WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced what he called the U.S. government’s most ambitious and ambitious effort to combat anti-Jewish hatred, bigotry and violence, outlining more than 100 steps the administration and its partners can take to combat the alarming the rise of anti-Semitism.
Speaking during a videotaped address at the White House, Biden said America’s first national strategy to combat anti-Semitism sends a “clear and powerful message” that “in America, evil will not win, hate will not prevail” and “the venom and violence of anti-Semitism will not be a story.” of our time.”
Months in the making, the strategy has four primary goals: increasing awareness and understanding of anti-Semitism, including its threat to America, and expanding appreciation of Jewish American heritage; improving the safety and security of Jewish communities; reversing the normalization of anti-Semitism and combating anti-Semitic discrimination; and building “cross-community” solidarity and collective action to combat hatred.
Jewish organizations generally welcomed the administration’s efforts.
“Jewish security is inextricably linked to the security of other communities and the health and vitality of our multiracial democracy,” said Amy Spitalnick, executive director of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs. “As we see anti-Semitism and extremism becoming more and more normalized in our politics and our society, the urgency of this framework is even clearer.”
The strategy also calls on Congress, state and local governments, technology companies and other private companies, religious leaders and others to help fight anti-Jewish bias and hatred.
Tech companies are being asked to establish “zero tolerance” policies against anti-Semitic content on their platforms. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has committed to starting an educational research center. Professional sports leagues and clubs are being asked to use their platforms and influence to raise awareness. The White House Office of Public Engagement will invite citizens to describe how they have supported Jewish, Muslim or other communities that differ from their own.
Doug Emhoff, who is married to Vice President Kamala Harris, said at the White House that anti-Jewish hate crimes accounted for 63%, or nearly two-thirds, of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the United States in 2022, even though Jews accounted for just over 2 % of the total population.
“I know fear. I know the pain. I know the anger Jews live with because of this epidemic of hate,” said Emhoff, the first Jewish wife of a US president or vice president. He became the administration’s point person for fighting anti-Semitism.
Emhoff, a former entertainment lawyer in California, said he never imagined this issue would become “my thing” as the second gentleman in the United States, “but now, more than ever, we all have to rise to the challenge and live up to this moment. ” He said the plan would save lives.
“We are committed to ensuring that everyone can live openly, proudly and safely in their communities,” said Emhoff. “It is up to all of us to put an end to the visceral hatred we see across our nation. We cannot normalize this.”
In a sign of the administration’s support for the strategy, Emhof was accompanied by White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice; Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall; and Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism.
Harris entered the hall for a few minutes to watch her husband from the back of the room and gave him a thumbs up before she left.
Survivors of the 2018 massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history, welcomed the strategy.
“I am proud that our leaders understand the urgency and importance of confronting anti-Semitism in a comprehensive way, but lament the level of anti-Semitism in the country that necessitated the plan in the first place,” said Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who survived the attack that killed 11 worshipers.
Jury selection wrapped up Thursday in the trial of Robert Bowers, the man accused of the murders. Testimony is expected to begin on Tuesday.
In his videotaped remarks, Biden said hatred doesn’t go away, it just hides until it gets oxygen. He recalled the deadly white rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, and noted that the anti-Semitic chants of the participants led him to run for president in 2020.
“Silence is complicity,” the president said.
Last fall, Biden hosted the White House Summit on Hate Violence. Emhoff led a White House discussion with Jewish community leaders last December to discuss the rise of anti-Semitism and how to counter it. Days later, Biden created a government task force to develop a new strategy.
Lipstadt said the release of the strategy was “a historic moment in the modern fight against what is known as the world’s oldest hatred.”
“For the first time, the United States government is not only acknowledging that anti-Semitism is not only a serious problem in this country, but is laying out a clear plan to combat it,” she said.
AP White House correspondent Zeke Miller contributed to this report.