President Joe Biden released a first-of-its-kind plan outlining how his administration plans to fight increased antisemitism Wednesday as America faces record levels of violence targeted at Jewish people—and an increase in hate crimes and hate speech broadly.
The administration’s plan has more than 100 elements calling for congressional action—especially with regard to holding social media platforms accountable, local action, improved education around antisemitism and the development of new resources from various nongovernmental organizations on how to best address antisemitism.
The plan calls on Congress to fully fund a budget request of $360 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to increase security in places of worship and to pass legislation requiring social media platforms to do public interest research on the spread of antisemitism.
The release of the plan comes as hate crimes in the U.S.increase at record amounts; earlier this year, the FBI released data showing that from 2020 to 2021, hate crimes increased 11%.
Reports of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. hit record levels in 2022, continuing a five-year upswing in antisemitism, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League.
In a threat assessment released alongside Biden’s plan, the Federal Bureau of Investigation named antisemitism as a “persistent driver” of transnational extremist attacks and warned that an escalation of conflict this year between Israeli forces and Palestinians may inspire some extremists to “pivot toward Jewish or Israeli targets in the United States.” In recent years, there have been mounting fears that the behavior of public figures like former President Donald Trump and rapper Kanye West are normalizing hate, especially against Jewish people. Earlier this week, a 19-year-old from Missouri reportedly carrying a Nazi flag drove a U-Haul truck into security barriers, intending to drive the truck onto the White House grounds. Other recent antisemitic attacks in the U.S. include a 2018 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which 11 people died, and a 2019 shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California, in which one person died.
63%. That’s the percentage of how many religiously motivated hate crimes target American Jews, according to the FBI, despite the group only accounting for 2.4% of the U.S. population.
Biden announced the plan alongside Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, the country’s first Jewish first or second lady or gentlemen. Emhoff has made fighting antisemitism and hate crimes a large piece of his activism during his time in the White House. “I know the fear. I know the pain. I know the anger that Jews are living with because of this epidemic of hate,” Emhoff said at the announcement Thursday.
FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Releases First-Ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism (The White House)
White House releases national strategy to fight antisemitism (The Hill)