U.S. Jewish Groups Urge Biden to Confront Antisemitism Emerging From Israeli-Palestinian Flare-up

Anti-Defamation League says 'a dangerous and drastic surge' in antisemitism has been seen after fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
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President Joe Biden speaks about a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, at the White House, Thursday.
President Joe Biden speaks about a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, at the White House, Thursday.Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON - Several leading U.S. Jewish organizations are urging U.S. President Joe Biden to forcefully speak out against antisemitism that has emerged in the wake of the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Hadassah: The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Jewish Federations of North America, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America wrote Biden on Friday highlighting a spike in reported violent incidents targeting Jews in the U.S. and abroad, as well as on social media. The ADL said Thursday it was seeing "a dangerous and drastic surge in anti-Jewish hate" after the outbreak of renewed hostilities between Hamas and Israel, "from London to Los Angeles, from France to Florida, in big cities like New York and in small towns, and across every social media platform."

The organizations call on Biden to call out antisemitism, telling him to "harness the authority of the Presidency and the United States Government to speak out loudly and clearly against antisemitism."

They also urge him to appoint an ambassador at large to monitor and combat antisemitism and reestablish and fill the position of White House Jewish liaison, as well as to "convene – in person, if possible – stakeholders from the Jewish community, as well as key officials from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security and the FBI, to discuss the current events and threats, and action steps to address them."

They further call on him to combat antisemitism on college campuses and to invest in security enhancements for religious institutions. "While this is not an exhaustive list, we recognize that eradicating antisemitism, the world’s oldest form of hatred, requires a multi-pronged approach," they write.

Progressive lawmakers, including some of the most outspoken critics of Israel's actions over the past several weeks, joined in their condemnations of the wave of antisemitic attacks.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that "we will never, ever tolerate antisemitism here in NY or anywhere in the world. The recent surge in attacks is horrifying. We stand with our Jewish communities in condemning this violence," before sharing a link for New York City's free bystander intervention course.

Rep. Ilhan Omar called the acts "horrific and unacceptable," adding that "nobody should face threats and harassment based on their religion or ethnicity. This has to stop."

Rep. Jamaal Bowman said "targeting our Jewish family in response to international conflict is absolutely not okay. Conflict abroad does not need to turn us against one another. This is a counterproductive, inexcusable, and ignorant act of antisemitic hate."

Earlier Friday, the founding co-chairs of the bipartisan House and Senate Bipartisan Task Forces for Combating Anti-Semitism — Sens. Jacky Rosen and James Lankford and Reps. Ted Deutch and Chris Smith — noted their alarm and deep concern about the growing number of antisemitic incidents. "We call on elected officials, faith leaders, and civil society leaders to join us in speaking out against this antisemitic hate, now and always," the members of Congress wrote to the president.

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