The Biden Administration on Thursday released the country’s first-ever US National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, which lists the new actions the White House plans to “raise awareness of antisemitism and its threat to American democracy, protect Jewish communities, reverse the normalization of antisemitism, and build cross-community solidarity.”
According to the FBI, although American Jews comprise just 2.4 percent of the US population, they are the victims of 63 percent of reported religiously motivated hate crimes. All estimates across the board have warned that the incidence of antisemitic hate crimes is higher, because many victims decline to report the vandalism and/or attacks.
Nevertheless, in its national strategy, the Biden Administration did not officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism as the framework for understanding and countering anti-Jewish hate.
There is instead the usual wealth of high-flown, grandiose statements condemning antisemitism, and lists of the myriad committees, interfaith groups and educational groups with plans intended to counter it, with very little meat on the bone devoted to punishing those who act on such impulses. Focusing on effective criminal penalties does not appear to be a priority, nor even a concern.
This is similar to the Biden Administration predilection for vowing “never” to allow Iran to achieve a nuclear weapon, but assiduously avoiding any threat of military intervention to prevent the mullahs from doing so, despite Tehran’s increasingly successful race to a nuclear breakout. Moreover, although Israel has, in fact, raised the threat of military intervention as a likely deterrent, the Biden Administration is doing little to enable Israel to carry it out, and in fact is still dithering over the “diplomatic option” as a means of stopping Tehran.
As in the international arena, it appears that the Biden Administration sees education, talking heads and lots of feel-good interfaith conferences, seminars and meetings as the most effective way to ensure deterrence against antisemitic attacks within its own borders as well as abroad.
There is just one mention of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, which notes, “Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”
That is very likely due to the fact that left-wing Jewish organizations exerted immense pressure on the Biden Administration not to adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, with its numerous references to the link between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.
Nevertheless, by the end of 2022, a total of 1,116 global entities had adopted and endorsed the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016, according to the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM). Thirty of the 50 American states have adopted this definition of antisemitism in addition to cities such as Los Angeles, Washington D.C., El Paso, and Wichita.
“While antisemitic incidents most directly and intensely affect the Jewish community, antisemitism threatens all of us,” the White House fact sheet points out in the fact sheet about its national strategy. “Antisemitism seeks to divide Americans from one another, erodes trust in government and nongovernmental institutions, and undermines our democracy.”
The Biden Administration does not, however, acknowledge that antisemitism kills. Unchecked, it results in genocide. Those who perpetrate such crimes are not deterred by interfaith talks, seminars and education plans.