Rosen, Texas Senators Lead and Pass Bipartisan Resolution Condemning Antisemitic Attack on Congregation Beth Israel

Co-Sponsored by More Than Half the Senate, Resolution Passes the Senate Unanimously

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen, co-chair of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, led and passed a bipartisan resolution with both Texas Senators to condemn the antisemitic terrorist attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas on January 15th, 2022.

“This horrifying attack against yet another Jewish congregation was a sad reminder about growing antisemitic violence and hate, and it’s our responsibility to speak out and take action against these troubling incidents,” said Senator Rosen. “That’s why I joined my colleagues from Texas in helping to lead dozens of Senators from both parties to introduce this overwhelmingly bipartisan resolution, and to see the Senate speak with one voice to strongly condemn the attack in Colleyville and call for action to combat antisemitism. We are joining together to denounce the alarming rise in antisemitism in the United States and around the world, and to recognize the first responders whose skill and bravery helped get everyone out safely.”

“The recent terrorist attack targeting Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, is a painful reminder that the historically high level of antisemitism in the United States continues to pose a serious threat to the Jewish community,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. “In the wake of this horrific incident, Congress must take a stand and do everything in its power to protect the Jewish community and all faith communities from hate-based violence. ADL is grateful to Senators Cruz, Cornyn, and Rosen for their leadership in displaying solidarity with the community in Colleyville, reaffirming the commitment of the United States to condemn antisemitism in all of its forms, and protecting the right to freely exercise a person’s religious beliefs in safety and security.”

“We greatly appreciate and strongly support the bipartisan resolution to condemn all forms of antisemitism put forward today by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and John Cornyn (R-TX),” said the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “In the wake of the despicable, antisemitic attack against Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX, the latest in a series of attacks against the Jewish community, it is critical that Congress stands against hate and antisemitism in all its manifestations and reaffirms the fundamental right of all citizens to worship in peace. As it is essential to first define antisemitism in order to combat it whenever and wherever it may appear, the resolution rightly notes that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism is an essential tool to identify the many contemporary forms of antisemitism. We are particularly grateful that the resolution commends the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which has enabled our partner organizations, including the Secure Community Network, to continue its essential work of protecting Jewish communal institutions across the country. Expanding these and similar programs will save lives and remains an integral part of our mission as the organizing body of the American Jewish community.”

The full text  of the resolution can be found below:

Whereas on the afternoon of January 15, 2022, four individuals at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas were taken hostage and held at gunpoint by an armed anti-Semitic terrorist;

Whereas during the hostage standoff, the terrorist echoed the demands of other militant Islamists, including the Islamic State (ISIS), Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s lieutenant and mastermind of many of al Qaeda’s deadliest terror attacks, and others within al Qaeda, that the United States release from federal prison a certain radicalized terrorist known as the “Lady of al Qaeda”;

Whereas the “Lady of al Qaeda” was captured in Afghanistan with handwritten notes about perpetrating a “mass casualty attack” and a list of United States targets that included the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Wall Street and was later convicted of the attempted murder and assault of United States nationals in 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison;

Whereas the hostage situation was resolved due to the quick thinking and bravery of one of the hostages, who threw a chair at the terrorist, allowing the remaining hostages to run to safety and escape from the terrorist;

Whereas the perpetrator targeted the people worshipping at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue because they were Jewish;

Whereas the people of the United States are grateful for the swift action of law enforcement officials and emergency response teams who responded to this vile and anti-Semitic attack;

Whereas Good Shepherd Catholic Community church provided support and housed family members of the worshipers held inside the Synagogue during the 11-hour standoff;

Whereas Pleasant Run Baptist Church offered their thoughts and support during the standoff, and allowed for their parking lot to be used by the media;

Whereas worshipers who were watching the service virtually contacted local law enforcement once they realized there was an incident underway at Congregation Beth Israel; and

Whereas anti-Semitism is a pernicious and offensive form of prejudice that runs contrary to the values of the United States; and

Whereas according to the Anti-Defamation League, in 2020 and 2021, there were 8,366 incidents of extremism or antisemitism in the United States;

Whereas more than half of the religiously motivated hate crimes reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2020 were anti-Jewish hate crimes; 

Whereas Jewish Americans make up about 2 percent of the country’s population but they make up 55 percent of the country’s anti-religious hate crimes;

Whereas the number of anti-Semitic incidents, including assaults, vandalism, and harassment, in the United States have increased over the past decade:

 Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate—

(1)   condemns the anti-Semitic attack at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue of Colleyville, Texas on January 15, 2022;

(2)   expresses gratitude that there was no loss of innocent life and that the hostages were able to escape unharmed and return safely to their loved ones;

(3)   honors the selfless and dedicated service of the law enforcement and emergency response officials who responded to the attack;

(4) condemns anti-Semitism in the United States, and around the world; and

(5) reaffirms the commitment of the United States—

   (A) to condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms;

(B) to protect the right of the people of the United States to freely exercise their religious beliefs; and

(C) to ensure the safety and security of all people of the United States.