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Revolutionary National Plan Launched to Combat Antisemitism



Anti-Jewish bigotry and hate has reached such epidemic proportion in the U.S. that a first-ever strategy to combat antisemitism was announced by the White House to confront this malicious, age-old hatred.

The groundbreaking U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism released by President Biden on May 25 tackles the growing threats to the American Jewish community. The historic plan presents a comprehensive, four-pillar strategy for identifying and combatting hatred against Jews and offers extensive actions to prevent future attacks.


There are clearly some areas that are lacking, as the national strategy is an aspirational document and does not carry any legal weight, to the disappointment of some American Jews and supporting organizations. While the importance of the document and many of its recommendations cannot be overstated, it does not mandate the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, already accepted across many departments of the federal government and 40 other countries, as the most definitive and authoritative definition of antisemitism.


The announcement of the nationwide plan came only days before the trial of the Tree of Life Synagogue mass murderer began. The massacre of 11 Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh was the worst attack against Jews on U.S. soil in the country’s history.


The ongoing assaults against American Jews – shootings of Jewish worshippers, beatings of Orthodox Jews on NY streets and intimidation of Zionist students on campus – cry out for improving the safety and security of Jewish communities. The White House strategy calls on all levels of government, law enforcement and civil rights groups to work together to design and implement community-based violence intervention and prevention programs. Local businesses are asked to aid local communities where hate crimes are rampant.


High-profile celebrities and public officials are amplifying this vicious hatred and spreading it across social media – normalizing anti-Jewish discrimination. The new strategy appeals to all Americans – especially elected officials, entertainers, influencers and business leaders – to “speak out loudly and clearly” against anti-Jewish conduct.


University campuses have become hotbeds of hate, with anti-Jewish incidents are becoming common at all educational levels. Swastikas are routinely found, Jewish dorm rooms vandalized and students targeted for supporting the Jewish state. Recently, a swastika was carved into the back of a Jewish high school student in Las Vegas.


One-third of Jewish university students personally experienced an act of online or physical violence and more than half feel unfairly judged because of their Jewish identity, according to a recent study. Local Jewish organizations in California are continuing to fight for the inclusion of minority Jewish experiences in ethnic studies curriculum while preventing students from being taught to equate Jews and Israel with bigotry and racism. The strategy calls on schools and universities to “treat antisemitism with the same seriousness as other forms of hate,” create task forces to address campus antisemitism and ensure the rights of Jewish students.


The national plan also focuses on community solidarity and awareness of Jewish American Heritage and antisemitism. The White House is launching the Ally Challenge to create cooperative action with leaders in Jewish, Muslim and other faith-based communities. President Biden also requests that employers ensure that diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility programs include “antisemitism awareness and training, as well as workplace religious accommodation requirements.”


For the first time, eight federal agencies – including the departments of agriculture, housing and transportation – will recognize Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on shared ancestry in federally funded programs and activities.


Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations CEO William Daroff was “deeply troubled” that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was consulted and acknowledged as “anything other than as an organization that definitively traffics in antisemitic tropes and propounds policies of anti-Zionism that are antisemitic.”


Bipartisan members of Congress and many Jewish organizations strongly supported the antisemitism report. The American Zionist Movement views the report as “a key governmental instrument to help us all fight Anti-Zionism and all forms of antisemitism.” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt recognized that “this strategy comprehensively addresses hate and antisemitism on campus, online, and from extremists on both the far-right and the far-left.” Despite his reservations, Daroff expressed “deep gratitude for these crucial measures aimed at fostering a climate of inclusivity and tolerance.”


Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro reflected: “I was sworn in on a Bible from the Tree of Life Synagogue – the site of the deadliest act of antisemitism in U.S. history. That moment shows that progress is possible in this country.”


1. The strategy’s ‘calls to action’ must be implemented, not merely talked about

The historic White House strategy explicitly advocates for “actions to counter antisemitism.” Defining antisemitism and planning steps to counter the world’s oldest hatred are only the first steps in eliminating anti-Jewish hate. These calls to action are meaningless if the White House, elected officials at all levels of government, business leaders, celebrities, sports leagues, cultural institutions – all Americans – fail to act. All forms of antisemitic discrimination, violence, targeting and bigotry must be confronted with concrete actions. There are a range of resources and Jewish organizations devoted to countering anti-Jewish bigotry and promoting Jewish history, religion and culture that can be consulted by individuals and groups.

