Antisemitism “threatens all of us,” the White House said in announcing a first-ever national strategy to counter antisemitism May 25.
“While 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-LGBTQ hate. Antisemitism seeks to divide Americans from one another, erodes trust in government and nongovernmental institutions, and undermines our democracy,” a White House statement said.
The Biden administration sought input from 1,000 stakeholders through the work of a task force last December. The result is a 60-page report detailing the threat of antisemitism and ways to work against such hatred.
“By seeking to turn the masses against the few, by scapegoating and dehumanizing others — and most of all — by stoking violence, the perpetrators of hate aim to upend our most cherished values and undermine our efforts to build a culture of respect, peace and cooperation,” Biden wrote in an introduction to the report. “Protecting the Jewish community from antisemitism is essential to our broader fight against all forms of hate, bigotry and bias — and to our broader vision of a thriving, inclusive and diverse democracy.
“History teaches that hate never fully goes away; it only hides until it is given just a little oxygen,” he added. “That is why we must confront antisemitism early and aggressively whenever and wherever it emerges from the darkness.”
BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler was among participants who contributed to the national strategy. She used that platform to speak about how Christian nationalism fuels antisemitism and how BJC’s Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign seeks to intervene.
She is Baptist and her husband is Jewish. They are raising a child in an interfaith family.
“I know the fear and threats to safety posed by hateful extremists who use antisemitism to gain political power,” she explained. “Every effort we can take to rid our country and world of antisemitism will be felt in the daily lives of our Jewish families, friends and neighbors.”
In response to the federal strategy, Tyler said: “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.
“No American truly has religious freedom until we all do.”
“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.”
The White House plan is “a helpful step forward” in protecting religious freedom for all, Tyler said.
The report highlights recent increases in antisemitism and hate crimes, calling this an “alarming increase.” Other sources have documented how Trumpism is tied to increased antisemitism and hate crimes, ignited by white Christian nationalism.
American Jews account for 2.4% of the U.S. population but are the victims of 63% of reported religiously motivated hate crimes, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Actions outlined in the report fall into four broad categories:
- Increase awareness and understanding of antisemitism, including its threat to America, and broaden appreciation of Jewish American heritage.
- Improve safety and security for Jewish communities.
- Reverse the normalization of antisemitism and counter antisemitic discrimination.
- Build cross-community solidarity and collective action to counter hate.
These initiatives intersect all communities of faith, particularly on matters of safety at places of worship.
The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice have published a resource guide titled “Protecting Places of Worship: Six Steps to Enhance Security Against Targeted Violence.”
The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will produce a toolkit for faith communities on standing in solidarity with other religious communities to counter antisemitism and other forms of hate.
Along with a host of partner agencies working on the White House strategy, Interfaith Alliance has published a new resource guide, “Mobilizing Against Antisemitism.”
Antisemitism is rampant in America: Will churches be silent? | Opinion by Bill Leonard
To bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance’: Responding to the rising tide of antisemitism | Opinion by Curtis Ramsey-Lucas
‘For fear of the Jews’: Confronting Christian anti-Semitism | Opinion by Greg Garrett