WASHINGTON — Freshman California Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat, will introduce a Senate resolution condemning the recent waves of anti-Semitic attacks and urged the administration to do more for under-fire religious minorities, she announced Tuesday at AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference.
“No one should have to worry about their children’s safety when they drop them off at the JCC,” she told a crowd of nearly 18,000. “No one should have to be afraid to put a menorah on their front window or on their front lawn. And no one should ever have to fear that the grave of a loved one might be desecrated because of their faith.”
Harris said her resolution would also call on law enforcement to expedite its investigations into hate crimes nationwide, call on local and state law enforcement agencies to fully report hate crimes statistics.
It will also ask the administration to provide material support and fund security at places of worship and other religious institutions of any faith that have been targeted.
“As someone who’s personally prosecuted hate crime, I also believe that we cannot stand by while anti-Semitism, hate crime and bigotry are on the rise, whether that’s a swastika on a Jewish family and children’s services bus in San Francisco or the burning of a mosque in Tampa,” said Harris, a former attorney general of California.
She did not mention any indications of how much support the measure may already have among other members of the Senate chamber.
Since January, nearly 150 bomb threats have hit JCCs, Jewish day schools and other institutions, causing the evacuation of dozens of Jewish community centers and prompting some parents to remove their children from JCC programs.
Most of those were apparently the work of a 19-year-old Jewish Israeli-American who was arrested lat week in Israel on suspicion he was behind hundreds of threats to institutions in the US and elsewhere.
Despite the arrest, Jewish leaders and organizations publicly urged against thinking this diminished the gravity of rising anti-Semitism in the United States.
“Even though it appears that the main culprit behind the majority of these attacks has allegedly been identified, anti-Semitism in the US remains a very serous concern,” the Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt said after the arrest. “No arrests have been made in three cemetery desecrations or a series of other anti-Semitic incidents involving swastika graffiti and hate fliers. JCCs and other institutions should not relax security or become less vigilant.”