How Jewish groups and organizations are responding to new national antisemitism strategy


President Joe Biden.

Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. This strategy includes over 100 new actions the White House will take to raise awareness of antisemitism and its threat to American democracy, protect Jewish communities, reverse the normalization of antisemitism, and build cross-community solidarity.

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The United States has recently experienced an alarming increase in antisemitic incidents, among other acts of hatred. American Jews account for 2.4% of the U.S. population, but they are the victims of 63% of reported religiously motivated hate crimes, according to the FBI.

In a statement, the White House said, “This national strategy sets forth a whole-of-society plan that both meets this moment of escalating hatred and lays the foundation for reducing antisemitism over time. Informed by input from over 1,000 stakeholders from every sector of American society, it outlines over 100 new actions that Executive Branch agencies have committed to take in order to counter antisemitism—all of which will be completed within a year. The strategy also calls on Congress to enact legislation that would help counter antisemitism and urges every sector of society to mobilize against this age-old hatred, including state and local governments, civil society, schools and academic institutions, the tech sector, businesses, and diverse religious communities.”

You can read the entire plan here.

Reactions from Jewish groups and organizations are starting to be released. The following responses are in chronological order of release. This story will be updated new responses are received.

The Anti-Defamation League

ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today welcomed the release of the first-ever comprehensive U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism and announced commitments to support the White House in its execution. ADL also welcomed the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism as part of the plan.

“As the U.S. Jewish community is experiencing antisemitism at levels not seen in generations, we deeply appreciate that the White House has stepped up and delivered this significant, comprehensive strategy,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “It’s particularly notable that this approach recognizes that antisemitism is not about politics – it’s about principles. We are pleased that this strategy comprehensively addresses hate and antisemitism on campus, online, and from extremists on both the far-right and the far-left.”

Read the entire statement.

World Jewish Congress

The president or the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, responded to President Joe Biden’s launch today of the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism:

“President Biden and his administration have developed the first comprehensive plan across U.S. agencies to foster Jewish life and address rising antisemitism. The president’s leadership in directing the vast federal government to coordinate and act to protect Jewish Americans is unprecedented and essential in the fight against anti-Jewish hate. The World Jewish Congress is appreciative that the White House has incorporated specific points for which we advocated, and we commend the administration for elevating the voices of Jewish students, a WJC priority.

Read the entire statement.

B’nai B’rith

President Seth J. Riklin and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:

The new White House national strategy to combat anti-Semitism is a welcome and unprecedented effort by the U.S. government to address the growing issue of anti-Jewish animus in the country. We commend the Biden administration for the magnitude of this effort, starting with its inter-agency task force, resulting in the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Anti-Semitism.

We appreciate the affirmation in the national strategy on the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of anti-Semitism, which has been accepted by local and national governments, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, corporations and sports teams around the world. Fighting anti-Semitism involves defining it: the IHRA definition does that.

We applaud President Joe Biden’s introduction of the strategy, with the forceful words: “Silence is complicity.”

Republican Jewish Coalition

Republican Jewish Coalition CEO Matt Brooks today expressed deep disappointment in the Biden administration for not exclusively using the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, the definition favored by mainstream Jewish organizations across the political spectrum, in his long-promised national strategy to counter antisemitism:

“Joe Biden had a chance to take a strong stand against antisemitism and he blew it.”

“The IHRA definition of antisemitism is the definition endorsed by every mainstream Jewish organization. Biden’s own Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism has urged other countries to “embrace” it as an “integral” tool against the rising tide of Jew-hatred. The IHRA definition is indispensable because it recognizes that criticism of Israel is antisemitic when it delegitimizes, demonizes, or applies double standards to Israel.”

“After initial reports that its new strategy would enshrine the IHRA definition, the Biden administration came under heavy pressure from the anti-Israel left, forcing a delay in the roll-out. Now, hours before a Jewish holiday and in the waning days of Jewish American Heritage Month, the White House is attempting a last-minute straddle – undermining the IHRA definition by promoting alongside it an alternative definition that says applying double standards and singling out the Jewish state for criticism is not antisemitic.”

“This decision seriously weakens the White House strategy. It is yet another instance of Biden caving to the anti-Israel radicals who constitute a growing Democratic constituency at both the elected and grassroots levels. It’s clear that only a Republican president will fully embrace the IHRA definition and put the full force of the federal government behind the fight against antisemitism in all its forms.”

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)

National President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

ZOA criticizes several alarming, harmful aspects of the Biden administration’s just-released “National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism”:

First, the Biden Strategy uses the soft phrase U.S. “has embraced” [past tense] the positive consensus IHRA definition of antisemitism – while much more strongly states Biden “welcomes and appreciates” the dangerous “Nexus” definition of antisemitism. The Biden Strategy then also “notes” other definitions, which can mean even more harmful definitions such as the JDA definition.

In ZOA’s letter to President Biden urging him to solely adopt the helpful IHRA definition, ZOA explained that the NEXUS and JDA definitions shield and permit antisemitism that is masked as hatred for the Jewish state and Zionism. ZOA wrote that:

The JDA and the Nexus Document are [] dangerous, wrongly shielding antisemites who try to mask their hatred of Jews by expressing it as hatred for the Jewish state. For example, the Nexus Document states that opposition to Zionism – i.e., the right of the Jewish people to self-determination and to live as a nation-state in their religious and ancestral homeland – is not necessarily antisemitic. The Nexus Document fails to appreciate that for many if not most Jews, their connection to their religious and ancestral homeland is an essential part of their Jewish identity.

Read the full statement.