The Orthodox Union's Nathan Diamen

“Under-policing” has allowed rising violence against Jews to go unchecked, said security expert Nathan Diament, urging the authorites to be more involved in protecting communities.

By United with Israel Staff

The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism heard from Jewish community experts and academics concerned with the rise of violent anti-Semitic incidences in America, especially against visibly Orthodox Jews, last Wednesday.

Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU), noted that although Jews have faced discrimination in the US for years, only recently has it become violent.

Referencing the array of shootings, stabbings and beatings this past several years against Jews, including the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting massacre, the Monsey machete attack, and the shooting attack in Jersey City, Diament said, “We are under threat of violence as we walk down a city street or enter our synagogues to pray or shop in a supermarket for kosher groceries.”

He quoted from a letter written by George Washington to the Rhode Island Jewish community, in 1790. “May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

Diament said that in the year 2020, “the children of Abraham are afraid as never before.” The most visibly observant Jews are most likely to be targeted in verbal and physical assaults, he added.

Diament, a member of DHS’ Homeland Security Advisory Council Subcommittee for the Prevention of Targeted Violence Against Faith-Based Organizations, shared the Jewish community’s belief that increasing attacks “are an outgrowth of many years of expressions of not only anti-Semitic bias in general but anti-orthodox Jewish bias in particular that have long gone unreported and unrepudiated.”

He specifically called out “multiple towns in New Jersey, Ocean Township, Jackson and Mahwah, whose local leaders sought to use zoning and land-use regulations to try to prevent orthodox Jews from moving into their towns.”

“Under-policing” has allowed rising violence to go unchecked, he said. “[W]e need the police to be in the community protecting people from these assaults.”

Diament ended on a hopeful note, circling back to Washington’s letter.

“We must all join in the effort [to fight anti-Semitism]. For if America slides further into the swamp of anti-Semitism, it means our beloved United States is losing an essential element of its founding identity, to be a beacon of religious freedom in the world,” he concluded.