Airmont, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today hosted a roundtable at Ramapo Town Hall in Rockland County to speak out against anti-Semitism following the horrific attack in Monsey. She heard directly from religious and community leaders, elected officials, and advocates on Saturday’s attack in Monsey, as well as other recent attacks on the Jewish community. She discussed ways to stop anti-Semitism and protect the Jewish community, calling for more funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program and support for the Never Again Education Bill, which provides funding for Holocaust education.
Below are Senator Gillibrand’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you to everyone for joining me.
We are gathered today in the wake of the horrific attack on the Jewish community here in Monsey.
There are few things more heinous than attacking worshippers as they celebrate their traditions, culture, and values.
It is antithetical to our values as New Yorkers.
We can attribute our state’s strength and vibrancy to its many diverse communities.
The ability of any New Yorker, and any American, to worship freely and without fear of violence is an unshakeable tenet of our state and our country.
But over the last few years, we have witnessed far too many attacks on Jewish communities in our state, across our country, and around the world.
In 2018, there were nearly 2000 anti-Semitic attacks in the United States.
That is the third-highest number of attacks since 1970 and twice as many attacks as in 2015.
And in New York City, anti-Semitic crimes have jumped by 21 percent in the last year.
These numbers are deeply disturbing and entirely unacceptable.
Today, I was honored to sit with community leaders in Monsey and Rockland County to hear from them about solutions that would help protect and support their families and communities.
I am dedicated to working with our Jewish communities to combat and prevent anti-Semitic violence across our state.
One of the ways we must do that is by continuing to fight for funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, or NSGP.
This program provides funding to improve security for nonprofits like synagogues, churches, and mosques that are at high risk for terror attacks.
I have fought for increases in this funding for years, and just a couple of weeks ago, I worked to secure $90 million in funding for the NSGP for 2020.
Importantly, this funding will be accessible to non-urban communities here in Rockland for only the third year ever.
In 2018, I fought to secure expansion of the NSGP program so that nonprofits in non-urban areas are able to apply for these important grants.
Congress just approved $40 million of funding for these non-urban communities for 2020.
I will continue to make this funding a priority going forward, so that our communities can be more safe.
And my office will work with our neighbors to ensure they know how to apply and secure this vital tool.
But the fact of the matter is, we need to do more to protect our Jewish communities and combat anti-Semitism at its root.
That is why I have been a champion of the Never Again Education Bill which would provide funding for Holocaust education.
We must fight to pass this bill because knowledge is the key to combatting hate and violence.
However, too many communities are suffering.
That is why I am here today talking to my constituents, to community leaders, to the Jewish community – to try to find new and more comprehensive ways we can fight for safer and more inclusive communities for all New Yorkers.
I have always been proud to stand with the Jewish Community and have been blessed to be included in their joyous celebrations in the past.
And I will forever stand with the community through those joyous times and will share in their grief through these devastating ones.
I won’t stop fighting until all New Yorkers can worship and live without prejudice and violence and with inclusion and acceptance.