on the hill

Max Rose holds congressional hearing on antisemitic violence

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Rep. Max Rose, (D-N.Y.) speaks during a portrait session outside his office in Staten Island, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, in New York. Rose, a 33 year-old army veteran who served in Afghanistan, represents New York's 11th Congressional District, a swing district encompassing Staten Island and South Brooklyn.

The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism will hold a hearing this afternoon about confronting the rise in antisemitic violence and domestic terrorism. According to data by the Anti-Defamation League, more than 30 antisemitic incidents have been reported in New York City alone in recent weeks. 

Panelists include Ret. Gen. John Allen, NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism John Miller, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, Professor Eugene Kontorovich, the Orthodox Union’s Nathan Diament, and Cliff May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. 

Rep. Max Rose (D-NY), chairman of the House panel, tells Jewish Insider that the purpose of the hearing is to hear from organizations “who can provide us some insight into what they are seeing as the threat of increased violence against fellow Jews: How does hate translate into violence?” Rose said the committee will also examine proposals by leading government experts “who are not currently serving in their capacity in the federal government” about how to tackle this violence. 

Greenblatt tells JI that he will call on committee members to put more pressure on social media companies to kick neo-Nazis and antisemites off their platforms. He will also call on members to “stop politicizing antisemitism and using it as a partisan cudgel.” 

Words matter: Diament, executive director of the OU’s Advocacy Center, is expected to raise the concerns of the Orthodox Jewish community, which has been most affected by the recent wave of antisemitic attacks, according to excerpts of his testimony shared with JI. “Anxiety about this new reality is present in Orthodox Jewish communities across the United States,” Diament plans to say. “In the American Orthodox Jewish community, there is a widespread belief that this wave of physical attacks are the outgrowth of many years of expressions of not only antisemitic bias, but anti-Orthodox Jewish bias in particular, that have long gone unreported and unrepudiated.” 

Next step: Rose tells JI he intends to introduce “definitive proposals” and recommendations after this hearing and plans to hold a second hearing next month, where he will invite government officials to provide answers about the “definitive steps” they expect to take to tackle this issue. 

Zero is the solution: According to Rose, while elected officials and law enforcement authorities have stepped up and taken action to reduce the level of antisemitic violence after the recent wave, he “will not be satisfied until there’s not a single Jew in New York City and across the country who is afraid to go outside with a kippah, speak Hebrew in public, congregate with their friends in public, observe High Holy days and go to shul. So hell no, I am not satisfied and I won’t be until we do more, and we will do more.” 

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