Knesset Concerned Over Spike in US Anti-Semitism
By: United with Israel Staff
The Knesset’s Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs discussed on Tuesday the sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., which culminated with the recent attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh where a gunman shot 11 Jewish worshipers to death and wounded several others.
“Israel must demand that the authorities in the United States eradicate the phenomenon and impose harsher punishment,” Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise stated.
The U.S, Jewish community is the second-largest in the world and numbers some six million people.
Jews in the U.S. have enjoyed full and equal rights since the 18th century, “but anti-Semitism is not new either. It has always been limited in scope, and most of the population sanctified the values of equality,” Naguise noted.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in its annual audit found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose by 57 percent in 2017, the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since the American NGO began tracking such data in 1979.
The sharp rise was attributed in part to a significant increase in incidents in schools and on college campuses, which nearly doubled for the second year in a row. Anti-Israel activists often serve as catalysts for on-campus anti-Semitism.
For the first time since at least 2010, an incident occurred in every U.S. state. Naturally, the number of incidents tends to correlate with the size of the local Jewish populations.
In a letter to the committee, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said the U.S. government “is fully committed to combating anti-Semitism wherever it exists.”
Friedman noted that the FBI cooperates with foreign governments, including Israeli authorities, to identify and stop anti-Semitism.
“This is just one part of our continued efforts to root out the evil that exists in our society, but much work remains,” he underscored.
Member of Knesset (MK) Nachman Shai, one of the Israeli lawmakers who initiated the meeting, said he was “convinced that the U.S. government is committed and is working to protect minorities, and Jews in particular, but the fact that armed guards are positioned outside every synagogue in Pittsburgh shows us that something has happened” to American society.
MK Aliza Lavie said that “recognition of the changing reality must move things. There is a sense that history is repeating itself,” while MK Oded Forer warned that the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre should be a wake-up call for us. We must call upon American Jewry to make Aliyah [immigration to Israel].”
More than 57,000 Jews from North America and the United Kingdom have made aliyah since 2002.