Biden vows antisemitism fight in Passover message: ‘We see this evil across society’
WASHINGTON (JTA) — United States President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he would be releasing a “comprehensive” strategy to combat anti-Semitism, citing incidents of anti-Jewish attacks across the political spectrum as an apparent acknowledgment on the concern of the Jewish community that the focus. it should not be on the far right only.
A senior official with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency said the strategy, which Biden said was after consultation with more than a thousand people, would be released before Rosh Hashanah.
“Rest assured that I am committed to the safety of the Jewish people,” Biden said Wednesday in a Passover timeline posted on CNN’s website. “I stand with you. America stands with you. Under my presidency, we continue to condemn all anti-Semitism. It’s hard not to call out hate.”
Biden reiterated that the deadly 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the ambivalent criticism of President Donald Trump in part prompted his decision to run for president.
But it also increased his understanding of the threat from other sectors, including physical attacks on visible religious Jews, and the uneasiness some Jewish students feel on campuses where they say pro-Palestinian advocacy can transcend the anti-Semitism.
“We see this evil throughout society,” Biden said. “Terrorist attack on synagogues. Bricks thrown through the windows of Jewish businesses. Antisemitic posters left on the front lawns of Jewish homes. Swastikas on cars and cemeteries. Anti-Semitic graffiti and acts in primary, secondary and high schools. Jewish students harassed on college campuses. Jews wearing religious garb beaten and shot in the streets.”
At a roundtable meeting held by the Second Jewish Man, Doug Emhoff late last year, some participants emphasized that the threat did not just come from the far right. Biden’s delegate to combat anti-Semitism, Deborah Lipstadt, made that message central to her diplomacy.
Right-wing antisemites have been responsible for two deadly attacks on US synagogues in recent years – including in Pittsburgh, where the alleged shooter is due to go on trial later this month – and an analysis by more recently from the Anti-Defamation League that a far-right group, the Goyim Defense League, has fueled a sharp rise in the distribution of anti-Semitic literature.
The ADL’s annual report, released last month, called on civic leaders including the president to denounce anti-Semitism of all origins.