Rep. Carolyn Maloney vowed Monday that the federal government will work to curb a spate of vandalism against Jewish cemeteries.
The congresswoman met with Jewish leaders at her Manhattan office to come up with strategies for addressing the recent incidents and said more can be done for protection. The NYPD announced last week that reported anti-Semitic hate crimes rose by 94% in the last 12 months.
Maloney suggested creating a group similar to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, which protects and preserves historical buildings and monuments abroad.
“We help so many cemeteries abroad, why not protect them in America?” Maloney said.
Maloney and the Jewish leaders also proposed beefing up fines against the vandals and increasing tolerance education among public school students. Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis, who was part of the meeting, said such education would go a long way toward fighting bias attacks.
“One of the things we have learned is hatred may start with the Jews, but it does not end with the Jews,” he said.
There were recent vandalism incidents at cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia. Police concluded that vandals did not cause the damage found at a cemetery in Brooklyn over the weekend.