tv U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Anti- Semitism CSPAN January 8, 2020 1:31pm-3:25pm EST
good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. please come in and take your seats. we're ready to begin our hearing. good afternoon, everyone. and thank you for attending today's hearing on global efforts to counter anti-semitism. i would like to this our distinguished witnesses for offering their recommendations and thank you to senator manchin for securing this room for us
today. the international commission on religious freedom is an independent bipartisan u.s. government advisory body created by the 1998 religious freedom act. the commission monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad, using international standards to do so. and we then make recommendations, policy recommendations to congress, to the president of the united states, and to the secretary of state. today as we're gathered here for this hearing, ucerf is exercising its statutory authority under the law to convene this hearing. we're also very grateful to have with us this afternoon senator jacky rosen of nevada. senator rosen is a tireless advocate working to confront anti-semitism in all of its forms. and she is also the co-chair of the senate bipartisan task force for combatting anti-semitism.
senator rosen, thank you very much for being here today with us, for your commitment to the issue, and the floor is now yours. >> thank you so much for having me, for bringing everybody here today for these very, very important topics and issues which we're going to talk about. again, i'm thanking the commission on international religious freedom. i thank all the participants who cannot be here today for providing their crucial insight to this important topic. i'm senator jacky rosen and i am proud to represent the great state of nevada in the united states senate. but i'm also incredibly proud to hold the distinction of being the third jewish woman in the united states senate and the first former synagogue president
elected to the united states senate. [ applause ] you know, serving as my synagogue's president, and now serving as a united states senator, both have been the greatest blessings of my life. and they've been blessings that have allowed me to serve my communities with the passion and commitment for the things that i not only care but but that they care about as well. and we can make progress for all our communities in the nation and the world. right now, though, no issue threatens our progress more than the alarming rise of anti-semitism in our country and around the world. we've seen the rise of anti-semitism in political movements across europe for some time now. anti-semitic groups, they're organizing within political parties and places like greece and hungary and france.
we've witnessed increasing anti-semitic sentiments in poland and the uk. and now this hate rred has rear its ugly head here at home in our own country. we only have to look at the news to see depraved individuals right here in the united states who once hid their dangerous and hateful views. they feel emboldened to take violent action. we've seen all of this, and unfortunately some of us have even experienced it. in charlottesville, in synagogues in pittsburgh and poway, and most recently at a rabbi's home, celebrating lighting the lights of hanukkah. it's the festival of lights, and the guests there met with terror and darkness on something that
is supposed to illuminate us, the festival of lights. these are not isolated incidents. these incidents are part of a dark and dangerous trend. and we are all deeply affected by anti-semitic violence, acts of hate that have left many injured and unfortunately, too many dead. we must be ready to act, to do our part to combat anti-semitism. this epidemic has been on the rise. as we know, it must be taken seriously. anti-semitism, acts of hate, they are growing at an alarming rate. earlier this year the state department called the rise of anti-semitism worse than it has been in decades. and its impacts go far beyond the jewish community. in their report to congress, the state department offered this warning. history has shown that wherever
anti-semitism has gone unchecked, the persecution of others has been present or not far behind. defeating anti-semitism must be a cause of great importance, not only for jews, but for all people who value humanity and justice. [ applause ] anti-semitism is also a direct threat to religious freedom for all people, of all faiths, across the globe. this hate is unacceptable. and it's something we must come together to call out and confront head on. we can only tackle this hate if we do so together and we do so with a clear purpose.
that's why last year i helped launch the first senate task force for combatting anti-semitism. alongside our counterparts in the house these bipartisan groups are dedicating themselves to preventing anti-semitism before it starts. together with my co-chair, james langford, and over 30 fellow senators from both sides of the aisle, 17 democrats and 17 republicans so far, i'm working on getting all of them, we're working together to take on one of the most disturbing trends of all time. when anti-semitism and bigotry occur, it is critical that we do not allow ideological or partisan thinking to blur our perspective of what is right and what is wrong, because combatting hate is always and must always stay a nonpartisan issue. [ applause ]
as members of congress, it is our responsibility to our neighbors, to our friends, to our children, to eradicate this evil. and this task force allows us to collaborate with law enforcement, federal agencies, state and local governments, educators, advocates, clergy, and any other stakeholders to educate, to explain, and to empower every single community across this nation to have the tools to combat anti-semitism and all other forms of hate. we're also working with the state department's special envoy for monitoring and combatting anti-semitism, who is with us today. we're going to tackle these issues in europe, in the middle east, and around the world. these are challenging times. but in great darkness, it is all
the more important that we band together as a community, as a country, and as a congress, to hold up our faith and our values as a source of beacon of light that will illuminate our path forward. while it may seem that the world is in disrepair, i have unwavering faith in the capability of jews and non-jews alike to do their part to repair the world, to help better the world, to take care of one another, to promote religious freedom and to diminish hate. so our call to action is this, to keep educating, keep believing, and keep up the fight against hate by encouraging those around us to help repair the world, least world a better place than how you found it, to
combat bigotry for ourselves, for our children, and for our future. and as we say from generation to generation, this is our call. this is what we must do. and i am proud to have started this and be a partner with all of you. thank you. [ applause ] >> senator rosen, thank you for being here, thank you for your work. we appreciate the time you spend with us today. and you really have set the foundation, as we have our first hearing for the year, this is the topic we chose. as we have -- as you will hear today from some of our expert witnesses, this is information we've been combing through. and to echo the senator, this is the issue that affects so many others. and it is, as you may hear later, the canary in the coal
mine when it comes to religious persecution. we would be negligent as a nation, as a commission, to ignore what is happening around us. i would now like to recognize commissioner gary bauer for an opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as luck would have it, my remarks sort of build on, i think, what the senator just said, and it's the reason i asked the chair if i could have just a moment to express those thoughts. this is the u.s. commission on international religious freedom. so we're supposed to focus on what's happening around the world. but it seems to me there's a little bit of a challenge here that we need to confront, if we're identifying anti-semitic problems around the world and not squarely acknowledging what's been happening right here in the united states. we have witnessed the horror of anti-semitism at the tree of life synagogue and in poway. we've seen anti-semitism grow on american university campuses.
we've watched orthodox jews being assaulted in the streets of new york city. we've heard anti-semitic statements right here in the halls of congress. i've watched in horror as a christian as main line churches have passed resolutions singling out democratic israel for special condemnation, while ignoring countries like north korea and iran and syria. and they do this in the name of my savior jesus christ. as a christian, that outrageous me. [ applause ] these church bureaucracies do not speak for america's christians. so i have a humble suggestion to make, and the senator has already alluded to it. let's not permit anti-semitism to become a political football in the united states.
if someone on the right engages in anti-semitism, those of us on the right should aggressively confront that individual. if anti-semitism comes from the progressive left, the first responsibility to deal with it comes from the leaders of the progressive movement who should boldly get it out of their movement. if an imran somewhere in america is teaching the attendees at his mosque to hate jews, then peace-loving muslims should speak up and confront him. anti-semitism is a deadly virus and it should have no home anywhere in american cultural or political life. thank you, mr. chair. [ applause ] >> thank you, commissioner bauer. now i recognize the first vice chair, commissioner manchin.
