Press Release

Jewish Dems Respond to Release of Synagogue Hostages in Colleyville

January 16, 2022

Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) CEO Halie Soifer released the following statement in response to safe return of four hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas:

The Jewish Democratic Council of America is incredibly relieved that the four hostages were safely rescued yesterday in a Colleyville, Texas synagogue. We applaud the heroic 11-hour rescue efforts led by federal, state and local law-enforcement, and send our prayers for healing to the hostages, their families and the entire Congregation Beth Israel community.

We know Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and his family, and no one should ever have to endure what they experienced. Their fortitude speaks to the remarkable leadership of Rabbi Charlie, who is not only the guiding light of Beth Israel but also a leader in the national Jewish American community who works to improve interfaith ties, and the safety and freedom of others. We strongly support such efforts.

While yesterday’s attack miraculously ended with no Beth Israel clergy or congregants physically harmed, Jewish Americans are still reeling from a horrific Shabbat filled with terror and fear. Once again, one of our sacred places of worship was targeted and attacked for one reason: because we are Jews.

While the details of the horrific hostage situation are still coming together, it is painfully clear that the perpetrator was motivated by antisemitism, in this case, by a delusional conspiracy theory related to the alleged influence of Jews. The perpetrator’s repeated calls heard on Facebook live for the release of a virulent antisemitic jailed terrorist and threats of violence only made this more clear. Such delusion stems from antisemitism, plain and simple.

No one should have to live or pray in fear. Yet that’s where Jewish Americans have found ourselves given the recent rise of antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world. No Jewish community is immune to this threat, and more must be done to combat this insidious danger. 

As a first step, we call on the U.S. Senate to immediately confirm the eminently qualified Dr. Deborah Lipstadt – whose nomination has been held by Senate Republicans for more than 100 days – to serve as the U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism. We also strongly support the ongoing efforts of the Biden Administration to combat antisemitism and hatred in all its forms, and we’re grateful for President Biden’s immediate response and strong support of the Jewish community during this tragic incident.

We join together with the families of the hostages, the Beth Israel community, Jews in the United States and around the world, and our partners in the Muslim American community and beyond, in healing and recommitting to combat antisemitism and hatred so no house of worship will ever again endure the terror that unfolded yesterday in Colleyville.