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Public Statements


Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DEUTCH. I thank my friend from New York (Ms. Meng). I appreciate very much your dedicating this hour to this important topic. I appreciate your leadership. I am proud to be here with you. I am proud to be here with my friend and my neighbor from Florida (Ms. Wasserman Schultz), a powerful and eloquent spokeswoman on these issues that means so much not just to the Jewish community but to all of America.

And I am glad to be here with you to condemn the increase of anti-Semitism around the world.

Anti-Semitism isn't a new issue faced by Jews. For centuries, Jews have been targeted, persecuted, sometimes by their governments, sometimes by their neighbors, used as scapegoats for economic downturns and disasters, and commonly accused of being disloyal to their home country.

But this hatred, unfortunately, is far from gone. It continues in a range of manifestations, from Holocaust denial to suspicion of Jewish influence over international affairs and, tragically, even in the shooting of innocent Jews.

In recent days, we have seen a new face on this age-old bigotry. We are seeing demonstrations around the world that claim to be protesting Israel's actions against Hamas but too easily and far too often, political opposition to Israel's policies and actual hatred toward Jews are conflated and are indistinguishable.

It is clear, unfortunately, that many people are using the current conflict, a facade of anti-Zionism, or anti-Israel sentiment, as a thin veil to cover up a much more deep-seated hatred toward Jews.

Let me be clear. It moves far beyond a political statement when your intention is to incite--incite violence and to incite violence against Jewish targets especially.

Since the military operation began on July 8, over 100 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported in the United Kingdom alone. On July 18, four teenagers assaulted a rabbi in Gateshead, and separately, in Belfast, a synagogue was damaged when bricks were thrown through the windows.

France has also experienced a significant number of incidents across the country. In Sarcelles, a kosher store was the target of a Molotov cocktail, and last month, two Jews were sprayed with teargas.

In Paris, two synagogues were attacked on July 13 while the mob chanted ``death to the Jews.'' In Toulouse, Molotov cocktails were thrown at a Jewish community center, but thankfully, the attacker missed the target. Particularly in Toulouse, these incidents evoke memories of the awful shooting that happened 2 years ago when three Jewish children and a teacher were shot and killed at a Jewish day school.

In Germany, long touted--appropriately so--for its extensive protective policies against anti-Semitism, Jews are witnessing anti-Semitic slogans and chants that now seem so out of date and out of place.

Only a few days ago, a Jewish man wearing a yarmulke was assaulted on the streets in Berlin and hit in the face. In Essen, a group of anti-Israel protesters, reportedly on their way to attack a synagogue, were arrested for conspiracy to commit a crime--and the statements, the screaming, in Frankfurt, ``You Jews are beasts;'' in Paris, ``Death to the Jews;'' Gelsenkirchen, Germany, chants of ``Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.''

All over the world, not just statements, but the vitriol found on social media as well is not only abhorrent, it is chilling, but these incidents, as my colleagues have described, are not taking place only abroad.

Just this past weekend, as my friend from Florida related, a synagogue in her district was vandalized with the words ``Hamas'' and swastikas spray-painted on the front column. Nearby, a Jewish family woke up to find one of their cars completely covered in eggs, and on another car was written ``Jew'' and ``Hamas.''

Yesterday, outside my own office in Boca Raton, Florida, during a rally, a few angry individuals screamed, ``Throw the Jews into the sea.''

A former employee of mine recently posted a story of an occurrence that happened to him last weekend. He said:

Today, I was walking home alone from synagogue, minding my own business. When I got to the crosswalk, I waited for the light to turn, so I could cross safely. While waiting, a car pulled up in front of me where a young man rolled down the window and yelled, ``Jew, Hitler was right,'' and then drove off.

I remind you this was not at a rally. I was wearing a yarmulke and was walking from synagogue, and I was enjoying Shabbat.

There are many more examples domestically, including a Jewish summer camp in California where graffiti was found that read, ``Jews equal killers,'' and ``Jews are children killers.'' It is unacceptable that radical groups have used the conflict between Israel and Hamas as pretext for their own anti-Semitism.

Last month, I proudly joined my colleagues in a letter to Secretary Kerry, urging the State Department's continued focus on combating anti-Semitism worldwide. I applaud the statements of condemnation by European leaders, including those in France, in Germany, and Italy, and their stated commitment to ensuring the safety of their own communities is to be admired, but there is more that needs to be done to rid societies of this baseless hatred toward Jews.

A number of Jewish leaders in the U.S., Europe, and Israel have expressed serious concern about the rise in the number of incidents in hate speech and violence, and many believe that this animosity has risen to the worst level seen since the Holocaust.

We must continue to speak out on these issues, which is why I am so grateful to have this opportunity tonight. We have to use this opportunity to educate and to combat anti-Semitism in all of its forms.

When we combat anti-Semitism, we stand not just against hatred for the Jews, we stand against hatred, and it affects not just the Jews, but when we stand against anti-Semitism and we speak out against hatred, ultimately, every minority group that is the target of hatred--every one of those groups benefits from our willingness to speak out.

I am glad to have that opportunity to do that here on the floor tonight, and, with that, I, again, would like to thank my friend, Ms. Meng, for bringing us together today.


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