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tv   U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Anti- Semitism  CSPAN  January 14, 2020 8:11am-10:14am EST

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captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 a skinhead who shop lifts 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,
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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 bauer? >> always great to see you, sir. and i 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.
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they're the 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 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 bauer, 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 trafficker in anti-semitism. iran, the islamic republic of iran has pushed anti-semitic
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dogma throughout the middle east and throughout the muslim world beyond the middle east and when one looks at violence against jews in western europe, much of which comes from a radicalized muslim community, you have to look back at iran that is responsible for so much anti-semitism venom throughout the arab 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 in 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
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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. >> vice chair manchin? >> 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.
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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 was part of that meeting. first of all, anti-semitic speech very often violates the terms of use of these sites and
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platforms. so we should be encouraging, not censorship, but these platforms, to enforce their own terms. why wouldn't they? they are terms of use. well, they should enforce the terms of use it. it's not the government doing it, it's them doing it. they claim they're committed to doing it, so we should work with them to help them do that. second of all, exposure. we have got to expose this very -- venom, especially what's being trafficked in the dark web. americans have no idea what's going on. i will tell you one piece of information that was recently uncovered and that hasn't been widely disseminated yet, is that there is a campaign by, believe it or not, the neo-nazi far right, specifically focused on 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
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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. 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
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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
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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
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country and our policymakers 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, you know, we want to let them have the space to take care of this problem. that's very important. 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
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your vital work. [ applause ] >> we're going to transition to our third panel of expert witnesses. i will introduce them as they come up. deb bora lipst tax dt is professor of holocaust studies at emory university in atlanta. [ applause ] >> we also have sharon nazarian, she is a senior vice president of 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 akbar 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
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director social action agenda as well. we're glad to have him with us today as well. so we will begin with deb bora 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.
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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 prej ju disand prejudice is irrational. think of the word prejudice, pre-judge, i've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts,
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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 the people say oh, they are all like that, we've moved into the realm of prejudice. now, while anti-semitism is a prejudice and shares many of the characteristics of 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
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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.
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in contrast, the anti-semite, 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 brew. simply put, anti-semitism makes people stupid. it is delusional. think about it. the anti-semite says the jew is the communist. the anti-semite says the jew is the rothchild, the capitalist, last time i checked you can't be both at the same time. the anti-semite says the jews are clannish and stick together, the anti-semite says the jews are pushy and always want to live in neighborhoods where they're not wanted, be in schools and clubs and groups where they're not wanted. last time i checked you can't be
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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 are a jew. it is persistent. it has a structure. and it has a template. you can recognize it. it began as anti-judaism, but soon, as christianity, differentiated itself from another religion, not something unheard of, when
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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 marx who hated all religion but if you read what he wrote about jews it sounded line the worst of an anti-semitic church father and the nazis, the eugenisists 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. a publication that began having nothing to do with jews and was in the hands of czarist russia, they changed the culprit
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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, in not one war crimes trial since the end of world war ii, not just of germans but of
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anyone of any nationality 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, the jews did this why, to get reparations, a fancy word for money, part of the anti-semitic template. they forceded the allies to have hearings in nuremberg, they were so powerful, money, power, conspiracy, the anti-semitic template. s as you've heard before, 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 herpes disease.
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if you know, herpes 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 herpes 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 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 ]
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>> 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. regrettably 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
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anti-semitic assaults doubled in the u.s. in 2018 and the number of victims of such assaults tripled. given the daily reports of anti-semitic attacks in 2013, -- 2019, along with the violence of jersey city and others, we know that 2019 will be one of the most violent years of anti-semitic 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
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isolation that extremists can inflict on vulnerable communities, and religious minorities, having left iran as a child, to flee the anti-semitism oppression of c khamenei'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 mass atrocities of 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
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and veen reportedly in brooklyn, are fearful of wearing religious garb, 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 anti-semitic interests and public attitudes. the latest data from france shows a 76% increase in anti-semitic incidents in the first half of 2019. in the uk anti-semitic 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 surveyed, as well as ukraine and russia,
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at least one in four respondents agreed with the majority of anti-semitic stereotypes. just as anti-semitism accidentses can affect the sense of security for jewish community, so do governmental and societal responses. for example, the no hate, no fear solidarity march that we just referred to that adl was a co-sponsor of in new york on sunday, sent a powerful signal 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.