>> thank you, chair perkins, and thank you, commissioner bauer, for your words. i want to join everyone else in welcoming those of you to join us here today. we often here about this resurgence or global uptick in anti-semitism and how things are looking increasingly grim for the jewish community, and unfortunately, 2019 was, sadly, no different. the attack on the synagogue in germany during yom kippur, the holiest day on the jewish calendar, is arguably the most jarring incident of violence against the jewish community abroad this year. or last year, we're now in the new year. the gunman chose to attack on yom kippur, knowing that the number of people in the building
would be higher than usual on this holy day. he repeatedly shot at the clock and set off an explosive device but thankfully was unable to breach the building due to the enhanced security measures that the synagogue recently installed. the sad part is that that had to be done. in the united kingdom, several members of labor party under the leadership of jeremy corbyn have made numerous anti-semitic comments and espoused conspiracy theories within its ranks, to the extent that at least seven of the parliament members have left the party. in february 2019, nazi symbols adorned 80 graves at a jewish cemetery in eastern france. in italy, police are assigned to
around the clock guarding of an 89-year-old woman who is both a holocaust survivor and a senator in the italian parliament after she proposed a national commission to battle hatred and bigot bigotry. while a significant number of incidents we hear about in the news have occurred in europe, this truly is a global phenomenon. in argentina, vandals desecrated a jewish cemetery with nazi symbols in february. and in a separate occurrence, in june, three youths shouted anti-semitic insults at an argentinian rabbi, hit, kicked him in the head and abdomen, threw him to the ground and trampled his hat before fleeing.
in kenya, intruders attacked a rabbi and his wife duriin a jew center before robbing and stealing many items from that center in april. they hurled anti-semitic insults at them and stole many things. in saudi arabia, textbooks espousing vile stereotypes and hatreds against jews continue throughout to be used in schools throughout the country. and in australia, authorities recorded at least two incidents in 2019 of nazi graffiti aimed at intimidating the jewish community there.
as you can see from just this handful of examples, unfortunately the scourge of anti-semitism is alive and well in its varied wide-ranging forms and manifestations. . i look forward to hearing the recommendations from our witnesses on how the united states government can better address the rise in anti-semitism around the world, and how the number community can more effectively ensure that the global jewish community can worship freely and without fear. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, vice chairmanchin. with that backdrop, i would now like to turn to our panelists. we have experts from around the
globe that are with us here today, and we're very grateful for the time that they have made to join us for this hearing. we've asked them to distill their remarks to five to six minutes each because we've got a lot of area to cover. their bios available, i think if you didn't receive them on the way in, we have, we would ask to you get a copy of that, because they are certainly experts on this topic. as vice chair manchin mentioned, our purpose here is not just to talk about the problem, although that is a part of our mission, we want to develop the action steps. so we have asked those that are joining us today to help us in the policy recommendations that we would make. beginning with our first panel, ahmed shaid assumeds had mandate as special rep on freedom and
belief on november 1, 2016, with the united nations. we are grateful for the work that he has done. he briefed us on a report that was just recently released, which in many ways was the catalyst for the hearing we're having here today, and i would recommend that report to you although i'm certain dr. shaid will give us an overview of that. doctor shaheed, thank you very much for being with us today. >> good afternoon. and thank you, distinguished vice chairs, distinguished guests, it is an honor for me to be here this afternoon at this very
important hearing. on the u.n. special rep on freedom and beliefs, i am here to identify existing and emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief, and to examine incidents that
are compatible with the provisions that are there in the legal framework to protect this right, including the 1981 u.n. declaration on all forms of intolerance and of discrimination, based on religion or belief. consequently, four months ago, in october last year, i presented my report to the u.n. general assembly on the global phenomenon of anti-semitism and the impact of beliefs, of jewish persons. the first u.n. report dedicated to the issue as a global phenomenon. the report was meant as a record to decision makers about the frequency of anti-semitic incidents and the pervasiveness
of anti-semitic attitudes that appear to be increasing. in several countries, there are monitors that are documented. as well as online expressions. the report noted the prevalence of anti-semitic attitudes and the risk of violence against
individuals and sites around the world. at this time, i want to focus on the key recommendations that i made in this report. i argue protecting a human rights based approach to this problem, because number one, there is a strict obligation to protect the members of the communities. it is not a favor. it is an entitlement. a right, in which members hold and it is a legal obligation to fulfill. that's why i argue. and second it must be based on nondiscrimination. all individuals have an obligation to defend members on that ground. third, although we cannot, the law cannot demand solidarity, human rights cannot be foolproof, so there is never a person, when never there is a person in this attack, it is an obligation on all of us to
support in support of that person, in solidarity. the parts of my report include, to embrace the working definition of anti-semitism, and to set an example, developed by the international holocaust alliance. this can offer valuable guidance for education including for those working in law enforcement. one must trust, and know what is to protect, and to look at the definition developed. i also argue that the primary responsibility for addressing intolerance and discrimination, and unrest rests in government. including political representatives. as such states must offer a freedom of belief by promoting the act of members of all faith-based communities to manifest their beliefs, and to contribute openly, on legal footing in society. governments must acknowledge
that anti-semitism is a threat to stability and anti-semitic platforms need responses from leaders. it should be based on the commission of anti-semitic crimes, and require states to respond on the international human rights law. the committee has a wider role to play in assuring that the broad coalition approach in defending, in combatting anti-semitism. experts can support governments by providing independent expert advice and insights on anti-semitism. and there are effective ways to do so. they can learn about the various ways in which anti-semitism can be manifested, along with the impact of prejudice messages faced by jews and jewish communities, on human rights and society at large. they can support government in efforts to raise awareness in jewish communities as to where and how to report such
incidents. they must also refrain themselves from anti-semitic attitudes. more of our social media companies have reports of cyber situations seriously. and enforcing commercial standards and do not allow for the dissemination of hate messages and provide more transparency of what their efforts have been to some bat cyber hate and to offer user friendly mechanisms and procedures for addressing hatdful content. we should report criminal anti-semitism behavior online, to local law enforcement agencies including expressions that constitute discrimination, hostility, or violence. lastly, in october, i asked the u.n. secretary general to consider appointing a senior level person in his office, to report to him directly, with the responsibility of engaging in communities. to monitor anti-semitism. and in response of the u.n. as a whole. i recommended that various u.n.
entities work on human rights, and to advise prevention, to enhance their cooperation with human rights bodies and other mechanisms to similar joint action on anti-semitism and other forms of hate. for my part, i will continue to use my mandate to raise awareness and to advocate for the recommendations in my report. as i described in my report, anti-semitism is the canary in the coal mine of hate. it is the first to surface and we must respond to it. the final comment is to protect the human rights, you must focus not only on protection, but also on prevention. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, dr. sha heed. i'm sure some of our commissioners have questions. i would like to start with this question about your report, as we also know, reports and recommendations are just one step on a long journey. how is the journey going in terms of the implementation of
your recommendations? how have they been received by the u.n., and associated countries. >> thank you, chair. the report was very well received by the u.n. system, but i also want to thank the jewish communities worldwide for supporting the work i did in preparing the report and for their response for the report, which ensures that states cannot reject the report. in december, the resolution reached in the report, now i am looking forward to see how various actors will implement various elements in it. i have announced i shall follow up on this work by reporting on the implementation by member states, making sure that i identify critical steps and ask them to implement them and report back on what they have done. it is still early days but i hope to come back in a year two years time to report on what steps have been taken by steps. i have been around to various cities, talking to governments
on focusing, number one, to ask the u.n. secretary general to highlight a point on this subject and second to strengthen reporting in countries and the framework on, this third, embrace the definition, and forth work in unesco to work on anti-semitism in textbooks and schools. >> thank you. always a pleasure to have you and we're always encouraged by your enthusiasm and knowledge of these issues. you said our mandate is to make recommendations to our own government on policy, so my question to you would be, if the united states could focus on one or two things, as our first steps, because you have made so many great recommendations, what would you recommend how we start? >> thank you very much. i would want to focus both on the u.s. domestic situation, as well as u.s. role as a world leader. the domestic context, i think it would be important to ensure that the reporting mechanisms are strengthened.
