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Confirmed Speakers: Senator Ted Cruz, Congressman Ron DeSantis, Congressman Mark Meadows, Sarah Stern, Richard Heideman, Alyza Lewin, Yaakov Morgenstern – family member of Nancy Morgenstern, a victim of 9/11 terrorist attack, Sarri Singer – victim of Palestinian terrorism, & Ken Stethem – family member of Robert Stethem, a victim of Iranian-backed terrorism
Invited Speakers: American Victims of Terrorism & Family Members
On the fifteenth anniversary of the horrific events of September 11, 2001, the United States and the Western world face the same threat by genocidal Islamic terrorists that were responsible for the death of the nearly 3,000 Americans on U.S. soil.
At the end of 2015, and during 2016, there were a number of spectacular and deadly Islamist attacks in the United States and in Europe. In California, 14 Americans were killed by an Islamist terror couple. In Florida, 49 Americans were killed at a night club by another Islamist. In Paris, Brussels, and other places in Europe, hundreds more people, including some Americans, were also killed by Islamist terrorists.
In 2016, as always, Iran continues to spend billions of dollars to pay the salaries of terrorists fighting in the Middle East, including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah has been responsible for the deaths of more Americans than other terrorist organization prior to 9/11. Iran continues to provide Hezbollah with $100-200 million per year, a figure that will certainly increase with the current Iranian nuclear deal.
Likewise, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab funders have provided money to Islamist terrorists.
This year, EMET also plans to focus specific attention on those Americans who have been killed or injured by Islamist terrorists. This will include the 67 Americans who have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Israel and Judea and Samaria since the signing of the Oslo Accords. None of the killers of these Americans has ever been brought to justice on our shores. Even though American victims of overseas terrorism have certain rights outlined in the Anti-Terrorism Act, which requires the prosecution and punishment, in United States courts, of individuals who murder or maim American citizens in acts of international terrorism. The Office of Justice for the Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OJVOT) was established in 2005 to serve as an advocate for victims of overseas terrorism. But the office has only helped the DOJ prosecute one case, involving the killing of an American missionary in Indonesia.
What are the critical lessons that the U.S. should take from the 9/11 attacks? What should the United States do to safeguard our homeland and prevent future attacks on U.S. soil? What should the U.S. do to bring to justice terrorists who have harmed Americans? How can the U.S. limit the influence of Islamist terrorism to protect not only our allies in the Middle East, but the people of the United States of America?
Please join us as we explore these questions and more with national security experts, while commemorating the lives of the nearly 3,000 Americans taken 15 years ago.
About Senator Ted Cruz: In 2012, Ted Cruz was elected as the 34th U.S. Senator from Texas. A passionate fighter for limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution, Ted won a decisive victory in both the Republican primary and the general election, despite having never before been elected to office.
In the Senate, Ted serves on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; the Committee on Armed Services; the Committee on the Judiciary; the Joint Economic Committee; and the Committee on Rules and Administration.
A staunch supporter of Israel and a fierce advocate for American victims of terrorism, Cruz introduced the PLO Accountability Act to close down the PLO office in Washington, DC due to the Palestinian leadership’s incitement and efforts to delegitimize Israel in international forums; speaks out against Palestinian terrorism that has targeted both Israeli and American citizens; chaired a hearing on how the executive branch more often than not does not stand up for American victims of terrorism; sent a bipartisan letter urging the EU not to move forward with discriminatory labeling guidelines on certain Israeli products promoting a de-facto boycott of Israel; introduced legislation to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital; and introduced a bipartisan resolution that denounced Hamas for using civilians as human shields and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.
About Congressman Ron DeSantis: U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis is in his second term as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida. He put himself through school, first by earning a bachelor of arts, magna cum laude, at Yale University, and then graduating with honors from Harvard Law School. DeSantis joined the Judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Navy in 2004 before completing his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2005. As a military prosecutor he worked in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Iraq. Congressman DeSantis served in the 2007 troop surge in Iraq. In 2008, the Department of Justice appointed him to serve as a federal prosecutor in the office of the U.S. Attorney in the Middle District of Florida. Since being elected to the U.S. House in 2012, Congressman DeSantis has served on the Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Oversight & Government Reform Committees. He currently serves as the chairman of the Oversight Committee’s National Security subcommittee and as the vice-chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.
