At a White House High Holidays event last Friday, President Joe Biden lauded his administration’s efforts to combat and monitor antisemitism in the US.
During the large gathering of Jewish leaders and administration officials in the White House’s East Room, the President began by expressing that he was thinking about the Jewish families in Florida, whose homes at the time were being threatened by Hurricane Ian.
The President then moved on to recognizing Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), and said that he was working closely with Florida’s governor and Congressional delegation—irrespective of party affiliation—to provide rescue, recovery and rebuilding assistance.
Biden also said more could be done to restore the soul of America. One of the reasons he ran for president, he claimed, was to “bring back some decency and honor in the way we talk about one another, the way we deal with one another, standing up to anti-Semitism that was constantly lurking in the shadows.”
“I decided to run for president—and this is not hyperbole, you’ve heard me say this for almost three years now—when I saw those people walking out of the field, literally walking out of the fields in Virginia, carrying torches, Nazi flags, and chanting the same anti-Semitic bile that was chanted on the streets of Berlin and Germany in the early ’30s,” Biden said. “And when asked, when the young woman was killed, ‘What do you think?’ And the comment made by a former leader was, ‘There are good people on both sides.’”
He then went on to list other steps the administration has taken to tackle rising anti-Semitism in the U.S., including nominating Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Deborah Lipstadt and helping secure increases in funding for nonprofit security grants that include synagogues. The White House also established a National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.