US Leaders Speak Against Anti-Semitism after Wave of Attacks

Israeli Pres. Rivlin & NY Gov. Cuomo at Yad Vashem. Photo courtesy of Mark Neiman (GPO)

Anti-Semitic attacks happen many places around the world, including the United States, but a new wave of incidents in America has caught the attention of some the nation’s most powerful leaders—from President Donald Trump to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The top state official from New York was visiting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on Sunday at Israeli Holocaust museum Yad Vashem and took the opportunity to decry the latest attacks against Jews in his nation.

“In the United States now we have had a rash of anti-Semitism, over 100 acts of anti-Semitism, and I am sad to say also in my state, the state of New York. It is disgusting, it is reprehensible, it violates every tenet of the New York State tradition,” said Cuomo in comments published by Rivlin’s office. The strong words come just days after President Trump spoke against attacks in his first official speech to Congress.

“Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries… remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” said Trump last week, according to a transcript of his comments posted to the White House website.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Rivlin both expressed gratitude at the support from the American leadership. Netanyahu, in comments from his office prior to Cuomo’s latest comments, thanked Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their “strong stance in condemning anti-Semitism.”

“World leaders need to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism wherever it is found,” said Netanyahu last week. “….This is what we expect too from European leaders, most of them have done it and this is what we must demand from governments around the world because Jews around the world should not live in fear.”

Rivlin, meanwhile, thanked President Trump and Vice President Pence as well, noting in his comments on Sunday that “we are deeply touched by Vice President Pence who went and gave a hand—and a voice—in fixing the broken gravestone.”

Speaking to Cuomo on Sunday, Rivlin thanked him for the “clear and powerful message” he sent against anti-Semitism. “Your arrival to Israel at this time is an extremely important signal that the US people and government will not let anti-Semitism win…. The fact that so many Christians and Muslims, came to aid the Jewish communities sends the clearest message against racism and hatred. It is a sign of great hope and civil courage.”

Cuomo, meanwhile, highlighted in his comments efforts in New York to combat anti-Semitism. He said they have formed a special police unit and posted rewards to deal with the hate crime.

“To the people of Israel, I say that these acts of anti-Semitism will not be tolerated, New York State has reacted aggressively with extraordinary measures,” said Cuomo. “…We have made it clear that there will be no tolerance for these acts of anti-Semitism.”

Speaking at the Israeli museum that honors those murdered by the Nazis, Rivlin emphasized that history teaches how to approach the present. “There is one lesson from the Holocaust: Never Again. Jews must be safe wherever they are in the world, especially, and specifically, in the United States. Let us see none of this again.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, March 5, 2017)


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