Throughout his Congressional career, the Congressman has always been a courageous and forthright friend of the State of Israel. He was a sponsor of the Non-Discrimination of Israel in Labeling Act, he introduced the Palestinian Accountability Act, and has always been a strong opponent of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. As an accomplished JAG officer, Congressman DeSantis also understands the importance of attaining justice for all Americans who have been harmed by terrorists. On February 2nd, 2016, his National Security Oversight Subcommittee held a groundbreaking hearing called “Seeking Justice for American Victims of Palestinian Terrorism,” on the failure of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute for American victims of Palestinian terrorism killed or wounded in Israel or the disputed territories. Although the DOJ has had the necessary tools to obtain justice for over twenty-five years now, and 66 Americans have been killed, and over a hundred Americans injured, by Palestinian terrorists, not a single Palestinian terrorist has ever been prosecuted for these crimes. Thanks to this hearing, the DOJ was forced to defend its record of inaction under oath, and great pressure has been placed on them to prosecute Palestinian terrorists. Congressman DeSantis was also one of the first Members of Congress to speak out against the Iran deal after it was announced, and called it “an insult to the memories of the people who lost their lives on our behalf [and] for that reason in addition to all the other great ones, we need to reject this deal resoundingly.”
About Congressman Mark Meadows(R-NC): Congressman Meadows introduced theHezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014, a bill that would impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that facilitate transactions or money laundering on behalf of Hezbollah or its agents. Hezbollah is designated a terrorist organization in the United States. The bill passed in the House of Representatives. Meadows said that “we must pass this legislation to make sure that we can do is cripple their ability to finance and put people out of harm’s way.”
Congressman Meadows is the Chair of a Subcommittee of House Oversight and Government Reform, and held a hearing to examine the danger of Islamist and other terrorists using the Mexican border to enter the United States.
Meadows also serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
About Richard D. Heideman: Richard D. Heideman is Senior Counsel of Heideman Nudelman & Kalik, PC and represents victims of terrorism whose rights have been violated. On their behalf, actions have been brought against Libya, Syria, Islamic Republic of Iran and banking institutions accused of funding or sponsoring heinous acts of terror.
Heideman received the Distinguished Merito de Mayo decoration by President Duhalde of Argentina, the Heritage Award from Israel Bonds, the Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award from the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and numerous other recognitions.
Currently serving as Chair of The Institute for Law and Policy at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law, Chair of the Israel Forever Foundation and Honorary President of B’nai B’rith International, he has served as President of the George Washington University Law School Alumni Association, Co-Chair of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Lawyers Committee and Chair of The Herzliya Conference International Advisory Board.
He is the author of “The Hague Odyssey: Israel’s Struggle for Security on the Front Lines of Terrorism and Her Battle for Justice at the United Nations”.
About Alyza Lewin: Alyza Lewin is an attorney in Washington, DC. She specializes in litigation, mediation and government relations. She currently practices law together with her father, Nathan Lewin, at Lewin & Lewin, LLP. Her work involves criminal defense, civil litigation and anti-discrimination matters. Ms. Lewin is also a certified mediator.
In November 2014, Ms. Lewin argued Zivotofsky v. Kerry before the U.S. Supreme Court. This separation-of-powers case involved the right of an American citizen born in Jerusalem to list “Israel” as the place of birth on his/her U.S. passport.
In addition to the Zivotofsky case, Lewin & Lewin has handled numerous cases of interest to the Jewish community including representing the family of David Boim in the landmark civil tort litigation (Boim v. The Holy Land Foundation, et al) which established the right of American victims of terror to obtain damages under American law against organizations that knowingly provide financial support to international terrorist groups.
