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  Attorney Generals Remarks at Justice Department Combating Anti- Semitism...  CSPAN  July 16, 2019 3:49am-4:08am EDT

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the 50th anniversary of the apollo 11 moon landing. our guests include california democratic congressman oliveira, frank lucas, florida republican congressman michael wald, california's katie hill, texas's brian and and eddie bernice johnson. c-span's washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern this morning. join the discussion. the justice department hosted a summit monday on combating anti-semitism with administration officials and legal experts. the event began with remarks from attorney general william barr, who discussed how the department was focused on the issue. barr: >> good morning and thank you
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for joining us at this summit. i am privileged to have the opportunity to set the table and introduce the attorney general, bill barr. i expect most of us here today are aware that attorney general barr has had a distinguished career in private practice and in government, including time at the head of the office of legal deputy attorney general. he served as the general counsel of a major corporation. sel of a major corporation. i'm confident that nearly everyone knows that he served previously as the 77th attorney general of united states and now is the 80 fit the attorney general of the united states. what many may not know is that when he was previously attorney general, he was, in may 1992, [-] israel america with its humanitarian of the year award. so his commitment to use the
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power of the government to ensure the free practice of religion, and to fight those traffic and vile, anti-semitic acts, is not new. indeed, in his confirmation hearing nearly three dakin's ago, -- nearly three decades ago, he said invidious discrimination strikes at the nature and fiber of what this country stands for. pledged,ey general he the department of justice's unyielding commitment to eliminating anti-semitism and other forms of religious bigotry . then, as attorney general, he aggressively pursued anti-semitic hate crimes. under his leadership, the department of justice successfully convicted eight members of hate groups for desecrating a synagogue in nashville, tennessee. conspiracyduals for
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to interfere with the rights of a holocaust survivor in san togo who had been subjected a campaign of andy's medic harassment. numerous skinheads around the country, for writing andy's medic crimes, and convicted -- for a variety of anti-semitic crimes. of a prominent radio host in denver, colorado. fought against zoning discrimination in new york. , perhapsanti-semitism the world's oldest hatred, requires unyielding vigilance. according to the fbi, hate crimes, based on religion, have steadily grown in the united states since 2014. an anti-jewish hate crimes have consistently been more than half of the totals each year. recently, horrific murders
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at jewish synagogues in pittsburgh and san diego have alerted us again that this is not just a problem in europe, south america, or the mideast. we must confront those responsible for hateful acts wherever and whenever they are found. whether in our cities, on our college campuses, in our workplaces, online, and particularly as to those who would intimidate, terrorize, or cause onto others. now, i have known attorney general barr for a long time. so i knew of his strong views about both the protection of her lips freedom, and about fighting against intolerance -- protection of religious freedom, and fighting intolerance. as he told the senate at his most recent confirmation, we can only survive and thrive as a nation if we are mutually tolerant of each other's differences. each of us treasures our own
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freedom. but that freedom is most secure when we respect everyone else's freedom. and yet we see some people violently attacking others, simply because of their differences. we must have zero tolerance for such crimes. end of quote. those words guide us today and going forward, as the department of justice punishes hate crimes, and as we protect religious liberty. introduction short of his long record of combating anti-semitism, it is my privilege to welcome attorney general bill barr. [applause]
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guest: thank you. i would like to thank you and the rabbi, and everyone who helped to bring the summit together. atty genl barr: finally, let me say thank you to secretary steven mnuchin, secretary t devoe's, and special envoy -- andtary betsy devos, others joining us here for the summit. today's program includes a great set of panelists and speakers. for one thing he'll hear throughout the day from federal
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officials across the administration. about our efforts to combat anti-semitism. for me and for the part of justice, this is a critical priority. i am deeply concerned about the rise in hate crimes and political violence that we have seen over the past decade. this trend has included a marked increase in reported instances of anti-semitic hate crimes. ancient and stubborn form of racism throughout western history has been anti-semitism. the causes have been varied. at times it has been driven by religious intolerance, cultural anderences, economic envy, ideological dogma. sometimes those disappointed with their own lot in life sees on conspiracy theories, to blame the jewish people for their own discontent. and sometimes local factions competing for power, find in the
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jewish people, a convenient state code to unified and inflame their palooka base. towardty or prejudice the jewish people has manifested itself in the organized violence of pogroms, expulsions, and massacres. -- withining memory living memory, these genocidal acts reach the unimaginable scale of the holocaust. in the united states today we do not see state organized violence . but increasingly, we are seeing hate inspired violence against the jewish community, perpetrated by individuals and groups. this past year in particular, the entire nation saw the evil inits of the anti-semitism pittsburgh at the tree of life sit - synagogue. and in california at that, at - poway. we were
