Remarks by ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt at D.C. Press Conference Announcing January 6 Lawsuit

December 14, 2021


Thank you, Attorney General Racine, Delegate Norton, and Councilmember Charles Allen, for having me here today along with Joanna Lydgate of States United.

ADL is the oldest anti-hate organization in the world and we truly are honored to work with you on this landmark lawsuit on behalf of the District of Columbia against the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and more than 30 individuals who coordinated an act of domestic terrorism against our democracy.

We take this responsibility seriously. For more than a century, ADL has worked to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. To deliver on that mission, we have been at the forefront of strategically monitoring, exposing, and countering extremist threats from across the ideological spectrum. ADL’s experts tracked the planning for the January 6th attack on the Capitol and helped identify perpetrators and any connections they had to groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. We are honored now to be putting that expertise at the service of the District of Columbia and the brave officers who were injured or killed as a result of that day.

No one will forget the images we saw that day. And for the Jewish community, seeing individuals wearing antisemitic t-shirts, like “Camp Auschwitz” while storming the Capitol building was particularly searing.

Make no mistake: January 6th was not a peaceful protest. Countless law enforcement officers suffered physical injuries and lasting emotional trauma. Four officers who responded that day have died by suicide.

We’re here fighting for justice for them, for the sanctity of our Nation’s Capitol, and for our democracy.

The violence perpetrated that day — while unique in its severity and scope — was far from an isolated occurrence.

This violence did not happen in a vacuum — and it did not end when the crowd dispersed. The attack on the Capitol took place against a political and cultural backdrop in which hate has proliferated and gone largely unchecked, particularly over the past five years, and extremism has been normalized. This is about turning back that tide. 

And it is important because those who perpetrated the attack will not readily abandon their convictions. Domestic extremists, like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and others, continue to present a serious, credible, and dangerous threat to our democracy and to us all. We must respond with all of the tools at our disposal; we are all at risk if we do not.

Accountability for January 6th is critically important to preventing another violent insurrection from happening in D.C. or in state capitols across the country. And that is why I am so proud to be standing here today alongside this courageous and talented team.

Thank you.