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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 we'll fare board of jews in germany, provided funds to establish a psychological help hot line for victims and the community. you serve can be an important voice in urging governments to take an important voice to take proactive 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.
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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 adl does 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 the front line and they know what's going on 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.
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many countries have laws mandating 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 communities regardless of whether such extremists emerge from the right, the left or religious or ethnic communities as has been said before. ensure that social media companies rigorously enforce robust terms of service against cyber hate, including the particular forms in which anti-semitism manifest as was referred to earlier. we were happy to host the social media companies at adl. we're really glad elan carr was there as well. there's 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.
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i would like to thank the commission for inviting me to this very important session. i would like to thank my friend. anti-semitism to me is like a dense poisonous fog which disappears altogether, at times it's thick and at times it begins to lift, but somewhere it's 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. although i had some ideas of jewish history, working on this prompt opened
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my eyes to the extraordinary stirring story of the jewish people. through the terrible persecution, the genocide the suffering the community remained steadfast to its faith. not only was i understanding jewish history and culture, a lot of the 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 on the jewish community had a familiar ring, as i saw them happening to my own community. i believe anyone interested in the topic of anti-semitism ought to 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 islam mow phobia. a landmark study from the
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earlier study on anti-semitism. in 1999, i was invited to deliver the rabbi goldstein memorial annual lecture by the liberal and progressive synagogues in the uk 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 privileged to be part of the first abraham summit in the washington hebrew congregation and the episcopal bishop at a meal. we visit the houses of worships, 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
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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 to my mind should really be compulsory in terms of education especially for the young education. i became a charter member of the adl fed ter rags on mosques which has challenged attacks after 9/11. i worked with the greater washington muslim jewish forum, the predecessor and the muslim jewish charter. this work has created goodwill among muslims for the jewish community. my friend whose son daniel was so brutally and tragically killed in karachi, in an act of blatant and crew anti-semitism, we traveled the world promoting jewish/muslim dialog to improve understanding. we traveled all over the world
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and the high point came when we spoke in the house of lords in london, in an event hosted by a jewish christian and muslim lord. a powerful and successful development in jewish/muslim relations came when the scholar kessler appointed the founder and director for the first center for the study of muslim/jewish relations at cambridge. the doctor, with a ph.d. from cambridge university, played a significant role in building bridges and therefore checking anti-semitism by involving 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 beliefly give a few points and hopefully they will give us ideas of how to move ahead. after decades of dealing with the subject, here are the lessons i learned. the first lesson was that anti-semitism is born of bigotry. bigotry comes from lack of knowledge. lack of understanding.
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very often, people who are anti-semitic they may have ideological reasons, 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. of course i have one rabbi sitting on my right. 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
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cambridge in england and very quickly she found that the jewish and the muslim community with lots of complaints about each other, by the second and third meal, they were all friends and talking about shopping trips, they were talking with their husbands, all sorts of dynamics began to emerge. there was a lot in common between families. also i find that dialogs 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 harsh. there's a lot that is wrong in the jewish community and the muslim community and other communities, which we must confront. because anti-semitism, as someone used the expression, is like a tumor. we have to understand, and 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. unless you're very frank. next point i noticed you had
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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 pakistan on the travel areas, guards and patrols are not going to change minds because if there's hatred in people's hearts that hatred will remain. [ applause ] you need to clean, 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 also be a force of good. there can be documentaries and the platform can be used to promote dialog, to promote friendship. one of the most powerful symbols
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happened in terms of jewish/muslim dialogue when the rabbi walked across the stage at the washington hebrew congregation and kissed me on both cheeks and suddenly you had this huge audience, first time, just after 9/11, seeing a muslim and a rabbi embracing and the rabbi kissing a muslim. it had a very powerful effect and i could 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. we think we just say never again and go home and nothing happens. the government you distinguish people running this government, you must make sure when we say never again we mean never again. it is happening and anti-semitism may not be happening on a vast scale but it's happening too frequently.
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and to me that's very alarming. if you have one jewish person killed that's too many. again and again this happening in pittsburgh, new york, today here or tomorrow over there. we cannot 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 must not congeal into the new normal. it is the modern obligation 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
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impressed and it was cited, the phrase, i don't think she used the phrase, am i right, rabbi? thank you. now this phrase i learned from my friend, lord jonathan sax, it is, i think, something that we all as a civilization, as a world civilization, into the 21st century, must use, christians, muslims, jews, 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 look at the world, it is in such a mess and it's in flames. there's nothing more powerful for me than this particular image. and as a proud muslim let me say that it echos my own tradition in which scholars and sufis practiced what they call peace with all. thank you.
