Ben Cardin at the Jewish American Heritage Month Congressional Breakfast
Ben Cardin at the Jewish American Heritage Month Congressional BreakfastDillon Meyer

Over a dozen Democrat and Republican Senators and Congressmen came together to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the State of Israel’s establishment, reaffirm a commitment to fight Antisemitism, and recognize Jewish American Heritage Month which will take place in May. The historic meeting was the first “Jewish American Heritage Month Congressional Breakfast: Protecting & Fostering Jewish Life And Combating Contemporary Antisemitism in the United States” organized by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM).

“We must recognize how important Israel is to the United States, our strongest friend in the Middle East, the only real democracy there, and we need to make sure that we support Israel economically, militarily, everything we need to do to be able to make sure that the State of Israel continues to flourish, and we have seen an incredible flourishing over the last few years in Israel,” said Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-NE), also talking about the fight against Antisemitism. “We got to make sure that we're educating people about Antisemitism and working to stamp it out everywhere we go. This is something that is an ongoing battle.”

“We should never forget how great this country has been to the Jewish community, but we also have to acknowledge that we are still on a journey, and in recent years, the rise of antisemitism has been shocking. 2021 was the largest growth in antisemitism in modern history in the United States,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD). “What do we need to do to fight antisemitism? We need an all-of-government approach. I thank President Biden for convening the interagency group to head up our efforts as a nation to fight antisemitism. And yes, it does include education, including Holocaust education. It does include law enforcement, to make sure that any person who commits any type of hate crime is prosecuted. And it does involve protecting our communities, and I am pleased that we have been able to substantially increase the government's cooperation with our religious community, our Jewish community, and our Jewish institutions to provide security.”

“No matter where it's coming from, on the left or the right, or from people who are not politically affiliated at all, it's on the rise,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) co-chair of the Senate and House Bipartisan Task Forces for Combating Antisemitism said. “It's on social media, it's in conversation and dialogue, and we scratch our heads and go 'Why should this be?' Especially in a nation like ours that prides itself on being a place where all people from all over of all faiths or no faiths are welcomed into our culture or into society.”

“I want to thank the Combat Antisemitism Movement for your work to convene timely and impactful events to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month and bring together communities in the fight against Antisemitism,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “This conception to create Jewish American Heritage Month came from the year of commemoration, which I believe was in 2004, of 350 years of Jewish life in America. It’s remarkable, and remarkable in a sense that no one knows that. Seventeen years of celebrating our contributions to American society, and we still have a long way to go, which is why we have so much Antisemitism.”

“Celebrating, educating, and coming together, in this manner helps promote understanding and unity, and reduces Antisemitism and bigotry, which is the purpose of having a month-long celebration of Jewish contributions.”

In addition, all 26 Republican governors today joined together to emphasize their commitment to a strong relationship with Israel and to recognize the significance of Jewish-American contributions throughout U.S. history. Unanimously, all Republican governors released a joint statement saying: “As public servants and governors, we support and recognize May as Jewish American Heritage Month—and call for the observance to celebrate the historical, economic, and cultural impact of the Jewish-American people who have strengthened our communities and emboldened our nation throughout history.

“We’re proud of the United States being the first country to recognize the State of Israel. Since then, we’ve fostered an unbreakable bond between our two nations based upon shared values, ultimately leading to prosperous economic, educational, and cultural partnerships. We stand with our constituencies who oppose Antisemitism, and we affirm the significance of Jewish-American contributions throughout U.S. history.”

“As Israel celebrates its 75th birthday and Antisemitism is on the rise across the U.S., it is gratifying to hear that there is strong bipartisan support for the Israel-U.S. relationship and the fight against Antisemitism,” said CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa. “In addition, as CAM has been at the forefront of the drive for state-level recognition of Jewish American Heritage Month, we are delighted that all Republican states will support and observe this historic endeavor.”

Co-Sponsors to the event included Jewish Federations of North America, Secure Community Network, B'nai B'rith International, JCRC of Greater Washington, The Brandeis Center, National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, and the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism.