Edited by: Fern Sidman
New York Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) sent a letter on Friday to the Department of Justice asking it to investigate what he called New York City’s failure to prosecute anti-Semitic hate crimes, as was reported by JNS.org.
Torres called for the federal investigation in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, according to a report on the Times of Israel web site.
“I am respectfully asking the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to consider investigating New York’s systematic failure to police and prosecute hate crimes and to issue recommendations for reform,” Torres wrote after expressing his concerns about anti-Semitic violence.
“The federal government can no longer stand by passively as anti-Semitic violence goes unchecked and unpunished in America’s largest city,” the congressman continued, according to the JNS.org report.
JNS also reported that in his letter, the Bronx native addressed the rising number of anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City, saying, “Just as alarming as the violence itself has been the government’s deafening inaction.”
The letter referenced a report highlighting that 118 adults have been arrested for anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City since 2018, but only one perpetrator has been convicted and imprisoned.
Democrat Torres represents New York’s 15th Congressional district in the Bronx and is a firm supporter of Jewish communities and Israel, as was reported by TOI.
In the letter, he highlighted statistics from the Anti-Defamation League showing record numbers of anti-Semitic attacks in recent years, and an article from Tablet on the low number of serious punishments for anti-Jewish hate crimes.
The Times of Israel also reported that Jews are consistently the group most targeted in hate crimes in New York City on an annual basis, in per capita and absolute terms, with the Anti-Defamation League reporting a record-high number of incidents last year.
The NYPD has confirmed 149 anti-Jewish hate crimes between the start of the year and June 28, representing an incident every 29 hours on average. TOI reported that the attacks range from violent assaults to racial slurs and property damage, and many more likely go unreported.
In August, the NYPD reported 24 anti-Jewish hate crimes, a 118% jump over the same month last year, the report indicated.
Many of the attacks target visibly identifiable Jews and Jewish targets in Brooklyn, according to the Times of Israel report.
Most of the attacks do not result in serious punishment, drawing the ire of Jewish advocates.TOI also reported that late last month, police announced two arrests for suspected hate crimes against Jews, as Brooklyn community leaders called for bail reform laws that could lead to harsher punishments.
According to a report last week on the Israel National News web site, social media executives gave testimony on Friday to Congress on their platforms’ work to combat online anti-Semitism.
They appeared in front of the first hearing of the Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Anti-Semitism, which contains members from multiple countries including the United States, Canada and Israel, as was reported by INN.
“The repetition of lies and propaganda and the amplification of hate speech to justify or even enable political violence is an old strategy now operating in a massive scale through the power of social media and digital platforms,” chair of the Task Force, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), said, according to UPI.