Tester Condemns Anti-Semitism in Montana, Presses Administration for Resources to Protect Rural Synagogues
Senator visited Har Shalom synagogue in Missoula following white nationalist demonstration and pledged his support for the Montana Jewish community;
Senator: “This threat is not isolated to major cities and urban areas. We are seeing a rise in anti-Semitism in rural states like Montana.”
In response to the recent white nationalist demonstration outside of Har Shalom synagogue in Missoula, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called on the Biden Administration to provide additional resources to strengthen security for rural synagogues and reiterated that anti-Semitism has no place in Montana.
Writing to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Tester expressed that he has spoken directly with Jewish leaders in Montana who made it clear that rural synagogues need additional resources to enhance security: “I want to make very clear to you that this threat is not isolated to major cities and urban areas. We are seeing a rise in anti-Semitism in rural states like Montana, where in my recent meetings and conversations with Jewish leaders and members of their synagogues they expressed to me that they are now more fearful and under increased threat. Just last month, we saw individuals displaying xenophobic, white supremacist and antisemitic banners outside of Har Shalom synagogue in Missoula, Montana and at multiple locations across the city. There is no place for hate or discrimination in any form in Montana.”
Tester called on both DHS and the FBI to provide greater assistance to the Montana Jewish community: “Since the abhorrent Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel in October, we have seen a sharp increase of antisemitic threats and violence throughout America. Both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) are uniquely positioned to provide additional resources and assistances to synagogues, local law enforcement, and their communities during this devastating time.”
Tester concluded his letter by pledging to work with both agencies to do more to protect synagogues and other places of worship: “I was glad to see the Biden Administration’s recent request for additional funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to increase federal funding to synagogues and other places of worship that are at high risk of attack. But we must do more to stand up against this vitriol and hatred now and we cannot leave rural communities to stand alone. I stand ready to assist your agencies in this important matter.”
Last Friday, Tester visited Har Shalom in Missoula and met directly with Rabbi Kula, Rabbi Chezky, and members of the Har Shalom congregation following the white nationalist demonstration that targeted the synagogue.
You can read Tester’s full letter to DHS and the FBI HERE.