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Feb 28, 2017 3:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Zeldin Demands Answers Following Rise In Anti-Semitism Across Nation

The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach. BY ERIN MCKINLEY
Feb 28, 2017 4:34 PM

As a Jewish man growing up in culturally diverse New York, U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin said he has never once been the victim of anti-Semitism.

But the recent rise in reported bomb threats targeting Jewish centers across the country, and increased incidents of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and houses of worship nationwide, have prompted Mr. Zeldin—one of two Republicans now serving in the House of Representatives who are Jewish—to take action.

Last week, Mr. Zeldin, co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, penned a letter to FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking an update on steps their organizations are taking to identify and prosecute those who are targeting American-Jewish communities, going as far as calling the incidents acts of “psychological terrorism.”

“I went through kindergarten to 12th grade, college, law school and four years of active duty without experiencing anti-Semitism at all—not once,” said Mr. Zeldin, an Army veteran and a major in the Army Reserves, when reached on Monday.

“I had hoped that this was going to be the first of many generations where our entire religion wasn’t going to be the subject of anti-Semitism,” continued Mr. Zeldin, the only Jewish Republican serving in the House before U.S. Representative David Kustoff of Tennessee was sworn in this January. “But what we have seen over the last few years is a rising tide of anti-Semitism all around the world, including the United States.”

Though the South Fork’s Jewish houses of worship, including the Jewish Center of the Hamptons in East Hampton, Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor and the Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, have thus far been spared, incidents of anti-Semitism across the country have left many locals on edge, according to Rabbi Levi Welton, a former rabbi at the Hampton Synagogue who remains an active member of the East End Jewish community.

“A lot of my parishioners and friends that I speak to on the East End get the feeling that this anti-Semitism is like a canary in the coal mine,” he said. “This type of bigotry and hatred really scares the American-Jewish community.”

Over the past several weeks there have been several incidents of vandalism and threats against Jewish centers, synagogues and cemeteries throughout the country. On Sunday, more than 100 gravestones were destroyed in a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia and that occurred just one week after 150 markers were destroyed at a graveyard in St. Louis. Then on Monday, Jewish centers in at least nine states, including New York, reported receiving bomb threats, including facilities on Staten Island and in Tarrytown, New Rochelle and Plainview.

While some have attributed the sudden spike in incidents targeting Jewish facilities to the start of Donald Trump’s presidency, pointing to his polarizing anti-immigration stance and travel ban targeting mostly Muslim countries, Rabbi Welton commended the president for condemning the anti-Semitic events last week.

However, he did stress that the White House could be more proactive in tracking down those responsible and send a message to those who are considering committing similar crimes.

“This is an opportunity for the White House to come out strong against this form of bigotry and hatred, and take the stand that America is a country where people should feel free to practice any religion they choose without fear,” Rabbi Welton said. “We should come together, whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish, and come out and fight not just in rhetoric but with action.”

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And we demand answers about health care, immigration policy, military spending, the wall, trade agreements, economic growth, job creation, etc., etc., etc., etc.
By johnj (990), Westhampton on Mar 1, 17 9:21 AM
What an absolute joke of a man. A coward with zero shame. Really? First emails and now phone calls? That's what really gets you going, huh Lee?

How about the Islamaphobia? How about good old generic racism? LBGTQ discrimination? When on earth is Lee Zealot going to speak about anything other than Israel and the Jewish faith?

