Chicago City Council, IL State Legislators Ask President Trump To Create Special Task Force On Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes
January 15, 2020
CHICAGO – The Chicago City Council unanimously introduced a resolution – sponsored by Aldermen Michele Smith (43rd Ward) and Debra Silverstein (50th Ward) - pictured - calling on the FBI to create a special task force on anti-Semitic crimes in the wake of continuous attacks on Jews throughout the country. Simultaneously, a group of key Illinois legislators sent a letter to President Trump – in conjunction with the Simon Wiesenthal Center - urging creation of this task force. A similar task force was created in the 1990s to coordinate federal law enforcement response to hundreds of African-American church burnings and was credited with significantly reducing the burnings.
“We have just suffered through a horrible year of violent, mainstream anti-Semitism,” Simon Wiesenthal Center Dean and Founder Rabbi Marvin Hier and SWC Associate Dean and Director, Social Action Agenda Rabbi Abraham Cooper declared. “Hate crimes rose significantly in America’s five largest cities and incidents targeting Jews in Chicago rose 46%. Last month our nation saw 11 major anti-Semitic hate crimes, including the murder and maiming of innocent Jews, at prayer, in the streets and in our workplaces.”
The letter requesting the task force was sent to President Trump by Illinois State Senators Ram Villivalam, Laura Fine and Julie Morrison and State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz, Mark Kalish, Will Guzzardi, Anna Moeller, Kelly Cassidy, Robyn Gabel, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Sam Yingling and Jonathan Carroll.
“Jewish communities – locally and nationally - are suffering because of hate and fear,” stated Representative Feigenholtz. “Our group of legislators is calling on Washington to create this much-needed task force and to give it the power to address these horrible crimes.”
“This crisis is urgent and we need to stop it before it gets worse,” said Senator Villivalam. “The time for action – and the time for this FBI task force – is now.”
Chicago Aldermen Smith and Silverstein, who have long worked on issues related to combatting anti-semitism, were proud of the Chicago City Council for standing together against hate.
“In these difficult times, it is inspiring to see Aldermen of all backgrounds – representing every neighborhood of our city – come together against hate and anti-Semitism,” said Silverstein.
“Law enforcement at every level needs the tools to fight rising anti-Semitic hate,” added Smith. “Chicago has sent the White House a direct message in support of creating this task force.”
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).
Further Background on anti-Semitic hate crimes:
*** (A new report from California State University shows Chicago with a post-9/11 high for hate crime incidents: 96 in 2019 up from 77 in 2018. Anti-Jewish hate crimes rose more than 46% over the previous year to a total of 19 incidents. Hate crime in America's five largest cities rose sharply in 2019, with New York, Los Angeles and Chicago all setting highs not seen since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. During Chanukah alone, at least nine attacks against Jewish residents in New York culminated Saturday in a machete-wielding attacker stabbing five people at a Rabbi’s home.)