Two weeks ago, I attended the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s national commemoration of the Days of Remembrance. This annual event unites members of Congress and survivors in a moving ceremony in the U.S. Capitol; we pause together to remember the millions of innocent men, women, and children who perished in the Holocaust.
On the same day, terribly troubling news of an outrageous act of anti-Semitic vandalism at the Congregation Sons of Israel in Nyack broke. The synagogue’s Holocaust Memorial Day display, created with the help of Hebrew school students, was destroyed, just a few hours after the start of Yom HaShoah. This horrendous incident came mere weeks after racially charged epithets, including swastikas and nooses, were found scribbled across dorm room walls at Purchase College.
I am confident that local authorities can quickly investigate who is responsible for such despicable behavior, and I pray that as a community we will stand together in the face of such intolerance. While we must be assured that we solidly outnumber those who espouse evil, these events, and increasing incidents of anti-Semitism around the world, remind us that we must not be deterred or distracted from recommitting ourselves to the meaning of the words “never again.”
That’s why I recently cofounded the bipartisan congressional taskforce for combating anti-Semitism. Just last week, ambassadors from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom joined members of Congress for a discussion on the recent spike in verbal and physical anti-Semitic threats in Europe. The taskforce will continue to provide a legislative platform to denounce anti-Semitic incidents, evaluate current law enforcement efforts, promote Holocaust education, and make recommendations on confronting hatred around the world. I am very proud that we already have 40 House members committed to joining these initiatives.
As one of the most senior Jewish members of Congress, these efforts are close to my heart. And as the current Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee as well as its Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, I am working hard to ensure the United States is leading the world in promoting human rights and religious freedom.
From protecting synagogues, schools, and homes in our own community against anti-Semitism and bigotry, to ensuring the rights of Jews and other minorities to live and worship freely around the world, let us come together to combat intolerance and injustice so that the darkest chapter in human history will never be repeated.