Wiesenthal Center Calls for FBI Task Force to Deal with Anti-Semitism

December 31, 2019
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on the White House to direct the FBI to form a task force to focus exclusively on anti-Semitism following the stabbings in Monsey, N.Y.

Wiesenthal Center founder and Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier and Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda said in a Dec. 28 statement, “Enough is enough! Jews should not have to fear for their lives in America to go to their houses of worship. The FBI must step up and take the lead in all recent violent hate crimes targeting religious Jews.”

Hier told the Journal in a phone interview that the Dec. 28 Monsey stabbings that resulted in five injured reminded him of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. “Jews were beaten up on the corner. Windows were broken … that’s how it started,” Hier said. “And the population centers tolerated it. Nobody spoke out against it; we didn’t have a plan against it.”

He argued that the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States has become such an epidemic that more action is needed beyond statements and pledges from state and local politicians and police officers. “They’re all good people, but they’re not 24/7 on this job,” Hier said. “They have other jobs. Even police, they have traffic issues. … There are so many issues besides the issue of anti-Semitism [that they have to deal with].”

Hier added that it’s important to ensure that politics doesn’t interfere with addressing anti-Semitism. “When you have a Democratic mayor and a Republican governor or vice versa, it’s a different attitude,” Hier said. “It’s just not the right way to handle an epidemic.”

“We need the FBI to create a special unit focusing 24/7, 365 days a year on one subject: anti-Semitism.” — Marvin Hier

He also argued that people shouldn’t expect anti-Semitism to dissipate with the election of a new president or a new Congress. “When the whole world is affected by the epidemic called anti-Semitism — and this has happened in Europe for the last 15 years  — you cannot legitimately argue that the cause of it in the United States is due to one man,” Hier said without naming President Donald Trump.

An FBI task force that is exclusively focused on handling anti-Semitism is therefore necessary to address the rising anti-Semitism throughout the country, he argued. “We need the FBI to create a special unit focusing 24/7, 365 days a year on one subject: anti-Semitism,” Hier said. “That’s the only way that the anti-Semites will wake up because basically they’re going to be targeted, they’re going to be analyzed.”

Hier gave a hypothetical of how the task force would handle an anti-Semitic incident. “Let’s say there’s an attack here in Los Angeles,” he said. “First thing that happens is that everything about the attack is sent immediately to the FBI task force on anti-Semitism. And they become the lead agency. They take over immediately.”

Hier said that the Wiesenthal Center has been in contact with the White House about its proposal for a task force.

“President Trump is aware of it,” Hier said. “He’s been informed of it. … We’ll see what happens. We are pushing very hard. We need bipartisan support.”

Hier urged for a societal unification against anti-Semitism, as he argued that anti-Semitism is emboldened when societies ignore it.

“Society didn’t do the right thing,” he said. “We didn’t recognize that these bigots can return early, and as society, we have to have a program against it, and the program has to unify Democrats and Republicans [and] whatever their political persuasion in Europe. We have to come together to fight this.”

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