Press Releases

Combat Antisemitism Movement Urges Action to End Antisemitic Incitement That Created Climate for Texas Synagogue Attack: ‘Words Matter’

January 18, 2022

January 17, 2022 – In the aftermath of the alarming hostage-taking incident at Congregation Beth Israel in Texas during Shabbat services, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) urges civic leaders to stop the widespread antisemitic incitement that fueled Malik Faisal Akram’s attack.

“U.S. President Joseph Biden correctly spotlighted Akram’s ‘antisemitism and anti-Israeli comments’ and insisted that American society ‘won’t tolerate this,’” said CAM CEO Sacha Roytman-Dratwa. “While law enforcement works to ensure synagogues are protected from violence, civic leaders need to make sure Jews are safe from incitement. This requires honestly tackling the ideology and atmosphere of hate that inspired Akram.”

Akram, an Islamist radicalized in England, entered a Jewish institution during Shabbat services to demand the release of terror convict Aafia Siddiqui. Despite receiving her doctorate from Brandeis University, Siddiqui openly propagated vicious conspiracy theories involving Jews, demanded genetic testing on her jury members to determine whether they were “Zionist” and declared her guilty verdict in an American court was “from Israel.”

Even with her history of antisemitic bigotry and direct associations with Al Qaeda, Siddiqui has become a cause célèbre for individuals, and prominent American leaders and organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Adding further fuel to the fire, the head of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area branch also used a recent speech to attack “polite Zionists” and “Zionist synagogues” as “enemies.”

“If we want to ensure Jews are safe from extremist violence — and if we genuinely want to strengthen bonds between Jews and Muslims — then antisemitic tropes propagated by all extemists, including Islamists, must end,” stated Roytman-Dratwa. “Just as the Tree of Life attack was a wake-up call, so is the Congregation Beth Israel attack.”

“Civic leaders, reporters, and faith leaders cannot be afraid to hold accountable propagators of bigotry whether they are on the far-right, the far-left, or radical Islamists,” added Roytman-Dratwa. “If we fail to, violence follows.”

In 2021, the CAM Information Hub tracked 2,215 antisemitic incidents reported in the media worldwide: 19% with far-left motives, 44% with far-right motives, 19% with radical Islamic motives, and 18% with unattributable motives.