Summit on Combatting Anti-Semitism Part 3

PDAAG John Gore: Ladies and gentlemen I am
honored to introduce our next speaker, United States Special Envoy to monitor and combat
anti-Semitism. Elan Carr. Special Envoy Carr advises the Secretary of State and is responsible
for directing U. S. policies and programs aimed at countering anti-Semitism all across
the world. Special Envoy Carr has served as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles
as an officer in the United States Army Reserve, as the International President of the Jewish
fraternity Alpha Epsilon Phi, and on the National Council of the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee. Special Envoy Carr is also the proud son of Iraqi Jewish parents who fled
persecution in Iraq. Join me in extending a warm welcome to special Envoy Carr. [Clapping]
Special Envoy Elan Carr: Well thank you so much. What a pleasure it is to see — not
only great friends in the room but true partners in our mutual, and most urgent struggle. I
want to begin by thanking our great Attorney General Bill Barr. How amazing is he and how
amazing is this? I gotta tell ya — this is an extraordinary conference. When you’ve got
the Attorney General of the United States, Who opens this conference calling anti-Semitism
a cancer. When you have the Secretary of Education? Who comes here to see BDS as anti-Semitism,
and we have the Secretary of the Treasury coming shortly whose words will certainly
be no less strong. And then of course I’m here to represent my boss are great Secretary
of State, Mike Pompeo — who could not be more of a leader on the subject of fighting
anti-Semitism and promoting religious freedom. This kind of conference, extraordinary as
it is, could not come at a better time. We meet here today, at a time of strikingly rising
anti-Semitism across the globe. As Jonathan Tobin said before lunch in the last panel,
this is a global problem. Anti-Semitism is up in Europe, where Jews are attacked on the
streets of capitals. Anti-Semitism is up in the United States. Where vandalism, In New
York and Los Angeles, occurs on a fairly regular basis. And when the campuses, as we heard
during our last panel, have become hostile places for Jewish and pro-Israel and Jewish
students. In the Middle East anti-Semitic venom continues unabated. Textbooks continue
to inculcate children. Children. In vile anti-Semitic hatred. And of course, social media boils
over with anti-Semitism. This is a global problem. And just as in Europe and in the
Middle East, anti-Semitism has three sources this country is no different. We’ve talked
about it before and you all know what those sources are. The ethnic supremacist far—right,
the anti-Zionist far left and radical Islam. Three groups that should hate each other more
than they hate anything else on earth. And yet mysteriously, are united by their hatred
of the Jewish people and I would argue by one other thing as well. And that is by the
fundamental incompatibility of their ideologies, with everything on which this country was
built. Whether it’s the ethnic supremacist right, the hostile, anti-western left or radical
Islam. Each of those ideologies threatens the United States. No less than threatens
the Jewish people. But if anti-Semitism is a cancer, as Attorney General Barr so correctly
called. What I want to spend a few moments talking about, is the metastatic part of that
cancer. The kind of anti-Semitism that is sweeping the globe like a wildfire, including
here in the United States, and that is the so called new anti-Semitism. The anti-Semitism
that attempts to disguise its Jew hatred. As hatred for the state of Israel and for
the Zionist endeavor. And that’s what I want to speak with you about because my friends,
there is little disagreement, that neo nazis and their ilk represent true anti-Semitism.
And there’s a little disagreement that terrorists to blow up Jews in buses and cafes reflect
anti-Semitism. But it is critical that we confront the so called new anti Semitism with
no less vigor and no less result than we confront any other. In fact, the whole nomenclature
of new anti semitism I would argue is misplaced, there is nothing new about the new anti semitism.
When one looks down the list of manifestations of traditional anti semitism, every manifestation
then appears as a manifestation in the so called new anti semitism. Let’s begin with
the blood libel: the medieval slanders the Jews bacon but saw with the blood of children.
No difference in the so called new anti semitism. When the Jew among the countries is accused
of perpetrating genocide, of being an apartheid regime of infecting Palestinian children with
viruses, blood libels then, blood libels now nothing new. How about isolation? The classic
age old anti semitism that isolates the Jewish community as the outsider the ominous outsider
that undermines the purity of the polity or of the ethnic race. No different. Israel isolated
as the other, the ominous outsider, at once different and it once universally controlling
rhetoric. The same rhetoric then the same rhetoric in now. Jewish leader in Europe was
recently called a dirty Zionist. As though the substitution of a word. My confuse us
as to what is actually meant. “Kill all the Zionists,” we heard. Quoted on the last
panel as being a rallying cry of the so called new. Anti semitism. My own grandfather, a
Jewish leader in Iraq, was arrested in nineteen forty eight. My mother was a young girl when
she knock came at the door he had shaving cream on his face. He was dragged, often paraded,
through the streets in leg irons before being thrown in prison. But before prison he was
tried. Not the kind of trials this place stands for. He was tried for being a Zionist because
he was handing out allegedly Zionist material at a rally in Baghdad. The only problem with
that is, well let’s put aside the problem of whether that should be a crime anyway.
Put that aside. The only other problem with it, is that he wasn’t in Baghdad. He was in
Basra and when his case was called he said to the judge your honor I can bring witnesses
to prove that I was in Basra that day, I wasn’t in Baghda. I was nowhere near this rally that
supposedly happened. I was working with British officers in the port. The judge said, “you’re
challenging the accusation against you. For you two years above what you were going to
receive a ready.” It wasn’t about him handing out material at a rally. It wasn’t about a
Zionist rally or the content of that rally. It was about him being a Jew. Same rhetoric
then same rhetoric in now. Also similar is the pathological obsession of the hatred of
the Jewish people. In the so called new anti semitism as it is no less obsessive, no less
foaming at the mouth. A student at a premier university gave me a math answer sheets. I
still haven’t. It says the derivative of someone so as such and such the integral of such and
such as so and so and then. It says another day in the occupied Palestinian territories
Zionist forces murdering children. And then a return to math. The kid who gave that to
me said to me, in a voice reflecting utter exhaustion, “in math class I can’t even
escape this? Even in math?” That’s right. Even in math. Because the new anti semitism
is no less obsessive, no less pathological, no less insane than the anti semitism of old.
Also similar, is the tendency to blame the Jew for the anti semitic response. That was
the case all through history. Every poll grown every orgy of violence blamed against something
Jews supposedly did or maybe actually do. By the way, even Kristallnacht, right? That
apex, that crescendo of anti semitic hatred before the actual extermination was blamed
on an action by a Jew. No blood in Matzah, but a real event: the assassination of a German
diplomat by Herschel Greenspan. But just because the Nazis claim Kristallnacht was a response
to something a Jew did doesn’t mean we’re so gullible as to believe it. We understand
the Kristallnacht wasn’t a response to anything, but rather for furthered. The overarching
strategy of the Nazis to destroy the Jewish people–we understand that very clearly. So
to the new anti semitism blames always for something the state of Israel does, either
fictionally or actually. A building project here, the military operation there. But just
like with Kristallnacht, just because those who hate Israel claim that the anti semitic
response is based on something Israel does, doesn’t mean we’re so gullible as to believe
it. And we understand that their actions are part of their overall strategy of destroying
the Jewish state and finally economic suffocation right coughs niched by Odin, we’ve seen those
pictures of brown shirts in front of shops throughout Germany. Well BDS is no different
today. “Don’t buy from the Jew among the country, “thereby attempting to achieve
through economic suffocation, what no army has been able to achieve: the destruction
of Israel. And so there is nothing new about the so called new anti semitism. It is Jew
hatred plain and simple and must be treated as such. And the bad news I have for you today
is that it is working. You see these BDS votes aren’t really about universities divesting
from Israel. No university is going to listen to what a group of students vote. But what
BDS is really about is poisoning the well of pro-Israel support, in this country and
in Europe. A recent survey done, a rigorous poll done, of Jewish students in the United
States, shows that Jewish students on college campuses today are less supportive of Israel
than ever before, more inclined to view Israel as a problem than ever before, even more sympathetic
toward terrorism than ever before. And evangelical Christians? Well, the top issue with every
conference of evangelical Christians is “how we’re losing the young people,” and “how
do we keep the young people pro Israel?” I spoke to one kid at a rally in Los Angeles
he ran up to me and said “I, I’m here as a volunteer I love Israel.” And I said,
“Jim, tell me something that you have a question, is it true that young evangelical
Christians are less supportive of Israel” and he said to me “my goodness it’s absolutely
true it’s everywhere around us.” I said what do you think that is? He said to me,
he said, “because we also go to college. We also hear it. All the time from every angle.