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[ applause ] >> ambassador, thank you. rabbi cooper. >> thank you. first on behalf the 400,000 members of the simon wiesenthal center, 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 it, in order to try to rediscover a sense of why we're really here and a type of bipartisanship and when we can, nonpartisanship. i commend the commitment across the board, for you, sir, you
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don't know me very well, but 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, he said, rabbi, got 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
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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. i didn't know anything about technology. i asked my grandchildren. this is last year's report. we'll be back in 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
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for starters that perhaps the next hearing take place in california. if they don't let you up in silicon valley, you can always 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
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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, looking at the events of the last few days, bringing the world literally to the brink of, god forbid, of 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 now, where
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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. worst still, his attacker, who had stabbed an innocent victim back in 2010, was deemed unfit for trial by french authorities. so he was let go, free to attack
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again. shallom paid the ultimate price, and believe it or not, this time the killer was released after six months, deemed mentally unfit. in january of 2020, no one has a clue where he is. the simon wiesenthal center released our top ten 2019 anti-semitic 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, sara halemy, who was attacked in her own apartment and flung to her death by an assailant who by his own admission was chanting text. he was recently released because he had smoked pot before the attack. yesterday, or actually on sunday, french jews and others outraged and fearful citizens,
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took to the streets of paris to protest this outrage. in 2015, another muslim with no prior history of mental illness was deemed unfit to stand trial for the stabbing of jews in marseille. initially released, the protests did lead for him to be jailed for four years. this french judiciary policy of ultimate appeasement of murderous anti-semitism dates back to someone who was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial for stabbing a jew to death. he had no prior history of mental illness. commissioners, it is the french judiciary that has exposed itself again and again as unwilling and unfit to protect french from violent anti-semitism, even when law enforcement does its job. left unchanged, such despicable
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policies endanger all jews in france and merits the placing of france on your tier two watch list. sweden, on the 81st anniversary of the night of broken glass, when german sin know gags were torched by the nazis, today's nazis plastered stickers shaped like yellow stars on multiple jewish sites on sweden and denmark. in denmark they were placed on private residences and tombstones at the cemetery were vandalized. the same yellow stars appeared across sweden including in the capital of stockholm near where a synagogue, the great synagogue of stockholm and the school, were all targeted. elsewhere, jewish buildings, in the city, where a jewish woman
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was stabbed and severely injured earlier last year, a jewish mother who sends her kids to the school in stockholm, declined to give her name in an interview, the following, "it is very, very sad that it is so, and it is perhaps something that makes us sometimes think about moving to another country. will it be easier to be fully who we are? nearly ten years ago, the center placed a travel advisory on sweden's third largest city for failing to deal with incessant anti-semitic incidents against its rabbi and small jewish community. very little has changed despite the government's recent announcement it will give a grant to better protect jewish community facilities. simply put, that may be too late. media reports that the number of jews in the city has rapidly
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decreased in the last 20 years and warned that the city's community might disappear entirely. a local jewish teen described his experience 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 is 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-semitic incidents, a jump of 53% over their last audit. while jews make up no more than 1/5 of 1% of sweden's population, more than 4% of all hate incidents in the country target jews. preliminarily investigations leader at stockholm's police
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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 wal wallenberg, directly across from stockholm's main synagogue. sweden fails to protect its jewish citizens and institutions and failed to hold anti-semites accountable for their actions in both public and private sectors, including at its famed and respected hospital. sweden should be placed on the commission's tier 2 watch list. german official lamentations against anti-semitism are not always matched by consistent broad-based actions. we've heard about the
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description of yum kapur. only a miracle saved dozens of jews from the bullets of a neonazi gunman as they stood in prayer. two other innocent people nearby who weren't jews but deserve to be remembered today 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, jewish tourists accosted. the center and others have been urges chancellor merkel and the mayor of berlin, mr. mueller, to declare hezbollah a terrorist
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organization. this could 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 that country. to date, unfortunately, chancellor merkel has refused, ensuring that germany's jewish community be further endangered. we therefore call on the commission to put germany on your tier 2 watch list. finally, england. days before the uk's last election, our center listed jeremy corbyn's labor party as number one in a very crowded field of 2019 top anti-semites. thankfully, corbyn resigned after historic defeat of his election. his anti-semitism played a role
