Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), author of the Never Again Education Act, organized a group of elected officials and religious and community leaders to join together on March 17th outside of Asphalt Green’s Upper East Side campus to condemn anti-Semitism in the city and across the country. The gathering was sparked by the most recent evidence of anti-Semitism: a vandal had recently scrawled swastikas on the walls of the Asphalt Green Aquatics and Fitness Center in Manhattan.
“This incident is part of an alarming spike in anti-Semitic attacks, hate crimes, and rhetoric throughout New York City and our nation,” noted Congress Member Maloney, adding “There is no place for anti-Semitism or hatred of any kind in our city. Together, through events like this, and by creating the wonderful, multicultural community we have in NYC, we stand up against bigotry in all its forms. In our fight to combat hate and anti-Semitism, we must be proactive, and not just reactive, which is why I introduced HR943, the Never Again Education Act, to support Holocaust education in all schools across this country so that the next generation of leaders can learn the horrific consequences of anti-Semitism, bigotry and hate. I will continue to work with the local community here in NYC and with my colleagues in Congress to eliminate hate in all its forms.”
“As a Holocaust survivor, I would like to thank my friend Carolyn Maloney and all of you for not remaining silent in the face of anti-Semitism, a cancer that has metastasized and become widespread,” said Rabbi Arthur Schneier, senior rabbi of Park East Synagogue, and president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. “As we stand together, let us pray in solidarity for the mourning families and those injured in the attack against two mosques in New Zealand. Men and women should not have to risk their lives to pray in their respective houses of worship. Whenever a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple is attacked it brings back memories of witnessing the desecration of graves, and my synagogue set on fire in my hometown in Vienna on Kristallnacht, November 10, 1938. Dehumanization and stigmatization of Jewish dual loyalty and conspiracy led to the burning of synagogues and the burning of my own family in the crematoria at Auschwitz. Hatred of the Jew is a cancer in society that fuels other hatred. At this critical time, we urge governments to increase protection of houses of worship and religious sites, the jugular veins of faith in every community.”
Similar statements of solidarity were also expressed by Rev. Al Sharpton, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis, Mark Weitzman, director of Government Affairs from Simon Wiesenthal Center, Imam Qazi Qayyoom, founder of the Anti-Terrorism Awareness Unit of the Muhammadi Community Center of Jackson Heights, NYS Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Members Dan Quart and Rebecca A. Seawright, Council Members Ben Kallos and Keith Powers, Charles Temel, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz of Kehilath Jeshurun, Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, senior rabbi of Temple Shaaray Tefila and Rabbi Andrue Kahn, assistant rabbi of Congregation Emanu- El of the City of New York.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have spiked roughly 60 percent between 2016 and 2017. Just a few months ago, we witnessed the deadliest attack on American Jews in our nation’s history, with 11 worshippers murdered while praying at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Hate groups have surged by 30% across the country in recent years, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. By mid-February 2019, there were 55 hate crimes reported in New York City, an increase of 72% over the same time last year. Anti-Semitic crimes made up almost two-thirds of those reports. In New Zealand on March 15th, a man opened fire on worshippers in two mosques, killing 49 people, including small children as they were praying.
Maloney has introduced the Never Again Education Act (HR.943) to support Holocaust education programs throughout the country. She has also voted to approve the recent resolution in the US House of Representatives against anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate.