In wake of Hanukkah attack, Rep. Scalise decries anti-Semitism

By Rishika Dugyala

Rep. Steve Scalise, discussing Saturday‘s attack on a Hanukkah celebration in New York state, said a government response should be quick and direct: “Anti-semitism is wrong.”

“Too often in Washington, you see people trying to figure out somebody's motives instead of just saying it's wrong. … Call it out for what it is,” The Louisiana Republican said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Anti-Semitism is wrong.”

On Saturday night, a man stabbed and wounded five people at a rabbi’s home north of New York City. They had gathered to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah in Monsey, a town that has seen an influx of Orthodox Jews in recent decades. The suspect has since been detained by police and charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary, the Associated Press reported.

Saturday’s attack comes after a string of attacks targeting Jews in the area, including a Dec. 10 shooting at a Jersey City, N.J., kosher market.

Scalise has survived a shooting himself: He was nearly killed in 2017 by an anti-Republican gunman during a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. He said Sunday that it’s law enforcement’s job to figure out who was behind the Hanukkah attack but everyone should stand up against and be alarmed about growing anti-Semitism in the country.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the attack "domestic terrorism" and endemic of “an American cancer on the body politic.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, "We will NOT allow this to become the new normal."

President Donald Trump tweeted later on Sunday: “The anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, New York, on the 7th night of Hanukkah last night is horrific. We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism. Melania and I wish the victims a quick and full recovery.“

Several Hill lawmakers have also denounced the Saturday attack, commenting on the rise of anti-Semitic violence. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff wrote on Twitter, "There is no place for this hate in our society." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote, "We must condemn and confront anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry and hate wherever & whenever we see them."

Scalise’s fellow Louisiana Republican, Sen. John N. Kennedy, said Sunday he is unsure how new legislation would help.

“I don't buy and never have bought the proposition that people who do these reprehensible things are sick, necessarily, or confused or mixed up. I think some of them are evil,“ he said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding: “If I had an answer, I’d go pass a bill.”

David Cohen contributed to this report.