January 15, 2020 | House Homeland Security Committee

Confronting the Rise in Anti-Semitic Domestic Terrorism

Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism
January 15, 2020 | House Homeland Security Committee

Confronting the Rise in Anti-Semitic Domestic Terrorism

Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism


Written testimony

Chairman Rose, Ranking Member Walker, distinguished members of the subcommittee, on behalf of FDD, thank you for the opportunity to testify.

I commend you for holding this hearing. I am going to talk about international anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic terrorism, and strongly suggest that these expressions of bigotry and violence are making a significant contribution to “the rise in anti-Semitic domestic terrorism.”

Jew-hatred is as old as the Judean Hills, pre-dating even the ancient rebellions of the Jewish nation against the Roman imperialists and colonialists who had conquered their lands.

Over the centuries, Jews have been persecuted, attacked, and murdered based on their religion and what used to be called their race.

They have been despised for being rich and poor, as capitalists and communists, as rootless cosmopolitans and – in Israel – as nationalists.

Jew-haters may be white supremacists, Islamic supremacists, or self-proclaimed social justice warriors. You cannot reason people out of anti-Semitism, because no one was ever reasoned into it.

What should be apparent: In the 20th century, anti-Semitism culminated in the murder of the European Jew. In the 21st century, anti-Semitism is meant to culminate in the murder of the Jewish state.

Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and the Islamic Republic of Iran – which supports all the terrorist groups I have just named – are candid about their genocidal intentions.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called Israel a “malignant cancerous tumor” that must be “removed and eradicated.”[1] Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, has said: “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”[2]

It is often forgotten – or ignored – that more than half the Jews in Israel descend from families that lived for centuries in Arab or Muslim lands, in such formerly diverse cities as Alexandria, Cairo, Tripoli, Beirut, and Aleppo. Bagdad, circa 1945, was as much as one-third Jewish.

In the aftermath of World War II, Jews were driven out – not because they supported Israel, but because they were Jews.

You will hear people say: “I’m not anti-Semitic. I’m just anti-Zionist.” Prior to 1948, the Zionist mission was to reestablish a Jewish nation-state in part of the ancient Jewish homeland. One could oppose that for many reasons. Since 1948, however, Zionism has come to mean support for Israel’s survival, its right to exist.

So if you are an anti-Zionist today you are, at best, indifferent to the fate of the only viable Jewish community remaining in the Middle East. In other words, to an anti-Zionist, Jewish lives don’t matter.

If anti-Semitism is a disease, what we are experiencing today is a global epidemic. Jew-hatred has become not just widely acceptable but edgy, if not fashionable – even in lands where there are virtually no Jews.

One example: Malaysia’s prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, is outspokenly anti-Semitic. Last October, Columbia University held a “Global Leaders Forum” where he instructed the audience: “When you say ‘you cannot be anti-Semitic,’ there is no free speech.”  He added: “Why can’t I say something about the Jews, when people say nasty things about me and about Malaysia?”[3]

Would Columbia have honored as a “Global Leader” a Christian or a Jew who spoke similarly about Muslims, Salvadorans, or members of the LGBT community?

In France, Sarah Halimi, a retired physician and director of a nursery, was stabbed and thrown to her death from her balcony by a neighbor screaming “Allahu Akbar.” A French court has now dismissed all charges against her killer, on grounds that he was “not responsible” because he had been smoking marijuana.[4]

In Argentina five years ago, Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor investigating the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, was shot in the head hours before he was to present evidence of a plot involving then-President Cristina Kirchner and officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The current president says he has no idea what happened or who was responsible. Will there be yet another cover up of an alleged cover up?

In Great Britain recently, there was a serious chance that an anti-Semite would be elected prime minister.

I could go on. But I want to take a moment to remind you that the United Nations is a veritable volcano of anti-Israeli rhetoric and resolutions. The UN Human Rights Council is that organization’s most egregious and prolific enemy of the Jewish state. American tax dollars support it.

Mainstreaming and in some instances condoning Jew-hatred, both abroad and here at home, may not cause “anti-Semitic domestic terrorism,” but it is self-evidently a major contributing factor.

In my written testimony, I elaborate, offer additional information based on the research of FDD scholars, and provide specific recommendations.

Chairman Rose, Ranking Member Walker, let me again commend you for shedding light on this issue, and thank you again for the opportunity to testify. I look forward to your questions.

[1] Tamar Pileggi, “Khamenei: Israel a ‘cancerous tumor’ that ‘must be eradicated,’” The Times of Israel (Israel), June 4, 2018. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/khamenei-israel-a-cancerous-tumor-that-must-be-eradicated/)

[2] Elena Lappin, “The Enemy Within,” The New York Times, May 23, 2004. (https://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/books/the-enemy-within.html)

[3] Clifford D. May, “Columbia University celebrates anti-Semitism,” The Washington Times, October 1, 2019. (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/oct/1/columbia-university-celebrates-anti-semitism/)

[4] “Paris Protest Rally and March for Sarah Halimi ‘Murder of Jews carries no judicial penalty when the perpetrator is high on narcotics.’” Simon Weisenthal Center, January 6, 2020. (http://www.wiesenthal.com/about/news/paris-protest2.html)

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Full written testimony