It's sickening, when you consider who funds his campaigns and who he is beholden to. The answer, is, not us, East End. Not us.
By Brandon Quinn (188), Hampton Bays on Mar 1, 17 10:26 AM
2 members liked this comment
And I would hope this goes without saying, but in today's world it's worth stating, that of course I support such an investigation and hope this utter nonsense hatred ends. But selfishly, as Zeldin's ineptitude directly affects me, the fact that he's so invested in this when there are a million bigger issues, like Russia and the whole dissolving of constitutional rights like air, water and not fearing a police state -- bannon likes to call these rights the "administrative state"-- this angers me ...more
By Brandon Quinn (188), Hampton Bays on Mar 1, 17 11:06 AM
First some facts Mr Quinn
Jews are the primary victims of religious hate crimes ,world wide, even with a rise in crimes against Muslims after 9/11.
What is "good old generic racism"?
Why is it ok for a Muslim to complain about Islamophobia but it's not ok for a Jew to complain about anti Semitism ? And remember this ,Iran calls for the destruction of Israel and chants death to America. The fact that you can't see the connection is not surprising.
What is Islamophobia in your opinion? ...more
By Sturgis (572), Southampton on Mar 1, 17 11:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hate crimes have happened at all cemeteries. Our local catholic cemetery was hit recently.
The problem lies in the homes of these kids the do such things. Haven't heard if they were caught and what punishment was handed out.
Our court system needs to get strict. Yes there is bias, but don't limit it to one group...
By knitter (1725), Southampton on Mar 1, 17 12:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Knitter, your comments only perpetuate the notion that Jews are not permitted to be offended and outraged by anti Semitic acts.
Jews are not making this a competition, anti Semites are. Jews don't write in to newspapers to complain that " other religions suffer " when there is a hate crime against a non Jew.
When Lee Zeldin shows support for Israel or Jews he's condemned. This has nothing to do with his good or bad performance as a congressman. Why ? Because when a non Jewish congressperson ...more
By Sturgis (572), Southampton on Mar 1, 17 3:47 PM
I find it unbelievable the "annoyance" that heaven forbid one of our Jewish Congressman actually shows some concern towards anti-semetic acts, he is somehow ignoring everyother issue under the sun. Get a grip Brandon Quinn
By Infoseeker (275), Hampton Bays on Mar 1, 17 4:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
Mr. Zeldin can take all the "action" he wants, but the sad irony is that he has only to look at the words and actions and dogwhistles the man he supported for the highest office in the land has used all these months to stoke the fires of hate. All the permission the haters need. That Jews weren't even mentioned by the WH on Holocaust Observance says everything. That alone a perfect example of trump's covert anti-semitism.
By June Bug (2439), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 1, 17 5:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ha Ha! That is a joke, right?
By Arnold Timer (324), Sag Harbor on Mar 1, 17 9:44 PM
With his small, stupid thinking, the SOB endangers us in the following ways: Against the advice of counter-terror experts and unlike his predecessors who went out of their way to explain why-- insists on the use of the term"radical Islamic terrorism". Endangers our environment by defunding the EPA. Endangers our safety by allowing guns in the hands of the mentally ill. Endangers the planet by defunding the EPA, fostering dirty energy, and refusal to subsidize clean energy. Fosters hatred and ...more
By June Bug (2439), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 1, 17 7:16 PM
Uhhh? He actually is ignoring every other issue under the sun? That's why I'm annoyed. Except Hillarys emails! If it gets him on national tv, he'll talk about it.

The fact is, while an immigrant couple was shot last week with a "get out of my country" attached, Lee Zealot supports Donald Trumps idea to create an entirely new branch of federal law enforcement to profile immigrants.

Real actual violence, responded to with a call to further violate immigrants. But threatening phone ...more
By Brandon Quinn (188), Hampton Bays on Mar 2, 17 10:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
BQ, you have it all figured out, don't you?
By Infoseeker (275), Hampton Bays on Mar 2, 17 10:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
June , here's a better example of covert anti Semitism.
Obama can mention Jews and the Holocaust in the same sentence,all day long. But at the end of the day actions speak louder than words. At the "eleventh hour" of his presidency, he abstained from the UN Israel vote and gives Palestine $221 million.
I wonder , is Abbas putting an addition on his $13 million dollar home? Because anyone with a 1/4 of a functioning brain knows his Arab subjects won't benefit. Wait let me correct that . ...more
By Sturgis (572), Southampton on Mar 2, 17 1:02 PM
News flash: Homeland Security has just said vetting is no predictor of radical behavior. And yes, uttering the words "Islamic radical terrorism" inflames and is a bonafide predictor.
As for Israel, behold the reality:
Imploding the Myth of Israel
Posted on Nov 4, 2013

