Noting the recent surge of anti-Semitic activities across the nation, including more than 160 bomb threats to Jewish institutions in 37 states, on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., announced he was joining the Bipartisan Taskforce to Combat Anti-Semitism.
Buchanan, who co-chairs the Florida delegation, is one of the more prominent congressional representatives from the Sunshine State, sitting on the House Budget and the Ways and Means Committees. On Thursday, he explained why he was joining the taskforce.
“I’m deeply troubled by anti-Semitic activity across the country and in my home state,” Buchanan said. “These growing threats against the Jewish faith cannot be tolerated. A bipartisan response is crucial to address this alarming rise in anti-Semitic acts.”
Buchanan noted that his own district was impacted with the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee beefing up its security.
“Congress must be clear: attacks against the Jewish faith are unacceptable,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan has been active on the issue, signing on congressional letters to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBIs) urging them to investigate the bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers.
The congressman’s efforts won the applause of a prominent leader of his district’s Jewish community.
“In this frightening time with growing anti-Semitism in the United States, we are proud to be able to thank our local congressman, Vern Buchanan, for joining in this bipartisan effort to work towards ensuring the safety of the Jewish Community,” said Howard Tevlowitz, the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.
The taskforce defines its mission as working “to ensure that Congress plays an integral role in condemning anti-Semitism and spearheading initiatives that promote tolerance worldwide...to serve as a forum for educating members on this distinct form of intolerance and to engage with the administration, foreign leaders and civil society organizations to share best practices and collaborate on solutions to rebuff this systemic problem” and working to “promote Holocaust remembrance in concert with exploring innovative ways to teach tolerance and confront hate.”
The group was co-founded back in 2015 and was relauched last month. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, are two of the co-chairs of the task force. Other co-chairs include Republican U.S. Reps. Kay Granger of Texas, Peter Roskam of Illinois and Chris Smith of New Jersey and Democratic U.S. Reps. Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey of New York and Marc Veasey of Texas. More than 100 members of Congress from both parties had been part of the task force over the past two years.