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February 3, 2016 1

Our New Forum For Ideas, ADL@SALON

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog


I have always believed that it takes more than one per­son, one leader, or one insti­tu­tion to solve the tough­est chal­lenges. As I began my tenure as CEO six months ago, I real­ized that in order to achieve our time­less mis­sion — to stop the defama­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple and to secure fair treat­ment and jus­tice to all — we would need to har­ness the ener­gies of inno­va­tion and dis­cover new ways to sharpen our focus on the most rel­e­vant issues fac­ing our com­mu­nity and our nation. We would need to broaden our tent, to attract the bright­est peo­ple, and to wel­come new ideas.

That is why I’m thrilled today to launch a new ini­tia­tive aimed at open­ing our minds to the cut­ting edge, to bring together diver­gent voices into dia­logue in an open and unfet­tered exchange.

We’re call­ing it ADL@Salon.

To meet the demands of a cen­tury defined by rapid change, it is my belief that ADL trans­form itself into a learn­ing orga­ni­za­tion, one capa­ble of con­tin­u­ous rein­ven­tion. In short, an orga­ni­za­tion that thrives on innovation.

In this still new cen­tury, we face what can seem insur­mount­able chal­lenges with­out obvi­ous solu­tions. As Pres­i­dent Obama took note of just last week, anti-Semitism is unde­ni­ably ris­ing around the world. We face fail­ing and failed states breed­ing extrem­ism, such as the grow­ing influ­ence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and their affil­i­ates around the Mid­dle East. We face racism in many guises, from police bru­tal­ity to edu­ca­tion inequal­ity.

Our polit­i­cal dis­course is stained by appeals to stereo­typ­ing and scape­goat­ing. We see hard won gains in women’s rights and LGBT rights at risk of being rolled back. Around the world and even here at home, we see trou­bling trends in cam­paigns to de-legitimize and demo­nize the state of Israel, even as the con­flict between Israel and its neigh­bors seems as intractable as ever.

Build­ing the coali­tions that are will­ing to think through the solu­tions to these great chal­lenges undoubt­edly means widen­ing the tent. It means gath­er­ing input and ideas from a greater range of voices, even those with whom we might disagree.

As hatred and extrem­ism migrate to the uncharted realm of the inter­net, as the very def­i­n­i­tion of social move­ments has been fun­da­men­tally trans­formed by new modes of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and com­mu­nity, we must build the engines that spark new ideas and new approaches.

Inspired by the intense exchanges in Euro­pean cafés that led to inven­tions and rev­o­lu­tions in pol­i­tics and sci­ence which shaped the mod­ern world, ADL@Salon aims to bring together thought lead­ers across the broad spec­trum of our work to engage in high level and off-the-record con­ver­sa­tions in order to infuse new ideas and approaches for com­bat­ing hatred and prej­u­dice in our world.

The inau­gural ADL@Salon will take place today at our national head­quar­ters in New York.  Har­ness­ing the exper­tise of lead­ing schol­ars and for­eign pol­icy prac­ti­tion­ers, we will look for­ward to assess what the future holds in store for the Mid­dle East, and how U.S. pol­icy should respond to these trends.

Co-sponsored by our friends at the Cen­ter for Inter­na­tional Rela­tions and Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, a pub­lic pol­icy think-tank head­quar­tered in Bel­grade and New York, our aim is not to broad­cast our dis­cus­sions broadly, but har­ness these and inform our new direc­tions and positions.

ADL@Salon is the start of a new way of approach at ADL. Future part­ners in our con­ver­sa­tions come from across a broad array of fields—from schol­ars to advo­cates, pol­icy pro­fes­sion­als to busi­ness lead­ers. We will con­sider the chal­lenges of the 21st century’s civil rights agenda. We will think deeply about the rela­tion­ship between the United States and Israel in these times of change. We will wel­come the entre­pre­neurs and inno­va­tors of Sil­i­con Val­ley into con­ver­sa­tion to chal­lenge our think­ing about how we approach social problems.

What if ADL can be the place that inspires brave think­ing? What if we can bring together the minds that lead us smartly toward our “big bets?” I believe that through dia­logue and the exchange of ideas and infor­ma­tion, we can trans­form our response to 21st cen­tury challenges.

As the lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion fight­ing anti-Semitism and defend­ing the civil rights of all, I believe ADL is poised to inspire great change. That is what ADL@Salon is truly about.

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February 2, 2016 1

Law Enforcement: A New Target for Domestic Islamic Extremists

Update: 3/17/2016 — In March 2016, the Cyber Caliphate Army, a pro-ISIS hack­ing group, released so-called “kill lists” with the names, addresses and con­tact infor­ma­tion of law enforce­ment offi­cers in New Jer­sey and Min­nesota. The infor­ma­tion was uploaded to a file shar­ing site and to Telegram.

