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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Syria May 20, 2015
Adam Kinzinger, R-IL
"We also see that these terrorist groups, these jihadist groups, are coming under the umbrella of ISIS, whether it is al Shabaab, Boko Haram, or al Qaeda in Yemen, or we see the Taliban beginning to join under this supposedly successful group."
Creating A New Beginning April 27, 2015
David Perdue, R-GA
"After battling terrorism for the past 14 years and fighting two major wars, with thousands of American lives lost and billions spent, we still face terrorist threats from jihadist Islamic groups who openly vow to do us harm. We face a tough choice, however: Deal with them over there or wait and deal with the consequences here at home."
After Paris And Copenhagen: Responding To The Rising Tide Of Anti- Semitism April 16, 2015
Christopher Smith, R-NJ
"Mr. Speaker, last month I chaired a Congressional hearing where we welcomed as witnesses Ambassador Ronald Lauder, the President of the World Jewish Congress; Mr. Roger Cukierman, President of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France; and Mr. Dan Asmusssen, Chairperson of the Danish Jewish Community. In 1982, during my first term in Congress, I traveled with the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ) to Moscow and Leningrad to meet Jewish refuseniks in their homes and to engage Soviet leaders. Mark Levin invited me to be on that trip and has been a friend and mentor ever since. For hours on end, Mark and I, and a delegation that included Sam Gejdenson, heard stories of Soviet physical and mental abuse, systemic harassment, gulags and psychiatric prisons and an array of seemingly wanton brutal acts of anti-Semitism. To apply for an exit visa—a universally recognized human right, which on paper at least, the Soviet Union had acceded to—was to invite the cruelty and wrath of the KGB and other small minded, morally-stunted communist thugs. To courageously seek freedom rendered you ineligible for employment in Lenin’s farcical “workers paradise.” The Soviet system, militantly atheistic and morally incoherent, wouldn’t let you leave, but didn’t want you to stay either—a bizarre paradox. To a new 27 year old Congressman, it was bewildering and deeply troubling—why do they hate Jews? Why the anti-Semitic obsession? I have now chaired nine hearings on combatting anti-Semitism. Never in modern times however, has the need to defend Jews everywhere been greater. My next hearings will be on the explosion of anti-Semitic hate on the college campus and Jewish community security. For the first time since the Holocaust, the physical security of Jewish communities in Europe has become a top-level concern. The hearing I held last month examined the horrifying state of affairs facing Jewish communities in Europe at this time. At a Congressional hearing I chaired in 2002, Dr. Shimon Samuels of the Wiesenthal Center in Paris testified that, “The Holocaust for 30 years after the war acted as a protective teflon against blatant anti-Semitic expression (especially in Europe). That teflon has eroded, and what was considered distasteful and politically incorrect is becoming simply an opinion. But cocktail chatter at fine English dinners can end as Molotov cocktails against synagogues.” That’s exactly where we are now, thirteen years later—what was anti-Semitic “cocktail chatter” then has led us now to two people shot and killed at a synagogue and a Jewish cultural center in Copenhagen, and four killed in a terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris. These are only the most recent outrages in a terrifying increase in extreme anti-Semitic violence—let’s not forget the May 2014 murder of four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, and the March 2012 murder of three Jewish children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse. Each of these four attacks was perpetrated by a killer with links to the jihadist movement. For too long, far too government officials, many of them mired in what Natan Sharansky summarized as the application of double standards and demonization of Israel, have reacted weakly to this danger. Meanwhile, the threat has grown exponentially. Today, at least 3,000 and perhaps more than 5,000 EU citizens, have left to join ISIS in Syria, Iraq and other conflict zones. This is the recent estimate of Europol, the EU’s joint criminal intelligence body. It would be criminally irresponsible not to take this number as a warning of much worse to come, and to make every effort to prepare accordingly. In 2002, in response to what appeared to be a sudden, frightening spike in anti-Semitism in several countries, including here in the United States, I first proposed the idea for a conference on combating anti-Semitism under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Convinced we had escalating crisis on our hands, I teamed with several OSCE partners to push for action and reform. Many of the people and NGOs present in this room played leading roles. Those efforts directly led to the creation of the OSCE’s Personal Representative on Combating Anti-Semitism, which has been filled by Rabbi Andy Baker since 2009. Rabbi Baker has done outstanding work. Dogged and energetic, he has been the driver behind everything the OSCE has accomplished in fighting anti-Semitism in recent years."
Iran April 13, 2015
Ron DeSantis, R-FL
"Now, that was something that just a few years ago was thought to be totally outside the realm of what was acceptable. I think the thought amongst U.S. policymakers going back several administrations as well as other friendly countries was, look, this is a theocratic, jihadist regime in the Middle East that is sitting on centuries’ worth of oil and gas. They don’t need nuclear power for peaceful purposes, certainly, so why would we allow them to pursue a nuclear program knowing the ideology of the regime, knowing the threats that they have made to Israel and to the United States? Of course they don’t get a nuclear program, and yet under this framework, their nuclear infrastructure is legitimized."
