Biden Sets to Address Rise of Antisemitism in US

Biden Sets to Address Rise of Antisemitism in US

Biden Sets to Address Rise of Antisemitism in US

US President Joe Biden is set to address the escalating issue of antisemitism at an upcoming Holocaust event, amid mounting tensions on university campuses related to the conflict in Gaza.

Excel Magazine International reports that the president’s forthcoming speech comes in the wake of police interventions to dismantle numerous protest camps across the nation.

Organizers of the demonstrations have refuted allegations of intimidation and hate speech leveled against them.

Simultaneously, they have alleged facing Islamophobic and racist remarks from counter-demonstrators.

According to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, President Biden will delve into “our moral obligation to combat the growing threat of antisemitism.”

Scheduled to take place at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s annual remembrance event on Tuesday, the president’s address will underscore how the Israel-Hamas conflict has catalyzed “an alarming surge in antisemitism in the US – spanning our cities, communities, and campuses,” as outlined by Ms. Jean-Pierre during a press briefing on Monday.

She emphasized that the fight against antisemitism is “fundamental to the identity of this administration.”

Preceding his speech, the White House disclosed new initiatives aimed at addressing antisemitism, building upon a national strategy initially released in June.

These initiatives include the development of online resources “to ensure that colleges and universities better safeguard both Jewish students and their entire student body,” alongside fresh guidelines for educational institutions.

Since the 7th of October assault on Israel by Hamas militants and the subsequent Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip, reports of antisemitic incidents among Jewish students in the US have surged.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish advocacy organization, antisemitic occurrences spiked nationally in the final quarter of 2023, with a 321% increase observed on university campuses.

At Columbia University, where a protest encampment sparked a wave of pro-Palestinian demonstrations, a Jewish student recounted to the BBC being labeled a “murderer” and told to “return to Poland.”

While protesters assert they are advocating peacefully for a Gaza ceasefire, police have shut down several encampments within university premises due to concerns about escalating tensions. Others have been permitted to continue under the condition that they maintain non-violence.

On Thursday, President Biden dismissed assertions that the protests were non-violent, stating, “Destroying property is not a peaceful protest; it’s unlawful.”

He continued, “Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, disrupting classes and graduations – none of this constitutes peaceful protest.

Threatening and intimidating individuals, instilling fear – these actions are also against the law.”

President Biden underscored, “There is no room for hate speech or any form of violence, whether it targets antisemitism, Islamophobia, or discriminates against Arab Americans or Palestinian Americans.”

Over the past six months of the Israel-Hamas conflict, the Biden administration has sought to strike a balance between supporting Israel and addressing mounting domestic dissent over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.

However, while progressive voices criticize President Biden for perceived inaction in ending the conflict, he faces criticism from Republicans for publicly advocating to constrain Israel’s actions and for not addressing the protests sooner.

In addition to President Biden’s keynote address on Tuesday, both Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, alongside four Holocaust survivors, will deliver speeches at the memorial ceremony to be held in Emancipation Hall at the US Capitol in Washington DC.

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