Sen. Klobuchar pushes for increased protection at Jewish centers

In the wake of threats on Jewish community centers across the country, United States Sen. Amy Klobuchar met with Jewish leaders in the Twin Cities Sunday to talk about improving security.

At the meeting, Klobuchar also noted there has been an astonishing rise in hate crimes in general and said she is worried the divisive tones of last fall's election are carrying over into more open hostility.

“So this is not just happening to Jewish families, but Muslims, Hindus, people who look different just because of the color of their skin or the religion that they practice,” Klobuchar said.

There have been more than 140 threats on Jewish centers in 43 states already this year and vandalism at Jewish cemeteries. Jewish Community Centers in St. Paul and St. Louis Park were part of that wave.

“Obviously a lot of it came out of this last election and the divisive rhetoric and has carried on through,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar also pointed to the hate graffiti and burglary against an African American family in Delano, a family she spoke with this weekend, as part of an alarming trend.

She commends President Donald Trump for loudly condemning the acts, but criticizes him for what she sees as setting a divisive example.

Klobuchar is pushing legislation introduced in the senate a few weeks ago to give 20 million to the Department of Homeland Security to help faith-based centers increase their security.  The bill would also double prison time for fake bomb threats to 10 years.

“And this is a community that has stood with our other faiths when they got attacked and I'm pleased to see these other faiths are now standing with you,” Klobuchar said. “We just need to have zero tolerance of these kinds of hate crimes.”