2. The U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism is historic

“Do you have a bag packed?” is a timeless question many Jews have faced over millennia. It is a symbol of the need to be ready in case anti-Jewish attacks are so prevalent that Jews feel they need to flee. The White House’s Report is necessary at this time of extreme urgency in the American Jewish community. Jews are increasingly fearful about their future in a country where Jews have called home for hundreds of years. In an ideal world, this Report would be unnecessary; it is the first-of-its-kind. Unfortunately, attacks against Jews continue to rise, forcing many Jews to hide their identity because they are afraid of being the next target. These calls to action could prove to be a turning point against the rampant spread of antisemitism.


3. The national strategy is only a beginning

Many American Jews and supporting organizations believe the strategy does not go far enough in addressing the multiple fronts of antisemitism. The plan’s failure to take a stand and fully endorse the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, when it is already so widely accepted, has left many leaders of the Jewish community dissatisfied. Because it is not a legal document, it does not mandate specific actions to fight anti-Jewish bigotry and does not measure up to previous administration executive orders. The ADL is on record disagreeing with the decision to consult with CAIR, which has promoted policies of anti-Zionism.


A. Americans must speak out against the normalization of anti-Jewish hate, not remain silent

When you see or hear someone spewing anti-Jewish vile or making threats against Jews whether in person or on social media, alert the proper authorities. Americans must confront all forms of anti-Jewish hatred. A long history of silent ‘bystanders’ did not speak up or intervene when Jews were targeted. Today’s bystanders fuel antisemitism, and their silence has not served Jews well. Americans carry a civic responsibility to take a forceful stance against antisemitism. Verbal and physical assaults against Jews must be called out quickly – on campus or in the workplace, on social media or in conversations. Visit to learn more about how to quickly respond to antisemitic events.

B. You can make a difference!

You do not need to be a celebrity, politician or CEO to take a stand against antisemitism. Everyone can make a difference. The first step is to educate yourself and become more knowledgeable about the most important issues affecting American Jews. This includes becoming familiar with the strategy's highlights. You can become an influencer by talking with family, friends or coworkers, or posting on social media. This is your opportunity to help reach and teach someone – creating a united front against antisemitism and other forms of hatred and discrimination.

C. Build coalitions across all communities to fight hatred

Hatred against Jews isn’t just a problem for Jews, and hatred against Jews isn’t the only form of hatred. Bigoted rhetoric targets many minority communities. Jews must create and fortify alliances with other ethnic and religious groups. Hands of mutual support must reach across barriers that have the power to either divide or unify us. America needs more than a minority to condemn hatred. When Jews and their allies stand together against the hate mongers who seek to disparage and destroy us and our friends, we form a mighty majority. What starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.

D. Ask your Congressional representatives to implement the National Strategy

Demand that elected officials, law enforcement, the media and civil society take an active stance against Jew hatred. Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators to take the actions outlined in the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.


Hatred of Jews in America

  • For second year in a row, CUNY School of Law students select anti-Israel activist to deliver commencement speech: speaker’s references to “investors” and “Zionists” are code words for Jews, links Jewish state to racism and imperialism in slanderous anti-Israel rant
  • Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting trial opens with harrowing 911 call of victim’s last words
  • NY man sentenced to two months in jail for physically attacking Jewish man wearing IDF sweatshirt, also called him and his friend “dirty Jews”
  • Chabad Jewish organization vehicle torched in suspected anti-Israel arson attack
  • Chabad at Univ. of California at Santa Barbara targeted with anti-Israel graffiti before Friday night Shabbat dinner
  • Jew hating bigots crash Sacramento City Council meeting, plunging it into chaos

Stories Impacting the U.S. and Israel

The Focus Project develops and distributes news, background, history and weekly talking points on timely issues to inform individuals and organizations about issues affecting the American Jewish community and Israel, and help readers speak with more consistency and clarity. The editions also provide potential responses for addressing incidents of Jew hatred and anti-Zionism. With input from a spectrum of major American Jewish organizations, we focus on that which unites us, rising above political and individual agendas.

Recognizing that Jew hatred comes in many forms and directions, we strive to address all sources as they arise, and educate our growing audience on topics ranging from inter-religious relations to relevant international developments. From week to week, we may focus on issues arising from the political left, university campuses, from the political right and from institutions, government, and corporations. We don’t try to address all issues in each edition. We hope you will find this information useful in your writing and/or speaking. We are always open to your feedback: [email protected].

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