Relentlessly. Jews and evangelical Christians? Those aren’t just any two communities, that’s
the base if those two groups are being turned just imagine everyone else.” That’s here.
Let me tell you about the United Kingdom from which I just returned two days ago. You know
what’s happening in the United Kingdom, and thankfully I can report that the civil war
within the labor party is intensifying, fought by good people who are determined to rid themselves
of anti semitism. But let me tell you about the most disturbing meeting I’ve had in the
last five months that I’ve been on this job. And let me tell you my business, I have many
disturbing meetings but this one stands out. It was with the labor party MP, who walked
out of the labor party, not Jewish, walked out of the labor party because she said I
will not sit at the same table as anti Semites. I met with her, and she said to me, “this
disaster that we have in England? All started on the campuses. And we did nothing because
they were only students. And then I moved into the labor party and we did nothing because
it was just the far left fringe, and today they’ve won and we’ve lost, and I no longer
have a party anymore.” My friends the warning to our country could not be any clearer, and
the urgency of this time in which we meet could not be any more apparent. Now is the
time, not tomorrow not next week. Now is the time. To save our future from what is impending
on the horizon, and that’s why this is so important. I’ll leave you with good news:
one of the great assets we have in this fight is the US administration committed in unprecedented
fashion to this fight. Think about it. State, Justice, Treasury and Education, every player
that can apply a real force to this problem is here today. And it didn’t just start today.
Last week, we were at the PCC at the White House where this issue was the topic of conversation
of coordinating meeting at the White House with White House staff, to say “how can
we make this an administration-wide fight?” And so now we get it, and we’re going to fight
this fight together, and we’re gonna apply every legal force that we can. Not only to
protect and save the Jewish people, although that would be cause enough, my goodness that
would because enough. But we’re going to fight this fight because what is at stake here is
the future of our country nothing less than that. The kind of free decent democratic society
we want our kids to inherit. Our children who deserve the very best, who deserve for
us to bequeath to them a future better than ours, a society more just than ours. If we
don’t win, God help us. God help us and god help them and their future. So my friends
I stand before you today as part of an administration-wide fight that is determined, not to contain this
scourge, but to roll it back to excise it and to really build a better future. The kind
of future that our children and our grandchildren so richly deserve. Thank you so much, and
thank you for being here and all that you do.
PDAAG John Gore: Thank you, Special Envoy Carr, for those stirring remarks and reminder
the global scope of this problem that we’re addressing today. Our next panel is entitled
“Prosecuting Hate Crimes.” We’re honored today to have introductory remarks from a
true and trusted friend of the Department of Justice. Rabbi Cohen is the vice president
for federal affairs, Washington director and counsel for Goudeth Israel of America. Rabbi
Cohen has had a long and distinguished career in Washington D.C. as a well known and effective
advocate for religious liberty, and on issues of great importance to the Jewish community.
As I said we are proud to number him among our closest and most trusted friends here
at the Department. Please join me in welcoming rabbi Cohen.
Rabbi Abba Cohen: Thank you, to the department and to Attorney General Barr, for convening
this important summit on the compelling and critical issue of anti semitism. And thank
you for giving me the opportunity to share some introductory observations. Not on the
technicalities of hate crimes laws and policy, I will leave that to the panelists, but on
how I see the issue from the inside, on a personal and community level. We all know
the statistics, we’ve heard them today. Anti semitic hate crimes have been spiking: comprising
60% of all religion based hate crimes Indeed, statistics continue to indicate while all
hate, and all hate crimes are abhorrent, anti semitism maintains its dubious distinction
as the mother of all religion-based hatreds. In my position, I am often asked, “Why has
anti semitism increased?” “Why based on the hate crime statistics, is anti semitism
stronger today than in the past?” And my answer is that I don’t believe that the reality
and the attitudes of anti semitism have per se changed much. But I do believe that the
readiness to openly express anti semitism has, as manifested, in the increase in hate
crimes. In the post Holocaust era, we sensed in him inhibition, a self consciousness, perhaps
even a feeling of shame, to openly express anti semitism. More recently; however, at
home and abroad, anti Semites have come out from behind their rocks and are more comfortable
and confident to express blatant anti semitism. They are emboldened by the hateful words that
one can hear now in respectable quarters and intellectual conversations, in academic circles,
the political arena, on social media, in mass debates on Israel and the Middle East and
human rights advocacy. Anti semitism sseems to have moved from grotesque bigotry to just
another acceptable opinion. And it is this societal acceptability that is frightening
and dangerous. And it is this acceptability that inevitably transforms it from words so
violent crime. As a community representative I am naturally asked questions about anti
semitism and Jewish security. And I try to give my best policy wonkish analysis and response.
Long term consequences, short term consequences, what is real, what is not, what might be an
aberration. But I’m also a father and grandfather and today I’m also representing my children
and grandchildren. My kids read news stories and our alarm. They asked, “is it safe for
us here? Should we move? Our neighborhood has had a number of incidents, and I let the
children take the bus. go to the park, walk the streets.” And for me it’s chilling,
because around fifty five years ago, when I was around eight, growing up in Washington
DC just a few miles away from here. I took the bus home every day from the Hebrew academy,
and wearing my Yakama I had to walk several blocks from the stop to our house on more
than a few occasions. Over the years, I was taunted, called ugly names, and roughed up.
I was frightened to make that, to make that walk each day. Now, over a half century century
later, I am hearing a similar fear coming from my own children and grandchildren. With
all my policy wonkishness, I never feel good after talking to my kids about these things.
I always end the conversation a little unsettled decause deep down inside they are afraid.
And there is nothing worse than living in fear, and there is nothing more difficult
to overcome. And sometimes, their questions are better than my answers. This is the reality
in which we live. Our synagogues and schools, community centers, camps, charities and other
Jewish organizations and institutions, and the people that occupy those spaces, are vulnerable
targets, and face to face risks that are real. We are reminded of this reality every when
we need to know the codes to get through the doors for morning and evening prayers, and
when our children pass through school entrances manned by armed guards, and we are beginning
to engage in surreal and gut-wrenching discussions. Should rabbis congregants teachers come to
synagogues and schools armed? Are our lockdown mechanisms in place? Are our active shooter
plans ready to be implemented? Should we take the signage off of our buildings? We are vulnerable
in urban areas like Pittsburgh, my wife’s hometown. We’re we often visit, with a large
Jewish population and a rich Jewish history. And we are vulnerable in newer, smaller, more
suburban and remote settings like Poway, California. Two very different places that stunned us
for their wanton brutality, and inspired us by the selflessness and heroism of the victims
and the police. And it is ironic, at least to me, that even after witnessing the horror
of mass shootings, it is still shocking to view the videos in recent months of identifiably
Jewish men simply walking down their neighborhood streets and suddenly without provocation being
pushed, punched, pummeled. And there is a new hate crime that a growing number of orthodox
communities are experiencing: the use of zoning and land use ordinances by those who unabashedly
admit their intentions to keep the Jews out. While these actions might not fit the technical
definition of hate crimes, none the less, that is exactly what they are. I confess that
I worry about our Jewish schools, the depraved souls of terrorists and extremists from home
and abroad, who openly announced their intentions to murder Jews, are not above killing the
young and innocent in the bedlam and vulnerability of a school setting. Over the years, we have
received numerous calls from schools about suspicious loiterers, phone callers and mailings.
Several years ago, in my daughter’s school, a Saudi national was caught videotaping the
girls going in and out of school during arrival and departure times. How does a parent process
that? Perhaps the most frightening thing of all is that we know it will happen again.
We know that despite our best and most determined efforts there will be another attack. We don’t
know where or when, but it will happen again. Because after all, they are hate crimes, and
as I mentioned earlier, hatred of Jews is becoming more fashionable not less. And so
we wait. We wait but we must also act because the saving in safeguarding of life is an overriding
Jewish preset. While we applaud Congress and state legislatures that have shown sensitivity
to the issue and have passed helpful laws, we will continue to press for even more comprehensive
legislation. While we congratulate and deeply appreciate the commitments and bravery of
federal state and local law enforcement, we will work cooperatively with authority, with
authorities for even better implementation of tracking reporting, response and other
critical areas. Jewish organizations will continue to liaise with government officials
and community institutions to devise, inform, assistant, and provide guidance on how best
to secure facilities, address problems and concerns, and hopefully allay fears. And we
will continue to work hard for significant increases in security grants, to help protect
at risk nonprofits; desperately needed increases that are currently the subject of an urgent
efforts in Congress and in some state capitals. Finally, I will tell you what we will not
do. We will not stop living, even if it’s not quite business as usual. We will continue
to go to synagogue. We will continue to send our children to Jewish schools and campus
and community centers. We will continue to organize, congregate and advocates as Jews.
We will do this because despite the adversity, life and Jewish life and Jewish living is
precious and it is who and what we are. And we will do it because when it comes to anti
Semites and their hatred rooted in our history, heritage and religious faith, is the firm
belief that we will outlive them. Thank you for listening.
PDAAG John Gore: Thank you rabbi Cohen for those excellent remarks. Our next panel now
join us on the stage and the topic is prosecuting hate crimes. Our moderator is Josh Rogan.
Mister Rogan is a distinguished columnist for The Washington Post, covering foreign
policy and national security. He’s also a political analyst for CNN and as previously
covered foreign policy and national security issues for a variety of publications. Welcome
to our panelists; Josh, the floor is now yours. Josh Rogin: Thank you so much, my name is
Josh Rogin I’m a columnist with The Washington Post; thanks for including me in today’s conference.
On combating anti semitism this panel is on hate crimes prosecutions and we really couldn’t
have a better panel of top officials and practitioners. And what we’re gonna do here is we’re gonna
give each of our panelists about five minutes to give opening statements and I’m gonna engage
them in a discussion about some of the issues in the day. First we’re going to have Eric
Dreiband and who is the, the, Assistant Attorney General for civil rights and Calvin shivers
the Deputy Assistant director for the criminal investigative division the FBI, and then of
course, Jesse Liu, the US attorney for the district of Columbia. Mr. Dreiband, I’ll
hand it over to you. AAG Civil Rights Eric Dreiband: Josh thank
you for that kind introduction, and thank you everyone for taking the time to attend
today this is an important issue. And what I thought I would do in my opening remarks
is simply talking really about two things: one, the department of justice’s hate crimes
enforcement prevention initiative and two, talk about a few examples of our criminal
prosecutions. I had the civil rights division, and we along with United States attorneys
offices, work with the FBI the federal bureau of investigation and local law enforcement
to help investigate, primarily in our case, to prosecute hate crimes and including in
particular Anti semitic hate crimes we’ve seen around the United States. Our initiative
is something that started it in 2017 we have a new website which I encourage you to look
at it: We use that website as well as our initiative about hate
crimes to coordinate training outreach, enforcement data collection and other works with national,
regional and local law enforcement and other groups like the anti defamation league, the
Jewish community center association and other groups who are dealing with anti semitic hate
crimes in the United States. We use our website as a centralized portal for departments hate
crime resources including information about training, technical assistance and statistics
as well. We also have here at the department justice something called the Task Force On
Crime Reduction Of Public Safety. And we have a hate crime subcommittee of that task force
and they also focus on hate crimes a particularly anti semitic hate crimes throughout the United
States. In the last couple of years we have hosted several hate crime summits and hate
crime events, both here at the department of justice and throughout the United States
at the local level. And I’ll just mention a couple. One, we have the national one force
round table on hate crimes in October of last year that we have hosted by the United States
attorney’s office in the western district Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh. And the FBI also
convened a community meeting in response to the Tree of Life synagogue shooting that occurred
in October of 2018. We’ve worked with the anti defamation league of United States attorneys
offices and you’ll hear more about that from United States Attorney Jesse Liu who’s
to my left, uhh, but we worked with them in raising awareness and securing sacred places
and spaces in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as well. Many of my colleagues here at the
department continue to speak out about the plague of hate crimes throughout the United
States and I and with that I want to talk about a few of our relevant cases. Since January
of twenty seventeen the civil rights division has obtained indictments against sixteen defendants
and eleven convictions in cases involving arson or other attacks or threats against
places of worship. And then we’ve also obtained — it’s just this is just the civil rights
division — at thirteen indictments and nine convictions involving hate crimes against
individuals because of their religious beliefs. And I just talk about a few examples of that.
In August of twenty seventeen, an individual in Florida pleaded guilty to federal hate
crimes for trying to attack or attempting to attack the synagogue in Aventura Florida
and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He was sentenced in November twenty seventeen
to twenty five years in prison. In February twenty eighteen, the Department Justice obtained
an indictment of a man who made multiple threats and calls involving bomb threats. An active
shooter threats to numerous Jewish community centers throughout Florida for threatening
other people there and he was charged both in Georgia and in Florida and that case is
ongoing. In September of twenty eighteen, Wisconsin man was indicted for threatening
the Harry Andros Sampson family Jewish community center. And most recently, I think there are
two cases in particular I want to talk about which some of you may know about, one is the
one I mentioned earlier involving the tree of life synagogue in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
where an individual there we allege by name Robert Bowers killed eleven individuals who
were at the synagogue while they were worshipping, practicing their faith. He also injured several
other people including law enforcement individuals. And then most recently, just a month or so
ago at the Chabad po-wei Synagogue ibadah po-wei synagogue in California the civil rights
division along with United States Attorney’s office and working with the FBI obtained indictment
of an individual who murdered one person and attempted to murder fifty three other people
and it’s at that synagogue. And finally what I would say is this work unfortunately will
continue. But here at the department of justice, the civil rights division as well as the department
as a whole will continue to prosecute anti semitic hate crimes vigorously so that all
people, no matter their faith throughout the United States, can live their lives freely
can worship freely and without fear, so thank you.
Josh Rogin: Thank you very much, Mister shivers. Calvin Shivers: Good afternoon my name is
Calvin Shivers on the W. system director in the FBI’s criminal investigative division.
What I’d like to do is to give you an overview of the F. B. I.’s civil rights program which
encompasses the hate crimes. Within the FBI civil rights program, hate crimes is the number
one priority, and this is based on the significant impact that these types of crimes have on
communities. Understanding the FBI, how we work it in and the definition, we define hate
crime as a criminal offense motivated in whole or part by the offenders bias against a race,
religion, disability, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.
In order for the FBI to initiate a hate crimes investigation we look for three things: first
we look for an act of violence or threat of violence. Number two, the perpetrator must
have acted willfully. And then finally the perpetrator’s actions must’ve been motivated
by bias towards the victim. One of the things that we look at when we look at hate crimes
is the distinction between a hate incident and hate crime, and sometimes there’s a
little bit of confusion. So I just described what a hate crime is and I talked about a
criminal offense motivated in whole or part by and offender’s bias against a race, religion,
national origin, gender, gender identity. Hate incident is more of an act by conduct
the through words motivated in part by a bias against protected characteristic of an individual,
a group or an establishment in which there’s no violation of law so by example, if I call
someone a racial slur and there’s no physical threat or physical assault, that is protected
by the first amendment. And so non-threatening hate conduct, no matter how offensive or bigoted,
is protected by the first amendment. However; however, if that slur evolves into an act
of violence or threat, then you potentially have a hate crime. One of the things to understand
about hate crimes is hate crime investigations are by their very nature, reactive. When an
incident occurs sometimes it’s very difficult to immediately determine whether or not this
particular act is a hate crime, or an act of domestic terrorism. From the FBI’s perspective,
we’re not really concerned with what category it falls into. Our primary concern is to first
and foremost address the threat. Next, we are concerned about the victim so we want
to provide the appropriate care for victims, and from there we focus on the investigation
and from the investigator perspective we bring the full force of the FBI to bear from the
lens of not only the criminal investigative division but also from the counter terrorism
division. And we work collectively, and again the initial assessment is not as important
as addressing the issue and the victims. And then the investigative piece. And because
hate crimes and domestic terrorism sometimes intersect, we address the hate crimes again
from the criminal perspective but also from the perspective of domestic terrorism. And
there are a number of instances where we would work a parallel investigation into hate crime
as well as a domestic terrorism investigation. And so what we’ve understood by analyzing
sharing intelligence between the criminal investigative division and counterterrorism
division. What we hope to do is to prevent hate crimes before they occur, but again if
they do occur, we work diligently, collectively as one FBI to address and hold those responsible
accountable for their actions the seek justice for victims. One of the things that the F.
B. I.’s done within the last few months is to develop a hate crimes domestic terrorism
fusion cell and again because of the overlap between domestic terrorism hate crimes. We
have subject matter experts on the domestic terrorism side working with our civil rights
investigators to aggressively address the threat. Now how does the FBI address the threat
beyond just a typical investigation? Law enforcement support for us is important. And this is not
only working with our federal partners but also our state local partners. We will expand
our FBI resources even if there won’t will not be a federal prosecution, we provide our
forensic expertise, as well as experience and identification and pay based motivation.
And so — We work hand in hand with our state local partners again not always focused on
the federal prosecution but addressing the issue. From the outreach perspective, the
FBI forges partnerships again with our partners not only in law enforcement, but in the civil
rights community, within minority religious organizations, with NGOs. And one of the things
that we understand is very important is that you have to establish those relationships
before there’s an incident and that’s very important. And so for us, the law enforcement
piece, but also the outreach of reaching out to these organizations, is critical. And then
we have our national training initiative. And for a national training initiative we
seek to educate and train not only again our law enforcement partners, but all of our community
partners. We, throughout the year, will conduct hundreds of seminars and workshops with our
law enforcement partners in communities helping our citizens and our partners understand the
law enforcement perspective but also understanding the loss. And again it’s important to provide
this educational piece. And following the tragic events in Charleston South Carolina
two thousand fifteen we established a protecting houses of worship. And what we understood
was not one that incident but also incidents targeting synagogues, churches and mosques.
What we understood is that we should work with the community to better train and to
better prepare houses of worship, in the event they have to deal with an active shooter situation.
And then we have our data collection and dissemination. Historically the FBI has used the uniform
crime report to collect and disseminate comprehensive data relative to hate crimes. The UCR program
is being transitioned to the national incident-based reporting system our neighbors. Neighbors
collects data that is more comprehensive than the UCR. And what that will do is provide,
not only at the but our law enforcement partners policy makers with greater detail as they
seek to address the the hate crime issue so when you look at a crime statistics. And if
you look at bias crimes over the last three years, there are three groups that have consistently
been in the top. And those are: number one being and race and ethnicity, followed by
religion and followed by gender or sexual orientation. And so if you look at two thousand
seventeen UCR, more specifically race and ethnicity represented 58%, religion 22%, and
gender sexual orientation 60%. But breaking within those specific groups, the most affected
group within race and ethnicity was African Americans representing 49%, and from religion,
Anti Jewish sentiment was top at 58%. And then when looking at gender sexual orientation
male, anti gay bias represented 58%. US Attorney Jessie Liu: Well thank you all
very much for having me here it really is an honor and a pleasure to be here to discuss
this very important topic, which also happens to be one of great personal interest to me.
My husband and my three children are Jewish and my father in law was actually born in
Vienna in nineteen thirty four and fled to United States with his family because of the
Nazi occupation of Austria. So we just celebrated a bar mitzvah and with a little touch and
go with the Haftorah up until the very end but we’ve got it all straightened out. So
again it really is great to be here and to be talking about this critical topic. Eric
and Calvin focused in large part on the enforcement of federal hate crimes statutes so I thought
I would touch on two slightly different but complementary tools for hate crime deterrence,
disruption and prosecution. First I’m gonna say a few words about the use of non federal
statutes to prosecute hate crimes and then I’m gonna say a few words about the use of
statutes of federal statutes other than the federal hate crime statutes to prevent and
disrupt potential hate crimes. So when we start with a brief discussion about the use
of non federal, in other words state or local statutes, to prosecute hate crimes. Some of
you may know that my U. S. attorney’s office, here in Washington DC, is unique among the
ninety four US attorney’s offices in the country because we investigate and prosecute not only
violations of the United States code in federal District Court, but also the local statute
the District of Columbia code in DC Superior Court. Indeed, most of our prosecutions occur
in DC Superior Court. DC has a relatively expansive, what’s called a bias related, crimes
statute. It’s criminal acts that demonstrate an individual’s prejudice based on what the
actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status,
personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility,
homelessness, physical disability, matriculation or political affiliation of the victim of
the of the act in question. So this is broader than the federal hate crime statutes in a
number of ways. It does address a number of additional protected classes, it also applies
not only to violent conduct like assaults and attempts to cause bodily injury, but also
to crimes like injury to property theft, unlawful entry, burglaries, robberies and arson. And
finally does not require an interstate nexus as some of the federal hate crime statutes
do. So in many ways it is broader. DC also has an act of terrorism statute, which is
commonly referred to as a domestic terrorism statute, and that applies to criminal acts
taken with the intent to intimidate and coerce a significant portion of the civilian population
of the district of Columbia and the United States. I raise these examples just to point
out that there may well be on state or local statutes in jurisdictions all across the country
that also may apply to hate incidents or hate crimes, and that is important to think about
sort of the the broad range of ways that we as a country can tackle this problem. Second,
my office has in many instances used federal criminal statutes that are not the federal
hate crime statutes to address conduct that involves the violence or risk of violence
based on hate directed at a particular group. Late last year for example we charged a defendant
under a federal firearms statute of for being in illegal user of a controlled substance
in possession of a firearm. But that particular defendant had come to the attention of authorities
because of certain public statements that he had made supporting white nationalism and
indicating that he had fantasized about race and religion based violence. We had another
case in which an individual call them bomb threats to some Jewish community centers here
in the district and to the Israeli embassy and we prosecuted that person under the interstate
threats and bomb hoaxes statutes. Same principle applies with respect to local statutes there
may be. But I know there are in DC statutes that may apply to conduct like this that can
be used in addition to or instead of the federal hate crime statutes. So if there’s an instance,
we taken all tools approach so if all we can charge a hate crime we certainly will. If
for some reason we can’t maybe not all the elements are available, we look for other
ways that we can address criminal conduct. So it is really a great pleasure to be here
and to engage in this discussion with my distinguished co panelists and everybody here in the audience.
