Biden condemns anti-Semitism at Hanukkah event

Washington –

President Joe Biden on Monday expressed alarm at growing anti-Semitism in the United States and around the globe, vowing to combat the scourge.

Speaking to guests gathered for the Hanukkah reception at the White House, Biden said “silence is complicity” and added that the nation must condemn hate, violence and anti-Semitism.

“This year’s Hanukkah comes at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise and strong in the country – and quite frankly, around the world,” Biden said. “I recognize your fear, your vulnerability, your anxiety that this vile and venomous is becoming all too common.”

The president added: “I will not be silent. America will not be silent.”

The holiday celebration took place in a series of protests. Former President Donald Trump hosted a white supremacist who denied the Holocaust at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. Rapper Ye expressed his love for Adolf Hitler in an interview. Basketball star Kyrie Irving appeared to promote an anti-Semitic film on social media. Neo-Nazi trolls are calling for a return to Twitter as new CEO Elon Musk “pardons” suspended accounts.

“Today, we must all say clearly and forcefully: Anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred and violence in this country have no safe harbor in America,” Biden said.

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, tracked 2,717 cases of anti-Semitic attacks, harassment and vandalism last year, up 34% from the previous year and a high number most since the New York City-based group began tracking them last year. 1979.

Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, recently hosted a White House discussion on anti-Semitism and fighting hate with Jewish leaders representing the Reform denominations. , Conservative and Orthodox. At the event, Emhoff, a Jew, said he was “in great pain” because of the growing anti-Semitism.

Among those invited to Monday’s White House event was Bronia Brandman, Holocaust survivor; Michele Taylor, US ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council and daughter of Holocaust survivors; and Avigael Heschel-Aronson, niece of Jewish theologian Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Also present was a rabbi, Charlie Cytron-Walker, who tried to get his parishioners to safety during a synagogue hostage crisis earlier this year. He credits the security training his suburban Fort Worth, Texas congregation received over the years to get him and three other hostages through the 11-hour traumatic ordeal.

At the White House celebration, he noted that anti-Semitism is a growing problem in the US but expressed his thanks because many Americans – including Biden – are speaking out.

“Anti-Semitism may be on the rise, but thank God everyone is on our side,” said Cytron-Walker, now rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

A menorah has been added to this year’s White House holiday collection, lit nightly during the eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah. White House carpenters built the menorah out of sterling silver candle cups and retained wood from a Truman-era renovation.

While the White House has borrowed special memos in the past, Biden said additions were necessary.

“This year we think it’s important to celebrate Hanukkah with a different message of meaning, longevity,” Biden said. “America’s promise is that we are all born equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives.”

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