center, and the desecration of three Jewish cemeteries have been deeply troubling,” said Federation CEO Nancy Greer. “The Seattle Federation and other Jewish organizations have asked for a concerted federal response to the outbreak of anti-Semitism, and we are pleased that Congressmen Kilmer and Kustoff have stepped up for America’s Jewish communities. We salute them for their leadership, and call on Congress and the President to act promptly to enact their legislation into law.”          

Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
Dan Lowen
Chair, Board of Directors
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
Lila Cohen
American Jewish Committee
Rabbi Olivier
Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue
Rabbi Samuels
Congregation Beth Israel
Rabbi Borodin
Congregation Beth Shalom
Rabbi Meyers
Congregation Ezra Bessaroth
Rabbi Blaut
Congregation Shaarei Teshuva
Rabbi Rosenbaum
Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation
Amee Sherer
Hillel, University of Washington
Dee Simon
Holocaust Center for Humanity
Rachel Eisner
J Street
Rabbi Will Berkovitz
Jewish Family Service

Rabbi Blaut
Jewish Prisoner Services International

Rabbi Basior
Kadima Reconstructionist Community
Rabbi Weiss
Kol HaNeshamah
Louis Treiger
Minyan Ohr Chadash
Cheryl Berenson
National Council of Jewish Women, Seattle Section
Hamutal Davis
New Israel Fund, Seattle Section
Leah Gotz
Seattle Jewish Community School
Robert Jacobs
StandWithUs Northwest
Amy Lavin
Stroum Jewish Community Center
Rabbi Zlotnick
Temple Beth Am

Rabbi Kadden
Temple Beth El

Rabbi Lipper
Temple B'nai Torah
Hamutal Gavish
Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle
Rabbi Kletenik
Va'ad HaRabanim, Greater Seattle
Rabbi Levine
Washington Coalition of Rabbis