The NYPD’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism unit is employing the same tactics to prevent violent anti-Semitic attacks that it uses to stop terrorism.
By United with Israel Staff
New York City Police Department (NYPD) Intelligence and Counterterrorism Deputy Commissioner John Miller testified in front of the U.S. Congress’ House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism on Wednesday.
During his congressional testimony, he equated anti-Semitism with global terrorism, explaining, “[W]e go by the same rule-book and the same tactics and the same techniques we used to thwart attacks by ISIS and al-Qaeda and the lone wolves they inspire.”
“We’ve already opened dozens of investigations within [the Racially and Ethnically Motivated Extremism unit] in the short time since it was formed,” Miller said.
The Racially and Ethnically Motivated Extremism unit (REME) is a new NYPD department consisting of 25 officers and analysts. This group is “specifically dedicated to investigating not just hate crimes, but more specifically the actions in the growth among violent hate groups as they spun across the country and across the Internet,” Miller explained.
According to Miller, in 2018 there were 428 reported hate crimes of which 234 were against Jews. This figure represents a 26 percent increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes from 2018.
Noting the rise, he said, “[I]t’s dynamic in that you have organized groups,” with some connected to overseas entities while “others are purely domestic.”
Miller said that social media is playing a part in stoking anti-Semitism and hate crimes.
“[Y]ou have people who are not part of the groups per se, but follow them online and then act out violently as lone actors,” he said.
He warned, “The white supremacist neo-Nazi group Patriot Front have taken their recruiting efforts to New York City. Just last week, they brazenly hung a banner with anti-immigrant language over an overpass in Brooklyn. The same freedom and diversity that are New York’s strength are the same reason that it’s the number one target for violent foreign and domestic extremists all at the same time.”
During the testimony, the commissioner joined Jewish communities leaders and experts alarmed by the spike in violent anti-Semitic attacks in America.
Retired Gen. John Allen, co-chairman of DHS’ Homeland Security Advisory Council Subcommittee for the Prevention of Targeted Violence Against Faith-Based Organizations, urged Congress to increase funding for security grants and law enforcement. He said “no other body today in the United States can maintain focus on this threat and protection of our faith communities as can the U.S. Congress.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League also spoke. He discussed the role social media and big tech are playing in fostering hateful rhetoric. He also recommended actions to combat anti-Semitism on a national and global level.
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