WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) addressed the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Policy Summit. During her speech, Senator Rosen called for an end to anti-Semitism in the United States.
“We have a moral obligation to put a stop to this disturbing trend by calling out anyone, even our friends, when they cross the line, and by standing up against bigotry and anti-Semitism wherever it might rear its ugly head, left, right, or center… because hate is hate, and it has no place in our communities, no place in our synagogues, and no place in our government,” said Senator Rosen.
“While it may seem like the world is in disrepair, I have an unwavering faith in the capability of Jews and non-Jewish allies alike, to do their part to help better this world, to care for one another, and to diminish the hate in our hearts and in the hearts of others,” Senator Rosen continued. “So my message to you is: keep educating, keep believing, and keep up the fight for our American values by encouraging those around us to help repair the world, to combat the hate in this world, and make this world a better place to live, each and every day, for ourselves, for our children, for the future.”
BACKGROUND: Senator Rosen holds the distinction of being the third female Jewish Senator in U.S. history, as well as the first former synagogue president to serve in the United States Senate. As such, Senator Rosen has been an outspoken advocate of combating anti-Semitism in the United States, the Middle East, Europe, and around the world.
Senator Rosen is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018, which adopts a broad definition of anti-Semitism for the purposes of enforcing federal antidiscrimination laws in education. Specifically, the bill requires the Department of Education to consider this new definition of “anti-Semitism” as part of its assessment of whether an action based on an individual’s Jewish ancestry was motivated by anti-Semitic intent, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in education. Among other things, the definition includes making stereotypical allegations about the power of Jews as a collective, denying the Holocaust, and accusing Jewish citizens of a country of being more loyal to Israel to than to the interests of their own nation.
Earlier this year, Senator Rosen helped introduce bipartisan legislation to upgrade the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to the rank of an ambassador and require its Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation.
Senator Rosen attended the swearing in of the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Rosen was the only Member of Congress to attend the swearing-in ceremony for Special Envoy Elan Carr.
Last Congress, Rosen co-sponsored this bipartisan legislation and helped advance it in the House, where it passed by a vote of 393-2.
While serving in the House, then-Congresswoman Rosen served as a member of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism.
Watch video of Senator Rosen’s speech here, or read full text of the Senator’s speech as prepared below:
Good morning, I’m Senator Jacky Rosen and I’m proud to represent the great state of Nevada in the United States Senate.
I want to thank Jonathan Greenblatt and the Anti-Defamation League for their tireless work fighting against anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate in the U.S. and across the globe. For over a century, the ADL has been working to combat injustice and unfair discrimination against our Jewish community and to secure justice and fair treatment for all, because “Never Again” means Never Again for anyone and here in the United States and around the world there is no place for hate.
I am honored to serve as Nevada’s newest Senator – and to hold the distinction of being the third Jewish woman, and the first former Synagogue president, elected to the U.S. Senate.
Whenever I tell people that before coming to Congress I served as president of the largest synagogue in Nevada, Congregation Ner Tamid, people usually people say wow Congress must be a cake walk in comparison!
In all seriousness, serving as my synagogue’s president and now serving as a United States Senator have been two of the greatest blessings of my life. They allow me to serve my community and to give back.
In our office, we made the choice to have an open door policy. That means that everyone who comes in to our office that wants to talk to us, gets a meeting.
We listen to the people we meet with, we hear their story, and we carry those stories with us when we make decisions. That’s what you need to do today when meeting with elected officials and their staffs. You need to tell them your story. Tell them our story. Tell them the story of Jewish Americans living in our country today and the challenges we are facing.
We just wrapped up Jewish American History Month, and while I’m proud to stand here with all of you and celebrate Jewish American Heritage, there’s no issue that threatens our progress more than the alarming rise of anti-Semitism in our country and around the world.
We have seen the rise of anti-Semitism in political movements across Europe for some time now. Anti-Semitic groups are now organizing within political parties in places like Greece, Hungary, and France. They’ve expanded their influence online and we’re now seeing individuals, who once hid these dangerous views, feeling emboldened.
For some time, people believed that these movements were only on the rise in Europe. But just two years ago, neo-Nazis gathered by the hundreds in Charlottesville and chanted hateful attacks on Jews and immigrants, evoking disturbing imagery from our shared history that is all too familiar.
Then, this past October in Pittsburgh, our country witnessed the deadliest targeted attack on the Jewish community in modern American history- a cowardly and hateful act of violence that took 11 innocent lives and wounded six others. And in Poway California, Jewish Americans were violently taken from us while in the act of prayer. May the memories of those whose lives were taken forever be a blessing.