there are reporting systems in place, because underreporting is a serious challenge and therefore continue to find ways to ensure that there is special reporting this. also means that there is a better understanding at the municipal level of what constitutes anti-semitic crimes. i think that goes with that. at the global level, i would again stress the important role the u.s. can play in supporting my cause to have the u.n. appoint a focal leader to monitor anti-semitism. and secondly, i also think that the u.s. can support other states, or promote the idea of embracing the working definition. the definition is to have an example, very important, in understanding how anti-semitism manifests in different ways. and unless we understood the phenomenon, we wouldn't be able to able to act against that. so those are my crucial comments. i also want to add my fourth point, to support by the u.s., because at the present time, u.s. does cover globally. religious freedom or human rights globally. and in doing so, it can face the
attention, to how specific contexts anti-semitism is manifested. one example is how the school textbooks and the general media are disseminating these thoughts. >> thank you. commissioner moore? >> dr. shaheed, shy just begin by telling you that we hear your name all the time, in our meetings, with various countries, they're always talking about your recommendations, and the implementation of your recommendations, and so as a commission, we're indebted to you for your very, very, very good work. and i also understand that you're a part of the solution, and not part of the problem within this context. however, there is for me a bit of irony, when i hear that your mandate came from the u.n. hcr, because i think it is the prevailing view of a lost us that watch these issues that u.n. hcr is notorious for
providing a shield in aiding and abetting anti-semitism through its pervasive consistent, i can't even, you cannot be hyperbolic with the anti-zionism within u.n. hcr, so what is your perspective on how your responsibility has been aided or abetted by the very agency that commissioned this report, and the one thank that we're very cognizant of, is too often around the world, there are public relations statements made by governments and nonprofit organizations and agencies, in order to take heat off of problems, and one of our mandates is to make sure that the furnace is turned up, and not down, until there's change. and so i would like your perspective on u.n. hcr. >> thank you very much. i take it you mean human rights
council. >> yes. >> yes, i am not a u.n. official. my full time job is academic. thank you for the event probono, to introduce the issue around the world. it was my choice to look at this topic of anti-semitism. for a number of reasons. i observed how we, as a system, we have 58 mandates, to look at issues affecting jewish communities, how many have been sent out to countries, where that are beneficiaries of a jewish member or one or two or three that i found, out of thousands of communications. that was a scandal. secondly, is this mandate i hold, has origins in a response to the epidemic 50 years ago. that's when the u.n. began to look at intolerance but now the u.n. went with anti-semitism and forward. and for me, it has brought it back home to where it all began,
a desire to challenge anti-semitism. so i understand the u.n. is a multi-pronged, multi-managed house, so to speak. and there are parts of it which are anti-semitic and you're right to point out, that is a problem and it is used to, in fact it is counterproductive in many way, and it also undermines the work of the other parts of the u.n. which may have a genuine desire to work on the subject. unesco is an example. you ness co i thi unesco is doing good work now on education to combat anti-semitism but that gets drowned out by three times a year a discussion on israel. and my response is, to take an approach of the situation, composed of many parts, given that different states have different levels of influence and we should understand that we can use some parts of it to our
advantage, and we it try to contain, there but that is why it is important to have the u.n. secretary general take the lead as a focal point in his office, which can report to him also, about the overall context. i think the u.n. must step up more, on making sure it speaks for the jewish communities worldwide. >> thank you. >> doctor shaheed, thank you so much for being here today and again we want to commend you for are your work, we're grateful for it, and we appreciate what you're doing. [ applause ] >> we will transition to our second panel. elon carr servez as a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-semitism. as a special envoy, he advises the secretary of state and is responsible for directing u.s. policy and projects aimed at counters anti-semitism throughout the world, and as i
mentioned, you can look at his bio, it is very impressive and we're grateful for him to be here today and look forward to your remarks. [ applause ] >> if you'll turn your mic on. >> okay is, that better? >> yes. >> okay. good afternoon. thank you for your important efforts, in the cause of international religious freedom and combatting anti-semitism, both top priorities for this administration, and for holding this hearing today. i'm honored to be with you. and i greatly value the opportunity to discuss our work combatting anti-semitism. in light of recent attacks in
monsey, jersey city, germany, and too many other locations around the world, the timing of this hearing could not be more significant. only 75 years since the nazi cream tora have cooled, the relentless indefatiguable evil of anti-semitism continues hits global rise, mutating into new forms and starting with blinding speed new technologies. we have seen anti-semitism, attacks both overseas and at home. the anti-defamation league recently had a survey of anti-semitism attitudes that included 14 countries and the survey's key finding, roughly one out of every four residents of those european countries polled by the agl, fall into the most anti-semitic category, meaning that they subscribe to a majority of the anti-semitism stereotypes tested in the index.
we are also seeing a disturbing erosion of holocaust education. 2018 cnn poll on european attitudes towards jews found 34% of those surveyed knew just a little or never heard of the holocaust. the statistics are not much better in the united states. in last year's state of the union address, president donald trump declared, quote, we must never ignore the vial poison of anti-semitism or those who spread its venomous creed. with one voice, we must condemn this hatred anywhere and everywhere it occurs. anti-semitism is a barometer of human suffering. president trump calls it a vial poison because societies that have im bibed this poison have rotted to their core, and produced human misery on a scale that defies description
anti--submitic hate begins with the jewish people but rarely ends there. and i am thankful for the opening remarks. there are three sources. the far right ethnic supremacist, the radical left antizionists and militant islamists. in our work, we do not rank or minimize these sources. all three are dangerous. and all must be combatted. if one-third of the tumor is left untreated, the patient remains in danger. we fight all forms of jew hatred regardless of the ideological clothing it wears. we are all familiar with the all too real dangers of anti-semitism from the far right, the anti-semitic gunman with manifestos before the shooting and i met with the jewish community in stras borough france where neo nazis had been perpetrated anti-semitic attacks on a weekly basis. we are also observing a rise in
the so-called new anti-semitism that cloaks itself in the language of antizionism, but there is nothing knew about the so-called new anti-semitism. it is the very same hatred. this time, targeted at the jew among the countries instead of at the jew in the community. the same kinds of medieval blood libels that were leveled against jews in the past are now targeting israel, claiming that israel is perpetrating genocide and apartheid and infecting palestinian children with viruses. so too with the age-old economic boycotts, conspiracy theories, or persistent double standards now all focused on the jewish state, instead of only on a jewish community. when israel is demonized, delegitimized or held on to a standard not applied to any other country in the world, that is anti-semitic.
secretary pompeo says this is an insidious new form in the guise of anti-zionism. don't get me wrong, criticizing israel's policies is an acceptable thing to do in a democracy, it is what we do, but criticizesing the very right of israel to exist is not acceptable, antizionism length, is with the jewish state and the jewish people and antizionism is anti-semitism, end quote. let me go on the record. the international holocaust remembrance, working definition of anti-semitism, has been a game changer. many european countries have adopted it and we encourage all countries to do so. the working definition identifies both traditional and contemporary forms of anti-semitism. the department of state has been using it for some time, and now, with president trump's recent executive order, the united states has embraced the definition at large.
