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Congress & the Middle East: Expressing the Sense of the House of Representatives Regarding the Safety and Security of Jewish Communities in Europe.

(November 2015)

In November 2015 Representative Christopher Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, sponsored a resolution encouraging the United States and European nations to work together to combat a recent disturbing increase in anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe. The bill urges U.S. and European law enforcement agencies to help local Jewish communities develop safety standards, work together in sharing information, train Jewish community groups to combat anti-Semitism, and continue to report hate-crimes no matter who the victim is. H. Res. 354 was co-sponsored by 89 Congressional representatives and passed the House on November 3, 2015.

H. Res 354

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the safety and security of
Jewish communities in Europe.

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the safety and security of Jewish communities in Europe.

Whereas anti-Semitic rhetoric and acts, including violent attacks on people and places of faith, have increased in frequency, variety, and severity in many countries in Europe;

Whereas the French Service de Protection de la Communaute Juive (Jewish Community Security Service) reported an increase in anti-Semitic acts in France between 2013 to 2014 (from 423 acts to 851), including an increase in violent ones (from 105 acts to 241); the Community Security Trust reported an increase in anti-Semitic acts in the United Kingdom between 2013 to 2014 (from 535acts to 1,168), including an increase in violent ones (from 69 to 81); and the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry reported an increase in antiSemitic acts between 2013 and 2014 in Germany (from 788 acts to 1076, including 36 violent acts to 76), Belgium (from 64 acts to 109, including 11 violent acts to 30), Austria (from 137 acts to 255, including 4 violent acts to 9), and Italy (from 45 to 90, including 12 violent acts to 23);

Whereas the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported, in its latest available statistics, 870 incidents in 2012 with anti-Jewish bias motivation, including 13 violent incidents, and 625 incidents in 2013 with anti-Jewish bias motivation, including four violent incidents;

Whereas anti-Semitic attacks have been increasingly directed at places of ordinary daily life and places of worship, including - (1) the violent extremist who pledged his loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris, France, January 9, 2015, murdering four Jewish patrons; and (2) the violent extremist who pledged his loyalty to ISIS and attacked the Great Synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, during a bat mitzvah celebration, February 15, 2015, murdering a member of the Jewish community on security duty, and wounding two members of the Danish Police Service;

Whereas anti-Semitic attacks are threats to the fundamental freedoms, rights, security, and diversity of all citizens, societies, and countries in which they occur;

Whereas governments have primary responsibility for the security and safety of all of their citizens and therefore primary responsibility for monitoring, preventing, and responding to anti-Semitic violence;

Whereas Jewish community groups that focus on strengthening safety awareness, crisis management, and preparedness are essential to keeping members of the Jewish community safe, and complement efforts of government and inter-governmental entities;

Whereas keeping members of Jewish communities safe requires government agencies, intergovernmental institutions and agencies, and law enforcement associations, formally recognizing and partnering with Jewish community groups that focus on safety awareness and crisis management and preparedness;

Whereas in the United States, United Kingdom, and France, there are examples of formal recognition, partnership, training, and information-sharing between government entities and Jewish community security groups that have strengthened these countries and contributed to the safety and security of Jewish communities;

Whereas Jewish community groups, consortia, and initiatives, have formed and are forming to focus on safety awareness, crisis management, and preparedness, and partner with law enforcement entities and thought leaders;

Whereas information-sharing and action-focused campaigns, including the national ‘‘If You See Something, Say Something’’ campaign of the Department of Homeland Security, which rely on members of the public reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement personnel, are critical to preventing violent attacks on individuals and communities;

Whereas relevant information, research, and analysis is vital to strengthening the preparedness, prevention, mitigation, and response of Jewish communities and law enforcement agencies;

Whereas broader efforts to counter violent extremism, and efforts to counter anti-Semitism, should be integrated with each other as appropriate and share best practices;

Whereas in the Berlin Declaration of April 29, 2004, participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) condemned anti-Semitism and committed themselves to specific actions to combat it, including to combat hate crimes and to collect and maintain reliable information and statistics about antiSemitic crimes;

Whereas, on December 6, 2013, the Ministerial Council of the OSCE, which is composed of the Foreign Ministers of participating States, adopted Decision number 3/13 entitled ‘‘Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion, or Belief’’, emphasizing ‘‘the link between security and full respect for the freedom of thought’’, and committing member governments to adopt ‘‘policies to promote respect and protection for places of worship and religious sites, religious monuments, cemeteries and shrines against vandalism and destruction’’, among other specific actions;

