In the wake of the recent terrorist bombings in Brussels and threats of violence against European Jewish communities from ISIS, a congressional hearing on what needs to be done by law enforcement agencies to anticipate and prevent future attacks will be conducted on Tuesday by Congressman Chris Smith (Rep-NJ), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE).
“Anticipating and Preventing Deadly Attacks on European Jewish Communities” is the title of the hearing to be held by the CSCE, also known as the United States Helsinki Commission, on Capitol Hill.
Violent anti-Semitic attacks doubled in some European countries between 2013 and 2014—in some others they quadrupled—and remained high in 2015. ISIS has instructed its followers to prioritize targeting European Jewish sites and killing European Jewish people. The terrorists who attacked the Jewish Museum of Belgium, Great Synagogue in Copenhagen, and kosher supermarket in Paris, all claimed ISIS allegiance. Other Islamist terrorist groups are similarly committed and Neo-Nazis, fringe nationalists, and people across the religious and ideological spectrum have committed violence against European Jewish communities.
The hearing will also focus on lessons from the partnerships between Jewish communities and law enforcement agencies that can help counter terrorism and improve security in European countries more broadly.
The committee has invited the following witnesses:
Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism, and Director of International Jewish Affairs, American Jewish Committee.
Jonathan Biermann, Executive Director, crisis cell for the Belgian Jewish community.
John Farmer, Director, Faith-Based Communities Security Program, Rutgers University.
Paul Goldenberg, National Director, Secure Community Network.
Smith has represented NJ’s 4th Congressional district since 1981. The district includes the counties of Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth, and Ocean. Smith is a social conservative, a Roman Catholic and a Reagan Democrat who switched from the Democratic to the Republican party in 1978.