with regard to israel, the working definition equates the following with anti-semitism. targeting the state of israel, conceived of as a jewish collect ive. denying the jewish people their right to self determination. for example, by claiming that the existence of a state of israel is a racist endeavor. applying double standards by requiring of it behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-semitism, to characterize israel or israelis. drawing comparisons of contemporary israeli policy to that of the nazis. or holding jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of israel. in addition to encouraging countries around the world to adopt and implement the ira definition, please allow me to share some of my top priorities. one, urging government to provide adequate security for their jewish populations and jewish community assets. security must be a top priority. because when people do not feel
safe, and when they do not feel that their children are safe, there is no quality of life. two, ensuring that countries properly investigate, prosecute and appropriately punish hate crimes. even misdemeanor crimes must be addressed, because these are often the best opportunities to intervene in the life of an angry and alienated youth before he turns to violence. three, demanding that countries remo remove anti-semitic content from textbooks used in their schools teaching innocent children to hate other children is mass child abuse. and it creates deep damage that is very difficult to repair. four, confronting and condemning hate speech, particularly on social media. let me be clear. we are not speaking of restrictions on the first amendment. even despicable hatred can be protected speech. but we must understand that the internet has been the chief vector of this disease.
and we must continue to. leaders around the world, urge leaders around the world swiftly to speak out against hate speech. anti-semitism is on the rise. and the stakes could not be higher. but i want to stress that there is much good news to be celebrated and i want to close on this. first, there are many leaders around the world who are genuinely appalled by rising anti-semitism, and are committed to this fight. some are heads of government. some are ministers. some parliament tarians. some appointed anti-semitism coordinators. and one whom i want to commend today is the u.n. special rappoteur on freedom of religion and belief whose work i have been praising around the world. i'm inspire bid their dedication, and am convinced through our collective and coordinated efforts we can make substantial gains in our fight against anti-semitism. since my appointment nearly one year ago, i have visited ten countries, and engaged both bilaterally, and multilaterally,
with foreign governments, and i've also met with jewish communities and civil society organization, the work of our partners around the world, has already yielded important results. the second piece of good news, is that the jewish people do in fact have self determination in their ancestral homeland, the state of israel is successful and strong, and it is a beacon of democracy and innovation, israel's strength helps to make the jewish people strong, and better able to confront anti-semitism in all its forms. finally, the third piece of good news, is that the united states is both the most powerful country, and the most phyllo-semitic country in the history of the world even with the regrettable tragic painful events, it is still is that. and now it is led by the most phyllo semitic administration we ever had. president trump and his team are committed in unprecedented
fashion to combatting anti-semitism, to protecting the jewish people throughout the world, and to supporting the state of israel. were committed friends and allies working together shoulder to shoulder and arm in arm, we can turn the tide of anti-semitism. and bequeath to our children and grandchildren that just and decent world that they so richly deserve. thank you so much. and i welcome your questions. [ applause ] >> thank you, mr. carr. very well said. let me ask a question before i recognize other commissioners. you address. so sources, you identified three of the sources, but as a former prosecutor, you're often looking for motives, and we've seen this rise, there's no question, the evidence is there, in your opinion, what is behind this rise? what is the motive that is
there? >> so the motives are different for each of the three ideological camps. interestingly enough, mr. chairman, these three camps, when you think of the ethnic supremacist far right, the radical anti-zionist left and militant islam, these are three ideological groups that should hate each other more than they hate anything else on earth when you look at their ideologies yet they're united by the hatred of the jewish people and i would argue united also by the fundamental incompatibility of their values with everything on which the united states was built and frankly on which all decent tolerant just democracies around the world were built. so the motivations might be different, but the methods are the same. using the internet to spread this venom. as bad as things are, in the visible web, youtube, and twitter, and facebook, i'm troubled to say that the dark
web is dramatically worse. i just had a meeting about this literally yesterday. and you cannot believe, you cannot believe what is being said when there's some veil of protection accorded these people through these deep dark chat rooms. i say it this way. those of us who are parents would never dream of allowing our kids to wander unescorted, or even escorted, in neighborhoods of crime and drugs and violence and danger. and yet, every day, kids are being sucked into this vortex, this venomous vortex, of internet chat rooms, and sites that spout hatred. hatred first of jews. but really hatred of everybody. and they feed off of this for
years. years of this. and then they become radicalized and turn toward violence. this is something that has to be addressed. because this is a key component of this problem. then the last thing i'll say mr. chairman, as a former prosecutor, and i've handled hate crimes, we would never close a case without requiring the defendant or a suspect to undergo a tolerance program. that means even a kid, some minor who commits a trespass, or a skinhead who takes, who shoplifts a beer, why would you ever end that case without requiring that person to undergo a tolerance program. so i've had the great privilege of sitting down with prosecution and law enforcement leaders, in jersey city, in tea neck, in new york and now by the way also in germany, i met with prosecutors and justice officials, from seven separate german states, to coordinate our efforts, and
specifically to talk about dealing with hate crimes, even when the conduct is very low level. because if we intervene, early, in an alienated angry kid's life, not only are we protecting the jewish community from future violence, but we are doing the best thing we could do for that young man, by intervening and correcting their path. and so this is a critical point. >> commissioner bower? >> always great to see you, sir. and commend you for the work that you're doing. i don't want to invite you to get into an area of american foreign policy that you might not want to tread in, so forgive me if i'm making it incomparable, but iran has been in the news a lot lately. and the thought struck me that in addition to all of the other controversy iran is the only nation that i'm aware of that seems to have, as an item of their reason for existence, the
promise of a second holocaust. their eight only government that i'm aware of that regularly uses government resources to bring tens of thousands of people into the street to chant death to the jews or death to israel. and yet, it seems to me that everything from corporations, looking to where to invest, or european countries, trying to make trade deals, there's always a great deal of resistance, about doing much about iran, and isn't this the perfect example of how people give lip service to anti-semitism, but they're not willing to ever call out a very, a nation with some power, and it's getting more powerful, and it threatens to have a nuclear weapon some day, when anti-semitism appears to be one of the core reasons they exist? >> well, commissioner bower, thank you, and i couldn't agree with you more. iran is not only the world's leading state sponsor of
terrorism, it is the world's chief traffic ner anti-semitism. iran, the islamic republic of iran has pushed anti-semitic dogma in the middle east and beyond the middle east, and when it looks at violence against jews in western europe, much of it which comes from a radicalized muslim community, you have to look back at iran that is responsible for so much anti-semitic ven nom throughout the world. what happens in the middle east doesn't stay in the middle east. what happens in the middle east affects the european street and many cases the u.s. college campus. anti-semitism is not ancillary to the ideology of the islamic republic of iran. it is a central foundational component of the ideology of that regime. and we have to be clear about it. and we have to confront it, and call it out for what it is.
