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Biden draws praise, calls for action after noting ‘abhorrent’ Jew-hatred

"Antisemitism doesn't just threaten Jewish Americans. It threatens all Americans, and our fundamental democratic values," the U.S. president said.

U.S. President Joe Biden signs the guestbook at the Israeli president's residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden signs the guestbook at the Israeli president's residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. Credit: Adam Schultz/White House.

U.S. President Joe Biden is drawing praise from American Jewish groups and criticism from the pro-Israel community after he commented on social media about “abhorrent” and “horrific acts of antisemitism this week,” including a demonstration celebrating the Oct. 7 Hamas atrocities in southern Israel; vandalism targeting Jewish homes; attacks on Jewish faculty at college campuses; and harassment of subway riders.”

“Antisemitism doesn’t just threaten Jewish Americans,” he said. “It threatens all Americans and our fundamental democratic values.”

Ofir Akunis, the Israeli consul general in New York, wrote: “As I always say—it’s not just about Israel or the Jewish people, it’s a threat to all of you—it’s a threat to the entire world.”

The American Jewish Committee thanked Biden for his “strong condemnation of antisemitism.”

“Antisemitism is distinctly un-American. It is an existential threat to our democracy,” the AJC said. “The full weight of the government and the American people must counter it.”

The Anti-Defamation League thanked the U.S. president, as did the Democratic Majority for Israel and Jeremy Burton, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs called Biden’s comments “important.”

Joel Petlin, superintendent of the Kiryas Joel School District, was one of several Jewish leaders and activists who called for the president to take action in addition to denouncing Jew-hatred.

“This is an important and much-appreciated statement by the president condemning antisemitism,” he wrote. “The only thing missing is the second statement, directing the Department of Justice to investigate and file charges, the IRS to pull tax-exempt statuses and Homeland Security to deport foreign offenders.”

“Mr. President, I know you find this abhorrent. But what do you say to some of your donors who are funding some of the groups spreading this antisemitism?” wrote Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran. “There has to be a reckoning here.”

“Strong words from the president on the ugly, savage antisemitism seen this past week,” wrote Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum. “Now need strong action to follow up.”

“You could stop a lot of it by having the IRS pull the exemptions of like, three or four relatively small nonprofit groups. And yet it hasn’t been done,” wrote Armin Rosen, a staff writer at Tablet magazine. “It’s a hard thing to accept, but the quasi-brownshirt movement that’s popped up in New York is tolerated, subsidized, and in some cases directly funded by every level of government.”

“Biden could ask the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute the numerous national groups that are not only committing antisemitic crimes but funding their activities by falsely registering as 501(c)3 nonprofits,” wrote Noah Pollak, a contributor to The Washington Free Beacon.

“Biden refuses to do this because the activists, Muslim and leftist groups, are part of the Democratic Party,” Pollak wrote. “Biden, Schumer and Democratic Party leaders will posture about antisemitism but block any government action to punish antisemites. It would be better if they didn’t say anything at all.”

Stephen Miller, a conservative podcaster and writer, shared a screenshot from a post of Biden’s from Aug. 27, 2020. “Remember: every example of violence Donald Trump decries has happened on his watch. Under his leadership. During his presidency,” Biden wrote at the time.

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