In the wake of the hostage crisis at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, the ADL is calling on Congress to double the allocated funding for a program that provides non-profits, including Jewish schools and synagogues, with financial assistance to increase security.
Bolstering the federal money given to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program is essential with “threats against synagogues and other Jewish institutions arguably at an all-time high,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.
“It is imperative that the federal government provides appropriate levels of funding to mitigate the threat,” Greenblatt said. “As we saw in Texas, it is urgently critical for Congress to increase funding to protect these non-profit organizations from future acts of terrorism or hate-motivated violence.”
Noting that it has long supported an increase in funding to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, the ADL said that the money is needed to “protect soft targets from potential acts of terrorism.”
In 2021, the House approved $360 million for the program for the 2021 fiscal year, increasing it from $90 million the previous year. But in the end an increase to only $180 million was passed by Congress.
The ADL also lamented the fact that the grant program approved funds to less than half the 2021 applicants (1,532 applications out of 3,361), and also averaged less than half of the amount requested by applicants.
The hostage crisis at the Texas synagogue was also a wake up call that President Joe Biden’s antisemitism envoy nominee, Deborah Lipstadt, needs to be confirmed by the Senate, the ADL stressed.
“The Texas hostage crisis was a painful reminder that the threat to the Jewish community in America remains at a significant and lethal level, and that antisemitism continues to be a threat not just in America, but to Jewish communities everywhere,” Greenblatt said. “This is no time for members of the Senate to be playing politics with the antisemitism envoy role, and Dr. Lipstadt is eminently qualified. We urge members of the Senate to act now to demonstrate the urgency of antisemitism and ensure that the State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism is fully staffed to execute its vital work worldwide.”