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Connecticut Lawmakers, Religious Leaders Hold Roundtable On Anti-Semitism

Brian Scott-Smith
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., far left, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaking, and Connecticut Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, D, right, at Thursday's roundtable on anti-Semitism, alongside other lawmakers and religious leaders.

Connecticut officials and faith leaders hosted a security roundtable in the state Thursday, just days after the latest attack against the Jewish community in New York at a rabbi’s home over the weekend.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut convened the meeting and said his own family were deeply affected by the situation.

“My family lit candles for the last night of Hanukkah. I could only imagine the shock and horror of a home invaded by that violence in New York on the seventh night.”

Blumenthal wants more restrictions put on internet and social media companies to stop the spread of hate on their platforms.

“Facebook, Google, Amazon, big tech, very powerful but right now they have a complete immunity for anything appearing, no matter how vile on their platforms. Their view is, we’re the public square, all we do is we provide the platform.”

Blumenthal announced a three-fold increase in federal security grants to protect houses of worship and that he would ask Congress to strengthen hate crime laws in the U.S.

Attendees also discussed the need for better education when it comes to understanding people of different faiths.

Meanwhile on Long Island, a bipartisan group of U.S. representatives want top-ranking national security officials to investigate domestic hate and civil unrest stoked by social media of foreign adversaries.

Democrats Kathleen Rice and Tom Suozzi, and Republican Peter King, sent a letter to the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, CIA and FBI after the rash of anti-Semitic attacks in New York.

They point to data from the FBI that shows hate crimes have increased at least 17% year-over-year since 2017. Their concern is that Russians will use fraudulent social media accounts to “create political intensity through supporting racial groups.”

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.