Josh Rogin: Thank you so much. I think that was a great set of introductions. I’d like
to start off by asking one question to all three panelists and you know, for those of
you have been here all day you’ve heard a lot of panelists talk about their rise in
the statistics of hate crimes, of course anti semitic hate crimes, but all he crimes according
to the FBI’s own two thousand seventeen hate crime statistics. The increase in anti semitic
hate crimes for the most common religious hate crimes in the United States are well
documented. What I’d love to hear from these officials from you guys why is that what is
what do you see what do you think what is your analysis of why we’re seeing in twenty
seventeen and of course the new numbers are now but we can presume twenty eighteen and
twenty nineteen higher levels of hate crimes both anti semitic hate crimes and all that,
and will please start with Eric Dreiband of the Assistant Secretary civil rights division.
AAG Civil Rights Eric Dreiband: I’m not going to answer the question because I can’t read
the minds of hate for people who decide to commit despicable crimes motivated by anti
semitism, racism, and other forms of bigotry. I don’t know why, if there is an increase
in in hate crimes, why these people are doing what they’re doing other than to say this:
that if they commit a federal hate crime involving antisemitism, racial bigotry or other protected
categories of the various federal hate crime laws that we enforce, we will prosecute them
to the fullest extent of the law. And I think, I know no one should be followed by this especially
anyone who might in any way be contemplating such a hate crime and watching this on C.
span right now I would direct your attention to what event that occurred a few weeks ago
in Charlottesville Virginia, where at in individual pleaded guilty and in exchange he pleaded
guilty and the judge sentenced him to multiple life sentences in prison when in August of
twenty seventeen at the unite the right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, he drove his
car into a crowd of peaceable protesters there. We allege that he was motivated by hatred,
racial hatred as well as anti semitic hatred and other forms of bigotry. And he will now
spend the rest of his life in prison. So all I can say, Josh, is that the Attorney General
has made hate crimes a priority for the civil rights division and for the department justice
generally, and that we will continue to prosecute anyone who commit these crimes anywhere in
the United States. Josh Rogin: Before we move on, thank you for
that answer, but let me press you a little bit further, you know if we don’t have an
idea of why they hate crimes numbers are increasing then how can you adjust your prevention policies
to account for that. AAG Civil Rights Eric Dreiband: As Calvin
said, and with that I agree what we do do is that we work with United States attorneys
offices throughout the United States we work with state and local governments, work with
local law enforcement and we work with religious leaders and other organizations to raise awareness
of these issues. We do live in a country of over three hundred million people and so does
remain a challenge for us given the limited resources we have. But we do work with a lot
of people to raise awareness of the problem, and to target our enforcement where we can
and frankly to deter people through aggressive enforcement along.
Thank you. Calvin Shivers: Yes, I will echo some of Eric’s
comments in that it is very difficult to pick a definitive reason as to why there’s an increase
in statistics but one thing I would like to point out is that I’ve talked about statistics
from the F. B. I.’s perspective through the RCR. One of the things we’ve noted is over
the last few years the number of agencies that have reported hate crimes to the UCR
has increased. Now does that necessarily equate to there more agencies reporting to more hate
crimes? We do not have a definitive answer to that but we treat each particular hate
crime on its own merits, and as Eric pointed out we work very closely with the department
of justice to address all hate crime investigations and we leave no hate crime investigation unaddressed.
Again number one priority within the civil rights program. But one of the things that
we understand, and I think both Eric and Jesse talked about it, and it’s a community effort,
it’s a community issue with law enforcement, not just from a federal perspective. But the
state local partners play a critical role because just like in most incidents, the first
respondent to an incident more than likely will be state and local police officer so
they play a very important role. But as the FBI, one of the things that we set out to
do, again, is to not only provide training to our community partners, but also our law
enforcement partners. And so what we’ve seen within the last, even year to two years, is
the number of agencies that are reporting hate crimes has gone up. And we hope that
through continued outreaching through continue coordination and collaboration that we will
continue to get more agencies to report on hate crimes.
Josh Rogin: So just to be clear, are you arguing that part of the increase in that hate crime
statistics is due to increased reporting, not increased hate crimes?
Calvin Shivers: I cannot make a definitive correlation but I do want to point out the
fact that more agencies to keep in mind UCR reporting is voluntary, so there are number
of agencies that could report that have chosen not to so. Again if we can get more agencies
to report, it would give us a better and more accurate reflection of what the hate crime
threat actually looks like. Josh Rogin: Thank you. From US Attorney Liu,
and from your perspective. Are the hate crimes going upward or the reporting going up for
both? US Attorney Jessie Liu: I think we have all
of the, you know, we have we all have the same statistics in front of us. With respect
to both the number of reported hate crimes and the level of reporting, I’m very loathe
to speculate at all as to reasons behind the numbers because is both Eric and Calvin said,
we can’t necessarily know exactly what’s in the head of even one actor much less, you
know, people generally who commits these acts. What I will say is that you in my office when
we have a potential crime that comes in and we look at all of the tools that are available
to us to address that alleged crime. And it could be a federal hate crime statute, it
could be a local hate crime statute, it could be one of the statues or one that I haven’t
mentioned that is not a quote unquote hate crime statute but none the less is very effective
in holding a criminal actor accountable. And so that’s what we’re really focused on, is
addressing the action. And you know if we charge a hate crime, yes we charge a hate
crime, if we believe that we can make out all of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt
which is also all you always are lodestar, we will certainly do that. There may be cases
where we think that there’s a better way to address it or the stronger case we have
is using one of the other statutes, but we certainly won’t shy away from trying to figure
out the best way to address the conduct that we have in front of us.
Josh Rogin: I understand, thank you. Let me turn back to you Eric in the Assistant Attorney
General for the civil rights division. You mentioned the Charlottesville prosecution.
As you know, many of the administration’s critics believe that the president’s rhetoric
and policies “build a wall, Muslim travel ban, telling members of Congress to go back
to their countries,” worsens the climate of hate and creates more of an environment
where these hate crimes are perpetrated, tolerated. What would be your response to those critics?
AAG Civil Rights Eric Dreiband: Josh what I’m focused on and what the department justice
is focused on is preventing hate crimes and prosecuting them when they occur. So with
respect to preventing them I’ll give you one example. We had a case in which an individual
cooperated with law enforcement and we learned of a conspiracy to blow up an apartment building
and a mosque. They had not acted yet on that but we were able to arrest and charge and
prosecute openly convict the individuals for committing a conspiracy to commit a hate crime.
And that’s something we do through outreach through public awareness and raising public
awareness of these kinds of acts and when we can prevent these acts before the violence
occurs vertically when there is some kind of conspiracy to commit a hate crime including
anti Semitic hate crimes, we act this proper as we can. Secondly of course as I said earlier
we prosecute fully hate crimes and we do it aggressively. And those of the direct orders
of the Attorney General United States both Attorney General sessions and Attorney General
Barr have prioritized the prosecution of hate crimes here at the department of justice and
that will continue as well. So that’s what we’re focused on that’s it our prosecutors,
investigators that’s what we’re working with Jessie and Calvin at the F. B. I. and others
on doing and that that’s our focus. Josh Rogin: I understand. As a follow up question:
some of the civil rights non-governmental organizations who follow your activity have,
and I’m sure you know this, have been publicly critical of a what they call an overfocus
too much of a focus on prosecution, and not enough focus on prevention. They point to
some of the policy changes that were made at the justice department over the last two
years, what would you say to those who look at some of the policy changes that you’ve
made? For example, rolling back the use of dissent decrees and other steps as examples
of an administration policy that focuses too much on hate crimes after they’ve already
been committed enough for him? AAG Civil Rights Eric Dreiband: Well first
of all is a couple things in response to that, I think it’s terrific that we live in a country
in which we have the first amendment to the constitution and that various groups are free
to criticize the justice department and our public officials to the full extent that they
can. And that I think is what you’re suggesting is happened here. Secondly, there has been
no roll back on consent decrees, number one consent decrees are former resolutions of
civil cases, we utilize them frequently and in the civil rights division including a when
we settle various civil rights cases civilly. Consent decrees have no impact and no role
in criminal prosecutions at all. And finally, with respect to prosecutions we’ve also focused
on prevention of hate crimes as I mentioned. And we’ve created a hate crimes prevention
initiative, anyone can look at our website on the website and take a look and see what
you think but the critics can continue to make suggestions and we welcome criticism
particularly when it’s constructive. But we will continue aggressively as I said earlier
to prosecute hate crimes throughout this country into what we can to prevent them.