By Chris Hedges

Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted ...more
By June Bug (2439), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 3, 17 2:41 PM
And make no mistake, the root cause of the attacks on us is because of our support of Israel.
Looks like trouble in River City with trump's disgusting petulant use of the term "IRT" against Mattis' disagreement. But, you know, the asshat knows more than the generals.....
And one more point, trump has no idea of the importance of soft power in the fight against terror. His apparent watering-down of our diplomacy arm is alarming to say the least.
By June Bug (2439), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 3, 17 2:52 PM
Ok June let me see if I'm picking up what you're putting down. America should dump Israel and or severely punish them for defending themselves against a group of people that subjugate women, toss homosexuals off of buildings and refuse to coexist with other religious groups and cultures....and then all terrorism will stop. Interesting.
The unmitigated gall you have calling Trump or anyone else for that matter, anti Semitic.
Soft power? That's even more moronic than calling savage terrorists ...more
By Sturgis (572), Southampton on Mar 4, 17 2:49 PM
Sturgis, you rock! Well said.
By Infoseeker (275), Hampton Bays on Mar 2, 17 3:37 PM
2 members liked this comment
You're all free to run for congress. Until then, you're angry outcasts wallowing in anonymity.
By SlimeAlive (1180), Southampton on Mar 2, 17 4:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
How dare you Brandon Quinn? Anti-Semitism is of real concern to the Jewish Community here on the East End. I have seen article after article in the paper about KKK flyers and the outrage because of fear to the christian undocumented immigrant community, but show concern for the Jewish community and you are a shameful coward. I can assure you the KKK does not care for us jews either. Hate is wrong Period. Stop cherry picking who can and cannot be hated.
By CleanWaters (79), Southampton on Mar 3, 17 1:24 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By LI Consumer (5), Suffolk on Mar 3, 17 3:53 PM
So, June Bug found a Jewish anti-semite to back her theory that it's because of the US support for Israel that 'make no mistake about it, terrorism exists.' YIKES!
By Infoseeker (275), Hampton Bays on Mar 3, 17 7:52 PM
To June
Anti Semites always feel validated when they discover anti Zionist /anti Semitic propaganda written by a Jewish person.

Israel has been fighting this conflict, started by Arabs, since the mid 19th century.
The conflict did not start in 1948 or 1967. Ironically the Arabs are THE only people that can end the conflict. They've had five chances to do that, while simultaneously creating an Arab state, but they refuse over and over again.

No one is suggesting that vetting ...more
By Biba (541), East Hampton on Mar 4, 17 2:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By June Bug (2439), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 9, 17 1:10 PM
to Biba:

Everything that you say in the above comment is STILL a lie, just as it was the first time you said it years ago. Your repetition of that lie a score of more times in the interim doesn't (in the utter absence of FACT) make it more believable.

In FACT, as I have pointed out in the past, Jews lived in peace in the Ottoman Caliphate. It was the rise of Jewish nationalism in the 19th century and its demand that Jews be given thousands of square miles of land belonging to ...more
By highhatsize (4038), East Quogue on Mar 21, 17 12:30 PM
It turns out that the person responsible for the tide of Jewish Community Center bomb threats is a Jew of dual US/Israeli citizenship* and that the Brooklyn Jewish cemetery WASN'T vandalized**.

So much for the bogus report of a "Rise in Anti-Semitism Across Nation".

The reality is that this is but another of the phony stories, based on notional "facts", that appear periodically to keep alive the fiction that Jews are still the victims of bigotry in the United States. They aren't. ...more
By highhatsize (4038), East Quogue on Mar 24, 17 9:39 AM
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser