On May 25, the Biden administration released what it called the “first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.” The document was generally met with praise in the Jewish community – and in many respects, rightly so.

It enlists a slew of federal agencies in a national effort to heighten awareness of the recent explosion of antisemitism and the targeting of and discrimination against Jews, and calls for federal funding for improvements in safety and security for Jewish communities. It also seeks to foster greater appreciation of Jewish contributions to America and promote “cross-community” solidarity with the Jewish community, and to remove artificial barriers to the full participation of Jews in all aspects of American life by promoting acceptance of Jewish religious practices such as Sabbath observance, even when they require accommodation. It also notes that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will work to ensure equal access in all USDA food programs for those with religious dietary needs, including kosher and halal.


While there is even more to applaud, there is also another side to the coin. The Biden strategy accepts the rigorous definition of antisemitism developed in 2016 by the 31 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as a primary working definition. The IHRA formulation deems singling out and applying different standards to the Jewish state as well as opposing Israel’s right to self-determination, is antisemitic.

The plan also goes on to say, however, that “the Administration welcomes and appreciates the Nexus Document and notes other such efforts.” The Nexus statement says that opposition to the right of self-determination for the Jewish people and applying different standards to Israel and the Jewish people is not necessarily antisemitism and is subject to corroborating proof. Not surprisingly, groups like the Zionist Organization of America maintain that the Nexus formulation can easily be used to provide cover for antisemitic opposition to Israel and the Jewish people.

Let’s pay close attention to how the Biden antisemitism plan plays out in the coming weeks.


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