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‘I’m going to talk out’

(RNS) — Second gentleman Doug Emhoff opened a White Home roundtable on antisemitism Wednesday (Dec. 7) by declaring his steadfast dedication to his Jewish id and to preventing the scourge of hatred towards Jews.

“That is just the start of this dialog,” Emhoff mentioned in ready remarks earlier than the closed-door assembly. “And so long as I’ve this microphone, I’m going to talk out in opposition to hate, bigotry and lies.”

The roundtable follows a rash of public antisemitic statements from celeb artists and athletes, and a dinner at Donald Trump’s Florida membership and residence at which the previous president met with the rapper Ye (previously Kanye West) and white Christian nationalist Nick Fuentes, each of whom have spoken adoringly of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

A dozen Jewish leaders attended the 90-minute assembly within the Eisenhower Government Workplace Constructing subsequent to the White Home. It was described as a type of listening session at which concepts for combating antisemitism had been mentioned.

Susan Rice, President Joe Biden’s prime home coverage adviser, and Keisha Lance Bottoms, the senior adviser for public engagement, ran the assembly alongside Emhoff. Deborah Lipstadt, the particular envoy to fight antisemitism, additionally spoke.

“There was continued concern for security at synagogues and for Orthodox Jews who’re typically topic to assaults, and a want to empower legislation enforcement and fund them higher to sort out these points,” mentioned Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, chief govt of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and of its Rabbinical Meeting.

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Biden didn’t attend the assembly however has condemned antisemitism and not too long ago tweeted: “I simply need to make a couple of issues clear: The Holocaust occurred. Hitler was a demonic determine. And as an alternative of giving it a platform, our political leaders needs to be calling out and rejecting antisemitism wherever it hides. Silence is complicity.”

In September, he convened a White Home summit to deal with the menace extremism poses to varied communities.

At Wednesday’s roundtable, individuals mentioned:

  • Securing assist for the Nonprofit Safety Grant Program, which offers funding for bodily safety enhancements at locations of worship and different nonprofits. The administration has supported a rise from $250 million to $360 million for this system.
  • Including sources and assist for group policing in Jewish neighborhoods. Nathan Diament, govt director for public coverage for the Orthodox Union, spoke of a necessity to raised equip police to forestall assaults akin to these on Orthodox Jews sporting conventional clothes related to the Jewish religion.
  • Supporting the creation of an interagency process power to fight antisemitism as proposed in a Dec. 5 letter by Sens. Jacky Rosen and Jim Lankford, co-chairs of the Senate and Home Bipartisan Process Forces for Combating Antisemitism. Such a process power would possibly encourage a unified nationwide technique on antisemitism at varied authorities places of work.

Additionally attending the roundtable was faculty pupil Julia Jassey, CEO of Jewish on Campus, a 2-year-old group devoted to addressing discrimination in opposition to Jewish college students at U.S. schools.

Jassey advised these gathered that 80% of Jewish college students and alumni have skilled antisemitism, in response to a survey of greater than 500 Jewish college students and up to date graduates that her group sponsored.

“The dedication to having Jewish college students on the desk was unbelievable,” mentioned Jassey, a pupil on the College of Chicago.

These attending the assembly mentioned administration officers heard what they needed to say and appeared dedicated to taking motion.

“This can be a troubling and fraught time and right here you might have senior officers on the highest ranges of presidency addressing this very explicitly,” Diament mentioned. “The antisemites aren’t given help and luxury on the White Home. That’s essential and ought not be minimized.”

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