The Biden administration released the United States’ first national strategy for combating antisemitism, stressing that intolerance “threatens all of us.”
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The Biden administration announced a plan to fight antisemitism.
The Biden administration released the country’s first national strategy for combating antisemitism Thursday, calling on government, law enforcement and schools to crack down on discrimination and stanch the spread of online hate.
“Silence is complicity,” President Biden said in a videotaped announcement. “An attack on any one group of us is an attack on all of us.”
Last year there were 3,697 reported incidents of antisemitic assault, harassment and vandalism in the United States, according to an annual audit by the Anti-Defamation League. The figure, a 36 percent increase over 2021, is the largest number of incidents against Jews in the United States since the organization began its assessments in 1979.
In its announcement, the White House noted that American Jews account for 2.4 percent of the U.S. population, but are the targets of 63 percent of reported religious hate crimes, according to the F.B.I.
The strategy was developed in consultation with some 1,000 federal and local officials, faith leaders and civil society groups, and contains more than 100 recommendations for the federal government to take, by a one-year deadline. The actions include workshops to counteract bias in hiring and the workplace, enhanced Holocaust education programs offered by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and an interagency effort to eliminate barriers to reporting potential hate crimes.
Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, called the Biden administration’s national strategy “historic.”
“It’s the first time we’ve ever seen anything like this, at a moment when antisemitism is unambiguously on the rise,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “If we are going to turn this around, it requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. ”
Mr. Greenblatt added that the number of incidents have increased more than 500 percent over the past decade. The incidents include a range of actions, such as harassment on social media and vandalism; they also include violent acts, such as the mass shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018 and at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, Calif., in 2019.
“The breadth of it is really striking,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group. “The approach of the whole working group was to look at bigotry and hatred broadly, in the context of that rise in nationalism.”
The administration solicited the views of academics and religious leaders, community activists and law enforcement. In a first, Mr. Biden sought the advice of foreign special envoys combating antisemitism in Europe, who were invited to the White House earlier this year to share their experiences in battling antisemitism.
“That the Biden administration wanted to hear from us about what should be included in the U.S. strategy was a highlight” in U.S.-European relations on the issue, said Felix Klein, the German commissioner for Jewish life and countering antisemitism, who participated in the White House effort.
Europe is also experiencing a rise in antisemitic incidents, and its historic struggles with antisemitism are increasingly seen as instructive to the United States, Mr. Klein said.
“In the past, the discussions were rather concentrated on European problems,” he added. “American leadership in this field is very good and important.”
Elizabeth Williamson is a feature writer in the Washington bureau. She has worked for the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, and is the author of “Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth.” @NYTLiz
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