President Biden has repeatedly stated that he decided to run for President after the events of Charlottesville in 2017, when Neo-Nazis spewing antisemitic slogans marched in the streets. Now, his administration has announced the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.
The new initiative was introduced on May 25 at the White House with remarks from Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff.
“Hate crimes against Jews account for 63% of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the United States, even though we make up just over 2% of the overall population,” said Emhoff.
He added, “As the first Jewish spouse of a United States President or Vice President, let me say this: we cannot stay silent. I will not remain silent. I will not stand idly by and allow antisemitism to poison our society.”
Emhoff noted that last December, he hosted a roundtable at the White House with Jewish community leaders to discuss the rise of antisemitism and what could be done to counteract it.
A few days later, President Biden established the Interagency Policy Committee on Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Related Forms of Bias and Discrimination, led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and National Security Council.
The committee’s top priority was to produce the program announced this week. The new National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism sets forth a plan for every element of society, laying a groundwork for reducing antisemitism over time. It was formulated by input from a cross-section of stakeholders (over 1,000) from every part of American life. In terms of concrete measures, it outlines over 100 new actions that Executive Branch agencies have committed to take in order to counter antisemitism, all within a one-year deadline. The strategy also calls upon Congress to enact legislation that would help counter antisemitism and urges all sectors to mobilize, including state and local governments, civil society, schools and academic institutions, the tech sector, businesses and diverse religious communities.
“President Biden, Vice President Harris and our entire administration are taking bold action to fight antisemitism and foster Jewish life…In sum, this plan will save lives,” noted Emhoff.
Positive response to the newly announced strategy came quickly from local leaders.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles issued a statement applauding the move.
“In all its forms, antisemitism poses a significant threat to the fabric of our communities by undermining the fundamental values of our society. This is a vital recognition of the current climate. We are grateful to the Biden administration for providing a clear all-of-government framework aimed at rooting out antisemitism, creating a road map forward and establishing a multipronged approach to address this form of hate. As an organization committed to fostering understanding, promoting social justice, and seeking to nurture our most joyous Jewish selves, we pledge our full support.”