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April 5, 2023 12:04 pm

Biden: ‘This Scourge of Antisemitism Must Stop’


avatar by Andrew Bernard

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Winter Meeting in Washington, U.S., March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Joe Biden on Wednesday published a pre-Passover op-ed warning of the growing threat of antisemitism in America and outlining his administration’s response. Writing for CNN, Biden said that the US was now witnessing “flagrant embraces of extremism in public life.”

“We see this evil across society,” Biden wrote. “Terrorist attacks on synagogues. Bricks thrown through windows of Jewish businesses. Antisemitic flyers left on the front lawns of Jewish homes. Swastikas on cars and cemeteries….These acts are unconscionable and despicable.”

“And they’re not only a strike against Jews, they’re also a threat to other minority communities and a stain on the soul of our nation,” he said.

Biden cited recent data from the FBI that more than half of religious hate crimes in America target Jews, and the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) audit published in March that showed that 2022 had the highest number of antisemitic incidents since the ADL began tracking them in 1979.

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He also touted his administration’s accomplishments in efforts to combat antisemitism, including the “largest-ever” funding increase for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, a program designed to provide funding for physical security at synagogues, day schools, and other non-profits. While Jewish groups welcomed the spending increase, the $305 million appropriated in the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus spending package was less than the $360 million that many Jewish groups had advocated.

The administration is also preparing a “national strategy to counter antisemitism,” an approach supported by Jewish groups and Congressional leaders.

Biden briefly mentioned his trip to Israel in 2022 and his “unshakeable” commitment to Israel’s security without addressing the ongoing spat between his administration and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The op-ed closes with an appeal to the lessons of Passover for the United States.

“As we celebrate Passover, let us reflect that like the four children in the Haggadah, despite our differences we sit at the same table, as one people, one nation, one America,” Biden wrote. “Let us join hands across faiths, races, and backgrounds to make clear that evil will not win; hate will not prevail; and antisemitism will not be the story of our time. Let us remember, speak out and act to restore the soul of America together.”

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