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  4. Secretary Mayorkas Delivers Remarks to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Secretary Mayorkas Delivers Remarks to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Release Date: October 17, 2023

Secretary Mayorkas delivered the following remarks to a convening of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Washington, D.C.

To William Daroff, thank you very much for the invitation to join our community this morning, and Noa, thank you very much for the courage of coming here and sharing your experience with us.

The image of the children – the young women, the elderly – has made me think yet again about my mother and her experience in fleeing the Nazis and the lasting impact of her suffering. Seeing children leave home, never to return impacted very much how she parented me. She kept me very close. I didn’t have the pleasure of a sleepover or a sleep-away camp as so many of my friends did.

And just as the experiences of our parents, our grandparents, ancestors, have had lasting impacts on successive generations, so too will the savagery inflicted and Israel and its people reverberate for decades to come and impact future generations.

Acts of hate are not limited by geography, nor by time. Rabbi Moshe Hauer, from whom we heard a moving prayer earlier, of the Orthodox Union and I have spoken about the fact that there is no such thing as a small act of hate. A swastika graffitied on an elevator impacts so many more than just those who step onto that elevator. Here in the United States, in the last week, we have seen a demonstrator wave a swastika during a rally in Times Square. Last weekend, chants of “gas the Jews” were heard at a rally in Sydney, Australia. British media have reported a more than 300% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.K. alone since the Hamas attack on Israel.

This, against the backdrop of an already increasing wave of anti-Semitism and other streams of hate before the terrorist attacks on October 7. Yesterday, the FBI released its annual statistical report on hate crimes. Anti-Semitic hate rose 25% from 2021 to 2022. Anti-Semitism accounted for over half of all reported religion-based hate crimes.

Today, we gather together in a highly charged environment, and I am here to implore alertness, vigilance, and preparedness.

We in the Department of Homeland Security will provide flexibility in the use of more than $156 million we have distributed to over 1,040 entities that serve the Jewish community as part of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to meet current needs. We have our Protecting Places of Worship resource guide and our Protective Security Advisors in every state to guide and advise the Jewish community on how to most effectively secure your facilities with the resources you have.

Since last Saturday, we’ve held more than 60 direct community engagements to share information, distribute materials, and learn of your needs so that we can best meet them. We’ve reached more than 65,000 members of our community. The day after the horrific attacks on October 7, Jonathan Greenblatt and the Anti-Defamation League held a virtual gathering – more than 700 people participated. William Daroff, Jonathan, and I participated in an intimate discussion of what we need to do to protect our community, just this past Sunday.

We in the Department of Homeland Security, along with the FBI and all of our partners, are constantly evaluating the threat landscape. We remain very concerned about the lone wolf – the individual incited to violence by an ideology of hate.

Use the resources, please – I implore you to use the resources we have made available to you, and importantly, work with one another, whether it is SCN – the Secure Community Network – or other organizations and resources that are there for you.

I not only implore alertness and vigilance, I implore strength – the strength to live our Jewish lives and not allow fear to prevail. We will continue to execute this administration’s first-ever Strategy to Combat Anti-Semitism. We will continue to fight against hate.

The extraordinary suffering that we share with our families and our friends in Israel will be lasting. The grief will not subside soon, the hurt will pass from generation to generation. So too will our resolve, our faith, the practice of it, and the values that bind us together.

This Department of Homeland Security is here for you, and we are here with you, forever.

Thank you.


Last Updated: 10/18/2023
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