The orig­i­nal ver­sion of this post was also updated on 2/19/2016.

2015 saw an unprece­dented num­ber of attacks on law enforce­ment offi­cials by U.S. res­i­dents moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ist ide­olo­gies and pro­fess­ing alle­giance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). A shoot­ing of a Philadel­phia police offi­cer in Jan­u­ary 2016 indi­cates that the threat against law enforce­ment will con­tinue into the com­ing year.

There have been eight doc­u­mented instances of vio­lence attempted or plot­ted against law enforce­ment by indi­vid­u­als moti­vated at least in part by Islamic extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy since 2014:

Edward Archer of Pennsylvania shot a police officer

Edward Archer

  • Jan­u­ary 2016: Edward Archer of Penn­syl­va­nia allegedly fired 13 bul­lets at a Philadel­phia police offi­cer Jesse Hart­nett. Hart­nett suf­fered wounds to his arm. Archer claimed that he had acted on behalf of ISIS.
  • July 2015: Harlem Suarez of Florida was arrested for allegedly plot­ting to bomb a Florida beach. Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Suarez had also dis­cussed plac­ing bombs out­side the houses and vehi­cles of law enforce­ment offi­cers. Suarez had claimed alle­giance to ISIS and had main­tained a Face­book account on which he posted extrem­ist content.
  • June 2015: Usaama Rahim and David Wright of Mass­a­chu­setts and Nicholas Rovin­ski of Rhode Island allegedly plot­ted to behead Boston-area police offi­cers. Rahim also allegedly drew a knife when approached by a law enforce­ment offi­cer for ques­tion­ing. The three allegedly claimed to be act­ing on behalf of ISIS and expressed some inter­est in trav­el­ing to join ISIS in Syria.
  • June 2015: Munther Omar Saleh of New York drew a knife and attacked a law enforce­ment offi­cer who had been sur­veilling him. Saleh acted together with an unnamed  minor who had been with him at the time. He is sep­a­rately charged with plot­ting a domes­tic attack. Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Saleh had expressed sup­port for ISIS and posted ISIS pro­pa­ganda on his Twit­ter account.

    Fareed Mumuni of New York

    Fareed Mumuni

  • June 2015: Fareed Mumuni of New York attacked law enforce­ment offi­cers who had come to his res­i­dence with a knife. Mumuni is also charged with plot­ting a domes­tic attack together with Saleh and other co-conspirators. Mumuni had allegedly expressed sup­port for ISIS.
  • April 2015: Noelle Velentzas and Asia Sid­diqui of New York were arrested for allegedly plot­ting a domes­tic attack. Although the tar­get had not been dis­closed, court doc­u­ments indi­cate that the two had indi­cated they wanted to attack a gov­ern­ment, mil­i­tary or law enforce­ment tar­get. Sid­diqui and Velentzas had a long his­tory of engag­ing with ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda and extrem­ist con­tent and, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, had intended to com­mit their attack on behalf of ISIS.
  • Feb­ru­ary 2015: Abdura­sul Juraboev and Akhror Saidakhme­tov of New York were charged with mate­r­ial sup­port for ter­ror for allegedly attempt­ing to travel to join ISIS. Court doc­u­ments indi­cated that the two had also dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of a domes­tic attack that involved killing law enforce­ment offi­cers, tak­ing their weapons, and then mount­ing an attack on the FBI head­quar­ters. The two had expressed sup­port for ISIS online, where they also allegedly indi­cated their intent to act on the group’s behalf.
  • Octo­ber 2014: Zale Thomp­son of New York attacked law enforce­ment offi­cers with a hatchet. Thompson’s motive remains unclear and he demon­strated inter­est in a vari­ety of extrem­ist ide­olo­gies; how­ever, his online record indi­cated he had most recently engaged with Islamic extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda and ide­ol­ogy, includ­ing ISIS-specific pro­pa­ganda, prior to the attack.

In addi­tion, court doc­u­ments indi­cate that Alexan­der Cic­colo, a Mass­a­chu­setts res­i­dent arrested in July, had planned to attack law enforce­ment, mil­i­tary and civil­ians on behalf of ISIS before allegedly decid­ing to attack a uni­ver­sity instead.

The upsurge in attacks against law enforce­ment may be moti­vated in part by pro­pa­ganda by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has called directly for such attacks. A Sep­tem­ber 2014 speech by ISIS spokesman Abu Moham­mad Al Adnani, for exam­ple, stated, “Strike their police, secu­rity and intel­li­gence mem­bers….” ISIS pro­pa­ganda has also called for smaller scale ter­ror­ist attacks than those Al Qaeda adher­ents had been known to plot. A Jan­u­ary 2015 speech by Al Adnani, for exam­ple, called for attacks, “whether with an explo­sive device, a bul­let, a knife, a car, a rock or even a boot or a fist.” The attacks against law enforce­ment have pri­mar­ily been attempted with small arms.

