February 28, 2017

Kaine Calls On FBI To Fully Investigate Wave Of Anti-Semitic Incidents & Work With Jewish Community On Safety Needs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine wrote to FBI Director James Comey, calling on him to use all necessary FBI resources to investigate the recent wave of anti-Semitic incidents across the United States, including a bomb threat to the Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax County yesterday, and work with Jewish communities to assess and address their safety needs.

“These reports make it even more important that law enforcement entities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, swiftly investigate cowardly acts of hate against vulnerable communities, including the young students of Gesher Jewish Day School,” wrote Kaine. “I hope you may be able to provide some assurance that this recent set of coordinated anti-Semitic attacks are being given the serious attention they deserve.”

The FBI’s annual report on hate crimes reported a seven percent increase from 2015, including a 67 percent rise in crimes against Muslims in 2015. According to Virginia State Police records, anti-Semitic acts are the most common hate crimes motivated by religion in the Commonwealth.

On January 24, 2017, Kaine and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the Combatting European Anti-Semitism Act, legislation to address the troubling trend of anti-Semitism across Europe.

The full text of the letter can be found below:

February 28, 201 

Director James B. Comey, Jr.
FBI Headquarters
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-001

Dear Director Comey,

As you know, a current wave of anti-Semitic incidents has heightened fear and anxiety in Jewish communities nationwide.  In the past week alone, vandals have targeted Jewish cemeteries in Missouri and Philadelphia, while more than 100 bomb threats have been called into Jewish institutions since January.  Just yesterday, the Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, Virginia received a bomb threat, one of 31 similar incidents targeting Jewish Community Centers and schools across the nation in a single day.  I am deeply disturbed by these events and request that you use all necessary FBI resources to investigate these incidents and work with Jewish communities to assess and address their safety needs.

The rise in anti-Semitism follows a general increase of reported incidents of hate crimes against individuals and institutions for their actual or perceived racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual identities.  Your Bureau’s annual report on hate crimes reported a 7 percent increase from 2015, including a 67 percent rise in crimes against Muslims in 2015.  Anti-Semitic incidents ranked highest among hate crimes against religious groups.  Consistent with your report, Virginia State Police records reflect that anti-Semitic acts are the most common hate crimes motivated by religion in the Commonwealth.

This current wave of anti-Semitism and hate crimes coincides with recent reports that the Administration will cut valuable programs at the Department of Justice needed to combat incidents of hate, including the Community Relations Service and the Civil Rights Division. These reports make it even more important that law enforcement entities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, swiftly investigate cowardly acts of hate against vulnerable communities, including the young students of Gesher Jewish Day School.

While I am aware of Bureau policy prohibiting discussion of ongoing investigations, I hope you may be able to provide some assurance that this recent set of coordinated anti-Semitic attacks are being given the serious attention they deserve.  I am in dialogue with affected communities and would like to allay their concerns.

Sincerely,

Tim Kaine

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