CONDEMNING RECENT VANDALISM AND THREATS AGAINST JEWISH INSTITUTIONS IN CHICAGO
(Extensions of Remarks - January 14, 2009)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E85]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




CONDEMNING RECENT VANDALISM AND THREATS AGAINST JEWISH INSTITUTIONS IN 
                                CHICAGO

                                 ______
                                 

                       HON. JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY

                              of illinois

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, January 14, 2009

  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Madam Speaker, I rise to draw my colleagues' 
attention to recent attacks on synagogues and Jewish day schools in my 
district and the Chicagoland area. These acts of intimidation and 
destruction are hate crimes, and I strongly condemn them.
  On Saturday, January 10th, vandals shattered windows, broke down 
doors, and scrawled slogans including ``Death to Israel'' on Jewish 
synagogues and schools in the Chicago area, including Lincolnwood 
Jewish Congregation, Lubavitch Mesivta, Young Israel Synagogue of West 
Rogers Park, Congregation Anshe Motele, and Hanna Sacks Girls High 
School.
  These recent attacks came just over a week after a Molotov cocktail 
was thrown at Temple Sholom in Chicago, Illinois; and a bomb threat 
naming several area Jewish schools was mailed to the Ida Crown Jewish 
Academy. Local police are working with the FBI to determine if these 
attacks are linked.
  Regardless of anyone's political views, attacks against religious 
groups, threats to schoolchildren, and the desecration of places of 
worship are contrary to the principles of religious tolerance upon 
which our country was founded and are serious crimes.
  Similar crimes have been reported in other cities and communities 
across the country. In Knoxville, Tennessee, vandals threw rocks at two 
synagogues, smashing four stained glass windows. Signs supporting Hamas 
and comparing Israeli actions in Gaza to the Holocaust were reportedly 
posted at two synagogues in Irvine, California.
  As a proud member of Chicago's Jewish community, I know that we are 
strong, vibrant, and resilient. The day after the vandalism, synagogue 
members put tarps over windows and returned to classes and other 
activities, while several hundred people gathered to denounce the 
attacks. Both the American Jewish Committee and the American-Arab Anti-
Discrimination Committee have condemned the vandalism, and local and 
national groups, including the Jewish Federation of Chicago and the 
Anti-Defamation League, are working tirelessly in support of our 
community. I am proud that people of all religions in my district have 
come together to decry these hate crimes, just as they have come 
together in the past to condemn attacks on people of other religions.
  Madam Speaker, what we have seen in Chicago in recent days goes 
beyond politically-motivated demonstrations. The intimidation and 
terrorization of the Jewish community is a hate crime, perpetrated 
against these institutions because of their religious identity. I hope 
that these prove isolated incidents and not a pattern of violence. I 
have every confidence that the police and FBI, working with the local 
community, will find and prosecute those responsible for these crimes.

                          ____________________