Josh Rogin: Thank you. Let me turn to you, Mister shivers. In a recent FBI testimony,
it was pointed out the violent extremists are increasingly using social media for the
distribution of propaganda recruitment target selection and incitement to violence. Can
you talk a little bit about what the FBI is doing to address that particular part of this
problem and also what do you think or is the responsibility of social media companies and
social media platforms to address the problem of hate on their on their websites?
Calvin Shivers: Well I’ll start by saying that all of our citizens have the right to
exercise their first amendment right. And so we in the FBI, when you look at whether
or not we monitor individuals or organizations we were usually required, well I wouldn’t
say usually, but there’s a there’s a legal process. And so we adhere to that because
we understand especially when you talk about some of these individuals and groups there’s
the balance of the first amendment right to free speech and so for us that something that
we have to be very careful of. I won’t speak to the responsibility of social media companies
because again when you look at the first amendment issue, you know individuals have the right
to exercise a first amendment right. When we get concerned is if we get into an investigation
and it is used as a mechanism to communicate and prepare for some type of act. That’s who
we would get involved. And again there’s a legal service that is a process that is required
that the FBI understands we must meet. Josh Rogin: I understand thank you. US Attorney
Liu, you talked about non violent hate crimes which as you explain you have some unique
tools to address. According to the statistics that I’ve seen, those are the hate crimes
that are on the rise more than any others: vandalism, the bomb threats. What do you think
is the reason that those types of hate crimes are expanding more than others and do you
think that’s connected at all to the increased culture of hate and intolerance were saying
online in a public discussion in our media and in our politics?
US Attorney Jessie Liu: Well I mean the answer that Eric and Calvin did and we also from
you asked the question earlier, I just don’t, I honestly don’t know the reason for the increase
in hate crimes generally. You know as it is to me that that that is that the numbers are
accurate or in particular kinds of hate crimes, we do have some tools here that we can use
to address property damage that is inspired by hate for a particular group or animus towards
a protected class. And so I think that is a very useful tool to have because you know
what we found in my experience is that it of course of violent crime is just horrible,
but property damage threats, any sort of crime that is that sort of crime is extremely upsetting
to the victims too and you know is really needs to be addressed. I want to say I just
a few words if I could, Josh, about hate crime prevention because that’s something that we
think a lot about in my office and talk a bit about our partnership with both federal
and local law enforcement. So, because of the unique nature of DC, we have a lot of
protests we have a lot of big groups of people with different opinions who come here and
protest or counter protest otherwise express their opinions and we’ve seen that can have
the potential for violence and we’ve seen that, you know, in various places across the
country. So something that we think we become acutely focused on in a couple of years and
I’ve been in this job is identify those events. And you know my office works very closely
with both the FBI, with the park police. For example, if their jurisdiction is implicated
the capitol police if you think there’s gonna be some sort of activity at the capitol as
well as the Metropolitan Police department a really boring and all agencies focus on
maintaining public safety while ensuring that people are able to exercise their free speech
rights. And so we’ve been very lucky and I’m gonna knock on wood, but I do think that it
is due in significant part to what our law enforcement partners are doing, that we have
had all sorts of first amendment activity going on in this city in the last couple of
years and we really have seen relatively, it’s been relatively peaceful, and we really
want to keep it that way. Josh Rogin: Thank you so much. Let me go back
to Mr. Shivers. We’ve heard a lot in the media and in Congress about this administration’s
programs to engage communities regarding hate crimes, prevention and some of the changes
frankly some of the rollbacks and some of those programs. And I’m wondering if you,
from your law enforcement perspective, if you can first talk about why those changes
were made and how they’ve affected the work of FBI and other law enforcement officials
were seeking to build relationships with communities in the midst of an environment of smaller
budgets and sometimes, cuts in those very programs.
Calvin Shivers: Sure, so I’m not in a position to speak to any roll back from the administration.
Again my focus is really on the FBI and our partnership with the department of justice
and what we’re doing going forward, and so what I can say is that the FBI has not rolled
back its community engagement, it has not rolled back its training its partnerships.
In fact I don’t have the numbers in front of me but I would say that we have actually
if not met, more than likely and again I don’t have specific numbers in front of me, but
running the program, I can say we have not rolled back any of our training. What we recognize
and understand is the importance I’ve talked about partnerships and I think my partners
here, Eric and Jesse Liu, have done that as well. And again the engagement with the community
the engagement with the prosecutors both on the federal level and stay local level are
critical. So I can only speak to what the FBI is doing and again, we have not regressed
at all in our engagement, in our partnerships, in engaging with the community. We again are
focused on educating and collaborating and again if there’s an incident, it cannot be
the first time that we interact with the community, it cannot be the first time, so that’s where
the engagement is critical. Josh Rogin: Thank you so much, and Mr. Dreiband,
let me ask you about DOJ policy and what we see it in the public as a rise in white nationalist
groups, anti Muslim groups and their use in violence in support of their beliefs. Is the
DOJ prioritizing investigation and prosecution of those associated with those groups who
act violently? AAG Civil Rights Eric Dreiband: Well yeah
I mean we can’t discuss publicly our investigations, but we can talk about our prosecutions that
are public. And the answer is yes, anyone who in the name of a white supremacist ideology
commits a hate crime, where we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the elements of federal
criminal hate crime statutes are satisfied, will be prosecuted. Typically by prosecutors
from the civil rights division’s criminal section working with United States Attorneys
office. This now is Calvin said let me just add, we do work with state and local law enforcement
on these cases. And there are times when appropriate, when consulting with say the local of district
attorney or local state prosecutors, where they may go first with their case and we may
state our case our proceedings and pending the outcome in the state courts, but yes the
room it remains a priority. It has been a priority since Attorney General Sessions was
here and continues to be a priority under Attorney General Barr.
Josh Rogin: I understand, thank you. You know it occurs to me that we’re all gathered here
not just to learn about what the government is doing on hate crimes, but to learn about
what we all can do. So I thought we might take this opportunity for the last round of
questions, department officials and our experts here what can we in the community, we in the
media, look out for, to report. What practical action steps can we all take to help you do
your job in preventing and prosecuting hate crimes, but also to do our job which is to
defend our communities and our values. And let me start with Eric, and go right down
the line. AAG Civil Rights Eric Dreiband: Okay I’ll
be very brief. I think that to me, the best thing you can do at least from where I sit
here at the justice department is be vigilant and alert and cooperate with the FBI, United
States attorneys in the civil rights division prosecutors if you learn of any kind of, even
potential, hate crime. There are times as I mentioned with respect to certain of our
statutes conspiracy statutes in particular where, if we become aware of something or
the FBI does or even the local police force become aware of something that may be brewing
in the community, that we can take action to prevent it before it happens. So I would
encourage you and your communities to be vigilant in that respect.
Thank you. Calvin Shivers: Josh, let me reiterate the
fact that I appreciate the opportunity to be here I think this summit is very important,
and I appreciate the opportunity to talk about the F. B. I.’s own civil rights program, more
specifically hate crimes. What I would say is just continued community engagement and
the adage, if you see something say something; I think that’s very important. Although I
drew a distinction with hate crimes and hate incidents, Hate incidents, reporting those
are just as important. As Ms. Liu pointed out, in some instances we were obviously focused
on federal prosecution but as I mentioned, we work very closely with our state and local
partners. And so it’s not whether or not we can prosecute a case federally or conduct
an investigation federally, it’s providing support to all of our partners. Whether that’s
our federal partners are state local partners, and also addressing incidents that happened
within communities, again our focus is not that this is a federal violation of federal
crime. If it’s a crime, then we were part of the community, we understand that we have
to be solid partners in the community. And so I think the dialogue in the communication
not only with the F. B. I. but with the state local partners in the community as a whole
is very important. US Attorney Jessie Liu: So I apologize in
advance for giving Calvin more work here but I would just echo the call from my fellow
panelists to report suspicious incidents early. I’ll give you one example. We had a case in
which a defendant would repeatedly call synagogues and he would just make harassing phone calls.
