Today, in a historic statement, the United States government told the world that the Jewish people will not stand alone in the fight against antisemitism.
Zioness applauds the Biden-Harris administration for this extraordinary, whole-of-government commitment. This is the first administration in American history to release a national plan to counter antisemitism—a plan long overdue, but urgently needed and greatly appreciated.
For Jewish Americans, antisemitism exists in and infiltrates all aspects of our lives—from our neighborhoods, to our schools, to our workplaces and our places of worship. It feels at times inescapable, threatening our livelihoods, our joy, and too often, our safety. This is true for every Jewish American, but even more for Orthodox Jews and those who are visibly identifiable as Jewish, who have been victimized by hate crimes at higher rates than have ever been recorded.
We are heartened by the administration’s crucial understanding that, “[w]hile antisemitic incidents most directly and intensely affect the Jewish community, antisemitism threatens all of us. Antisemitic conspiracy theories fuel other forms of hatred, discrimination, and bias—including discrimination against other religious minorities, racism, sexism, and anti-LGBTQI+ hate. Antisemitism seeks to divide Americans from one another, erodes trust in government and nongovernmental institutions, and undermines our democracy.” And as Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism rightly declared: “History is instructive: where antisemitism persists, democracy suffers.”
As the world’s most enduring persecuted minority community, we know the consequences of antisemitism, and have experienced them in our lifetimes and through the intergenerational trauma of our foreparents. What this first-of-its-kind national strategy to counter antisemitism signifies is hard for us to put into words. And Zioness stands at the ready to support the implementation of this strategy alongside government agencies, academic institutions, faith communities, constituency groups and any other partners who are sincerely committed to this urgent work.
At Zioness, we are uniquely equipped and committed to confronting the form of contemporary antisemitism known as “anti-Zionism,” which we perceive to be a direct attack on Jewish identity, Jewish peoplehood, and the manifestation of Jewish collective liberation and sovereignty (and therefore, security) in the State of Israel.
Indeed, “anti-Zionism” has been invoked as the justification for antisemitic behaviors and attitudes that have resulted in antisemitic bullying online, the exclusion of Jews from social justice spaces, attacks on Jewish members of student government, vandalism and desecration of Jewish religious institutions, and physical violence against innocent Jews in cities like New York and Los Angeles––all of which have been strongly condemned by the administration and named in the comprehensive strategy released today.
Because of the profound and ubiquitous danger of anti-Zionist antisemitism, Zioness continues to strongly support the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and is grateful for the administration’s emphasis on IHRA as the world’s most recognized and accepted definition. IHRA explains that the double standard to which Israel is constantly held is a potential source of antisemitism, and we know that these double standards applied to Israel are arguably the most commonplace, institutionalized, politically correct manifestations of antisemitism that exist today. We also appreciate recent statements by Nexus definition drafters and supporters that Nexus is intended to support, complement and clarify IHRA, not undermine it in any way.
Today, with the support of the United States government, Jewish Americans are writing a new history. With this plan, we are hopeful that all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion will hear the emphatic message being sent from the highest office in our nation: “hate will not prevail, silence is complicity, and an attack on any one group is an attack on us all.” From President Biden and Vice President Harris, to Second Gentleman Emhoff, Ambassador Lipstadt, Ambassador Rice, Homeland Security Advisor Sherwood-Randall and White House Jewish Liaison Greenspan; to all the members of the U.S. government who worked on this plan, and all the diverse members of our community who helped make it possible, we say: Thank you profoundly. Now, let’s get to work to effectuate this remarkable strategy for the protection and advancement of us all.