Jewish community leader urges Americans to report suspected hate crimes

Incidents in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Orlando are causing leaders in the Jewish community to speak out.
Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 7:28 AM AKST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Recent highly publicized antisemitic attacks are causing a national leader in the Jewish community in Washington, D.C. to speak out.

Those incidents include swastikas spray painted on columns at Union Station in Washington, D.C.

A synagogue and school vandalized in Chicago.

In Orlando, a neo-Nazi rally that drew this response from Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Twitter, “Across America, we’ve seen a heartbreaking and disgusting rise in hate like this.”

“We’re very concerned,” said Holly Huffnagle, the U.S. Director for Combating Antisemitism at the American Jewish Committee.

In the AJC’s annual survey of more than 2,600 adults, it found 40% of American Jews believe antisemitism is “a very serious problem.”

That’s compared to 21% of the general public.

Huffnagle is urging people to report hateful acts to law enforcement when they see them, and share their stories.

“I think where we are right now is really needing a collective effort to lower antisemitism,” said Huffnagle

Janice Iwama teaches on hate crimes, racial profiling, and gun violence at the American University.

She said alleged hate crimes often go unreported for three reasons.

“Because most victims are a) either unaware of the fact that there’s legislation against it, b) most individuals do not know who to go to – police agency or police department, or three- most hate crimes are actually property crimes,” said Iwama.

Iwama said in addition to law enforcement, people can report a suspected hate crime to the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The latest data from the FBI found there were more than 8,000 hate crimes in 2020. Out of that sum, more than 1,000 were anti-religious. More than half of those were anti-Jewish.

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