Pritzker discusses alarming increase in hate crimes against Arab and Jewish Americans

As Israel's military ramps up its aerial offensive against Hamas, the Department of Homeland Security is warning of a rise of antisemitism here in the United States.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker spoke out Monday about an alarming increase in hate crimes against Arab and Jewish Americans in Illinois and nationwide.

Pritzker joined the Arab Bar Association and other state officials to shine a light on the hateful rhetoric amid the Israel-Hamas war. 

The speakers brought up dozens of cases, including the 6-year-old Plainfield boy Wadea Al-Fayoume, whose case was charged as a hate crime. 

Pritzker says some people are using this conflict as an opportunity to target the Arab, Muslim and Jewish communities. 

The president of the Arab Bar Association praised Pritzker for his quick response to the Plainfield case and for instituting a hate crime commission.

He and Pritzker made it clear that they were genuinely concerned about people's safety. 

"Now it is clear, it is up to us. Those left grieving in the wake of these tragedies. To stand together against the very hatred that took them hostage or killed them. To reject the notion that Muslims and Jews and Palestinians here are responsible for the actions of governments thousands of miles away," said Pritzker.

Officials want people to stay vigilant and report possible hate crimes to law enforcement immediately. 

They also want people to try to de-escalate any tense situations amid the ongoing conflict.