July 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray were among those to speak Monday at an anti-Semitism summit in Washington, D.C., to voice concern about the rise of hate crimes in the United States.
The event focused on harassment and discrimination toward members of the Jewish faith. Barr, Wray and experts talked about Arabic news clips that showed speakers praising Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and the Jewish Holocaust.
Barr said the rise in hate crimes stem from a combination of religious intolerance, economic envy, ideological dogma, conspiracy theories and scapegoating that fuels anti-Semitism. Fighting the trend, he said, is a priority for the Justice Department.
"I'm deeply concerned," he said, noting that daily persecutions, exclusion and intolerance often go unnoticed.
"We need to combat anti-Semitism in all forms as a government and as a society."
The top U.S. law enforcement officer added that there's a delicate balance involved with free speech and eliminating anti-Semitism in society. That's especially important on college campuses, he said, where Jewish followers and supporters are often targeted and have to hide their faith.
"We must ensure for the future of our country and our society that college campuses remain open to ideological diversity and respect people of all faiths," he said.
Jason Isaacson, chief policy and political affairs officer for the American Jewish Community, said the bipartisan congressional committee has played a critical role in understanding and combating anti-Semitism.
"This is a battle for ideas and a reassertion of common values. In a very real way, we are fighting for the soul of our nation," Isaacson said.
Those at Monday's summit cited synagogue attacks in San Diego and Pittsburgh as examples of rising anti-Semitism.