Whereas, on December 5, 2014, the Ministerial Council of the OSCE adopted Declaration number 8, the Basel Declaration, on ‘‘Enhancing Efforts to Combat Anti-Semitism’’, in which members of the Council stated, ‘‘We express our concern at the disconcerting number of anti-Semitic incidents that continue to take place in the OSCE area and remain a challenge to stability and security’’ and ‘‘We stress the importance of States collaborating with civil society through effective partnerships and strengthened dialogue and co-operation on combating anti-Semitism’’;

and Whereas in 2004, Congress passed the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act, which established an Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, headed by a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism: Now, therefore, be it resolved

That the House of Representatives -

(1) urges the United States Government, including the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to work closely with European governments and their law enforcement agencies, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), European Union, Europol, and Interpol, encouraging and enabling them to

(A) formally recognize, partner with, and train Jewish community groups focused on strengthening preparedness, mitigation, and response related to anti-Semitic attacks;

(B) support initiatives to research, analyze, and strengthen the preparedness, mitigation, and response of Jewish community groups and law enforcement agencies to anti-Semitic attacks;

(C) share essential, relevant information with, and have clear, open channels to receive and respond to information from, Jewish community groups focused on strengthening preparedness, mitigation, and response related to anti-Semitic attacks;

(D) consider formal partnerships in the United States, United Kingdom, and France, between government entities and Jewish community security groups as examples of government recognition of partnership, training, and information-sharing, with Jewish community security groups;

(E) support assessments of the -

(i) general environment of hate crimes, the broader context for understanding the environment for anti-Semitic attacks;

(ii) anti-Semitism environment that includes gathering and analyzing data on crimes committed, response from law enforcement, types of attacks or incidents that are most prevalent, types of targets that are most at-risk, and that draw information from sources that include Jewish groups, law enforcement agencies, and independent human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other civil society groups and leaders;

(iii) capabilities, resources, and relationships of Jewish community groups with local law enforcement agencies;

(iv) preparedness, including emergency response plans and extent to which decisionmaking is based on the best available information, analysis, and practices, of Jewish community groups that focus on the safety of members of the Jewish community;

(v) response of local law enforcement systems to anti-Semitic incidents, including hate-crime reporting, how law enforcement agencies usually receive reports of anti-Semitic crimes, the initial course of action when a report is filed, the extent to which anti-Semitic crimes are prioritized and prosecuted, the processes of investigating and gaining information about the crime, and ways in which law enforcement agencies work with prosecutors; and

(vi) communication and cooperation between European governments, intergovernmental, and interorganizational entities on combating anti-Semitism, especially anti-Semitic violence;

(F) make necessary adjustments to their strategies and efforts to combat anti-Semitism, particularly violent attacks on Jewish communities, based on these assessments;

(G) help Jewish communities develop common, baseline safety standards, especially for community service organizations that focus on preparedness, mitigation, and response, including for training, controlling access to physical facilities, physical security measures, crisis communications, emergency exercises and simulations, mapping access to facilities, and sharing of information with law enforcement agencies and other partners;

(H) develop and implement a standardized pan-European information-sharing, communication, and alerting system between governments, inter-governmental agencies, and Jewish communities, that functions day-round and year round and includes training for personnel implementing such a system;

(I) develop and implement safety-awareness and suspicious activity reporting campaigns;

(J) integrate, as appropriate, efforts to combat violent extremism and efforts to combat anti-Semitism with each other and share best practices related to both;

(K) ensure law enforcement personnel are effectively trained to monitor, prevent, and respond to anti-Semitic violence, and partner with Jewish communities;

(L) reaffirm and work for the implementation of the OSCE declarations, decisions, and other commitments, particularly those focusing on anti-Semitism;

(M) ensure senior officials, with commensurate authority and resources, have been appointed or designated to combat anti-Semitism and collaborate with governmental and intergovernmental agencies, law enforcement agencies, Jewish community groups, and other civil society groups; and

(N) work closely with associations of law enforcement professionals, and other relevant professional entities, to combat anti-Semitism and particularly to actualize the goals of this resolution;

(2) reaffirms its support for the mandate of the United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism as part of the broader policy priority of fostering international religious freedom;

(3) urges the Secretary of State to continue robust United States reporting on anti-Semitism by the Department of State and the Special Envoy to Combat and Monitor Anti-Semitism; and

(4) calls on the President to report to Congress, not later than one year after this resolution is passed, on the United States Government’s implementation of this resolution.