Why Jewish organizations received $110 million from Homeland Security

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May 31, 2009: New York Governor David Paterson announces monetary grants for security to two Riverdale synagogues targeted in terrorist plot. Photo: Ruben Diaz, Jr. via Flickr creative commons.

Ruben Diaz, Jr. via Flickr creative commons

May 31, 2009: New York Governor David Paterson announces monetary grants for security to two Riverdale synagogues targeted in terrorist plot. Photo: Ruben Diaz, Jr. via Flickr creative commons.

May 31, 2009: New York Governor David Paterson announces monetary grants for security to two Riverdale synagogues targeted in terrorist plot. Photo: Ruben Diaz, Jr. via Flickr creative commons.

May 31, 2009: New York Governor David Paterson announces monetary grants for security to two Riverdale synagogues targeted in terrorist plot. Photo: Ruben Diaz, Jr. via Flickr creative commons.

The Department of Homeland Security will give $13 million dollars to add security to nonprofit organizations. If this year’s competition is like previous years, then over 90 percent of these grants will go to Jewish groups. Over the past decade, nearly all of the funds have gone to religious nonprofits with Jewish groups receiving the lion’s share, with over $110 million in grants.

Homeland Security provides up to $75,000 to nonprofit groups to improve their security structures. Grants often go to install security cameras, build concrete barriers, install metal detectors, and make other structural improvements. The Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) provides funds to nonprofits who are possible targets of international terrorism and are located in designated urban areas.

According to the Orthodox Union, 90 percent of 186 recipients last year were Jewish nonprofits, with many being orthodox. Over the past decade, Jewish organizations have received over $110 million in grants. I could not independently verify this claim, but an examination of data available at USAspending.gov suggests that the figure is accurate.

Last year, New Jersey received 18 NSGP grants. Most went to Jewish organizations, but two went to Sikh organizations, one went to an evangelical church, and one went to a Catholic preparatory school.

Jewish groups receive the grants because they are the most commonly targeted religious group in the United States. As I’ve previously reported, Jewish persons and property are more likely to be the targets of hate crimes than all other religious groups combined. The major criteria used to judge grant applications is prior threats and risk assessments.

Religious hate crimes in the United States from 1996 through 2012

Religious hate crimes in the United States from 1996 through 2012

Jewish groups are also well-organized and active training organizations on how to qualify for the grants. The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York provides is one of several groups who provide detailed instructions on how to apply for NSGP grants.

See more data on anti-Jewish hate crimes here

The NSGP was created ten years ago, with amounts ranging from nine to 23 million dollars in funding. Orthodox Union and the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) claim credit for securing these funds.

Robert Goldberg of JFNA’s legislative affairs office told the Jewish Times that the NSGA is a “critical resource.”

“It’s something that we fight for every day, knowing how difficult it is with the budgets and how competitive the whole appropriations process is. There’s not a day [I haven’t been] working on this program for 10 years,” Goldberg said.

Orthodox Union’s Nathan Diament praised the continued funding of the NSGP. “Anti-Semitism continues to grow abroad and at home, and the NSGP is essential to ensuring the safety and security of our community’s synagogues and schools.”

Next year’s NSGP recipients should be announced by late summer.

 

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