Nigeria On The Brink? February 27, 2015
Christopher Smith, R-NJ
"Mr. Speaker, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and is the continent’s largest economy. Unfortunately, Nigeria is beset by various challenges that threaten the peace and stability of this African giant. The terrorist group Boko Haram continues its bloody reign of terror, now threatening to establish a “caliphate” on the model of ISIS in the Levant. Religious and ethnic discord, which pre-dates Boko Haram’s emergence, continues unabated. Lower oil prices have serious damaged an economy significantly dependent on oil revenues. Meanwhile, the prospect of a violent repeat of the 2011 post-election scene has ratcheted up tensions in Nigeria even further. A hearing that I recently held examined the situation in Nigeria and the U.S. efforts to maintain positive relations with the largest U.S. trading partner in Africa and a major ally in international peacekeeping. U.S.-Nigeria relations were understandably rocky during the military rule of Sani Abacha in the 1990s. However, the advent of democracy with the 1999 elections ushered in an improved atmosphere of cooperation. Nigeria consistently ranks among the top recipients of U.S. bilateral foreign assistance and is the second-largest beneficiary of U.S. investment in Africa. In recent months, though, our relations have deteriorated. Apparently, some in the government of President Goodluck Jonathan feel the United States is meddling in their internal affairs, especially when it comes to our noting deprival of the due process rights of citizens by Nigerian military and security forces. Our view is that friends don’t just stand by when friends commit human rights abuses. The subcommittee that I chair held a hearing last July 10th to examine the complaints that human rights vetting was a major obstacle to U.S. counterterrorism. What we found was that the State Department estimated that half of Nigerian forces would pass our vetting process, which we found is slowed by too few staff working on these important issues. Still, the Nigerian Government must be more cooperative. Some units in larger divisions may have human rights issues, but if replaced by units without such baggage, there would be created an entirely acceptable division for training. Late last year, the Nigerian Government cancelled the counter-terrorism training of one of its battalions, which now places the entire training program on hold. We are making arrangements for discussions in the near future with Nigerian Military officials and Members of Congress and the Obama administration to overcome the current stalemate and resume the cooperation necessary to meet the challenge posed by Boko Haram. This terrorist group has wreaked havoc on the people of Nigeria, particularly in the northeast. It is estimated that more than 5,500 people were killed in Boko Haram attacks last year alone, representing more than 60% of the more than 9,000 deaths caused by this group in the past five years. As many as 2,000 people may have perished in the Boko Haram attack on the town of Baga and nearby villages last month. More than a million Nigerians have been displaced internally by the violence, and tens of thousands of others are now refugees in neighboring countries. Clearly, Boko Haram violence is escalating drastically. Boko Haram has become part of the global jihadist movement and threatens not only Nigeria, but also Cameroon, Chad and Niger. While the terrorist group may not be an official affiliate of al-Qaeda or ISIS, they appear to be trying to create an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria. Various press reports estimate that the group has seized as much as 70% of Borno state, with additional territory under its control in neighboring Yobe and Adamawa states. In fact, Reuters calculated that by mid-January of this year, Boko Haram was in control of more than 30,000 square kilometers of territory—an area the size of the state of Maryland. For approximately two years, I pressed the administration to designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist organization (FTO). I argued that, like cancer, early intervention can mitigate its spread, severity and duration. I traveled to Nigeria twice and convened three hearings during the last Congress on why an FTO designation might help, only to be told by then-Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson that “the phenomenon of Boko Haram is one of discrediting the Central Government in power for its failure to deliver services to people.” On the very day of our hearing to consider a bill on FTO designation, the state Department, led by Secretary of State Kerry announced that Boko Haram was being designated a Foreign Terrorist organization. Meanwhile, Nigeria faces the prospects of post-election violence after presidential voting. The race pits President Jonathan against former Nigerian military ruler General Muhammadu Buhari in a re-run of the 2011 elections. This time, however, Buhari’s All Progressive Congress (APC) is a coalition of major opposition political parties and includes defectors from President Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), such as Speaker of the National Assembly Aminu Tambuwal. Some PDP officials have referred to their opponents as “Nigeria’s Muslim Brotherhood,” while APC officials accuse the Jonathan administration of representing only Christian southerners. Party spokesmen on both sides have warned of potential violence if their candidate doesn’t win. Out of nearly 69 million registered voters in Nigeria, political observers believe this race could be decided by as few as 700,000 votes. Lack of action by the government to ensure that internally displaced voters can participate in the elections, delays in the distribution of voter cards and in the recruitment and training of poll workers places in question the effectiveness of the February elections. Moreover, the election laws require that a winning presidential candidate must achieve a majority of the votes and at least 25% of the vote in two-thirds of the states. With so much territory in the control of Boko Haram or under the threat of their violence in the North, the northern-based APC likely would question a loss even though they have refused to accept a delay in voting to ensure that pre-election preparations are complete. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 13% of Nigerians have confidence in the electoral process. This makes the “Quick Count” being planned by a coalition of Nigerian civil society groups vital in providing any confidence that the vote on February 14th reflects the will of the people. In the face of all the challenges faced by Nigeria, its allies—such as the United States—must understand fully the context of this situation in order to determine how best to be of help. We hope that the Nigerian Government resulting from the February elections will be accepting of outside advice and assistance. Nigeria is the proverbial “too big to fail” nation. A collapse of its economy, increase in refugees to its neighbors or spread of its homegrown terrorism to the region and the broader international community clearly will be problematic for more than just Nigeria. Religious extremism already is a problem elsewhere in the Sahel region. Last month, Muslim extremists destroyed more than 40 Christian churches in Niger because of what they felt was irreverent depictions of the prophet Mohammed—not in Niger but in Europe. The hearing was just the beginning of our renewed efforts to help Nigeria address the problems that threaten its stability. We must be honest with Nigerians and ourselves about the difficulties we both face. This is why we have asked our witnesses to give their honest assessments of where we are in the various situations Nigeria encounters and to suggest what actions our Government can and should take to be most helpful. It is in our mutual interest to do so, and therefore, we will continue our efforts to restore full military and security cooperation between our two countries."

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