We ultimately decided after investigation that we were not gonna charge hate crime,
we charged him with two counts of misdemeanor stalking and this in no violence resulted
from that but we were very glad, I mean to get a report early, and we want to be kept
in the loop. We use law enforcement your writ large of anything that seems awful or suspicious
and at least you give us the chance to try to prevent something happening, even if no
crime has been committed to that point. And I would also echo my colleagues call for continued
engagement. My office runs something we call the clergy ambassador program. We spent a
lot of time with religious leaders. And you know if there’s anybody in the room who has
not engaged with us and would like to will be open invitation to please come and talk
to me and maybe we can find a way to work together. But I think that a dialogue between
your we as law enforcement and the communities that we serve is critical.
Josh Rogin: Thank you so much for advancing that dialogue today. Please give our panelists
a round of applause. Thank you Josh, and thank you panelists for very informative discussion.
We will take a brief break to rearrange the stage and we’ll resume the program, and our
final discussion in just a few minutes. PDAAG John Gore: It is now my privilege to
introduce the assistant Attorney General for the office of legal policy, Beth Williams.
Assistant Attorney General Williams was sworn into the department on August twenty first
two thousand seventeen after unanimous confirmation in the United States Senate. As the head of
the office of legal policy, assistant Attorney General Williams oversees the department’s
policy making functions and serves as a co vice chair of the attorney general’s task
force on religious liberty. AAG Williams previously served as special counsel to the United States
Senate committee on the judiciary, worked in private practice and served as a law clerk
to judge Richard C. Wesley of the United States court of appeals for the second circuit. Please
join me in welcoming to the stage assistant Attorney General Beth Williams .
AAG Beth Williams: Thank you John for your kind introduction. I’m honored to be here
to facilitate a discussion about the administration’s efforts to combat anti semitism. I’m also
honored to serve in a department this stands for the rights of all Americans including
those of Jewish faith to worship in safety and to practice their religion freely. As
we heard during the last panel, one important way that the department protects those rates
is by investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. But of course the department supports Americans
of faith in other ways. It’s a place to worship initiative has increased enforcement of a
federal law that protects places of worship, including synagogues, in the zoning and land
marking process. This April, Attorney General Barr welcomed in administration-wide rule
that protects the rights of federal employees to take time away from work for their religious
observances. And in two thousand seventeen then Attorney General Sessions issued a memorandum
outlining the protections under federal law for religious liberty. As the head of the
office of legal policy and is a co vice chair of the religious liberty task force, I help
insure that the department continues to protect the constitutional and statutory rights discussed
in the memorandum. That work has been a distinct privilege. As the memorandum explained, religious
liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a
sacred place, except in the narrow circumstances. No one should be forced to choose between
living out his or her faith and complying with the law. I’m honored today to be joined
on stage by two leaders were at the forefront of the administration’s efforts to protect
the freedom of worship and to combat foreign and domestic threats to that freedom. Treasury
secretary Stephen Mnuchin and FBI director Christopher Wray, Secretary Mnuchin and director
Wray will each give an address and we will conclude as both have other engagements, but
we are incredibly thankful to both for taking time out of their busy schedules to be with
us here today. I’ll now introduce the secretary. Secretary
Mnuchin was sworn in as the seventy seventh secretary of the treasury on February thirteenth
two thousand seventeen. As secretary Mnuchin is responsible for the US treasury whose mission
is to maintain a strong economy, foster economic growth and create job opportunities by promoting
the conditions that enable prosperity at home and abroad. He’s also responsible for strengthening
national security by combating economic threats and protecting our financial system as well
as managing the U. S. government’s finances. Last year he helped lead the delegation that
opened the US embassy in Jerusalem. His department sanctions program has been an essential element
of our country’s fight against terrorism. Thank you so much for joining us Secretary
Mnuchin. Secretary Mnuchin: Thank you, Beth, for that
introduction and director Wray for welcoming me to the department of justice. I was actually
giving a press conference earlier today at the White House on crypto currency and the
debt ceiling, and I got asked about anti semitism so I gave a little bit of an advertisement
for my speech here today. I said I will be speaking at DOJ on anti semitism later today.
A few months after I became treasury secretary, I traveled to the Middle East for the first
time. On that trip I went to Israel and visited the holy sites. It was a profoundly moving
experience to light a candle and tour Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust Remembrance center.
It’s a place that commemorates the life and death of six million Jews who were victims
of the Holocaust. That experience was a solemn reminder of the atrocity that we must never
forget, and we must fight to prevent every single day. Last year, I returned to the Middle
East. I had the great honor of being part of the president’s delegation and traveling
with Ivanka trump and Jared Kushner to open the United States embassy to Israel and Jerusalem.
The event was twenty three years in the making. The nineteen ninety five, one hundred and
fourteen united states Congress passed, with enormous bi partisan support, the historic
Jerusalem embassy act, yet more than twenty years the promise of recognizing the eternal
capital went unfulfilled by administrations of both parties. Many critics said it could
not be done or it should not be done. President trump did it and it was my great honor to
be there for the ceremony to help fulfill the promise to the Jewish Americans and the
people of Israel that was passed by Congress. Last month, they returned to the Middle East
for the peace to prosperity summit in Bahrain. It was a successful event that outlined the
incentives for strategic economic investments that will lead to peace and stability in the
region that has for too long been known for conflict. As we work to stop violence and
promote peace overseas, unfortunately we are seeing the rise of anti semitism both home
and abroad at times that anti semitism takes the form of violence. In October I traveled
with president trump, the First Lady Ivanka and Jared to Pittsburgh following the tree
of life synagogue shooting where eleven innocent people lost their lives. Amidst the tragedy
in profound sadness, we found inspiration in the community, the support people showed
for one another and the bravery of the first responders who save so many lives. Recognizing
the need to continue defeating hateful ideology, I’d like to discuss briefly some of the work
we do at treasury. As secretary I encourage my German counterpart, the finance minister,
to increase funds for the conference on Jewish material claims against Germany known as claims
conference which is based in New York. I am pleased with the additional funding the ministry
provided. The program currently serves over seventy five thousand Holocaust survivors,
receiving pensions in home care in the late stage of their lives. In this funding going
toward meeting vital needs including food and medicine at a time when anti semitism
is rising, Holocaust education is also critically important. The claims conference devotes millions
of dollars per year for worldwide show education which supplements its decades of experience
as a voice for survivors and other Jewish people around the world. Finally I want to
mention treasuries work in the area of terrorism and financial intelligence. I am proud that
we use our economic authorities including sanctions to disrupt funding and isolate human
rights abusers. In February we also sanctioned new horizon for holding international conferences
supporting the Islamic revolutionary guard corps could forces. They were recruiting gathering
intelligence and propagating anti semitism and Holocaust denial. I am pleased to join
you here today to discuss this important work of combating anti semitism. All of us have
the tools to defeat it and it is up to us in this room and the wider audiences we collectively
reach to fight for safety, equality and justice for the Jewish people. I am honored to be
here with you today. Thank you very much. AAG Beth Williams: Thank you so much for your
mark secretary Mnuchin. I’ll now introduce director Wray. Christopher Wray became the
eighth director of the FBI on August second two thousand seventeen. His decade of DOJ
service has included positions as an assistant US attorney. Principal associate deputy Attorney
General and Assistant Attorney General of the criminal division where he supervised
the section that later became the national security division. As the head of the FBI,
his duties include overseeing federal hate crime and terrorism investigations. Under
his leadership the FBI has spearheaded efforts to protect religious communities and places
of worship from violence, including trainings and how to make them more secure. Thank you
very much for being here with us director Wray.
