Expert panelists call on the Biden Administration to designate white supremacist terrorist organizations with international links as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

[New York, NY – February 11th, 2022] Today, the American Jewish Congress hosted a major event on antisemitism and terrorism in America. Robert Silversthe Biden Administration’s Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans at the Department of Homeland Security delivered keynote remarks, describing the administration’s efforts to date to counter the growing extremist threat here at home (Watch the full event HERE). Silvers described the moment:

“It is nothing short of alarming. We’ve lived with antisemitism for a very long time in this country and this world, but the recent trends are certainly alarming even in that historical context. We have data from the FBI that of all the religious based hate crimes and incidents reported, 50 percent of them were antisemitic in nature. This is a targeted community, so collectively we need a targeted response and preparedness.”

When asked by American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen about the need for more aggressive tools against extremism, Silvers responded:  

“This is an evolving threat, so we have to have evolving tools and capabilities and strategies. If we stay static here, that clearly is not going to be the right approach, especially as you see what’s happening in the online ecosystem, the way people are radicalizing to violence based on different ideologies and motivations. . . Since this administration came in, we have pivoted and enhanced our abilities in a number of respects. We actually stood up a domestic terrorism branch here in our intelligence unit at the DHS to focus on this very unique threat stream because it is different from foreign directed terrorism . . . And we are increasing funding, we are developing unbelievable, unprecedented amounts of information sharing to the private sector so that they can protect themselves.”

An expert panel then met to share its views on the issue and the skyrocketing amount of hate in America. These seasoned bipartisan experts on homeland security, terrorism, and antisemitism are members of the American Jewish Congress’ Advisory Board on Domestic Terrorism and White Supremacy. In this role, they guide the Congress’ work on how best to counter these threats. A core recommendation of the panel was for the United States to designate white supremacist terrorist organizations with international links, such as the Proud Boys and The Base, as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Former Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) framed the transnational nature of the issue:

The biggest misnomer right now about domestic terrorism in the United States of America as it pertains to white supremacist terrorism is that it is domestic at all . . . Just look at the Proud Boys for example. The Proud Boys have chapters in forty different nations. Nations such as Canada have already labeled the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization. The Proud Boys, yes, originated in the United States, but that does not change the fact that they are now global,” citing a number of other organizations and groups with clear transnational linkages…

The significance of the Foreign Terrorist Organization list is that it enables the Justice Department and our law enforcement agencies to have more surveillance capabilities, and it also enables them to charge those who are affiliated with these groups & supporting them with the charge of providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations. That is what we have done to (jihadist groups) in the last 20 years, and our failure to do so before 9/11 is what allowed 9/11 to occur in the first place.”

Following up on Max Rose’s note that antisemitism is “baked into the DNA” of both white supremacist and jihadist terrorist organizations, American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen emphasized:

“We are all astonished how 75 years later, we find with such ease that anti-Semites can evoke Nazi symbolism. [It was] the most horrific period in human history . . . yet here we are as Americans seeing too many individuals – some political leaders – using Nazi symbolism as a way of spewing hatred and growing antisemitism. . . We have to ask ourselves, if we see America changing, how rapidly we can all be surprised at the differences within our society, the amount of hatred within our society, we have to ask ourselves whether we can find ourselves once again in a situation that created Nazi Germany.”

Former NY Homeland Security Commissioner Jerome Hauer, who moderated the conversation, cautioned, “one of the things that I see is complacency. And that complacency doesn’t change until something happens,” joining the group in warning against waiting until after a tragic episode has occurred to take real action against white supremacist extremism.

Background on the Advisory Board to Counter Domestic Terrorism and White Supremacy
In June 2021, the American Jewish Congress launched an Advisory Board to Counter Domestic Terrorism and White Supremacy. This Board advises the organization on its efforts to combat these threats to the Jewish community and the United States. The Board is comprised of a bipartisan set of eminent leaders spanning national security, law enforcement, counter terrorism, foreign policy, legal, and civil rights expertise. It seeks to combat white supremacist and domestic terrorist activity by identifying the social and technological accelerants that drive extremism while also recommending government policies to counter these trends. The most recent joint OpEd of Jack Rosen and Max Rose can be read on the NY Daily News (“A year after the Jan. 6 insurrection, danger grows”).
Background on the American Jewish Congress
The American Jewish Congress has been a legacy organization of the Jewish community for over 100 years. Founded in 1918 by leaders like Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter, the American Jewish Congress helps shape the Jewish voice of tomorrow by defending Jewish interests at home and abroad through public policy advocacy, legislation, and the courts. For more information on the American Jewish Congress and our efforts to combat white supremacy and domestic terrorism, visit The organization’s latest reports on radicalization and white supremacy in the United States can be found HERE.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.