and you know, i've been asking our friends around the world, how is it possible to talk about protecting jews and to talk about fighting anti-semitism, when there's a refusal to designate hezbollah a terrorist organization? if you're not willing to designate hezbollah a terrorist organization, then protecting jews seems to be a goal that has not been achieved. and so i thank you for your question, and for shedding light on this. it's a critical component of what iran is doing. and we've got to confront it. >> thank you, sir. >> vis chairmanchin? >> thank you so much for your remarks and insight, and i want to dig a little deeper, when you're talking about the internet, and that dark world, and i think across the world, even here in the united states, i think that something as parents, and teachers, we fear
that dark underside, and as you go into this new decade, are there any ideas on how we really go about attacking in some way limiting or blocking or, what are the ideas, moving forward, that we start combatting this force that's out there? >> thank you, vice chair manchin, for that question. it's a vexing policy challenge. because we don't want to trespass upon the first amendment certainly. that is one of the things that makes america great. and we would never attenuate freedom of speech. so how do we do this? there are several things that we can and should be doing and i had the privilege of participating in a meeting with leading social media companies, together with the agls, hosted in new york by the agl, and i
inner-city african-american communities, to turn african-americans against jews. of course, they don't do it as neo-nazis but they hide their identities and they're putting forth materials specifically meant to poison african-american jewish relations. these things need to be exposed. people have to understand what's being done, how focussed it is, how deliberate it is, that there are maligned actors that are actively working, utilizing the internet, for all of the good that of course, technology has given our world, but utilizing this as a vehicle for enormous evil, and great destructive power. so third of all, second of all, exposure. third of all, incitement to violence is not protected speech by the first amendment. and we have to get very serious in enforcing that. that's not censorship. if anything, leaves the realm of first amendment protections, the united states should be coming
down, like a ton of bricks, on that speech. we should say, okay, once you cross the line, that's it, we are absolutely going to, first of all, to the extent a crime is committed, prosecute that crime, but certainly, certainly, prevent it from being disseminated. that is not an encroachment on the first amendment and that's something that we've got to do. those three things will go a long way to addressing the problem. >> thank you. >> commissioner moore? >> what you said here is incredible. you've already touched on this a bit. but do you feel like the tech companies in this country are utilizing the fullness of their resources to address this problem? and the reason why, is because it seems as if silicon valley can make anything happen, right? it's the place where miracles happen. and yet anyone who is a public figure, as soon as something controversial happens,
automatically sees all of these things, you know, i know a number of evangelical leaders across america, who are the subject of iranian trolling, just a couple of days ago, you know, threats, these things are everywhere, and so you wonder, are these tech companies, are they really, really paying attention? are they really, really working on this problem? >> my impression, and obviously, there are a lot of tech companies so i would never paint them with a broad brush, and different companies are doing different things, and implementing different measures. my impression is that there is a growing awareness that this is a problem that has to be dealt with. and that if the tech companies don't do deal with it, the united states government may deal with. and now, i'm not going to -- i deal with anti-semitism, i'm not advocating policy or legislation here. however, i think there is a growing realization in the tech
world that the leadership of our country, and our policy makers, understand that something has to be done. and so i have seen real movement here, and a real willingness to take on this problem. i'm very encouraged by that. so i think we've got to give it time and see, and i think we've got to work with these tech companies, to support them, and to make sure that they understand that we want to let them have the space to take care of this problem, that's very important, and so i look forward to doing that. again, we had a very productive meeting in new york with several of these very prominent companies. i look forward to going to the bay area and actually meeting with them there. i've already had those conversations. and i'm encouraged by the movement we're seeing. it is not sufficient to this point. but we're moving in the right
direction. >> mr. carr, thank you so much for making time to be here today. we appreciate your testimony. >> thank you to all of you for your vital work. [ applause ] >> we're going to transition to our third panel of expert witnesses. i will introduce them as they come up. debra lipstat is professor of holocaust studies at emery university in atlanta. [ applause ] >> we also have sharon nazarian, the senior vice president, international affairs, and heads adl's work on fighting anti-semitism and racial hatred globally, including in europe, latin america and the middle east. and then ambassador iqbar ahmed, who is the chair of islamic studies at the american university here in washington,
d.c. grateful for all of them as well as rabbi abraham cooper who is the associate dean global director social action agenda as well, we're glad to have him with us today as well. so we will begin, with debra, making her opening comments, and we will go down the line and the commissioners will have questions. >> thank you. thank you to the commission, thank you to the chair of the commission, for holding this very important gathering. recently, a well-educated accomplished man, the ceo of a fortune 500 company was present when i was giving a talk and a seminar, to a small group on anti-semitism. he listened intently. not a jew. and when it came time for questions, he said to me jews are so smart, so accomplished, how is it that they have not been able to solve this problem?
his question was sincere. but i pointed out to him, kindly, that it was directed in the wrong direction. he should be asking the perpetrator. this past sunday, i marched across the brooklyn bridge. that was unexpected. i marched across the brooklyn bridge. standing next to a woman who carried a sign, this catholic hates anti-semitism. when i thanked her for being there, she said it's more, it's our problem, more than it's your problem. and she was right. but it's the victim who bleeds. suffice it to say, that anti-semitism is a problem for all of us. there is no easy solution to anti-semitism, because it's a prejudice, and prejudice is
irrational. think of the word prejudice, pre-judge, i've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts, we decide who and what a person is, the person may still be two blocks away, but their stereotype is in front of us. that doesn't mean that members of a particular group can't be people who do bad things. but when one person, or even a small group, from a minority group, or a particular group, does something wrong, and then people say, oh, they are all like that, we have moved into the realm of prejudice. now, while anti-semitism is a prejudice, and shares american the characteristics, racism, homophobia, other prejudices, fear of muslims, it is different, also. first of all, it's a conspiracy theory. conspiracy theorists find culprits to blame for something that they find threatening or
bothersome. the conspiracy theorists reject logic. so if you were to explain anti-semitism, the irrationality of anti-semitism to a conspiracy theorist, they would just blow you off. they aren't interested in logic. they are prejudiced, and that's how they look at things. secondly, anti-semitism is unlike other prejudices because it comes from the right and from the left. usually a prejudice only comes from one side, but here, this is the one place where the right and the left, the far right, the far left, however you want to describe it, exists in perfect and happy harmony. thirdly, anti-semitism is different and contrasted to racism. the racist punches down. the racist looks at the person of color, whomever they may be, whatever color they may be, and says you're not as smart as us.
they're not as capable as us. if their children go to our schools, there goes the school, if they move into our neighborhood, there goes the neighborhood. in contrast, the anti-smite who often is a racist punches up, the jews are more powerful, they're smarter, they're richer, so they not only have to be hated, they have to be feared and when you put that together with the conspiracy theory, you have a toxic group. simply put, toxic brew. simply put, anti-semitism makes people stupid. it is delusional. think about it. the anti-semite says the jew is the come next. the anti-he is migsmooit says t roth highland, the capitalist, last i checked you can't be both at the same time. the anti-semte says the jews are clannish, the jews are pushy and always want to live in naikds
where they're nonted, be in schools and clubs and groups where they're not wanted. last time i checked you can't be clannish and pushing into other groups at the same time. but that's logic. and the anti-semite detests logic. anti-semitism isn't something random, it's not disliking a jew, i dislike a lot of jews, everyone here, come on, you want to see disliking, come to my synagogue, oh, they're watching. >> you are going to make me compare it with baptists don't. do that. >> afterwards, we'll, have you know, i would say we would have a drink, but i don't know if that's allowed: anti-semitism is not disliking a jew. it is disliking someone because they have a jew. it is persistent. it has a structure. and it has a template. you can recognize it. it begins as, it began as
