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Barr Vows 'Zero Tolerance' for Anti-Semitic Violence

Rabbi Avi Greenstein, left, talks while Attorney General William Barr listens during a meeting of Jewish leaders at the Boro Park Jewish Community Council in New York, Jan. 28, 2020.

The Trump administration will boost its efforts to fight anti-Semitism and get more involved in prosecuting hate crimes against Jews, Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday.

Barr met with Jewish leaders in Brooklyn, New York, a city that reported a record-high number of crimes against Jews in 2019.

"This administration is going to have zero tolerance for this kind of violence," Barr said. He announced federal charges against a Brooklyn woman accused of slapping three Orthodox Jewish women last month.

"These are the kinds of cases that maybe in the past would have been treated locally," Barr said. "But I think it's important for the federal government to plant its flag and show zero tolerance, and this will not be an isolated case. We will move aggressively when we see this kind of activity."

Recent violence against Jews, including the deadly shooting at a New Jersey kosher supermarket and the Hanukkah party attack in which five people were stabbed, has shaken New York's Orthodox community.

Some say they are afraid to let their children walk to and from neighborhood schools, and others say they are reluctant to wear their skullcaps in public.

An Orthodox Jewish representative who met with Barr on Tuesday says the community is grateful to the Trump administration.

"Not only a recognition of the problem and a resolve to bring the resources of the federal government to bear, but the very fact that he (Barr) came to Brooklyn to do that ... conveyed a very powerful message," Orthodox Union executive vice president Allen Fagin said.