Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Joins Taskforce to Stop Anti-Semitism

Mar 16, 2017
Press Release
Condemns Threats Targeting Jewish Community

Over 150 Bomb Threats Nationally Since January

WASHINGTON – Citing a recent wave of anti-Semitic threats and vandalism across the country, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced today he has joined a bipartisan congressional taskforce aimed at combating anti-Semitism.

Since January there have been 161 bomb threats made to Jewish institutions in 37 states, including Jewish community centers, schools and synagogues, according to The Anti-Defamation League. Other troubling incidents have included Jewish cemeteries being vandalized and tombstones overturned as well as swastikas being carved or spray-painted in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods, including Miami Beach and outside of Boca Raton.

The congressional taskforce denounces anti-Semitic incidents and evaluates current law enforcement efforts to fight back against the problem.

“I’m deeply troubled by anti-Semitic activity across the country and in my home state,” Buchanan said. “These growing threats against the Jewish faith cannot be tolerated. A bipartisan response is crucial to address this alarming rise in anti-Semitic acts.”

The Bipartisan Taskforce to Combat Anti-Semitism also promotes Holocaust remembrance and addresses and confronts hateful acts around the world. Last Congress, the Taskforce – which was comprised of 100 members from both parties – held briefings with European ambassadors, victims of anti-Semitism, Jewish organizations and government officials including the Special Envoy for Combating anti-Semitism at the State Department.

This recent vile wave of acts against the Jewish community has even hit South Florida, where bomb threats have forced evacuations at several JCC locations, including Orlando and Tampa. In February, the Israeli consulate in Miami also received a phoned-in bomb threat, prompting the police and a bomb squad to search the building before declaring it safe.

“Congress must be clear: attacks against the Jewish faith are unacceptable,” Buchanan said.

In Buchanan’s district, the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee increased its level of security as a precaution at its campus in Sarasota, according to a Bradenton Herald report.

“In this frightening time with growing anti-Semitism in the United States, we are proud to be able to thank our local Congressman, Vern Buchanan, for joining in this bipartisan effort to work towards ensuring the safety of the Jewish Community,” said Howard Tevlowitz, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.

Buchanan recently joined his colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to the heads of the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigations urging their agencies to investigate bomb threats against JCCs and hold the perpetrators accountable.