ADL Welcomes Enactment of Legislation to Address Bomb Threats Against Religious Institutions and Community Centers

New York, NY, September 7, 2018 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed House passage of S. 994, the “Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act of 2018.” The Senate had approved this measure, an amendment to the 1988 Church Arson Prevention Act, earlier this week. 

ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt  issued the following statement: 

We welcome enactment of this important legislation and applaud the strong and effective bipartisan leadership of the sponsors of this legislation – Reps. David Kustoff (R-TN) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) in the House, and Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), to get this bill enacted into law.  We encourage the White House’s to swiftly sign this measure into law.

In the beginning of 2017, more than 150 bomb threats were received by synagogues, day schools, ADL offices, and Jewish Community Centers, traumatizing the community.  Our annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents documented a 57 percent increase in incidents in 2017 – the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking such data in 1979.  Though the more than 150 bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers, schools, synagogues and ADL offices received turned out to be hoaxes, they inspired deep anxiety and concern

Especially at this time, when immigrants, religious minorities, and other marginalized communities in our country are feeling especially vulnerable, enactment of this legislation to provide new investigative and prosecutorial tools for federal law enforcement officials to address the increase in these bias-motivated hate crimes is welcome. 

The federal government has an essential leadership role to play in confronting criminal activity motivated by prejudice and in promoting prejudice reduction initiatives for schools and the community. We strongly believe effective responses to hate violence by public officials and law enforcement authorities can play an essential role in deterring and     preventing these hate crimes.

ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt testified in support of this legislation and other responses to religion-based hate violence at Senate Judiciary Committee hearings last May, shortly after this legislation was introduced. 

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.