OU Condemns Surge of Attacks in Recent Days on American Jews; Calls on Leaders of All Sectors to Denounce anti-Semitic Violence

May 20, 2021

Today, the leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, issued the following statement in the wake of the surge of violent attacks perpetrated against American Jews in many communities in recent days:

“The leadership of the Orthodox Union condemns the recent surge of attacks upon American Jews.  These hate crimes have occurred in a wide variety of settings and cities, ranging from a restaurant in Los Angeles where a group of people chanting “Death to Jews” attacked diners; a synagogue in Skokie, Ill. that was vandalized, with a shattered window and a “Free Palestine” sign left behind; a demonstration in Austin, Texas, where a protester carried a sign with a swastika superimposed over the Star of David on the Israeli flag; and midtown Manhattan, where a Jewish passer-by was attacked and bloodied as he walked by pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside the Consulate of Israel.

“This spate of attacks comes as the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza continues to attack Israel with thousands of rockets for a second consecutive week, seeking to destroy the Jewish state, and weeks after a report documenting that anti-Semitism remains at historically high levels in the United States; 2020 marks the third-highest year for incidents against America’s Jews in more than 40 years.

“We call upon leaders of all sectors—political leaders, business leaders, those who lead the media and entertainment industries, and more—to speak out against anti-Jewish violence, just as they would speak out against hate crimes perpetrated against any minority segment of Americans. Rejecting these hate crimes has nothing to do with one’s views of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. People of good will must reject unprovoked violence against American Jews going about their daily activities. Doing this is critical to living together in a civil and diverse democratic society.

“We call on Congress and State governments to take immediate action to address these attacks by increasing the resources available to ensure more synagogues and other Jewish communal institutions can enhance the security of their buildings, and by providing federal and local law enforcement agencies with more resources to thwart faith-targeted violence.”