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Politics

At Hanukkah Reception, Biden to Condemn Rising Antisemitism

December 19, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is condemning growing antisemitism in remarks for a Hanukkah reception at the White House that will include a menorah lighting and blessing.

The Democratic president will tell guests at the Monday night event that silence is complicity, according to White House officials, and will add that it’s imperative that hate, violence and antisemitism are condemned.

The holiday celebration comes during a spate of antisemitic episodes. Former President Donald Trump hosted a Holocaust-denying white supremacist at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. The rapper Ye expressed love for Adolf Hitler in an interview. Basketball star Kyrie Irving appeared to promote an antisemitic film on social media. Neo-Nazi trolls are clamoring to return to Twitter as new CEO Elon Musk grants “amnesty” to suspended accounts.

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, tracked 2,717 antisemitic instances of assault, harassment and vandalism last year, a 34% increase over the previous year and the highest number since the New York City-based group began tracking them in 1979.

Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, recently hosted a White House discussion on antisemitism and combating hate with Jewish leaders representing the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox denominations of the faith. At the event, Emhoff, who is Jewish, said he was “in pain right now” over rising antisemitism.

Among those invited to Monday’s White House event are a Holocaust survivor and retired public school teacher, a rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Michele Taylor, who is U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council and the daughter of Holocaust survivors.

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

 

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