At its National Leadership Conference this past weekend, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano with the ADL William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award. The award commemorates Napolitano’s “leadership in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.” According to the ADL:
‘At this time of great challenge and evolving threats, our nation is fortunate to have Secretary Napolitano at the helm of the Department of Homeland Security,’ said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in presenting the award. ‘Secretary Napolitano knows that countering radicalization and violence is frequently best achieved by engaging and empowering individuals and groups at the local level to build resilience against violent extremism—a mantra the League also advocates. Her actions show that while law enforcement plays an essential role in keeping us safe, so too does engagement and partnership with communities.’
ADL noted that under Secretary Napolitano’s guidance, DHS has led efforts to protect critical infrastructure and cyber networks from attack, built partnerships with local and state law enforcement, identified foreign and domestic threat, coordinated with U.S. allies on issues such as arms trafficking, and enforced immigration standards.
In her remarks to the conference, Napolitano said she was “humbled” to receive the recognition from an organization such as the ADL. She said:
Receiving an award from an organization like the ADL, with its history of fighting inequality, bigotry and hatred is moving for me personally.
But I accept it tonight on behalf of the more than 240,000 men and women of DHS. This is truly a recognition of their collective efforts, day in and day out, to ensure the security of our country, while protecting fundamental human rights and civil liberties.
DHS does not do this work alone; we succeed through partnerships with organizations like yours. For nearly a century, Americans have known the ADL as a strong voice, standing against anti-Semitism, bigotry, and violent extremism, and for human rights and dignity.
I’m pleased that our partnership has expanded over the last few years, because at DHS, we believe that local authorities and organizations are best able to identify those individuals or groups exhibiting dangerous behaviors, and to intervene before they commit acts of violence…
As we know too well, hatred can inspire violence anywhere in the world, as we remind ourselves every year on Yom Ha’shoah.
On Monday, at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Obama reminded the nation of our duty, not only to remember the Holocaust, but to prevent and respond to atrocities today, because, as he said, “...remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing.”...
The President has identified the prevention of mass atrocities as a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States, and our actions have sent a message to war criminals and would-be war-criminals that they will face justice.
President Obama also spoke of what we must do, and will do going forward, to meet the challenge of “never again” - to, as he said, “defend the fundamental right of free people and free nations to exist in peace and security.”
This is not an issue that can or should be addressed by our military alone, and DHS is proud of its part….
I’m pleased to note that DHS has a particularly strong partnership with our friend and steadfast ally Israel. I need not remind anyone here of the special bond shared between the United States and Israel. Not only do our two nation’s share strategic interests and face common dangers, but we share common values. And that’s why we’ve have increased cooperation between our two countries to unprecedented levels…
We have learned that an engaged, vigilant public is essential to efforts to prevent acts of terrorism, and all of our work to collaborate with the public and non-profits is clear in DHS’ relationship with the American Jewish community.
It’s a partnership that didn’t necessarily begin with this Administration, but I’m proud that we have built upon and expanded it under President Obama’s leadership. We have depended on this partnership recently as we’ve witnessed a number of high profile domestic and international events that have directly impacted the Jewish community, both here and abroad….
As people of conscience, you’re engaged on issues like immigration, all the areas we’ve discussed tonight, and many more - both as members of the ADL and in your every day lives. In the spirit of “tikkun olam,” you stand for civil rights and civil liberties for all. And we strive for that every day at DHS, as we tackle many complex and difficult issues facing our nation today.
National security and civil rights and liberties are not at odds - to the contrary, they bolster and support each other. A free society that engages all its people is inherently more secure than one that does not provide opportunity for all.
The ADL understands that intuitively, and I look forward to continuing our work together.
Napolitano joins a long line of distinguished honorees, including Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY).
You can read the entire press release from the Anti-Defamation League here.
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