New York – Following the release of FBI data on hate crimes committed against Jews, Muslims and other groups in the past year, Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, released the following statement:
“This data shows that hate crimes remain an ongoing and escalating threat to communities nationwide, particularly to Muslim and Jewish Americans, the LGBT community and people of color. Since reporting these incidents is not mandatory, with thousands of law enforcement agencies not participating, it’s highly likely that these horrific acts are even more widespread than the data indicates. In September, Bend the Arc Jewish Action joined more than 80 other organizations in a letter to the Justice Department urging them to take action on this crisis by addressing policies that disproportionately harm the targets of this violence. Jewish Americans must maintain a firm commitment to ending the violence against these groups, in addition to the hate crimes against our own communities documented by the Anti-Defamation League and others.
“This disturbing rise in hate crimes must be viewed in the larger context: when the president of the United States espouses bigoted rhetoric and gives comfort to white nationalists and neo-Nazis, it’s no surprise that these attacks are on the rise. Our elected representatives have a responsibility not only to speak out against this violence, but to hold accountable political leaders who encourage, enable and seek to normalize it. It’s time for members of Congress to choose a side: The side of unity and peace or the side of hatred, bigotry and violence. When the time comes to decide who should wield power in our government, Jewish Americans will remember those choices.”