FBI Director Christopher Wray: Thanks Beth. On April fifth of nineteen sixty eight day
after the assassination of doctor Martin Luther king junior, Robert Kennedy lamented what
he called the mindless menace of violence in America. He said that “whenever we tear
at the fabric of life, that people of will win for themselves and their families the
whole nation is degraded” and he called on Americans to remember that those who live
with us are our brothers and sisters who seek, and I quote, “nothing but the chance to
live out their lives in purpose and happiness.” And in many ways, we still confront that same
mindless menace of violence. We still confront people who trade in hatred, people who seek
to harm others because of where they come from, how they worship, what they look like,
or who they love. And that’s why shining a spotlight on anti semitism is so important.
At the FBI, our mission is simple, but profound: to protect the American people and uphold
the constitution. And battling hate crimes is one of our priorities because hate crime
strikes at the very heart of who we are as a society. It strikes at the heart of every
individual targeted because of who they are. It’s no secret that our society has become
more divisive. Everybody’s got an opinion, and we cherish that freedom of speech even
when we don’t agree. But words can quickly turn to violence and hate, can quickly become
hate crime. And we’re determined to bring those who would act on such hatred to justice.
People like James fields who received a life sentence for killing heather hire in Charlottesville
in two thousand seventeen. People like Izmir coach sentenced to thirty months in prison
for beating a man he believed to be Jewish in Cincinnati in two thousand seventeen. Most
hate crime investigations are, by their very nature, reactive. In other words, we get involved
after the fact. But we’re also working hard to identify and prevent a crime. First we’re
coordinating with our state and local law enforcement partners even when we’re not pursuing
federal charges, because we learn more when we work these cases together. Second were
working with civil rights and minority groups and with faith communities to build trusted
relationships. As they say, the best time to pass the roof is when the sun is shining,
not when the bad weather comes. And we shouldn’t be meeting for the first time in the wake
of a crisis. Third we’re training our partners both in law enforcement and the communities
we serve so that everyone’s got a better understanding of what hate crime is and how we can help.
We also confront a growing domestic terrorism threat. And though we talk sometimes about
hate crime and domestic terrorism as separate challenges, the reality is they’re not mutually
exclusive, and we’re taking a whole of FBI approach to those threats. So we investigate
individuals who take or plan to take violence or criminal action in furtherance of an ideology
like racial or religious bias or anti government center. We’re concerned about loan offenders
like the man who attacked the habit of power a synagogue individuals who act without a
clear group affiliation and without guidance, making them that much more difficult to identify
investigate and disrupt. We’re also worried about racially motivated violence extremists.
Just to pick one example, just last November an individual we arrested on a firearms charge
talked about attacking his synagogue to incite a so called “race revolution.” In June
we established the domestic terrorism hate crimes fusion cell. Our fusion cell brings
together experts from both our criminal investigative and counter terrorism divisions. They’re not
just focused on current attacks and what we’re seeing right now. Their focus is on what we
haven’t yet seen in some cases what we haven’t yet imagine. And what we need to do to stop
that, but we know we can’t do it alone and through our JT T. F.’s are joint terrorism
task forces. We get the local perspective on what’s actually happening out in our communities.
We’ve also got to work closely with our community partners. We have community outreach specialists
who work with members of the Jewish community to talk about what we’re seeing it to explore
how we can help. Even better, a number of our FBI field offices have hosted active shooter
exercises and what we call protecting houses of worship presentations with local synagogues
to build awareness. We just finished last month hosting a faith based summit at FBI
headquarters representatives of Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other religious groups. That kind
of communication. Those kinds of relationships are so important to the work we do. I’ll
pick one example. In March of twenty seventeen we investigated, just in that one month, more
than two hundred and eighty seven threatening phone calls and emails including bomb threats
to Jewish community centers and the anti defamation league. Multiple FBI offices investigated
those threats bringing together experts from our cyber, criminal and counter terrorism
divisions as well as technical and behavioral analysis specialists. We held dozens of calls
and met in person with group leaders to explain what we were doing to find the person responsible.
And with the help of our counterparts in Israel, we indicted a hacker who had made similar
threads in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. And in June of last year, a Tel
Aviv court sentenced the guy to ten years in prison. Cases like that instill fear. They
make you feel vulnerable, they make you feel targeted. And that can be physically, emotionally
and psychologically taxing. And we want to help you understand those threats from our
perspective and to give you the tools you need to protect yourselves. Also want to highlight
one of the ways we’re working with the Jewish community to be better at what we do. We require,
as some of you know, all new FBI agents and analysts to visit the Holocaust museum through
the ADL’s law enforcement and society program. And we do that because we believe that all
our folks need to know and understand our constraints under the constitution and the
rule of law. We’ve got a live it and breathe that. We recognize that the F. B. I.’s own
history hasn’t come without missteps, but we take those mistakes and we learn from them
and that’s why programs like that are so important to our institutional well being. They give
us a closer look at who we can become as law enforcement officers and his people. If we’re
not constantly safeguarding in advocating for civil rights and civil liberties. Every
day, we remind ourselves that there is nothing more important than the work we do, the people
we do the work with, the people we do the work for. And it’s that last element that
I want to turn to for just a moment. The people we do the work for. We’re working every day
to stop hate crime, but when we can’t prevent a hate crime, our agents and analysts will
move heaven and earth to find those responsible. FBI victim specialists across the country
will do everything they can to help heal the victims their families and their communities.
After the attack on the tree of life synagogue in Pittsburgh the F. B. I.’s victim services
response teams made up of agents analysts and victim specialists set up a family assistance
center. They provide with the community needed most, from things on the one hand like food
and clothing to on the other hand grief counseling financial assistance and one stop shopping
for federal resources. Victim specialists understand the emotional impact on victims
and their families, and they took special care to gathering clean personal effects for
the campus and college the victims were wearing to the most mundane, but necessary items things
like car keys. A few weeks after the attack our victim specialists posted a preparedness
briefing for Jewish community members from around the country in the hope that no other
Jewish community would have to live through that kind of horror. We’re gonna keep going
everything we can to help for the people who need it the most. Because the way we look
at it, we’re not just law enforcement, were part of the community, and we’re in this together.
When we face stark contrast in the way we view the world and when we face something
so shocking, we can’t quite wrap our brains around what just happened and why, we need
to remind ourselves that there is in fact still good in the world and that most people
are in fact rational, law abiding citizens. It can be disheartening to realize deep down
that there’s always going to be somebody out there who will seek to harm others out of
hatred or racially motivated violent extremism that doesn’t make sense. But hatred isn’t
grounded in logic. So that just means that we need to stay vigilant and work even harder
to counteract the hatred and the violence and the discontent. We can’t eradicate hate
we can’t end prejudice, but we can stand together. And everybody in this hall stands on the side
of the good and the just. We stand on the side of fairness and equality and the freedoms
on which this country was founded. So thank you for working with us to keep our community
safe. Thank you. AAG Beth Williams: I want to thank the secretary
and the director for having joined us and for their leadership on these issues. We are
grateful to both of them. On that, turn it over to principal Deputy Assistant Attorney
General John Gore to conclude the summit. PDAAG John Gore: Thank you. We thank all of
the moderators, panelists and speakers who joined us today including special envoy Carr,
Director Wray, Assistant Attorney General Rosen, Secretary DeVos, Secretary Mnuchin
and Attorney General Barr. We thank you for your presence and your partnership here today.
To exit the building, please make your way to the staircase in the back of the great
hall, head downstairs. Staff members are standing by to assist you. Thank you again for everything
and good afternoon.

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