(Extensions of Remarks - March 11, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E279-E280]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                               speech of

                        HON. SHEILA JACKSON LEE

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 7, 2019

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, as a senior member of the Committees on 
the Judiciary and Homeland Security, the Tom Lantos Human Rights 
Commission, the bipartisan Congressional International Religious 
Freedom Caucus, and the Helsinki Commission, I rise in strong support 
of H. Res. 183, a resolution that puts the House on record in its 
condemnation of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of 
bigotry as hateful expressions of intolerance that are inimical to the 
values and aspirations that define the people of the United States.

[[Page E280]]

  I support the resolution also because it also forcefully expresses 
the condemnation by this House of anti-Muslim discrimination and 
bigotry against racial, ethnic, religious, and other marginalized 
  Mr. Speaker, nearly thirty years ago, as a young mother, I first 
visited Israel and the Holy Land, and I have returned many times since 
then to the region that gave birth to three of the world's great 
religions, civilizations, and cultures.
  I have been a passionate supporter of the Mickey Leland Kibbutzim 
Internship program, which for nearly thirty years has enabled inner-
city high school students who live or study in the 18th Congressional 
District the opportunity to spend a summer in Israel.
  As a member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 
better known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, I have traveled abroad on 
numerous occasions to participate in parliamentary diplomacy in support 
of OSCE and other European efforts to combat anti-Semitism, including 
legislation calling for increased security for the Jewish community, 
funds for civil society coalitions to combat hate, and a U.S.-EU Joint 
Action Plan to combat prejudice and discrimination that would include a 
specific focus on anti-Semitism.
  As a member of the Commission I supported the successful effort to 
include anti-Semitic incidents in the annual State Department 
International Religious Freedom Reports and Country Reports on Human 
Rights, and to create the position of the U.S. Special Envoy on Anti-
Semitism within the State Department.
  Mr. Speaker, nearly 74 years have passed since the end of World War 
II but for those who survived, and the descendants and relatives of 
those who perished, the Holocaust is not ancient history but a reminder 
of the evil that can be unleashed when humans give into their worst 
instincts and appetites.
  The Holocaust is the worst example of man's inhumanity to man in 
human history and the magnitude of its destruction numbered more than 
12 million deaths, including 6 million Jews and 1.5 million children.
  A haunting quote in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 
refers to the story of Cain and Abel: ``The Lord said, `What have you 
done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground' '' 
(Genesis 4:11).
  The Holocaust is a testament to the fragility of democracy and it 
forces us to confront uncomfortable questions such as the 
responsibilities of citizenship and the consequences of indifference 
and inaction, and the importance of education and awareness.
  That is why we, all of us, must reject and resist prejudice and 
intolerance in any form.
  Mr. Speaker, anti-Semitism is the name for the bigotry and form of 
racism endured for centuries by Jewish people for no other reason that 
simply because they are Jews.
  In 2017 the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported a 37 percent 
increase in hate crimes against Jews or Jewish institutions and found 
that attacks against Jews or Jewish institutions made up 58.1 percent 
of all religious-based hate crimes.
  And it was just last year, on October 27, 2018, the perpetrator of 
the deadliest attack on Jewish people in the history of the United 
States killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue building in 
Pittsburgh and reportedly stated that he ``wanted all Jews to die.''
  There is an urgent need to ensure the safety and security of Jewish 
communities, including synagogues, schools, cemeteries, and other 
  Outside of the United States, Jews are the targets of anti-Semitic 
violence at even higher rates in many other countries.
  Anti-Semitism includes scapegoating or blaming Jews as Jews when 
things go wrong; calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or 
harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or extremist view of 
religion; or making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or 
stereotyped allegations about Jews.
  Another way that anti-Semitism manifests itself is when Jewish people 
are subject in the media and political campaigns to numerous other 
dangerous myths, including the canard that Jews control the United 
States Government or seek global, political, and financial domination, 
or that Jews are obsessed with money.
  Mr. Speaker, we need to denounce and reject forcefully and 
continuously the scapegoating and targeting of Jews in the United 
States that has persisted for many years, including by the Ku Klux 
Klan, the America First Committee, and by modern neo-Nazis, whose 
membership decidedly is not comprised of ``very fine people.''
  We also must have zero-tolerance for any suggestion or accusation 
that Jews are more loyal to Israel or to the Jewish community than to 
the United States.
  Such accusations of dual allegiance constitutes anti-Semitism because 
they suggest that Jewish citizens cannot be patriotic Americans and 
trusted neighbors, when Jews have loyally served our Nation every day 
since its founding, whether in public or community life or military 
  Accusations of dual loyalty have an insidious and pernicious history 
and led, inter alia, to the discriminatory incarceration of Americans 
of Japanese descent during World War II on their basis of race and 
alleged dual loyalty; the Dreyfus affair, when Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish 
French artillery captain, was falsely convicted of passing secrets to 
Germany based on his Jewish background; and the questioning of John F. 
Kennedy's fitness to serve as President of the United States because of 
his Catholic faith.
  Following the terrorist attack of September 11, we saw a noticeable 
increase in suspicion of, and hostility to, Muslim-Americans in the 
United States, including Islamophobia, based on false accusations that 
they were supportive of, or associated with, terrorism.
  Mr. Speaker, in 2017, mosques were bombed in Bloomington, Minnesota, 
and burned in Austin, Texas, Victoria, Texas, Bellevue, Washington, and 
Thonotosassa, Florida, and mass attacks on Muslim communities were 
planned against communities in Islamberg, New York, in 2019, 
Jacksonville, Florida, in 2017, and Garden City, Kansas, in 2016.
  The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported that hate crimes 
against Muslims or Muslim institutions in the United States increased 
by over 99 percent between 2014 and 2016.
  That is why I am so pleased that the resolution before us also 
strongly denounces anti-Muslim bigotry, which entails prejudicial 
attitudes towards Muslims and people who are perceived to be Muslim, 
including the irrational belief that Muslims are inherently violent, 
disloyal, and foreign; or sympathize with individuals who engage in 
violence or terror or support the oppression of women, Jews, and other 
vulnerable communities.
  It is very important and significant that the resolution before us 
also condemns White supremacists in the United States who have and 
continue to exploit bigotry and weaponize hate for political gain, 
targeting traditionally persecuted peoples, including African 
Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, 
Hindus, Sikhs, immigrants, and others with verbal attacks, incitement, 
and violence.
  Let us be very clear: these purveyors of hate will not win because as 
the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., taught, persecution of any 
American is an assault on the rights and freedoms of all Americans.
  Mr. Speaker, anti-Semitism is wrong and based on a lie--as are 
racism, Islamophobia, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia--but remember 
the words of William Cullen Bryant, who said:

     Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again;
     The eternal years of God are hers;
     But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,
     And dies among his worshippers.

  Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues to vote for H. Res. 183 and 
I encourage every person in the United States to confront and reject 
anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry and do 
all they can to ensure that the United States lives up to the 
transcendent principles of tolerance, religious freedom, and equal 
protection as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the first 
and 14th amendments to the Constitution that have made it the envy and 
the hope of the world.