Biden Addresses Antisemitism

Kaylee Everhart

Updated Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 6:29 AM CDT

Biden Addresses Antisemitism

In a poignant speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's annual commemoration, President Joe Biden raised alarms about the growing threat of antisemitism in America, highlighting its prevalence on college campuses and underscoring the imperative to remember and teach the truth about the Holocaust. The President's comments came during a period of heightened division within the Democratic Party, spurred by his backing of Israel's military response to an attack by Hamas, which has notably distanced some young voters.

Biden, who took office with a promise to heal a nation divided, was inspired to run for president after President Trump's handling of the Charlottesville rally in 2017, where antisemitic chants were heard. His address at the museum delved into Jewish security, Zionism, free speech, and support for Israel, all in the context of honoring the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. He cited the attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7 as a stark reminder of the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust, emphasizing the need for continued vigilance against antisemitism.

The aftermath of the Israeli retaliation to the Hamas attacks, which reportedly claimed nearly 35,000 lives in Gaza and exacerbated humanitarian issues, has sparked protests across the U.S. and a shutdown of aid routes due to the seizure of the main border crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza. Following these events, advocacy groups have noted a significant spike in antisemitic and anti-Muslim attacks in the U.S., with the FBI reporting a 36% increase in anti-Jewish hate crime incidents between 2021 and 2022. Carol Ann Schwartz, national president of Hadassah, has described the current state of antisemitism in the U.S. as a crisis.

The political ramifications of these developments have been far-reaching. Donald Trump, through campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt, has accused Democrats of becoming anti-Israel and antisemitic. Meanwhile, Biden has called upon the Department of Education to identify instances of antisemitic discrimination and requested tech companies' assistance in monitoring online antisemitism.

The Pew Research Center data suggests a divide among Jewish voters, with about 70% supporting Democrats and 30% aligning with Republicans. This divide is further complicated by the contentious political narrative surrounding Israel, antisemitism, and free speech, which intersects with American foreign policy and domestic civil rights issues.

In the academic sphere, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill incorporating a working definition of antisemitism into federal anti-discrimination laws for college campuses, a measure opposed by its author, Kenneth Stern, director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate. Stern has warned against using the term antisemitism to suppress discussions about Israel, a topic of fierce debate.

Amid these discussions, Columbia University has become a hotbed of protest. Student activists have clashed with faculty over financial ties to pro-Israel companies, and over 100 students, including the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), have been arrested. Rep. Omar herself, who was removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year, has faced bipartisan criticism for her remarks at Columbia that categorized Jewish students as "pro-genocide" or "anti-genocide." This led Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) to introduce a censure resolution against her for comments he claims could incite violence against Jews.

As tensions escalate, Jewish students have reported feeling unsafe due to ongoing protests and the political discourse. Biden, while not specifically mentioning the Gaza deaths in his speech, recognized the right to protest and the importance of free speech in the United States. The complex dynamics of Jewish-American voter support and the response of educational institutions to protests and public discourse on antisemitism remain contentious issues, shaping the political landscape.

Conservative Bias:

In what can only be described as a masterclass of hypocrisy and deflection, President Biden dares to pontificate on antisemitism while his party actively fans the flames of hatred and division. The so-called "compassionate" Democrats have cultivated an environment where support for Israel is vilified and Jewish students are left to fend for themselves against a rising tide of leftist anti-Israel sentiment on campuses. Biden's hollow words at the Holocaust Memorial Museum cannot mask the bitter truth: his administration and the radical left have abandoned Jewish Americans and Israel, our staunchest ally in the Middle East, for the sake of appeasing the anti-Semitic factions within their base. The real crisis here is not just the antisemitism; it's the Democrats' willful blindness to it, as long as it suits their political ends.

Liberal Bias:

President Biden, in a commendable effort to confront the scourge of antisemitism, stands as a beacon of moral clarity in stark contrast to the Republicans' dangerous flirtation with white nationalism and their shameless weaponization of Jewish safety for political gain. Yet, the GOP, in a display of breathtaking cynicism, dares to accuse Democrats of antisemitism while they themselves have laid the groundwork for hate and division in our society. The reality is that the Republican Party, entranced by Trump's dog whistles to extremists, has no ground to stand on when it comes to protecting Jewish Americans or any minority group. It is the GOP's rhetoric and policies that have inflamed tensions and put Jewish lives at risk, not the Democrats' principled stance on human rights and their legitimate criticism of the Israeli government's actions.

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