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Biden condemns anti-Semitism, celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month

U.S. president touts his administration’s work, calls rise in anti-Semitism ‘unconscionable’

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a Jewish American Heritage Month celebration at the White House in Washington, DC, May 16, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

U.S. President Joe Biden held an event at the White House on Tuesday to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month along with Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff.

At the event, Biden praised “Jewish Americans whose values, culture, and contributions have shaped who we are as a nation.” He also condemned “a marked rise of anti-Semitism” and detailed the steps his administration has taken to combat it.

The president said he will release a strategy to increase awareness of Jewish American contributions to U.S. history and combat anti-Semitism.

Biden said the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. is “unconscionable. It's almost unbelievable. It's despicable.”

“These attacks are a threat to other minority communities as well, but more importantly, it's literally a stain on the soul of America,” he continued.

The president claimed the anti-Semitism displayed at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 is what convinced him to run for president.

When describing his memories of the event, Biden referenced Trump speaking about “very fine people on both sides” and made an association that Trump was referring to the White supremacist group that marched in the rally. Biden claimed that when he heard Trump’s words: “That's when I knew we had to stay engaged in the work of our time.”

PolitiFact, however, released a transcript of Trump’s back-and-forth interaction with a reporter during the Q&A session following Trump’s official remarks. In the transcript, it is clear that Trump’s comments about “very fine people” was made in reference to groups who had supported or protested the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Touting his administration’s achievements, Biden pointed to the appointment of “America's first ambassador-level Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.”

Biden also referred to work that Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, has done to combat anti-Semitism.

In his comments, Emhoff said that Jewish Americans are “achieving at the highest levels of success.”

He said Jewish American ancestors would be proud of the progress made by the Jewish community in America.

“How proud our ancestors would be to see us all here today, after many fled persecution to live their dreams in the United States of America,” Emhoff said. He also praised his wife, saying she “encouraged me to lean into this fight [against anti-Semitism].”

In his concluding remarks, Biden stated that “the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us,” and that it was “been written in part by Jewish Americans who have turned their pain and purpose into bringing us closer to realizing the promise for all Americans.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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