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May 25, 2021 1:20 pm

Visiting Israel, Blinken Condemns ‘Shocking Eruption’ of Antisemitic Attacks in US

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, upon arrival at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, in Tel Aviv, Israel May 25, 2021. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned on Tuesday the recent uptick in antisemitic attacks in the US, as he began a regional visit in Jerusalem following the recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

“In our own country, in the United States, we’ve witnessed a shocking eruption of antisemitic attacks,” Blinken said, in remarks made during a joint press conference Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“As President Biden said just yesterday, they are despicable and they must stop. There’s a lot of hard work ahead to restore hope, respect, and some trust across communities. But we’ve seen the alternative, and I think that should cause all of us to redouble our efforts to preserve the peace and improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians alike,” he continued.

On Monday, President Joe Biden called recent attacks on US Jewish communities “despicable,” and said, “it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.”

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The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has said that it had received 193 reports of antisemitic incidents as clashes in the Middle East escalated — 62 more than the previous week.

Blinken’s comments during the Tuesday press conference were welcomed by Netanyahu, who said, “Thank you and the President for your strong statements against anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism, but it’s anti-Semitism, and you took a bold position, clear position, and we appreciate it. I think all decent people, decent people everywhere appreciate that stance.”

The US Secretary of State also promised to continue consulting Israel on talks with Iran and world powers over resuming the 2015 nuclear deal, as the parties returned to negotiations Tuesday and Vienna.

“We know that to prevent a return to violence, we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges, and that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild,” Blinken said. “We’ll work with our partners, closely with all to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance.”

Later Tuesday, Blinken spoke alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where he pledged $75 million in US aid to the Palestinians in 2021, and said the US would re-open a Jerusalem consulate that has served as its diplomatic channel to the Palestinians, reversing a Trump administration decision.

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