New York leaders call for action in wake of violence against Jews

After Saturday's Hanukkah attack in Monsey, the deadly Jersey City shooting in a kosher supermarket, and no less than a dozen reported anti-Semitic assaults and verbal attacks on the streets of Brooklyn in the last week, there is fear but also a determination to act.

"We need much stronger federal action because we're in a crisis, a crisis of hate," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, said.

At a press conference with a group of interfaith leaders, Schumer proposed quadrupling the existing funding for nonprofit security grants that go to houses of worship and other 501(c)3 nonprofits from $90 million to $360 million.

"To do infrastructure strengthening, cameras, stronger doors, fencing, that would prevent an attack," he said. "But it also allows the hiring of personnel, security guards and others to guard these institutions."

Schumer also called for more money to federally prosecute hate crimes, proposing increasing a current $5 million budget introduced under the Obama administration to $100 million.

Grafton Thomas, the suspect in the Monsey stabbing rampage, was charged in federal court Monday.

The senator was one of a number of New York leaders and politicians calling for changes the day after the Hanukkah attack.

At Borough Hall in Brooklyn, Borough President Eric Adams and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries unveiled their proposal called Breaking Bread and Building Bonds. It involves hosting 100 dinners across the city featuring people from all ethnicities and faiths to foster dialogue and understanding. Adams will seed the initiative with $10,000 from his discretionary fund.

At the National Action Network, leaders spoke of presenting a united front.

"We rise, particularly since the incidents involved blacks that have been arrested and charged to say that we will not be silent and we condemn any attacks, any hate crimes," Reverend Al Sharpton said.

On Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his plans to combat anti-Semitism. They include introducing hate crime awareness programming in public schools in the 2020-2021 school year, a move fully supported by the Anti-Defamation League.

"Even as we step up security, we need to keep our eye on the ball and remember understanding each other in the classroom and in the community is the best way to build bridges," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.

Police officers stand outside a rabbi's home

Police officers outside a rabbi's home in Monsey, N.Y.


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