CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — On Monday, religious and law enforcement leaders gathered in Charleston to tackle the problem of antisemitism head-on.
There’s been a big spike in antisemitic incidents in the U.S. ever since the war between Israel and Hamas began.
Experts say that crimes against Jews always increase around Jewish holidays, and when there is violence in the Mideast.
The war may be happening in Israel and Gaza, but there is related violence around the world, including the U.S.
The FBI says there is a 400% increase in antisemitic violence, threats, and vandalism in the U.S. compared to this time in 2022.
The U.S. Attorney, along with the FBI, and state and local law enforcement gathered at the B’nai Jacob synagogue in Charleston and met with community faith leaders who’ve also seen an uptick in anti-Jewish remarks, especially online.
All are urging caution, and add if you “see something, say something!”
“We’re seeing events happening on college campuses. Things of that nature, so I think the fact that we’re doing this now to make the community aware of it, so it can be better prepared to report if they see any signs of antisemitism in their community,” said Will Thompson, U.S. Attorney, for the Southern District of West Virginia
“Recently, we’ve had to have security. You cannot get in without being buzzed in. Whenever there is a major holiday we have law enforcement coming,” said Rabbi Victor Urecki, B’nai Jacob Synagogue.
Participants learned there are nine known hate groups and anti-government groups operating in West Virginia. In August, a West Virginia man named Hardy Lloyd pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. He posted threatening messages to jurors and witnesses during the case of the man who killed 11 people inside Pittsburgh’s “Tree of Life Synagogue”, back in 2018.
There are four active synagogues in West Virginia, and police have added extra patrols near them.