Last Tuesday, eight members of Congress launched the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating anti-Semitism to respond to the international resurgence of anti-Semitism. This task force is intended to alert other members of Congress of the recent upheaval of hatred toward the Jewish people all over the world, and to share solutions with the executive branch and foreign leaders.
The Co-Chairs Chris Smith (Republican), Nita Lowey (Democrat), Eliot Engel (Democrat), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican), Kay Granger (Republican), Steve Israel (Democrat), Peter Roskam (Republican), and Ted Deutch (Democrat) explained: “Jewish populations are facing increased levels of hatred, frequently under the guise of political differences or other alibis, but in reality it is solely because of their faith. It is the responsibility of everyone who believes in basic universal liberties and freedoms to condemn this trend and work together to root out the hatred which underlies anti-Semitism.”
The task force is designed after a wave of anti-Semitic violence in Europe. The most violent ones included the January attacks on a kosher supermarket in Paris, the shootings at a Copenhagen synagogue last month, and the bloodshed at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014. But the task force also expresses concerns about the everyday acts of anti-Semitism rising in Europe and in the US.
The recent LDB-Trinity College report pointed out that over 50% of Jewish American college students experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism on their campuses during the 2013-2014 academic year.
Similarly, in France, my home country, reports show that in just a year, anti-Semitism doubled. The following graph issued by the SPCJ (Jewish Security Community Service, a French apolitical organization) with the cooperation of French Interior Ministry exposes the increasing anti-Semitic threats and acts in France.
The Co-Chairs affirmed the ultimate role of the task force to be promoting tolerance on an international level, by improving the Holocaust education to counter the rising anti-Semitism and hatred.
The Co-Chairs, four republicans and four democrats, announced in a joint statement: “It is the responsibility of everyone who believes in basic universal liberties and freedoms to condemn this trend and work together to root out the hatred which underlies anti-Semitism. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Congress to find innovative solutions that match the 21st century face of this age-old bigotry”
Along with the inauguration of the task force on Tuesday, speakers testified to the Congress of the rising anti-Semitism in Europe and advocated for a regulation of the Internet as one of the objectives for the new task force. Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress and Roger Cukierman, president of the Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF), called attention to Internet as an unprotected platform that propagates a spreading hatred towards Jews. Regulation of the Internet “On the Internet, ways were found to ban child pornography. Likewise, anti-Semitism must be banned”