aend-judaism, but soon, as christianity, differentiated itself from another religion, not something unheard of, when there are two religions, particularly so closely connected, but it quickly migrated out of the confines of the church, out of the confines of religion, to the opposite end of the spectrum, to karl mash marx who hated all religion but if you read what he wrote about anti-semitism, it is the word of a anti-semitic church father. the naes, the you gennists, they were all saying the same thing, left, right, center, it doesn't matter. one of the most widely known anti-semitic sources, easily available, you're talking about high-tech, previously with special envoy carr, is the protocols of the elders of zion, easily available on amazon, in many different iterations. public a-publication that began having nothing to do with jews
and was in the hands of czarist russia, they changed the culprit from someone else to put in jews, and it has maintained itself as a best seller. car magnet henry ford distributed half a million copies in the early decades of the previous century. and despite the fact that it has been exposed, it's available today in french and german and arabic and an array of other languages. holocaust denial. holocaust denial is not only contra to history, the holocaust says the dubious distinction of being the best documented genocide in the world. for deniers to be right, who would have to be wrong? the victims? the bystanders who watch the trains going into the camps day after day? or who were near the shooting sites? thousands of historians would either have to be in on the hoax or have been duped. and the perpetrators themselves,
and not one war crimes trial, since the end of world war ii, not just of germans but of anyone of any nash analysis as a perpetrator said it didn't happen. i didn't do it. i was only following orders. but not, it didn't happen. but what will deniers tell you? oh, they did this, why, to get reparations, a fancy word for money, art of the anti-semitic template they forced the allies to have hearings in nuremberg, this he were so faufrl, party money, power, conspiracy, the anti-semitic sem plate. as you've seen today, we see anti-semitism on the right. we see it on the left. we see it from islamic extremists. we see it from atheists. always relying on the same things. ultimately, as i said, i believe that on some level, and it's a
sad thing to say because i fight it and i write about it and i teach about it in lecture, but anti-semitism can be described as a herpies disease. if you know, herpies until recently, there was no way of curing forms of herpes, if you had it, you were under pressure, the bride who wakes up on the morning of her wedding of a cold sore, the person who gets a outbreak of herpies before a big interview, it was always there and came out with tension, and so too with anti-semitism, it takes many different forms and it persists. what then can we do about it? it's irrational. we but we can't simply throw up our hands in defeat. we must understand it. understand its history. we must call it out. you've heard some very good suggestions from the two previous people testifying. we must challenge it. we must take it seriously. we must never let it overwhelm
us. the costs of doing so are too great. and we must act now. later will be too late. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, dr. lipstadt. ms. nazarian. >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you for holding this hearing and for inviting me to testify today. since 1913, adl's mission has been to stop the defamation of the jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. i lead adl's international affairs division, which seeks to promote the security of jewish communities abroad, fighting anti-semitism, bigotry and prejudice, and working with partners around the world, using adl programs and resources regarding hate crimes, cyber hate, and anti-bias education. regetbly our work and expertise on anti-semitism and hate is more current and more urgent
than ever in the u.s. and around the globe. in the u.s., our comprehensive annual audit of anti-semitic incidents found that anti-semitic assaults doubled in the u.s. in 2018 and the number of victims of such assaults tripled. given the daily reports of aemgs attacks in 2013, along with jersey city, and powaw and others we know that 2019 will be one of the most violent years of aemgs incidents we have witnessed. in addition, adl seeks to combat efforts to attack or delegitimize the jewish state and call out when such campaigns cross the line into anti-semitism. in europe, we urge governments to support the security of local jewish communities, to address potential threats, and to hold perpetrators of attacks fully accountable. in latin america, and europe, we support communities and train students to stand up against anti-semitism, and extreme anti-israel slanders. and the broader middle east, we
name and shame governments that enable anti-semitism such as in official textbooks. i have personal experience understanding the fear and isolation that extremists can inflict on vulnerable communities, and religious minorities, having left iran as a child, to flew the anticipation owe pression of khomeini's dictatorship. it is a core certain for religious freedom. i think one of the signs at the march that was referred to this sunday, against anti-semitism, in new york said it best. if you need a security guard to practice your religion, you don't have freedom of religion. jews are often the first community targeted when pluralism is under threat. we have been expelled from entire countries and suffered with the holocaust and programs. today anti-semitic incidents often take the form of attacks against jewish institutions or
worshippers. we see bans on kosher animal slaughter or ritual circumcision that make it impossible for observant communities to remain. jews in many european countries and even in brooklyn are fear of wearing religious garg, stars of david or other visible signs they're jewish. anti-semitism is a powerful driver of terrorism. as we saw in buenos aires, and in paris, the terrorist attacks. unfortunately, we have data to attest to warring trends both in terms of aemgs interests and publiced a tutees. the latest data from france shows ans in in anti-semitism in the first half of 2019. in the uk aemgs incidents are at the highest ever rate and in the german capital of berlin there are on average two anti-semitic incidents per day. as for attitudes, adl recently
polled public opinion about jewish people in 18 countries where jewish populations are significant. in the 12 eu countries sur vived, as well as ukraine and russia, at least one in four respondents agreed with the majority of anti--semitiy stereotypes. as it can affect community, so do governmental and societal responses. for example, the no hate, no fear solidarity thaurch that we just referred to that adl was a co-sponsor of in new york on sunday, sent a powerful something else that tens of thousands of people will stand up against anti-semitism. more importantly, governments need to be engaged and proactive. before yom kippur this year, the small jewish community in germany had asked for police protection. the local police did not respond so they weren't there when the white supremacist opened fire. only following that attack did the german federal ministry of
interior gather state level counterparts to develop a ten point plan against extremism. in this case, this plan was simply too late. their inaction had led to loss of life. a member of my team was in poway when the shooting took place and worked with the local jewish community to support those who were targeted. adl along with the central welfare of jews in germany provided funds to establish a psychological help hot line for communities. and it can be an important voice in governments to take pro active steps. governments should be urged to provide robust political leadership to assure targeted communities by speaking out about manifestation of anti-semitism and other scapegoating. they should utilize the international holocaust remembrance alliance, working definition of anti-semitism, to provide educational guidance, for law enforcement, teachers, and community leaders.
should improve public reporting on anti-semitic incidents as well as other forms of hate violence, and discrimination. they should ensure that governments have specific senior officials tasked with combatting anti-semitism, and to do the same for all forms of hate. this is a very important recommendation which we can really follow up on. they should mandate hate crime prevention and response training into law enforcement education. this is something that we deal with in the u.s., we are the largest trainer of law enforcement, fbi, homeland security, this can be done internationally. all law enforcement should be expected to offer hate crime training. work closely with local jewish communities to address issues of concern including freedom of worship and jewish communities are front line next know what is going in their communities. there should be very direct access between government and jewish communities to know what are the solutions that they need and the support that they need. ensure that school curricula
address the holocaust, modern day anti-semitism, and anti-bias training. many countries have laws plan dating holocaust education. this should be implemented. there should be funding for that. and that's something that you could play an important role in that as well. vigorously combat violence in groups that attack jews or other countries regardless of such extremists emerge from the left or right or other communities as we said before and ensure immediate ka companies enforce robust terms of service against cyber hate including the particular forms anti-semitism manifests as referred to earlier. we were very happy to host the social media companies. we are really glad elan carr was there as well. there are important conversations to be had. thank you so much for having us here. we look forward to your questions and anything else i can help you. thank you.
