Watch video of Senator Rosen’s full exchange HERE
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on threats to the homeland, Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) questioned Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and FBI Director Christopher Wray on ways to increase interagency collaboration on tackling rising antisemitism and secured their support for creating a national strategy to combat antisemitism.
Senator Rosen has been a leader in advocating for combatting antisemitism. She co-founded the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combatting Antisemitism in 2019 with Senator James Lankford (R-OK). In 2020, Senator Rosen’s bipartisan Never Again Education Act was signed into law. It established a dedicated federal fund to provide teachers with the resources and training necessary to teach our students the important lessons of the Holocaust.
Below is an excerpt of the Senator’s exchange:
ROSEN: Because many individual agencies play a critical role in combating antisemitism, we need closer interagency coordination to share best practices, share that ever-important data that keeps us safer when we share it, and intelligence; identify gaps in our efforts between agencies; streamline overlapping activities and roles so we can combat antisemitism where we see it; and I believe execute a unified national strategy.
[Secretary Mayorkas, would you] support a national strategy to combat antisemitism?
MAYORKAS: I would.
ROSEN: Thank you. Director Wray, I want to move over to you because I know that the FBI, as you’ve stated, found antisemitic hate crimes rose by 6 percent in 2020. It represents the highest total in 12 years, it constitutes 60 percent of all incidents based on religion. And in your estimation, your research and data – what it’s telling you – what is driving this alarming trend? How is the FBI working with communities, state, and local law enforcement? Again to be sure we’re coordinating, would you support a national strategy to combat antisemitism?
WRAY: Well taking the last part first, certainly I would support a national strategy. Second, the percentage is even worse than you summarized. I think it’s 63 percent of all religiously motivated violent extremism incidents are motivated by antisemitism, and that’s against a population that is only 2.4, I think, percent of the American public so, it’s pretty stark. And from our perspective, we see the Jewish community getting it from all sides, which may contribute to what’s driving it because not only have they long been a target of foreign terrorist organizations, and we’ve disrupted attacks by foreign terrorists organizations and foreign inspired violent extremists against synagogues, for example. But then in addition to that, there’re of course, the target of domestic violent extremists. And as you may remember we’ve disrupted an attempt to blow up a synagogue in the Las Vegas area just a couple years ago, for example.