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Kustoff Introduces the Preventing Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Act

May 25, 2021
Press Release
This legislation addresses the recent and dramatic uptick in anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman David Kustoff (TN-08) was joined by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in introducing the Preventing Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Act. This legislation will help combat the drastic surge of anti-Semitic incidents and violence in the United States by ensuring the Department of Justice (DOJ) facilitates the expedited review of these hate crime threats against the Jewish community. Additionally, this bill states the Attorney General will issue guidance to enhance our state and local law enforcement’s efforts to prevent and respond to anti-Semitic hate crimes.      

This legislation is supported and endorsed by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). 

“May is designated as Jewish American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and recognize our community’s great contributions to the United States. Yet, we are instead witnessing a spike of brutal anti-Semitic harassment and assault across our cities. Now is the time for Members of Congress to stand up and show the world that these despicable and hateful attacks have no place in our country,” said Rep. Kustoff. “This bill will help combat anti-Semitism in the U.S. and ensure the individuals who commit these violent attacks are prosecuted and held accountable for their actions. As a proud member of the Jewish Community, and one of only two Jewish Republicans in Congress, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support and pass this crucial piece of legislation.”

“In the face of rising anti-Semitism, we cannot turn a blind eye. Jewish Americans deserve not just rhetorical support, but legislative action ensuring that perpetrators of these vile attacks are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  That is why Republicans introduced a bill today that would make combating anti-Semitic hate crimes a priority for law enforcement. Republicans stand against these toxic attacks on Jewish-Americans. The entire House must do the same,” said Leader McCarthy.

“The uptick in hateful anti-Semitic attacks is disgusting and totally unacceptable. From anti-Israel efforts like the BDS movement to violent crimes on American streets, we must confront anti-Semitism every single place it rears its ugly head. Our legislation will support state and local law enforcement and ensure the bigoted thugs and criminals who are attacking Jewish Americans face the full force of American justice,” said Leader McConnell.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States. The Department of Justice must take immediate, decisive action to stop the shocking rise of hate crimes targeting the American Jewish community. Our bill will ensure the racist criminals committing these crimes are prosecuted and held accountable,” said Sen. Cotton.

 

Background

According to the 2019 Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Hate Crimes Report, which contains the most recent data, more than 60 percent of all hate crimes against any religious group in the U.S. are directed at the Jewish American community. Most recently, during the two weeks in May where Israel was under attack by Hamas, anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. increased by 63 percent, as reported by the Anti-Defamation League.

The Preventing Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes Act would require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to designate a staffer who is responsible for handling the expedited review of anti-Semitic hate crimes and reports for the next three years. In addition, this legislation will require the Attorney General to issue a report to Congress within 90 days of the bill’s enactment and every 90 days after until December 31, 2024. This report would break down the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes reported to the FBI, the number of active anti-Semitic hate crime investigations conducted by DOJ, the number of prosecutions of anti-Semitic hate crimes conducted by the DOJ, and the other efforts undertaken by DOJ to combat anti-Semitic hate crimes.

Lastly, this bill will remove the 10-year maximum penalty for federal hate crimes convictions if the offender has at least one prior conviction for a state or federal hate crime felony.

 

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