Leading LA Rabbi To Trump: Create A Task Force To Fight Anti-Semitism

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, talks to Holocaust survivors and others during a remembrance service in Los Angeles on April 21, 2017. (File photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of L.A.'s Simon Wiesenthal Center, is calling on President Trump to create a federal task force to fight anti-Semitism.

Hier made the plea Monday after the latest in a series of attacks against Jews. In the most recent attack, a man stabbed five people at a Hanukkah celebration in New York.

Southern California has seen its own series of anti-Semitic crimes this year, including an attack at a synagogue near San Diego that left one dead.

"We are now in an emergency situation. And we call upon the president of the United States to order the FBI to have a task force on anti-Semitism to combat this cancer before it gets worse," Hier said at L.A.'s Museum of Tolerance. He called anti-Semitism a national catastrophe that's too much for local governments to manage on their own.

Hier said hatred against Jews is also a global problem that's escalated in the last couple of decades.

"Here we're going to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz, and you name me a single European city that is not affected by the cancer of hate," he said.

Some have accused Trump of fanning the flames of anti-Semitism. They point to, among other things, his remarks calling white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville "very fine people" and his suggestion that Jews are disloyal to America if they vote for Democrats.

"Who's responsible for this? Is it a Democrat? Is it a Republican president by the name of Donald Trump? In my opinion, all of that is nonsense," said Hier, who gave the Jewish prayer at Trump's inaugural.

According to the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations, there was a 14% increase in hate crimes against Jews last year.