BJC applauds White House announcement of unprecedented national initiative to combat antisemitism

by | May 30, 2023

President Biden issued a 60-page National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism, the first ever U.S. initiative of its kind. The strategy includes more than 100 new government-led actions to counter this growing threat antisemitism poses to religious liberty. As the White House rightly noted, “[w]hile antisemitic incidents most directly and intensely affect the Jewish community, antisemitism threatens all of us.”

Here is an excerpt from the White House strategy, framing that threat that we face:

Together, we must acknowledge and confront the reality that antisemitism is rising, both at home and abroad. Loud voices are normalizing this venom, but we must never allow it to become normal. Antisemitism threatens not only the Jewish community, but all Americans. People who peddle these antisemitic conspiracy theories and fuel racial, ethnic, and religious hatred against Jews also target other communities… Our intelligence agencies have determined that domestic terrorism rooted in white supremacy—including antisemitism—is the greatest terrorist threat to our Homeland today.

The report noted a startling increase in hate crimes targeting American Jews, and a disturbing recent survey showing that young Americans “lack basic knowledge of the Holocaust,” among other data demonstrating the need for this mobilization. The actions announced by the White House in response to those concerns are wide-ranging, and they fall into four general categories: raising awareness and understanding of antisemitism, improving safety and security for Jewish communities, reversing the normalization of antisemitism, and building cross-community solidarity.

The initiative, for example, will focus resources within the Department of Education, the National Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Endowment of the Humanities to increase and improve K-12 educational content on the Holocaust and Jewish history. It directs the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to “produce a toolkit for faith communities on standing in solidarity with other religious communities to combat antisemitism and other forms of hate.” It also calls on Congress to fully fund Justice Department programs targeting hate crimes, to name just a few.

BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler praised President Biden’s announcement as a “helpful step forward,” adding:

No American truly has religious freedom until we all do. Antisemitism denies the promise of faith freedom for all and is used by extremists to divide us against each other. Those who advance antisemitism want our Jewish neighbors to feel alone. As Baptists, we refuse to be divided from our Jewish neighbors, and we condemn antisemitism in all its forms. We must come together across lines of religious difference as allies to form a united front for religious freedom, democracy and pluralism.

You can read the BJC statement on the White House announcement here.