We have seen this on the news, and some of us have even seen it in our own communities. Just recently in my own state of Nevada, a Jewish middle school student – the adopted daughter of a Rabbi – opened her notebook at school to find a swastika and the words “you don’t belong here”.
And these are not isolated incidents.
In the United States, we’ve seen anti-Semitism and acts of hate growing at an alarming rate.
This year, The Anti-Defamation League published a report which found 2018 as the third-highest year on record for anti-Semitic acts and hate crimes since ADL started tracking them in the 1970s.
The source of anti-Semitism is no longer just extremist groups or groups pushing shadowy conspiracy theories on the internet. In large part, the source of this new wave of anti-Semitism is coming directly from some actors in our own political system…
This hate is unacceptable, and it’s something we must call out and confront head on.
And we know that hate and anti-Semitism are not bound by political affiliation. We have seen misguided and troubling comments from some whom we might otherwise consider our allies.
We have a moral obligation to put a stop to this disturbing trend by calling out anyone, even our friends, when they cross the line, and by standing up against bigotry and anti-Semitism wherever it might rear its ugly head, left, right, or center… because hate is hate, and it has no place in our communities, no place in our synagogues, and no place in our government.
So let me be clear, questioning the loyalty of American Jews is anti-Semitic, saying there are “good people on both sides” of a neo-Nazi protest is anti-Semitic, and diminishing the horrors of the Holocaust is anti-Semitic.
Like you, I am angry, and I am beyond frustrated by what we have been seeing and what we have been hearing. We all know that this madness must stop, and we are sick and tired of being told that our perceptions of anti-Semitism are all in our head.
They are not. This is real.
But our job now is not to litigate past transgressions and tear open old wounds.
Our responsibility to our neighbors, to our friends, to our community, and to our children is to work to prevent anti-Semitism before it starts, to educate, to explain, and to empower.
That is why last year, as a member of the House of Representatives, I fought to ensure the State Department appointed a special envoy to combat anti-Semitism. I have continued that fight in the Senate, and I am proud to report that a new special envoy was sworn in just last month! I had the honor of being the only Member of Congress to attend Elan Carr’s swearing-in ceremony, and I am honored to be working with him now in his mission to combat global anti-Semitism.
In my first month in the Senate, I helped re-introduce a bipartisan bill led by Senators Rubio and Gillibrand to upgrade the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism globally to the rank of Ambassador and mandate that this position, which remained vacant for two years, is always filled. And I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, bipartisan legislation from Senator Tim Scott to combat anti-Semitism in our schools, so we can empower our teachers and our children to recognize and combat hate.
We must continue to tackle anti-Semitism in a bipartisan, nonpartisan way, and we must do the same in combatting hate and bigotry in all their forms.
That is why I am calling on Congress to pass the Equality Act, legislation I am proud to co-sponsor that would finally prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community in employment, education, housing, credit, jury service, public accommodations, and federal funding.
It is why I am co-sponsoring the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, to require federal law enforcement to assess domestic terrorism threats and provide training and resources to state, local, and tribal law enforcement.
It is why I am fighting for our Dreamers and TPS recipients, many of whom have fled hate at home and have come here to the United States to seek a better life.
And it is why I have co-sponsored the Keep Families Together Act, legislation to prevent families from being separated at our southern border, because we must remember that we too were once strangers at the border. We too once wandered the desert toward freedom. We too were once turned away when fleeing unspeakable violence and oppression and told we were not wanted.
But we can only tackle this hate if we do so together and with a clear purpose.
During this time when anti-Semitism and bigotry are on the rise, it is vitally important that we open our eyes to these disturbing new trends – and not allow ideological or partisan thinking to blur our perspective of what is right and what is wrong.
Make no mistake, these are challenging times, but in great darkness, it is all the more important that we band together, as a community, and as a country, to hold up our faith and our values as a source of light.
There is a special place in my heart for the Jewish principle of Tikkun Olam, the idea that it is up to each and every one of us to do our part in repairing the world.
While it may seem like the world is in disrepair, I have an unwavering faith in the capability of Jews and non-Jewish allies alike, to do their part to help better this world, to care for one another, and to diminish the hate in our hearts and in the hearts of others.
So my message to you is: keep educating, keep believing, and keep up the fight for our American values by encouraging those around us to help repair the world, to combat the hate in this world, and make this world a better place to live, each and every day, for ourselves, for our children, for the future.
As you go forward today to speak with members of Congress this week, carry these values and ideals with you, carry the stories of our community and our faith, and in your meetings find a way that you and the members you are meeting with can engage in Tikkun Olam, because we know that when we educate and collaborate, and dig deep inside to do what’s right and fight against hate, we can make the world a better place.