Two Former DHS Secretaries Join ADL and JFNA to Protect Vulnerable Religious Communities from Violent Threats

New York, NY, April 2, 2019…Former DHS Secretaries Michael Chertoff and Jeh Johnson will co-chair a new Community Safety and Security Task Force convened by ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), a leading anti-hate organization, and the Secure Community Network (SCN), the homeland security and safety initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The task force will work to enhance the safety, security and resiliency of religious communities. 

Following the October 27th attack on the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, the ADL and SCN came together to address hate, anti-Semitism and threats as well as violence targeted at the Jewish community in the United States. Given that many threats impact all faith-based institutions regardless of affiliation, and as seen in the tragic attack on the Muslim community in New Zealand, the Task Force will develop best practices that can enhance the safety, security, and resilience of all faith-based communities. 

The task force will develop best practices to increase coordination and cooperation related to incident tracking, information sharing, reporting and addressing threats, as well as building partnerships within and across communities. Building from the experience and expertise developed within the Jewish community, and inclusive of other faith-based communities, the Task Force will make recommendations to more effectively address hate crimes while enhancing safety and security for all faith-based institutions.

“Protecting our communities and creating cross-faith relationships will both promote the unity within our diverse society and also add critical resources to our security arsenal,” said Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush. 

“Law enforcement alone cannot protect our communities – communities themselves need to be prepared to work with law enforcement, and to maintain awareness of threats they may face,” said Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama.  “We need to build partnerships and lift up community capabilities before extremists have the opportunity to become threats.”

A working group will include team members from ADL and SCN, a range of faith and community leaders, as well as representatives from local, state and federal law enforcement, among others.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.