[ applause ] >> thank you ms. nazarian. ambassador ahmed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you. i would like to thank the commission for inviting me to this very important very import. i would like to thank my friend. anti-semitism to me is like a dense, poisonous fogs. at times it is thick and at times it begins to lift but somewhere it is lurking out there. and i'm saying this because for the last three to four decades i have been personally involved in fighting the bigotry that creates anti-semitism. i would request you to pay heed to this because i'm bringing a different kind of experience. firstly i was privileged to be a commissioner in the study called a very light sleeper. the persistence and dangers of
anti-semitism. this consisted of some eminent british scholars. working on this project opened my eyes to the extraordinary stirring story of the jewish people. through the terrible persecution, the genocide the suffering, they remained steadfast to their fate. a lot of time i was very ignorant and therefore i was appreciating my horizons of knowledge opening, but noting that so much of the abuse and attacks had a familiar ring. as i saw them happening to my own community. i believe anyone interested in the topic of anti-semitism taught read a very light sleeper. i have given some references below and i hope that they be consulted for the same purpose. the exercise helped me to understand better another phenomenal based on hatred that
concerns and threatens my own community. commonly referred to as islamaphobia. a landmark study from the earlier study on anti-semitism. in 1999, i was invited to deliver the rabbi goldstein memorial annual lecture at the famous synagogue. again, this was an event which proved historic and broke the ice between the two communities. after 9/11 i was proud to be part of the summit in washington. at the he brew congress. we visited the houses of worships, the universities, think tanks and appeared in main stream media including the bbc. i had the honor of speaking at
the holocaust museum in washington, d.c. and found the experience deeply moving. i was also troubled that a lot of people including my own community were not aware this was a national american museum. they thought this was a jewish organization meant to propagate or use false propaganda and people didn't understand that this is something that is american and should be compulsory in terms of education especially for the young education. i became a charter member on mosques which is challenged -- i worked with the greater washington muslim jewish forum, the predecessor and the muslim jewish charter. my friend whose son was so brutally and tragically killed in karachi in an act of blatant and cruel anti-semitism, we
traveled the world promoting jewish muslim dialogue to improve understanding. we traveled all over the world in the high point came when we spoke in the highly -- in the house of lords in london, in the event hosted by a jewish christian and muslim lord. it came from the renowned professor who -- who was a founder director for first center for stu study of muslim jewish relations at cambridge. the doctor involved the women and their families. first time ever it was happening on the ground level. so what are the lessons that i learned? i want to give awe few points and give us some ideas on how to move ahead. after decades of dealing with
the subject. the first lesson was that anti-semitism is born of bigotry. bigotry comes from lack of knowledge. lack of understanding. very often, people who are anti-semitic they may have ethnic reasons, political reasons, but to me in the field i found most of them were coming from a sense of no knowledge. that allowed all kinds of stereotypes and tropes to enter their vision of the jewish community. so i think it's vital that the scholars especially the jewish scholars, the rabbis, and i must say i have been deeply impressed by the rabbis i have had the privilege of meeting the most outstanding rabbis probably on this planet and i have been very impressed by their learning and wisdom and compassion. now, i also find that in these dialogues very often we have the dialogues, breaking bread in all
three traditions is very vital. if you want to make friends if you want to build bridges break bread. dr. hati initiated this in cambridge and she found that the jewish and the muslim community had lots of complaints about each other. by the second or the third meal they're talking about shopping trips, talking against their husbands, all sorts of dynamics began to emerge. so there's a lot that was in common between the families. also i find that the dialogues that are taking place thankfully should be visible and frank. very often they're stilted. we try to be good to each other. kind to each other and we don't bring out the really -- there's a lot that is wrong in the jewish community and the muslim community which we must confront because anti-semitism is like a tumor. we have to understand. as a victim, as a patient of this terrible disease, the malady, we really need to understand that disease to be
able to attack it. i don't think it's being done. next point i noticed you had these terrible incidents in pittsburgh and the stabbings and we have got the reaction, the usual reaction. we'll have more guards. we'll more patrols. i have been a field officer -- i have run large parts of pakistans that's not doing to change minds. if there is hatred in people's hearts that hatred will remain so you need to challenge the hearts of the people and where this is coming from. and that will happen, that can happen if some of these steps are taken. the media must be involved. the media we all complain about as a terrible source of confusion and hatred we heard the ambassador talking about the trolls and the venom but it can
be a force of good. there can be documentaries and the platform can promote dialogue and friendship. one of the most powerful symbols happened in terms of jewish/muslim dialogue when the rabbi walked across the stage at the washington hebrew ing congregation and kissed me on both cheeks and this is first time that everyone saw a muslim and rabbi embracing. i can see how the muslim students congregated towards each other. i want to conclude by saying that i have heard this phrase never again. and the holocaust museum i repeated it again and again and i'm sorry to say we must not be complacent about this. the people running the government you must make sure
when we say never again we mean never again because it's happening. anti-semitism may not be happening on a vast scale but it's happening too frequently. if you have one jewish person killed that's too many. again and again this is happening in pittsburgh, new york, today here or tomorrow over there, we can not accept it. we must not say never again and not mean it. we must mean it. in conclusion, in the highly complex and interconnected world that we live we must work together to bring down the temperature. the violence and hatred may not congeal into the new normal. you need to preserve the grand and noble vision of the founding fathers of this great nation. at the heart of that vision lies jeffersonian religious pluralism. hatred, bigotry and violence against minorities are
unacceptable. they're unacceptable because they're immoral and they're un-american. over the years, i have been most impressed and -- roosevelt said -- i think she meant the phrase -- am i right? this phrase i learned from my friend lord jonathan sax. i think it is something that we all as a world civilization into the 21st century must use. we need to know that the world needs healing and we will work together shoulder to shoulder to go out and heal this world. if you long at the world, it is is in such a mess and in flames. and as a proud muslim let me say that it echoes my own salvation
tradition in which scholars and sufis practiced what they call peace with all. thank you. >> ambassador, thank you. rabbi cooper. >> thank you. i first -- first on behalf of the 400,000 members, i want to commend senator jacky rosen and through the chair chairman perkins. for being here, right here in the u.s. senate at a time of a broken political conversation in our country. and through c-span and high-tech, sending out a message to our elected officials on both sides. there shouldn't be only anti-semitism and let us start with us in order to try to rediscover a sense of why we're really here and a type of
bipartisanship and when we can nonpartship. so i commend the commitment for you sir, and you should be very worried when a rabbi starts by saying something nice about you. so let me make also with permission two comments on some of the important issues that were raised previously. on the monday morning after the mass murders in new zealand, i received a phone call from the senior official from facebook, it said, rabbi, great news for you. we have already removed 1.5 million copies of the live streaming of the mass murderers that took place in new zealand. and i said, peter, i thought you were calling me for a different reason. to tell me that facebook and twitter were going to take the
lead if necessary in eliminating live streaming altogether if that meant as we have seen since that every other shooter since has put a camera up on their helmet or hat and have tried to mimic this horrific plan. i had a program called digital terrorism and hate and i asked my grandchildren, but this is last year's report. we'll be back to washington on march 5th for the 2020 report. we're being too kind to the social media giants. i have had many meetings with them. i enjoy putting out our report card. we actually grade them. they have done some great things. but this is not really a time for more conversation. i think commissioner moore said it. they create the most incredible opportunities for all of us technologically and the short answer to a complicated
question, can they do more? much much more. they know they can and they need to be nudged and i would suggest for starters that perhaps the next hearing of you serve take place in california because they don't let you up in silicon valley you can use our museum of tolerance in los angeles. secondly, yesterday we were host to secretary of state pompeo's point man on iran, brian hook was in los angeles to speak with the very large persian american community and he had a visit to our museum of tolerance and a press conference. during that press conference, rabbi hire and both of them brought up the issue of the fact that it's the state policy of iran in promoting holocaust denial. so when perhaps the first
iterations of this took place 20, 30, 40 years ago, we would say that's really terrible. the victims feel horrible. you're killing the people who died again. it really is terrible hate speech. we're way beyond that. for the iranian regime the denial of the holocaust is a precursor to planning the next genocide. this is a state on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon and we are a hostage and bringing the world literally to the brink of god forbid another global conflagration. what everyone has said here it starts with anti-semitism it never ends. when you don't deal with it, for example, germany won't call out the holocaust denial of the iranians to their face. it's not just maybe a clever
move on them for their economic interest but there's a huge price to pay part of which we're seeing right know where holocaust denial is a live wire. that came out yesterday during the press conference where we were all holding our breath and thankfully we all know now that no american lives were lost. so for my presentation this morning, and i think it's a good move that you took the clergymen last and gave them four minutes instead of five or six, but let me focus on really four countries in europe. i'm certain that no one here has ever heard of -- he died on december 29th having never recovered from the knife wielding fanatic screaming
allahu akbar. and he was let go, free to attack again. shaloan paid the ultimate price and this time the killer was released after six months. deemed mentally unfit. and in january 2020 no one has a clue where he is. the rosenthal center released the top ten 2019 anti-semitism and anti-israel incidents a few weeks ago. number four was the release of another murderer. a murderer of a beautiful french jewish kindergarten teacher, sarah what leemy, who was attacked in her own apartment and flung to her death by an assailant who was chanting coraonic text. he was released because he had
smoked pot before the attack. actually on sunday, french jews took to the streets of paris to protest this outrage. in 2015, another muslim with no prior history of mental ills was deemed up fit to stand trial for the stabbing in marseille. this french judiciary policy of ultimate appeasement of murderous anti-semitism dates back to a man who was mentally unfit to stand trial. he had no prior history of mental ills. commissioners, the french judiciary exposed itself as
unwilling and unfit to protect french jewry even when law enforcement does its job. left unchanged, such despicable policies endanger all jews in france and merits the placing of france on your tier two watch list. sweden, of the -- on the 81st anniversary of kristallnacht, today's nazis plastered stickers on multiple jewish sites in sweden and denmark and in denmark they were placed on private residences and in the 42 tombstones that were vandalized. the yellow stars including in the capital of stockholm near the synagogue, the great synagogue of stockholm and the school were all targeted.
