July 14, 2024
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US Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke Visits Orthodox Union’s New York Headquarters

Keynote address reaffirms commitment of Office of Civil Rights to address rising antisemitism in the US.

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice Kristen Clarke speaks at the OU’s headquarters.

(Courtesy of OU) In a keynote address to Orthodox Union lay and professional leaders recently at the Orthodox Union headquarters, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Kristen Clarke reaffirmed her office’s commitment to combat the surge of antisemitism in the United States in the aftermath of Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

As the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, the OU is at the forefront of Jewish advocacy work on both state and federal levels.

Speaking to over 60 Jewish community representatives at the OU Board of Directors Strategy Summit—including OU senior professionals and over 30 members of the OU Board of Directors—Clarke underscored the DOJ’s commitment to address the rising antisemitism, which, she said, remains pervasive despite concerted efforts to date to reverse the tide.

In addressing the national Orthodox Jewish community leaders, Clarke stated that the Department of Justice “will not relent in standing up for the Jewish community” in the face of antisemitism. “I want to be clear—hate is inexcusable and has no place in our country today. We must not and we will not tolerate it,” she said. Regarding the DOJ’s efforts, Clarke said, “Since January of 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice has charged more than 120 defendants in over 110 cases for committing hate crimes, and during that same period, we’ve obtained convictions against over 100 defendants. That battle has taken on new urgency since October 7, and we’ve intensified our efforts to protect and stand by the Jewish community.”

Members of the Orthodox Union’s national leadership then engaged with Clarke in a question and answer session.

(l-r): OU President Mitchel Aeder, OU Advocacy Center Executive Director of Public Policy Nathan Diament, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer, OU Executive Vice President and COO Rabbi Dr. Josh Joseph, and OU Kosher CEO Rabbi Menachem Genack.

OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer expressed gratitude to the civil rights leader for her dedication to combating antisemitism on a national scale, while noting the deep concern within the Jewish community about the effectiveness of current efforts.

“Since October 7, we have met and spoken with the assistant attorney general on numerous occasions,” Rabbi Hauer said. “She has made herself very accessible and has been unequivocal about her office’s prioritization of the issue. We have always been able to be frank with her about our disappointments and our fears. Today, she came to hear the concerns of the OU leadership and shared with us measures the DOJ is taking to effectively put an end to this disturbing scourge. We are grateful for her dedication and will continue to work closely with her and with the DOJ until they achieve real success.”

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