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January 25, 2016 2

Terrorism in Israel in Perspective

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This blog orig­i­nally appeared in The Jerusalem Post

Beit Horon Terror Attack

The news the past few days has been hor­ri­fy­ing. A mother of six chil­dren, a nurse, fatally stabbed in the door­way of her own home. Another woman, 18 weeks preg­nant, knifed.

And these ter­ror attacks fol­low scores of more shoot­ings, car ram­mings and stab­bings over the past four months at bus stops, in bars, and on street cor­ners in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Afula, and elsewhere.

I would not assert that the world peren­ni­ally ignores Israeli vic­tims and down­plays ter­ror­ism directed at Israelis. Just this week, react­ing to the heinous mur­der of Dafna Meir and the attack on Michal Fro­man, U.S. offi­cials called the attacks “bar­baric” and said they were “appalled’ by these acts of terror.

Yet, one can’t deny that this ongo­ing wave of ter­ror­ism tar­get­ing Israeli civil­ians has got­ten short shrift inter­na­tion­ally. Recent media overviews of ter­ror­ist attacks appro­pri­ately list inci­dents in Paris, Burk­ina Faso, San Bernardino, Bagh­dad, Istan­bul, and Nige­ria. But it’s impos­si­ble not to notice that almost all such lists omit men­tion of those in Israel. This tol­er­ance of ter­ror­ism against Israelis risks mak­ing it accept­able, and it must end.

Let’s put this vio­lence into per­spec­tive. Accord­ing to the IDF, since Sep­tem­ber 13, 2015, there have been 110 stab­bings, 38 shoot­ings and 22 car ram­mings, for a total of 167 ter­ror­ist attacks.  That’s an aver­age of 1.2 attacks every day for the last 19 weeks. Even more hor­ri­fy­ing, accord­ing to sta­tis­tics from Magen David Adom, 29 peo­ple have been killed in ter­ror attacks. With a per-capita adjust­ment, that’s the equiv­a­lent of 1,131 Amer­i­cans killed by ter­ror­ists in the last four months. While there have been some new sto­ries on the vio­lence, there have been numer­ous head­lines pro­claim­ing “Pales­tin­ian killed” while only not­ing below that the indi­vid­ual had been killed in an effort lit­er­ally to pre­vent them from stab­bing Israelis on a street corner.

Can you imag­ine the out­rage if that many Amer­i­cans were killed by ter­ror, or if Swedes were attacked by ter­ror­ists every sin­gle day for months?

To what can this muted response be attrib­uted?  Cer­tainly, there are some dif­fer­ences between the cur­rent ter­ror­ism afflict­ing Israel and the nature of the attacks in Paris or Nige­ria. The per­pe­tra­tors attack­ing Israeli civil­ians appear to be tar­get­ing Israelis alone, killing them sim­ply for the fact that they are Israeli. In con­trast, ter­ror­ists in Paris or San Bernardino appear to have been moti­vated to kill ran­dom indi­vid­u­als with the goal of expand­ing the threat and impact of the Islamic State.

But there’s more there. The real­ity is that, after decades of a pro­longed Israeli-Palestinian con­flict, the world has become accus­tomed to Israeli vic­tims of ter­ror­ist vio­lence in a way that sim­ply is not the case when it comes to inno­cents in Paris or Lon­don or New York. The world sees itself as uncon­nected and fun­da­men­tally un-threatened when the vic­tim is an Israeli and the per­pe­tra­tor a Palestinian.

More­over, while nearly all observers abhor such vio­lence, they don’t react with the same emo­tion induced by other acts of ter­ror­ism because of an under­ly­ing sense that the vio­lence is caused and even pro­voked by Israeli actions such as the ongo­ing occu­pa­tion of the West Bank. Observers seem to believe that this is not a black and white sit­u­a­tion that can be reduced to vic­tim and perpetrator.

But that is exactly what it is.

A benign tol­er­ance of vio­lence against Israelis is intol­er­a­ble. Ter­ror­ism is never jus­ti­fied, no mat­ter the rea­son. Sim­ply put, one can seek to right a wrong, but mur­der­ing peo­ple because of their nation­al­ity is always wrong. More­over, the fail­ure to con­demn such atroc­ity inevitably haunts those who stand idly by.

The secu­rity cri­sis in Israel has gone on too long with too lit­tle out­rage.  We owe it to all of them — Dafna and Michal, along with Naama and Eitam Henkin; Richard Lakin, Yaakov Lit­man and his son Netanel, and Ezra Schwartz, and many, many, more.

For them and for our­selves, it is our respon­si­bil­ity to ensure that there is vocal out­rage at ter­ror­ism of any sort and strong sup­port for the Israeli civil­ians who face this never-ending threat.

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