AJC bio

Kenneth Stern is AJC’s (American Jewish Committee) director of the division on antisemitism and extremism, having joined AJC in 1989. An attorney and award-winning author, Stern is a nationally-recognized expert on hate and hate groups. His most recent book, Antisemitism Today: How It Is The Same, How It Is Different, and How to Combat It has won widespread praise both for making contemporary antisemitism understandable, and also for providing a blueprint on how to fight it. He is also the author of the widely acclaimed A Force Upon the Plain: The American Militia Movement. An earlier report, Militias: A Growing Danger, released two weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing, predicted such attacks on government. In addition, his book Holocaust Denial was the first comprehensive look at this form of antisemitism.

He is also a contributing author to various anthologies and encyclopedias, including: Antisemitism in America Today: Outspoken Experts Explode the Myths, published in 1995 by Birch Lane Press; Hate Crimes, published 1996 by Greenhaven Press; Violence in America” An Encyclopedia, published in 1999 by Charles Scribner’s Sons; Critical Inquiries: Readings on Culture and Community, published in 2002 by Longman Publishers; and How to Fight Right-Wing Extremism in German Today: The Role of Citizens, Civil Society, and the Government, published in 2002 by Friedrich-Evert-Stiftung. Mr. Stern is also the author of the Encyclopedia Judaica: Second Edition’s, entry on Holocaust Denial. He is an elected member of PEN.

Mr. Stern, who is a member of the New York and Oregon bars, has also written legal publications for AJC. He is the author of AJC’s amicus curiae brief in the appeal of the Leonard Jeffries case and was of counsel on AJC’s brief in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, the landmark hate crimes case decided by the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Stern was a key advisor to the defense team in the historic London-based Holocaust denial trial of David Irving v. Deborah Lipstadt. Mr. Stern was also the lead drafter of a “working definition” of antisemitism, which has been adopted, starting in January 2005, by various international bodies tasked with monitoring antisemitism.

In 2009 Mr. Stern served as expert specialist to the Parliamentarians’ Working Group on Policing and Prosecution at the London Conference on Combating Antisemitism, and he also testified before the Canadian Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism.

Before coming to AJC, Mr. Stern was the managing partner of ROSE & STERN, a Portland, Oregon Law firm specializing in trial and appellate work. Mr. Stern’s practice concentrated in criminal law, constitutional law, and civil rights. He also served as director of the National Organization Against Terrorism – a project working to support American victims of international terrorism.

Mr. Stern has also been instrumental in developing a new academic discipline, Hate Studies, to analyze the evolution of hate and ways to counter its spread. He is also an editorial board member of the Journal of Hate Studies.

Mr. Stern was an invited presenter at the White House conference on hate crimes, has testified before Congress, has argued before the United States Supreme Court, and is frequently interviewed by the media. He has appeared on CNN, Face the Nation, Good Morning America, Nightline, Dateline, and the CBS Evening News. He has also been interviewed on National Public Radio, and has had opinion pieces in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and other publications.

Mr. Stern earned his A.B. at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and his J.D. from Willamette University School of Law in Salem, Oregon.