House passes bill to help protect European Jews

House passes legislation urging United States and Europe to help keep Jews safe amid growing anti-Semitism.

Ben Ariel ,

Anti-Semitic graffiti in France
Anti-Semitic graffiti in France

The United States House of Representatives has unanimously passed legislation urging the United States and European governments to take key steps to help keep Jewish communities safe, in the wake of the recent upswing in violent anti-Semitic attacks in several European nations.

The legislation, which was approved on Tuesday by a vote of 418-0, was introduced by Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Chris Smith (NJ).

“The number of violent anti-Semitic attacks has increased from 100 to 400 percent in some European countries since 2013,” said Rep. Smith, who co-chairs the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism.

“The murders in Paris, Copenhagen, and elsewhere reminded us that there are those who are motivated by anti-Semitism and have the will to kill,” he added.

H. Res. 354 calls on the U.S. Administration to encourage European governments, law enforcement agencies, and intergovernmental organizations to formally recognize and partner with Jewish community groups to strengthen crisis prevention, preparedness, mitigation, and responses related to anti-Semitic attacks.

“This resolution calls for the United States Government to work with our European allies on specific actions that are essential to keep European Jewish communities safe and secure,” said Smith. “It is based on consultations with the leading experts who are working directly with these communities.”

The legislation was endorsed by leading Jewish community groups including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Federations of North America, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Orthodox Union, the Secure Community Network, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

A senior European Union official recently warned of rising anti-Semitism in Europe as attacks and threats against Jews continue in EU member countries.

As well, the European Jewish Congress recently released a damning report revealing a spike in anti-Semitism throughout Europe

The resolution was approved on the same day that the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution condemning anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian Authority.

World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder praised the House of Representatives on Wednesday for “standing behind the Jewish people” in unanimously approving both resolutions.

“With these two important resolutions, the House of Representatives has sent a resounding message that the United States will not tolerate anti-Semitism or violence,” Lauder said. “The wave of terror crashing down on Israel must be stopped. The heinous attacks that plagued Europe in the last year must never be repeated. I urge both the Palestinian Authority and European governments to heed this call to reason and stop the incitement.”