Press Release

Organizational Sign On


April 4, 2024

Congress: Reject Increases to the Nonprofit Security Grants Program and Affirm Your Commitment to Fighting Antisemitism and All Forms of White Supremacist Violence Through Community Based, Non-Carceral Approaches

Dear Elected Officials,

As Jews living in the U.S., we know what it feels like to fear for our safety. We have experienced antisemitism in our schools and workplaces, we have heard elected officials endorse white supremacist ideologies, our congregations have been targeted by armed attacks; our ancestors’ graves have been vandalized with swastikas.

Resurgent white supremacist rhetoric in the public sphere, and far right groups exploiting the violence in Israel/Palestine to further their antisemitic worldviews, has led us to (re)prioritize safety planning in our communities, congregations and organizations. As we near the next presidential election, with an avowed Christian nationalist as Speaker of the House, and the possibility of another Trump presidency, our time to speak out has never been clearer.

Our Jewish communities are made up of people who are impacted by police and state violence, queer and trans, Arab, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, undocumented, and disabled. Some of us wear visible markers of our religious practice, others do not. Therefore, the involvement of surveillance and law enforcement in our spiritual, educational and cultural institutions directly opposes our commitment to building supportive and welcoming environments.

Approaches to keep Jewish people safe must keep all of us, and our non-Jewish partners and neighbors safe, and the Nonprofit Security Grants Program fails to do so. While the mission of the program may seem politically neutral to some members of our community, it provides an insidious cover for the systemic violence caused by the Department of Homeland Security as well as other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, at the US-Mexico border, in neighborhoods and our houses of worship. As the grant language describes, NSGP is designed:

to provide funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack…to integrate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts…and to promote coordination and collaboration in emergency preparedness activities among public and private community representatives, as well as state and local government agencies

As Jewish people, communities, congregations and organizations, we call on our elected officials to reject the proposal in the supplemental bill H.R. 7493 for an additional $400 million in funding (beyond the $275 million allocated in 2024 budget) to the NSGP program. Increasing funding to this program will legitimize and grow the systemic violence caused by the Department of Homeland Security as well as other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, at the US-Mexico border, in neighborhoods, and in our houses of worship.

The supplemental spending bill, which recently passed in the Senate and is now in front of the House, captures the connections between U.S. militarism internationally and the role of the Department of Homeland Security domestically.

We are heartbroken and enraged by the relentless violence perpetrated by the Israeli state and military against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, funded by U.S. tax dollars and carried out with U.S. weapons. We grieve for over 30,000 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis killed since October 7th and call for a permanent ceasefire that allows for all captives to return to their families. We know that this violence does not make Jews more safe.

All Jewish people deserve to be safe in our synagogues, schools, community centers and on the streets. We hold deeply to a vision and practice community-based alternatives for safety. For the last decade, Jewish communities from Albuquerque, Boston, Minneapolis, to New York City and beyond have collaborated closely with non-Jewish partners to create resources, trainings and safety teams for High Holidays, community events and protests. We reject models of safety that criminalize members of our community or our non-Jewish loved ones. We refuse to see our family members and friends (or anyone) labeled as “terrorists” or on the “path to radicalization.” We demand community-based, non-carceral safety approaches that leave no one in our communities behind, and actively challenge our society’s reliance on criminalization and surveillance.

The Nonprofit Security Grants Program was created in 2005, as a response to lobbying from Jewish organizations, with support from other religious and arts organizations. The program has largely served Jewish organizations with grants, and as the primary beneficiary of these funds, we are qualified to speak out about this program, and it is also our responsibility to do so. A February 2021 analysis by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy found that between 2008 and 2020, Jewish organizations were awarded a total of $170.3 million, 91%, of allocated NSGP funds, while Christian groups were granted $13.9 million, 7%, (with an additional $2.8 million going to specifically African American churches), and Muslim organizations received just $3 million, 2%.

While the program’s intentions to ensure safety for Jewish and other communities targeted by white supremacist violence is worthwhile, relying on the Department of Homeland Security, an agency that criminalizes, surveils, and harms communities, is misguided, misaligned with and in opposition to the social justice issues so many of our Jewish communities care deeply about. Several issues have been raised by stakeholders in the program, especially Muslim communities, who experience the program as another opportunity for federal surveillance under the guise of protection. This is also a reality in current DHS funded programs, such as Countering Violence Extremism (CVE) and Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP), and past federal programs that have infringed on people’s privacy and rights, such as COINTELPRO, House UnAmerican Activities Committee, Civilization Fund Act and beyond. Also, many of the expenses that organizations are using these funds to pay for are funneling resources to private companies, with profit-driven interests in fear and militarization in our communities.

In 2023, the program was funded at $305 million, after an 125% increase from $250 million in 2022. The current supplemental spending bill includes $400 million (after calls from Senator Schumer to increase by $1 Billion) in additional funding for the program. While this has been offered as a way to address threats of antisemitic and white supremacist violence, we are clear that increasing our reliance on DHS and the private companies that profit off these programs will not keep our communities safe, and distance us from approaches that will bring together Jews with partners and neighbors to keep each other safe.

Rather than increase the budget for the Nonprofit Security Grants Program, we call on our elected officials to instead:

  1. Speak out against the antisemitic and white supremacist ideologies being espoused by public officials and the media, and make direct connections to systems and narratives that dehumanize, including but not limited to Arab, Muslim, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and immigrant communities, who are also targeted by white supremacist violence.

  2. Address root causes of antisemitism and white supremacist violence through adopting policies that foster economic justice, collaboration amongst communities, robust mental health services, proven and community-based models to support people to leave far right groups, and more, as informed by trusted research organizations (Political Research Associates).

  3. Meet with and learn from Jewish constituents and organizations and their partners about efforts to create community-based, non-carceral safety alternatives.

  4. Initiate a process to explore other possible funding mechanisms for community safety initiatives and programs that do not rely on or engage with the Department of Homeland Security, inspired by the Movement for Black Lives’ BREATHE Act.

As Jewish congregations, communities and organizations, we commit to continue:

  1. Training community members in de-escalation, emergency response, and other community safety skills.

  2. Investing in relationships with local organizations, especially other groups targeted by white supremacist violence to co-develop community-based, non-carceral safety alternatives.

  3. Exploring and building alternate funding mechanisms to assure our community safety programs are well resourced.

As Jewish congregations, communities and organizations, we call on all of our federal legislators to VOTE NO for increased funding for the Nonprofit Security Grants Program. NSGP actively undermines efforts to keep our community members and neighbors safe from white supremacist and state violence. The Department of Homeland Security does not and will not keep our people safe.


Community Safety Campaign (CSC)
Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)

Sign-on here and contact with questions.


Organizational Sign-Ons:

Boston Workers Circle (BWC)

Carolina Jews for Justice (CJJ)

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)

IfNotNow Movement (INN)

Kavod Boston

Never Again Action (NAA)

Synagogues Rising