Wasserman Schultz, Fitzpatrick Lead Bipartisan Push for Appropriators to Fund Fight Against Antisemitism

Washington, D.C. –Today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25), founder and co-chair of the Interparliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism, and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, authored a letter to top House and Senate appropriators requesting funding to implement the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, in response to an unprecedented increase in hostility toward the Jewish community amid Israel’s war against Hamas.

“We hope that the strong bipartisan and stakeholder support for the President’s plan to reverse the spread of hatred will be reflected in our nation’s budget.…Congress must step up and deliver funding to support the American Jewish community.”

The letter was signed by a total of 51 bipartisan members, including Wasserman Schultz and Fitzpatrick as well as Reps. Gabe Amo, Jake Auchincloss, Don Bacon, Suzanne Bonamici, Shontel Brown, Vern Buchanan, Kathy Castor, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Yvette Clarke, Gerald Connolly, Angie Craig, Donald Davis, Lloyd Doggett, Lois Frankel, Maxwell Frost, Daniel Goldman, Jenniffer González-Colón, Josh Gottheimer, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Derek Kilmer, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Greg Landsman, Barbara Lee, Susie Lee, Ted Lieu, Nicole Malliotakis, Kathy Manning, Lucy McBath, Grace Meng, Marcus Molinaro, Jared Moskowitz, Jerrold Nadler, Jimmy Panetta, Dean Phillips, Jamie Raskin, Patrick Ryan, Maria Salazar, Janice Schakowsky, Bradley Schneider, Terri Sewell, Darren Soto, Haley Stevens, Eric Swalwell, Ritchie Torres, David Trone, Juan Vargas, Marc Veasey, Susan Wild, and Nikema Williams.

The letter, addressed to Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-ME), as well as House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), is supported by the ADL, the American Jewish Committee, Jewish on Campus, and Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.

The letter highlights a range of activities mentioned in the National Strategy, including the Education Department’s enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which protects Jewish students and faculty from campus discrimination, Nonprofit Security Grants to safeguard synagogues and Jewish organizations, and prevention and prosecution of hate crimes by the Department of Justice.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to protecting American Jews from harm,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “The National Strategy provides a roadmap for how government, interfaith leaders, and community members can respond to antisemitism flourishing in our schools, our streets, and our social media feeds. If we fail to provide resources to these objectives, the result will be more pain and devastation for the Jewish community.”

“Antisemitism has no place in America, period. The rise of antisemitism on college campuses and in public spaces after Hamas’ brutal, unprovoked attack on Israel is disturbing,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick, Co-Chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combatting Antisemitism. “I’m proud to lead this bipartisan letter to House and Senate appropriators urging them to prioritize funding for the national strategy to combat antisemitism. Congress must stand with the Jewish community in the face of the vile antisemitism that is plaguing our nation.”

In addition to her membership in the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, Rep. Wasserman Schultz is a co-chair of the Congressional Latino-Jewish Caucus and the Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations. The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Chair Murray, Vice Chair Collins, Chair Granger, and Ranking Member DeLauro,
As you enter into negotiations to reconcile House and Senate Fiscal Year 2024 spending measures, we write to urge robust funding to implement the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. We hope that the strong bipartisan and stakeholder support for the President’s plan to reverse the spread of hatred will be reflected in our nation’s budget.

Antisemitism is on the rise. Last year, the Anti-Defamation League tracked 3,697 antisemitic incidents, from propaganda to bomb threats to armed assault, the highest number on record — a mark that has been eclipsed three times in the past five years. The FBI documented a 37% increase in antisemitic hate crimes in 2022. Antisemitism has become commonplace on college campuses, with many Jewish students fearing that they will be targeted for discrimination.

The rise of antisemitism has been accelerated by digital platforms that profit from hateful content, with 85% of Jewish young adults reporting firsthand experience with online antisemitism, according to the American Jewish Committee. All of this took place prior to Hamas terrorists’ horrific assault on Israelis, which has led to even more prevalent antisemitic conspiracy theories, disinformation, and incitement of violence in our country and around the world. ADL preliminary data indicates that following the October 7 massacre by Hamas, incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault increased by 388 percent.

In response to these alarming statistics, President Biden presented a comprehensive blueprint for how our government and society can eradicate antisemitism, and subsequently ordered all relevant federal agencies and departments to apply Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to curb discrimination against Jews. Congress must step up and deliver funding to support the American Jewish community.

We urge you to provide funding in excess of the President’s request for the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which is on the front lines of the fight against antisemitism and plays a central role in enforcing Title VI protections for students and faculty. Education is a powerful tool for preventing hate from taking root, but these efforts cannot succeed in an environment where antisemitism is tolerated. We also strongly support funding for programs that provide America’s public schools with resources to teach K-12 students about historic and modern antisemitism, the Holocaust, and the positive contributions of Jewish Americans.

We strongly recommend including funding in excess of the President’s request for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which offsets the cost of physical security enhancements for religious, educational, and nonprofit community institutions, including Jewish organizations. Synagogues and schools have been targeted with vandalism, destruction, and violent attacks by extremists who hold Jews collectively accountable for Israel’s actions, striking fear into congregations and civil society leaders. We are grateful that both chambers of Congress have supported this program and we share the President’s desire for updates to improve access.

In addition to defending Jewish spaces, we must work together to provide state and local law enforcement with the capacity to bring an end to surging hate crimes against Jews. An important part of this work is fully funding Department of Justice grants dedicated to monitoring, preventing, and prosecuting hate crimes so we can protect our communities from being victimized by offenders who might otherwise avoid consequences.

As digital platforms allow hate to spread without regard for borders, we also emphasize our support for efforts to advance the global fight against antisemitism in the State Department, led by the Offices of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism and the Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues.

We ask that you fund these critical programs at the appropriate levels to demonstrate to the American people that Congress is united and unequivocal in its dedication to the fight against antisemitism.