US President Joe Biden presented his administration's national strategy to combat antisemitism this morning (Thursday).
"It's the most ambitious and comprehensive US-government-led effort to fight antisemitism in American history," President Biden said.
The plan involves increasing understanding and awareness of antisemitism and Jewish American heritage, improving the safety and security of Jewish communities, and reversing the normalization of antisemitism in the US.'
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, who is Jewish, said that "this plan will save lives."
"Antisemitism can only be combatted with united efforts. We are committed to making sure everyone can live openly and safely in their communities. We cannot normalize hate seen across our nation," Emhoff said.
Notably, the plan embraces the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's working definition of antisemitism, a move which drew praise from American Jewish leaders. The definition includes holding Israel to double standards or calling the existence of a Jewish state racist as examples of when criticism of Israel becomes antisemitic.
Dianne Lob, Chair, and William Daroff, CEO, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said in response to the announcement: "We welcome the release of the White House National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, the first 'all-of-government' approach to combating antisemitism. From education in rural communities, to ensuring kosher food in food assistance programs and hospitals, creating educational tools for labor unions and small businesses, and encouraging partnerships with other faith communities to combat antisemitism, the approach engages over two dozen federal agencies in this comprehensive strategy. We wholeheartedly applaud the Biden Administration’s continuing embrace of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which is the most universally accepted definition of antisemitism."
"The Conference of Presidents actively engaged with the White House to shape the comprehensive federal plan to combat antisemitism. The overwhelming support for the IHRA definition is evident through the endorsement of over 175 Jewish community organizations worldwide, more than 600 Rabbis representing the four Jewish religious streams and dozens of our member organizations. Elected officials, including members of Congress and mayors, also voiced their strong support.
"The IHRA definition continues to gain traction as the most authoritative and internationally accepted definition of antisemitism. It is formally adopted and used by 42 nations – including the United States – as well as numerous local governments, academic institutions, NGOs, and other entities. In the U.S., 31 states already individually embraced the IHRA definition as a valuable tool. We strongly believe in order to defeat antisemitism it must be defined. The Conference of Presidents will continue to champion the IHRA definition as a crucial framework for identifying and addressing antisemitism.
"We also salute the President’s plan for additional homeland security funding and streamlined hate crimes reporting and enforcement standards, as well as increasing educational resources from the federal government, including educating about antisemitism in all diversity trainings. This plan marks a significant milestone in the ongoing battle against antisemitism. We express our deep gratitude for these crucial measures aimed at fighting anti-Jewish hate and fostering a climate of inclusivity and tolerance."
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said: “President Biden and his administration have developed the first comprehensive plan across U.S. agencies to foster Jewish life and address rising antisemitism. The president’s leadership in directing the vast federal government to coordinate and act to protect Jewish Americans is unprecedented and essential in the fight against anti-Jewish hate. The World Jewish Congress is appreciative that the White House has incorporated specific points for which we advocated, and we commend the administration for elevating the voices of Jewish students, a WJC priority."
“The United States now joins a growing number of European governments in releasing strategies to support Jewish communities. The next step will be to thoroughly execute those plans, and the World Jewish Congress will work to support the U.S. strategy in its next phase. We must have concrete action, not just words.
“However, the inclusion of a secondary definition in addition to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism is an unnecessary distraction from the real work that needs to be done.
“The IHRA definition, considered the ‘gold standard,’ allows policymakers worldwide to identify and respond to all forms of Jew-hatred, including those that may be more subtle, but no less insidious. The Jewish world has agreed on the centrality of the IHRA definition and understands that it is the best weapon in the battle against antisemitism.
“I know that the Jewish community is personally important to President Biden – and that it has been throughout his life of public service. I want to thank him for bringing ‘the Delaware Way’ to Washington and for renewing his commitment to the Jewish people at home and abroad. Now, the real work begins.”