The White House just released what it calls the first national strategy to combat antisemitism.
With the prevalence of antisemitic conspiracy theories in U.S. politics and American culture, like the white supremacist “replacement theory,” the White House’s announcement Thursday effectively unveiled plans for a full-court press against anti-Jewish hate.
President Joe Biden, who often speaks of how the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, inspired him to run for president, referred to the 2017 incident again in a written statement accompanying the strategy.
Six years ago, Neo-Nazis marched from the shadows through Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting, ‘Jews will not replace us.’ With torches in hand, they spewed the same antisemitic bile and hate that were heard across Europe in the 1930s. What happened in Charlottesville—the horror of that moment, the violence that followed, and the threat it represented for American democracy—drove me to run for President. The very soul of our Nation was hanging in the balance. It still is today.
Biden’s statement makes clear that this plan could be a model for strategies to combat other forms of hate.
“The Strategy—which reflects input from over 1,000 Jewish community stakeholders, faith and civil rights leaders, State and local officials, and more—also serves as a blueprint for tackling other forms of bigotry, hate, and bias that fuel toxic divisions in America,” the president wrote.
Biden also laid out the broad strokes of the plan, which includes four main “pillars,” in a video posted to social media.
- The first pillar is meant to increase awareness and understanding of antisemitism. This will involve promoting the inclusion of Jewish American history and the history of antisemitism in school curricula (which has faced hurdles in some parts of the country), as well as encouraging corporations and popular organizations to leverage their influence in the fight against antisemitism.
- The second pillar focuses on securing Jewish communities from harm. This section calls for organizations to research how violent antisemitism spreads — both online and in the physical world — and advises government agencies on how to help, such as workshops that will help the Department of Homeland Security identify ways to “assist the Jewish community and other communities that have been targeted with violence.”
- The third pillar is essentially a call to action, urging all Americans and U.S. institutions to “reverse the normalization of antisemitism” by speaking out against it wherever they see it. This section also vows to encourage government agencies to ensure they are enforcing anti-discrimination policies to protect Jews and other marginalized groups.
- The fourth pillar is focused on building cross-cultural solidarity to fight antisemitism and other forms of hate.
“American Jewish communities have a long legacy of building cross-community relationships characterized by meaningful connection, trust, mutual respect, and understanding across differences,” the national strategy says. “As they have throughout American history, partnerships across diverse communities and faiths provide a foundation to counter antisemitism and other forms of hate.”
When you start to get into the details of the plan, it seems clear how useful this kind of thoroughness could be — and hopefully will be — for all marginalized groups.