elsewhere, jewish buildings the city of -- where a jewish woman was stabbed and injured last year and they were desecrated. a jewish mother who sends her child to the school in stockholm declined to give her name in the interview but said the following. it is very, very sad that it's so. and it's perhaps something that makes us sometimes think about moving to another country where it be -- where it will be easier to be fully who we are. nearly ten years ago the simon rosenthal center placed a travel advisory on sweden's third largest city for not dealing with the -- very little has
changed. it will give a grant protect the jewish facilities. media reports that the number of jews in the city has rapidly decrease in the last 20 years. and warned that the city's community might disappear entirely. a local jewish team described the experience as living in the city this past summer saying, quote, uncertainty means that you cannot go to school with a visible star of david because then there's a high risk of being threatened or that someone follows you from the school or even of being beaten. the swedish national council for crime prevention reported a record high 280 anti-semitism incidents a jump of 53% over the last audit. while jews make up no more than 1/5 of 1% of the population, more than 4% of hate incidents
in the country target them. a leader at stockholm's police democracy and hate crime group said police need to do more to understand jewish culture. you want to know how clueless they are? it was the same swedish police who gave permission to neo-nazis to rally in the square named in memory of raul wallin burg, directly across from the main synagogue. sweden fails to protect the institutions and the citizens and failed to hold anti-semites accountable in both public and private sectors including at the famed and respected hospital. sweden should be placed on the commission's tier two watch list.
german official lamentations against anti-semitism are not always matched by broad based actions. we have heard about the description of yom kippur, what happened around the synagogue. only a miracle saved dozens of jews in the bullets of the neo-nazi gunmen as they stood in prayer. two other innocent people who weren't jews weren't so lucky. they were killed by the gunman. anti-semitism in germany is surging and not only from the extreme right. recently hours after i met with the mayor of berlin an israeli student was assaulted on the streets of the most important city in central europe, maybe in all of europe. his crime? speaking hebrew in public. jewish kids have been bullied in schools, tourists are accosted. the wiesenthal center and others
have been urging gale merkel to declare hezbollah a terrorist organization. this would cut them off from the financial support they enjoy from supporters in germany and make it harder for them to further spread their hatred of jews among young muslims in the country. to date, unfortunately, chancellor merkel has refused ensuring that germany's jewish community will be further in danger. we therefore call on the commission to put germany on your tier two watch list. finally, england. days before the uk's last election, our center listed jerry corbin's labor party in a crowded field of 2,019 of top anti-semites. thankfully he resigned after the
historic defeat of his party and the anti-semitism he allowed to be released played a role in his political demise. tragically however the injection of anti-semitism into the mainstream of england's national political and social discourse will have long lasting impact. ugly anti-semitic hate crimes have continued daily since the election day. given the close historic links between our two countries and cultures it is important that the commission carefully analyze the current situation and consider placing the uk on its watch list as well. in closing the wiesenthal center urges it to expand the consultation and to perhaps convene a future hearing in 2020 in the european capital.
it's an important statement by us americans and i think we're strong enough and we have enough moral background to know we'll be suffering the backlash immediately by saying i'm going to quote you the adl statistics of the u.s. why did you cross the atlantic? we're crossing the atlantic because in addition to the problem, we have some solutions. thank you. >> thank you. rabbi cooper, and i would say that we have discussed that as a possibility for the commission. i know there's some commissioners that have some questions. i would state at the beginning that we have exceeded our time posted time for our hearing today which was to end at 3:00. but because of the content here and the opportunity we have with such distinguished panelists i'm going to allow each of the chair -- each of the commissioners that would like to ask a question i'll start with
commissioner bauer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. rabbi, i think that phone call that came in was probably the ambassador of sweden, france, england or germany who wanted to give some input on our vote. i don't have a question because we're running late on time but i will tell you that i'll be the dearing one to promise publicly that at the next commission meeting when we're making decisions on this that i will move to do exactly what you suggested. we'll see how the vote goes. >> vice chair? okay. she was going to report on that phone call. she'll pass. >> thank you. thank you all. it was so helpful and informative for us to hear your perspectives. ambassador, i was curious about your interfaith work if you have received hostility for that and
how you have dealt with that doing forward. >> thank you for asking that question. i received a lot of hostility as you can imagine. both in the united states and europe. straight after 9/11 when we did this ground breaking work with the rabbi and the bishop, i got emails, people ringing up. however, i look at the positive side of life. and i also saw -- in fact they used to laugh at me on stage. we used to look at the audience -- look, i put only about 10% muslims and then i said give them a chance, you will see them be 15, 20% pause that will tilt things. unless you have a dialogue, if you're listening to them, they're understanding your problems nothing will change.
my aim was to try to create that dynamism which would change things. yes, i think anyone involved in this has to understand that they face challenges from their open community and let me tell you that some of my rabbi and bishop friends also said the same thing. that they also faced resistance from their own community. you have to carry on because it's more than just a job. a 9 to 5 kind of action you're taking. it's a belief it's a commitment that you have. my daughter who i mentioned is here with us today and when she became the first ever director of the jewish/muslim center in the world she got a lot of hate mail. are you a zionist agent, that kind of nonsense. i was in america, she was at cambridge, she said what would you advise? look, it's hot in the kitchen you're facing ignorance. remember your aim is to see the world as through the lens of
compassion and love. which is what we're command as muslims. god constantly tells us to reach out to and embrace the world. now, if other people are interpreting that differently we must challenge that and we must remember that compassion is at the heart of what judaism is as far as i can understand, christianity and that's at the heart of the great faiths. >> thank you, made ahmad. i want to thank all of our pan lists and witnesses. what we heard here today there's a consistent thread that has been woven throughout the testimony today. this that is a shared problem and it must result in a shared responsible action. it begins with each of us in our various communities speaking to the need of this, but there was also the recognition that was
addressed here today. repeatedly. that this is not a problem just for the jewish community. if anything, they're at the step of the sphere. and what we see happening globally to the jewish community, it is something that will affect every religious community in every part of the world. and we have a responsibility as a leading nation, as a commission that oversees and promotes religious freedom globally to address this issue. even though there has been some resistance even to us taking up this issue. but i want all of our panelists and witnesses today to know that we express great appreciation to you and your respective areas of expertise in continuing to address this issue and as a commission i think i speak on behalf of all of the
our campaign 2020 live coverage continues thursday at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2 with president donald trump in toledo, ohio, at a keep america great rally. and on sunday on c-span, senator michael bennet is in bedford, new hampshire. watch live on c-span and c-span 2 or listen on the go with the free c-span radio app. it's day three of our annual authorities week here on washington journal. we have been featuring authors from across the political spectrum on key public policy issues of the day and joining us today to talk about his book "christ in crisis, why we n
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