Attorney General William Barr told a small gathering of Jewish leaders in Brooklyn on Tuesday he planned to step up Justice Department efforts to combat a rising tide of anti-Semitism.
“This morning I am putting out a written directive to all U.S. attorneys offices, and it will require each office to initiate, or to reinvigorate if they already have taken this action, their relationship and outreach to the Jewish communities in their district,” Barr said, The Epoch Times reported.
“As part of this, I want each U.S. attorney’s office to provide a point of contact for reporting hate crimes to their respective offices,” he added.
Allen Fagin, executive vice president and chief professional officer of the Orthodox Union, who attended the meeting, praised the Trump administration’s efforts.
“Knowing that our government authorities are committed to dealing with these incidents as vigorously and comprehensively as they possibly can is itself an enormously important step and an important message,” he told The Epoch Times.
He noted that Barr made it clear “loudly and unequivocally” that, from the highest levels of the administration, anti-Semitism would not be tolerated in the U.S., even as anti-Semitic incidents have continued in New York into the new year
“It was important to the community sense of well-being … and provided an enormous level of comfort, for which there was great gratitude,” Fagin.
New York City’s Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea has noted that anti-Semitic crimes jumped 21 percent last year.
In December alone, at least 13 anti-Semitic attacks were reported in New York.
Jews are the most frequently-targeted religious group, with Muslims coming in second, CBS News reported in November 2018, citing FBI data.
“Religious-based hate crime comprised about 20 percent of the total. The FBI data shows Jewish people and institutions were most frequently targeted, accounting for 58.1 percent of religious-based hate crime incidents. Muslims were the second most frequent target, at 18.6 percent,” the news network reported.