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all horrified by these attacks. local lawtate, and enforcement respond quickly and decisively. of course, it is one thing for the nation to pull together in condemning anti-semitism when confronted with from pitch stories about horrific shootings, as in pittsburgh and too often, jews and jewish between 80's in america suffer outside the spotlight. gesturesrk city communities in america suffer outside the spotlight. we have seen in new york crown heights attacks on jewish committees. people are vandalizing synagogues. in massachusetts, in march, vandals desecrated gravestones in a jewish cemetery,'s crawling
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hateful while the attacks in pittsburgh and poway drew attention, these and in communities out side -- are less well known the jewish community, but they form the daily background of concerns about security and safety that many in the jewish community feel. the nation as a whole must be aware of these concerns and reject the forces that motivate them. and fellow general citizen, i want to assure the jewish community that the department of justice and the entire federal government stands with you and will not tolerate these attacks. [applause] a.g. barr: anti-semitism
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manifests itself in many ways besides outright violence. zoning laws have prevented jews from residing in certain communities and it is manifest in harassment of jewish individuals and businesses. that is also why today is about far more than criminal prosecutions. we need to combat anti-semitism on all fronts as a government, but also as a society. we are therefore grateful that today's summit will include thoughtful discussions with several outside contributors who .ave been gracious to join us the first will focus on combating anti-semitism while respecting the first amendment. rightsimes and civil prosecutions are important tools, but they cannot solve the problem on their own. hearts and minds must be changed, but that is not always the task to which the government is particularly well-suited. tohave a legal obligation
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respect the free-speech rights of even despicable speakers and our harshest critics, but lines can be drawn by our society. sometimes easily and sometimes not so easily, between that commitment and repudiation of anti-semitism. another panel will focus on the problem of anti-semitism on campus. on college campuses today jewish students who support israel are frequently targeted for harassment. jewish student organizations are marginalized and progressive jewish students are told they must denounce their beliefs and heritage in order to be part of intersectional causes. the future of for our country and society that college campuses remain open to ideological diversity and respect for people of all faiths. i think the various forms of anti-semitism are very much like
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different kinds of cancer. a healthy body with a strong immune system can have success in preventing cancer from emerging or spreading. but if the immune system weakens, cancer can emerge. some might be localized, but other can rapidly metastasize and become systemic. just like a physical body, a body politic must have an immune system that resists anti-semitism and other forms of racial hatred. what is the state of our immune system within american society? in a pluralistic society like ours i think the ability to resist hate comes from cultivating a civil society that on one hand nurtures the freedom of each group to pursue their faith and distinctive way of life while at the same time fostering the ties that bind us together into a genuine, broader
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community. undercern today is that the banner of identity politics, some are seeking to obtain power by dividing americans and they undermine the values that draw us together, such as a shared commitment to our country's success. this is the breeding ground for hatred and we must reject it. what is the competing vision? i am reminded of something that happened two months after 9/11 up in new york. an american airline flight with 260 souls aboard took off from jfk, went wildly out of control over jamaican bay and crashed into the small bell harbor neighborhood of rockaway in queens. the community had just completed burying its victims of 9/11, 50 of them, the highest concentration of victims in any
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neighborhood in new york from 9/11. the pilot died as did five people on the ground in many houses were consumed by fire. a news report on the incident has always stuck in my mind. it involved a man on the street interviewed, a lifelong resident of bell harbor. the fire was raging behind him. he was distraught, but unbound as he assured the reporter that bell harbor would surmount this latest tragedy. "this is a tightknit community. we have fabric. you have your irish, you have your italians, you have your jews. ." we are pretty homogenous that always stuck with me. description ofer
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the framers' aspiration of e pluribus unum? we are a pluralistic nation composed of distinct groups, each bound together by ethnicity, race or religion. each group proud of its identity and committed to its faith and traditions, yet despite these differences, we can be bound together into a broader community. not one that seeks to grind away our distinctive identity. not one that seeks to over bear our religious commitments, which must be paramount, but one which respects the rights and freedom to hold fast our identity, values, religion, the parts of us that give meaning to our lives, help us understand.
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where does this fabric come from? it is not something that can be politically mandated. it arises from the genuine affinity, affection and solidarity that grows out of a and thattriotism, spontaneous feeling of fellowship that arises from a shared sense of place, shared experiences, and common attachments. are the surest safeguard against racial hatred, including anti-semitism. with that i would like to thank all of you again for being here. i was going to conclude with the blessing contained in president washington's letter to the jewish congregation in newport, rhode island but the good rabbi has preempted me on that. so i will say again thank you,
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god bless you all and god bless our work today. [applause] >> our first combating anti-semitism -- our first panel involves eli lake. mr. lake is a distinguished and widely respected bloomberg columnist covering national security and foreign policy. he is a former senior correspondent for newsweek, the daily beast, the new york sun, and the washington times. we are thrilled to have his perspective to guide today's discussion. the panel is yours. eli: thanks so much.