Prior to establishing Lewin & Lewin in May 2002, Ms. Lewin worked at Wilmer Cutler and Pickering (now WilmerHale) and at Miller Cassidy Larroca and Lewin. Ms. Lewin began her law career in Israel where she clerked on the Supreme Court for Deputy President Justice Menachem Elon. Ms. Lewin is President of the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (“AAJLJ”); and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington. Ms. Lewin also served on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia from 2001-2004.
Ms. Lewin is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York. She received her B.A. from Princeton University in 1988 and a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1992. She is married to Eliezer M. Halbfinger and has four children.
About Yaakov Morgenstern: His sister, Nancy Morgenstern, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald – a Wall Street securities firm in the World Trade Center – was a victim of the 9/11 terrorist attack.
About Sarri Singer: Sarri Singer, born in Lakewood, New Jersey, is the daughter of New Jersey State Senator, Robert Singer. Until 9/11, Sarri worked two blocks away from the World Trade Center. Deeply moved by the tragedy of 9/11, Sarri decided to resign from her position in December 2001 and move to Israel to help victims of terror. While there, Sarri coordinated bone marrow drives for Gift of Life and volunteered with various organizations working with victims of terror.
On June 11, 2003, Sarri was on Bus 14 in Jerusalem when an 18 year old Palestinian terrorist dressed as a religious Jew boarded and blew himself up. 16 people were killed, including all those seated and standing around her, and over 100 people were injured. Sarri was hospitalized for two weeks and then returned to New Jersey to be with family. Her story became high profile. She appeared on television stations such as CBS, FoxNews, CNN and radio interviews. She spoke before members of Congress in Washington, D.C. and politicians in New York and New Jersey. In September 2003 she returned to work and volunteering in Israel. In June 2004, she returned to the United States to take care of medical issues associated with her attack.
Sarri is the Founder and Director of Strength to Strength (www.stosglobal.org), a non-profit organization focusing on bringing together victims of terrorism together from around the world and assisting with long term psychological needs. Sarri has addressed audiences throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, and Israel and continues to share her unique insight into the ongoing struggle for victims of terror in Israel and around the world.
About Ken Stethem: is a Navy Seal (ret.), an American hero, and a great patriot, whose brother Robert Stethem was brutally murdered by Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists when they hijacked TWA flight 847 in 1985. Because he was wearing a uniform of the United States of America, Robert was specifically singled out by these Iranian backed terrorists, to be brutally tortured before they put a gun to his head.
About Sarah Stern: Sarah Stern is the Founder and President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, (EMET), an unabashedly pro-Israel and pro-America think tank and policy shop in Washington DC. Sarah has more than 30 years of experience on Capitol Hill, and has helped to draft and pass many pieces of legislation, speeches and congressional resolutions including the Koby Mandell Act which resulted in the opening of an office in the Department of Justice (DOJ) entitled the Office for Justice of Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OVT); the Syria Accountability Act; and a Resolution in support of Israel’s right to build a security fence and defend her citizens the way they deem appropriate. Sarah was also instrumental in getting several amendments to Title VI of the Higher Education Opportunities Act in passed in 2008, to correct the anti-American and anti-Israeli biases in Middle East Studies programs that have been funded, at taxpayers’ expense, to a number of U.S. universities.
The OVT is supposed to be an advocacy group within DOJ for Americans who have been killed and wounded abroad. Unfortunately, the DOJ continues to refuse to prosecute Palestinian terrorists who have killed or wounded Americans. Sarah and EMET work relentlessly on achieving justice for US victims of Palestinian terrorism by holding meetings with congressional staffers and Members of Congress on the issue, having initiated multiple letters to the DOJ, organizing a staff briefing on the Hill, and successfully calling for and prompting two Congressional hearings on the issue.
Sarah’s work has appeared in numerous media outlets, she has appeared on television and radio, and has spoken throughout the country on topics pertaining to Israel and the Middle East. Sarah is the editor and author of the highly acclaimed book, “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamist Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace.” Additionally, she is the author of one novel, “Cherished Illusions,” (2005, Balfour Books), and has written a chapter in Frank Gaffney’s widely acclaimed book, “War Footing” (Naval Press. 2006).