FBI director: Antisemitism reaching ‘historic level’ in US

(CNN) - FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that antisemitism is reaching “historic levels” in the United States.

“This is a threat that is reaching, in some way, sort of historic levels,” Wray said during a Senate hearing Tuesday. The FBI director said that was in part because “the Jewish community is targeted by terrorists really across the spectrum” including homegrown violent extremists, foreign terrorist organizations, and domestic violent extremists.

“In fact, our statistics would indicate that for a group that represents only about 2.4% of the American public, they account for something like 60% of all religious-based hate crimes,” Wray said of the Jewish American population.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 31. - Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 31. - Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Wray said that the FBI is tackling the rise in antisemitism through a series of law enforcement efforts including joint terrorism task forces, hate crime investigations, and intelligence sharing.

“This is not a time for panic, but it is a time for vigilance,” Wray said addressing public fear over the rise in hate crimes. “We shouldn’t stop conducting our daily lives – going to schools, houses of worship, and so forth – but we should be vigilant.”

“You often hear the expression if you see something, say something – that’s never been more true than now,” Wray said. “And that’s probably partly why the American people are reporting more tips and leads to us, and we’re pursuing those threats and leads as vigorously and responsibly as we can.

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