VP Harris: When Israel’s Singled Out Because of anti-Jewish Hatred, That’s Antisemitism

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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaking at Carnegie Hall, New York, earlier this month.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaking at Carnegie Hall, New York, earlier this month.Credit: KENA BETANCUR - AFP

WASHINGTON – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris gave her most thorough comments on antisemitism Sunday while addressing the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now summit on antisemitism and hate.

“I want to be very clear about this: When Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or their identity, when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred, that is antisemitism and that is unacceptable,” Harris told the ADL virtual summit on Sunday evening.

“In two days, we will mark 83 years since Kristallnacht, a night of unthinkable evil – that foreshadowed more evil to come,” she said, referring to the pogrom carried out against Jews across Nazi Germany on November 9-10, 1938. “Sadly, we know that antisemitism is not a relic of the past. In recent years, the Jewish American community has faced an alarming rise in hate crimes,” she added. 

“Four years ago, white supremacists descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, spreading hatred and instigating violence. Three years ago, we suffered the most deadly attack on the American Jewish community in the history of our nation at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” she noted. 

The vice president will say that she and U.S. President Joe Biden are “fully committed to fighting antisemitism,” adding that “we must fight antisemitism and hate of all kinds. And call it out wherever it exists. We know: A harm against one of us is a harm against all.”

Harris’ remarks come as Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt, the administration’s nominee for special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, has been unable to have a Senate confirmation hearing due to Republican objections after being nominated months ago. Jewish establishment organizations have recently come together to urge both parties to stop playing politics with Lipstadt’s nomination and to hold her hearing without further delay. 

Recent extensive surveys have found that nearly one in every four U.S. Jews have been targeted by antisemitism in the past year, and almost half have subsequently altered their behavior.

“As President Biden and Vice President Harris have made clear, we must always stand up to and speak out against antisemitism and hate of any kind. The president has laid out the country’s first-ever comprehensive strategy to address domestic terrorism, signed legislation to strengthen efforts to counter unlawful acts of hate, and taken executive actions to protect houses of worship. We continue pressing forward to reduce all forms of gun violence,” a White House official said.

Members of the Jewish community and allies protesting against antisemitism, at UCLA, Los Angeles, three years ago.Credit: RONEN TIVONY / NurPhoto via AFP

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