Biden calls rise in antisemitic attacks 'despicable, unconscionable, un-American'
The president said he won't let Americans be attacked "because of who they are."
President Joe Biden is condemning a rise in antisemitic attacks across the United States as "despicable, unconscionable, un-American," saying they "must stop."
"I will not allow our fellow Americans to be intimidated or attacked because of who they are or the faith they practice," he said in a blistering statement on Friday. "We cannot allow the toxic combination of hatred, dangerous lies, and conspiracy theories to put our fellow Americans at risk."
In the wake of the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas, antisemitic attacks have increased, with the Anti-Defamation League warning of a "dangerous and drastic surge in anti-Jewish hate right here at home."
The ADL says preliminary data shows that during the two weeks of conflict between Israel and Hamas, reported antisemitic incidents increased by 75%, from 127 to 222, compared with the two weeks before the fighting began.
"Many of these incidents appear to have been perpetrated by individuals scapegoating American Jews for the actions of the Israeli government," they said.
In his statement, Biden pointed to threats of families at museums in Florida and Alaska and a restaurant in Los Angeles, a swastika etched into a door of a synagogue in Salt Lake City, and a brick thrown through the window of a Jewish-owned business in Manhattan.
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington also released a powerful letter on Friday from 50 Holocaust survivors, urging public leaders to reject antisemitism and "the misuse of the Holocaust in our national discourse."
"We are seeing an alarming confluence of events that we never imagined we would witness in our adopted homeland," they said. "We cannot remain silent in the wake of the recent antisemitic attacks in cities and towns across the country. We know firsthand the danger of unchecked antisemitism."
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Thursday several steps that the Department of Justice will take to combat hate crimes. They include increasing resources and coordination, facilitating expedited reviews of hate crimes and designating civil and criminal assistant U.S. attorneys as local civil rights coordinators.
Those changes will help the DOJ implement the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which addresses the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
"In recent days, we have seen that no community is immune," Biden said in his statement. "We must all stand together to silence these terrible and terrifying echoes of the worst chapters in world history, and pledge to give hate no safe harbor."