Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas joined leaders in New York to discuss a rise in antisemitic hate crimes.
His speech before the Orthodox Union highlighted that 63% of religious hate crimes in the U.S. in 2021 were motivated by antisemitism. He added that there was a 34% increase in antisemitic crimes last year.
“Our United States Department of Justice is fully dedicated to the prosecution of hate crimes. I and others will be engaging with investigators and prosecutors in cities and states across the country – with city attorneys, district attorneys, state attorneys general and others – to ensure that violent acts of antisemitism and other forms of hate are addressed at every level, to the fullest extent of the law,” Mayorkas said.
Mayorkas noted the anxiety the Jewish community has long felt.
“As a child, I did not have regular sleepovers with friends, and I didn’t go to sleep-away camps like many of my friends did,” he said. “The horror of the Holocaust that my mother lived through – that most of her family did not survive – defined my mother’s fear of her young children being away from home, and her frame of mind that hatred of Jews can mean violence even in what one thinks are the safest of places.”
The rise has been particularly stark in New York City. The city reported 195 incidents of hate crimes directed at the Jewish population from January through September 2022. During the first nine months of 2021, there were 141 incidents reported.
“After decades of hard-won progress, tamping down antisemitism in America, we have now experienced a dramatic resurgence in the last few years,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is also a Jewish resident of Brooklyn. “Not only slurs, not only graffiti, and threats, all of which are abhorrent and unacceptable, but also physical violence against our Jewish brothers and sisters. Sometimes tragically deadly.”