Eight weeks ago, Hamas terrorists brutally committed the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, reminding the world that hate can become violent in the blink of an eye.

Americans mourning the tragic loss of our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel have not been silent. Together with Congress, we must now match bold words with actions to fight antisemitism and stand with our Jewish neighbors suffering from unfathomable pain and fear.

This week the Faith and Freedom Coalition sent a joint letter to House and Senate leadership, outlining a roadmap to peace and protection of innocent Jews. Signed by more than a dozen of the nation’s most important religious leaders, the letter clearly states that “the people’s representatives in Congress cannot waiver both in combatting antisemitism and in supporting the State of Israel.”

For too long, the Iranian regime has empowered a network of menacing terrorist organizations, including Hamas, with the goal of eradicating the small Jewish State. It is well known that U.S. dollars given to Iran are funneled directly to these terrorist organizations which in turn, inflict unspeakable barbarism upon the Jewish people. For this reason, faith leaders are asking Congress to stop bankrolling Iran and instead propose legislation to fund Israel’s defenses.

To protect Jews from Iran, our letter asks Congress to promptly pass the No Funds for Iranian Terrorism Act, which would forever freeze the $6 billion windfall provided to Iran by the Biden administration as part of the 2023 hostage deal. Congress would also be wise to pass the Countering Hate Against Israel (CHAI) by Federal Contractors Act, bipartisan legislation that would prevent U.S. tax dollars from subsidizing antisemitic boycotts against Israel.

Passing the Maximum Pressure Act would likewise shield Israel from radical Iran-sponsored terrorism by requiring all deals with Iran to be ratified by the Senate.

Outside Israel, rampant antisemitism is wreaking havoc across America. In the aftermath of the October 7 attacks, Jewish American college students have experienced religious persecution and physical violence from pro-Palestinian mobs. Off campus, an elderly man died shortly after a pro-Palestinian protest outside Los Angeles during which he suffered a fatal blow to the head. Recent FBI data reveals that in 2022, more than half of religion-motivated hate crimes were inflicted against Jews, who make up only two percent of the U.S. population.

Congress should immediately take several measures to combat this drastic rise in hate crimes against Jews. Our letter calls on legislators to pass bills that revoke the tax-exempt status of American universities unwilling to fight antisemitism. Congress must also direct the Biden administration to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism during their campus hate crime investigations.

In fact, the Department of Education recently announced that it is launching a Title VI civil rights investigation into Harvard University’s handling of antisemitism earlier this fall when an Israeli student was assaulted by a pro-Palestinian protestor. Investigations such as this must be followed by vigorous oversight from Congress to ensure that the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies “prevent, prosecute, and punish” antisemitism in the United States.

Lastly, faith leaders are urging Congress to protect Jews by “enforcing a broader strategy that degrades Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, bolsters iron-dome defenses, expands normalization agreements among Israel and Arab nations, diminishes Iran’s ability to support terrorist proxies, and forces Qatar to choose between supporting terrorism and remaining a major non-NATO ally.” Indeed, troubling times such as these call for nothing less than fearless action to strengthen the State of Israel.

Our representatives in Washington must unequivocally oppose terrorism and, with their voices and votes, make it unmistakable that the people of Israel can count on their friends in America. Let us pray that these tangible steps outlined by Evangelical, Catholic, and Jewish leaders empower Congress to stand for the triumph of good over evil both at home and abroad.

Tim Head is Executive Director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.

Timothy Head on December 3, 2023

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