Biden Unveils Landmark Strategy to Combat Rising Antisemitism in the US

President Joe Biden unveils the first-ever US National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism amid a surge in anti-Jewish bias and hate crimes. The strategy follows the passage of the Antisemitism Awareness Act in the US House of Representatives, which mandates the use of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
Biden Unveils Landmark Strategy to Combat Rising Antisemitism in the US

Biden Unveils Landmark Strategy to Combat Rising Antisemitism in the US

President Joe Biden has taken a decisive step in the fight against antisemitism by unveiling the first-ever US National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. The comprehensive plan comes amid a disturbing surge in anti-Jewish bias and hate crimes across the nation. The White House's move highlights the administration's commitment to addressing the growing threat of antisemitism and protecting the Jewish community.

Why this matters: The rise of antisemitism in the US has far-reaching implications for social cohesion, religious freedom, and community safety, making it vital to address this issue with urgency and effectiveness. By developing a national strategy, the Biden administration is acknowledging the severity of the problem and taking a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and tolerant society. The rise of antisemitism in the US has far-reaching implications for social cohesion, religious freedom, and community safety, making it vital to address this issue quickly and effectively. By developing a national strategy, the Biden administration is acknowledging the severity of the problem and taking a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and tolerant society.

The announcement of the strategy follows the recent passage of the Antisemitism Awareness Act (HR 6090) in the US House of Representatives. The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Lawler and Rep. Josh Gottheimer, received bipartisan support and mandates the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism by the US Department of Education when conducting federal investigations. The IHRA definition has gained widespread adoption, with 36 US states, 91 US cities and municipalities, the US State Department, and now President Biden's National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism embracing its guidelines.

The passage of the Antisemitism Awareness Act is particularly timely, as incidents of antisemitic harassment on college campuses have been on the rise, especially during anti-Israel protests across the country. Karen Paikin Barall, Jewish Federations' Vice President of Government Relations, emphasized the significance of the legislation, stating, "This legislation is a major tool for officials investigating cases on college campuses where Jewish students and faculty have become the subjects of antisemitic attacks."

The IHRA definition of antisemitism serves as a vital tool for informing and guiding investigations, rather than enforcing specific actions. It calls for considering the overall context of a situation and does not advocate for the punishment of speech, in the event that it is antisemitic. Instead, the definition assists lawmakers and others in determining when conduct is motivated by antisemitic bias. Jewish Federations have been at the forefront of advocating for the bill, working across party lines and in both chambers of Congress. They mobilized hundreds of advocates to lobby for the legislation on Capitol Hill and authored a letter, co-signed by 16 other prominent American Jewish organizations, reaffirming their support for the IHRA's definition of antisemitism.

In an impromptu address from the White House, President Biden directly addressed the nationwide campus protests over the Israel-Gaza war, delivering his most extensive remarks on the issue to date. He stressed the importance of upholding the rule of law while exercising the right to free speech, declaring, "There should be no place on any campus, no place in America, for antisemitism or hate speech."

The Antisemitism Awareness Act now awaits action in the Senate, where Jewish Federations are urging swift passage. The Biden administration, gearing up to implement the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, would find the enactment of this bill a vital tool in combating the alarming rise of antisemitism in the United States. The strategy aims to tackle the issue on multiple fronts, recognizing the pressing need to confront anti-Jewish bias and hate crimes nationwide.

The unveiling of the US National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism marks a significant milestone in the fight against the rising tide of antisemitism in America. By prioritizing this critical issue and working towards the passage of the Antisemitism Awareness Act, President Biden and Congress are demonstrating their resolve to safeguard the Jewish community and promote a society free from hatred and bigotry. Confronting this urgent challenge, the nation requires the implementation of a comprehensive strategy and the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism to serve as vital tools in the ongoing battle against antisemitism.

Key Takeaways

  • President Biden unveils the first-ever US National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.
  • The strategy aims to address the rising tide of antisemitism in the US, promoting inclusivity and tolerance.
  • The Antisemitism Awareness Act (HR 6090) passes in the US House, mandating the use of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
  • The IHRA definition serves as a tool for guiding investigations, considering context, and determining antisemitic bias.
  • The National Strategy and Antisemitism Awareness Act aim to combat antisemitism on college campuses and nationwide.