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in his political demise. tragically, however, the cancerous injection of anti-semitism into the mainstream of england's national and political social discourse will have long-lasting impact. ugly anti-semitic hate crimes have continued daily since 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, we urge the commission to expand its consultation with special envoy elon carr and to perhaps convene a future hearing in 2020 in a european capital. it's an important statement by us americans, and i think we're strong enough and have enough moral backbone to know we'll be suffering the backlash
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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. [ applause ] >> thank you, rabbi cooper. and i would just say that we have discussed that as a possibility for the commission. i -- i know there are some commissioners that have some questions. i'll just state at the beginning that we have succeeded 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 -- 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 just came in was probably the ambassador of either sweden,
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france, germany or england who wanted to give some unpit on our vote. input on our vote. i don't have a question because we're running late on time. i'll tell you i'll be the one to promise publicly the next committee hearing we're making decisions on this that i will move to do exactly what you suggest and we'll see how the vote goes. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> vice chair mansion? oh, okay, she was going to report on that phone call. i think she's going to pass. >> thank you all. it was so helpful and informative for us to hear all your perspectives. ambassador, i was curious about your interfaith work. if you've received hostility for that and how you've dealt with that going forward. >> thank you for asking that question. i received a lot of hostility, as you can imagine.
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both in the united states and here. straight after 9/11 when we did this groundbreaking work with the rabbi and the bishop, i got emails, people ringing up, and this carried on. however, i look at the positive side of life, and i also saw -- in fact, we used to look at the audiences. we would attract huge audiences. only about 10% muslims and all jews here. i say give them a chance, we saw 10 go to 20, 30%. that will tilt things. that will change things. paw unless you get the community involved, you have a dialogue where they feel you're listening to them and they're understanding your problems, nothing really is going to change. and my aim was to try to create that dynamism, dynamic which would change things. so, yes, i think anyone involved in this has to understand that
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they face challenges from their own community. and let me tell you that some of my rabbi friends and bishop friends also said the same thing. they also faced resistance from their own community. you really have to carry on because it's more than just a job or a 9:00 to 5:00 action that you're taking. it's a belief, it's a commitment that you're taking. my daughter, a doctor is with us here today. she became the first director of the only jewish/muslim center in the world, she got a lot of hate mail and people ringing up and saying are you a zionist agent. she rang me -- she was at cambridge and said, papa, what do you advise? look, it's hot in the kitchen. you're to face this because you're facing ignorance. remember, your primary aim is to see the world as through the lens of compassion and love, which is what we are commanded at muslims. god constantly tells us to reach out and embrace the world.
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if other people are interpreting that differently, we have to challenge that. that's what drives us. we must remember this word, compassion, which is really at the heart as far as judaism, christianity and islam. it may be misinterpreted, but it's at the heart of these great fathers. >> thank you, ambassador. i want to thank all of our panelists, all of our witnesses. what we have heard today, there is certainly a consistent thread that has been woven throughout the testimony today. that this is a shared problem. and it must result in a shared responsible action. it begins with each of us in our individual communities speaking to this. there was also a recognition addressed today repeatedly, that this is not a problem just for the jewish community. if anything, they're at the tip of the spear.
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and as -- 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 here that have experienced that to know that today we express great appreciation to each of you and your respective areas of expertise in bringing attention to this issue and continuing to address this issue. and as a commission, i think i speak on behalf of all of the commissioners in saying we look forward to working with you and others that are addressing this issue going forward. so thank you very much.
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thank all of you for being here. we are adjourned. [ applause ] and live this morning on c-span3, we're going to be taking a look at u.s. policy toward iran, including new u.s. sanctions and the military strike that killed a high-ranking iranian general,
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qassem soleimani. the hearing is being held by the house foreign affairs committee. eliot engel is the chair. mike pompeo was invited to testify but declined. we'll be hearing from former state department and national security officials. also in attendance, members of the protest group code pink. you're watching live coverage here on c-span3.
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just waiting for this
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hearing on iran to begin live this morning here on c-span3. we haven't seen the chair of the committee quite yet, eliot engel of new york. the official title of the hearing, "sanctions from the soleimani strike to sanctions, evaluating the administration's iran policy." protest members of code pink also attending. and secretary of state mike pompeo was invited to testify but he declined. we'll be hearing from some former state department and national security officials there at the witness table.
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