US lawmakers back protection for Europe’s Jewish communities

Resolution calling on US to encourage European governments to boost security amid upsurge of anti-Semitic attacks passes unanimously

A soldier stands guard outside a synagogue in Neuilly-sur-Seine, outside Paris, France, January 13, 2015. (AP/Christophe Ena)
A soldier stands guard outside a synagogue in Neuilly-sur-Seine, outside Paris, France, January 13, 2015. (AP/Christophe Ena)

A resolution calling on the United States to urge European governments to act to keep their Jewish communities safe won unanimous support from the US House of Representatives Tuesday.

The resolution, which had 89 co-sponsors, calls on the US administration to encourage European governments, law enforcement agencies and intergovernmental organizations to formally recognize and partner with Jewish community groups to strengthen crisis prevention, preparedness, mitigation and responses related to anti-Semitic attacks.

It was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who chairs the Helsinki Commission, the congressional body that monitors compliance with human rights overseas.

“The number of violent anti-Semitic attacks has increased from 100 to 400 percent in some European countries since 2013,” said Smith, who also co-chairs the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism. “The murders in Paris, Copenhagen and elsewhere reminded us that there are those who are motivated by anti-Semitism and have the will to kill.”

Several Jewish community groups endorsed the resolution, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Federations of North America, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Orthodox Union, the Secure Community Network and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“The Conference of Presidents applauds the House of Representatives for unanimously passing a bipartisan resolution which urges the United States and European governments to take steps to keep Jewish communities around the world safe,” said chairman Stephen Greenberg and executive vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in a statement.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder commended Wednesday’s resolution, as well as an earlier resolution against Palestinian incitement.

“With these two important resolutions, the House of Representatives has sent a resounding message that the United States will not tolerate anti-Semitism or violence,” Lauder said. “The wave of terror crashing down on Israel must be stopped. The heinous attacks that plagued Europe in the last year must never be repeated. I urge both the Palestinian Authority and European governments to heed this call to reason and stop the incitement.”

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