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July 15, 2019 4:36 pm

At Antisemitism Summit, US Attorney General Says He Is ‘Deeply Concerned’ by Rise in Hate Crimes Targeting Jews

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

US Attorney General William Barr, joined by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, delivers opening remarks at the Summit on Combating Antisemitism held at the Justice Department in Washington, DC, July 15, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Erin Scott.

Attorney General William Barr said on Monday he was “deeply concerned” by an increase in recent years of the number of reported hate crimes targeting Jews in the US.

Barr delivered opening remarks at the Summit on Combating Antisemitism, hosted by the Justice Department at its headquarters in Washington, DC.

“We must have zero tolerance for violence that is motivated by hatred for our fellow citizens whether based on race, sex, or creed,” Barr said. “Antisemitic violence is especially pernicious because it targets both Jewish ethnic identity and religious practice.”

“I think of the various forms of antisemitism as very much like different kinds of cancer,” the attorney general stated. “A healthy body with a strong immune system can have success in preventing cancers from emerging and spreading. But if the immune system weakens cancer can emerge. Some might be localized. But others can rapidly metastasize and become systematic. Like a physical body, a body politic must have an immune system that resists antisemitism and other forums of hatred.”

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He continued, “What is the state of our immune system within the American society? In a pluralistic society like ours, I think the ability to resist hate comes from cultivating a civil society that, on the 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 community.”

“My concern today is that under the banner of identity politics, some political factions are seeking to obtain power by dividing Americans,” Barr added. “They undermine the values that draw us together, such as shared commitment to our country’s success. This is the breeding ground for hatred, and we must reject it.”

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