Photo Credit: YouTube /.NewYorkCityPeople, Usman Chohan, Scooter (FNTV freedomnews.tv)
Anti-Israel protesters in Queens, NY. May 22, 2021

US President Joe Biden condemned the ongoing attacks on members of the Jewish community by so-called pro-Palestinian “protesters” on Monday (May 24).

Biden wrote in a tweet, “The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable and they must stop.”

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Vice President Kamala Harris also called the antisemitic attacks “despicable” in a tweet that added “it must be called out, condemned, and stopped.”

Harris also announced the presidential signature this weekend on a new COVID-19 Hate Crimes bill.

The text of the bill says, “The problem of crimes motivated by bias is sufficiently serious, widespread, and interstate in nature as to warrant Federal financial assistance to States and local jurisdictions. . .

“Federal financial assistance with regard to certain violent crimes motivated by bias enables Federal, State, and local authorities to work together as partners in the investigation and prosecution of such crimes,” the bill says.

Requirement to Report Hate Crimes to Federal Database
Under the new law, state and local government agencies are required to report hate/bias crimes to a National Incident-Based Reporting System and to train employees in the identification and classification of hate crimes in the system.

The funding is to be used to set up the new national reporting database, train employees in its use and to create State-run hate crime reporting hotlines.

Although the impetus for the bill was the anti-Asian attacks carried out by people who blame Asians for the COVID-19 pandemic, the measure in fact covers all forms of hate crimes, including attacks on Jews.

The text of the bill says that three years after having received funding to implement the new law, “the State or unit of local government shall provide to the Attorney General, through the Uniform Crime Reporting system, information pertaining to hate crimes committed in that jurisdiction during the preceding fiscal year.”

If a state or local government fails to comply with the new law, “the State or unit of local government shall repay the grant in full, plus reasonable interest and penalty charges allowable by law or established by the Attorney General.”

Antisemitic incidents are increasing in their ferocity as well as prevalence.

Not Just NYC or LA: Attacks on Jews in Illinois
Pro-Palestinian antisemitism is rising in the Midwestern state of Illinois, in addition to the ongoing, increasing attacks on Jews in New York City and Los Angeles.

Pro-Palestinian rioters attacked pro-Israel demonstrators this weekend in Illinois during a rally to express support for the Jewish State.

The attackers defaced the flag of Israel and attempted — but failed — to burn it, Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster reported.

Attack on Skokie Synagogue
One week ago, two suspects attacked the Persian Hebrew Congregation in Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. No one was at the synagogue at the time. Nearly 30 percent of the population in Skokie is Jewish.

Surveillance footage revealed one of the two attackers, who shattered a window of the synagogue, was holding a “Freedom for Palestine” sign; the other was holding a stick.

The suspect holding a sign appeared to be a man in his thirties wearing a white, red, black and green keffiyeh, a black and white checkered mask and a black shirt, jeans and shoes, according to an update sent last week to media by the Skokie Police Department.

The second suspect was also wearing a keffiyeh – this one multi-colored – and red athletic shoes, police said. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

“We understand that every nationality stands with their country and there’s freedom of speech in America — we respect that,” the rabbi of the synagogue told reporters. “But this is not right.”

ADL Reports Thousands of Antisemitic Tweets in One Week
Last year, there were 327 reported incidents at Jewish institutions, including synagogues, schools and community centers, up 40 percent from 234 in 2019, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

In the second week of this month (May 7-14) the ADL found there were more than 17,000 tweets using various forms of the phrase “Hitler was right.” The group also received more than 190 reports of possible antisemitic incidents – up from 131 the previous week.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.