The recent unveiling of the Biden Administration’s National Strategy to counter antisemitism, a moment of profound significance in American policy discourse, has instead left many in the Jewish community, including me, feeling deeply frustrated. Despite the potential for this to be a pivotal opportunity to take decisive action against the rising tide of antisemitism in America, the Administration has fallen noticeably short, displaying a bias toward anti-Israel organizations like American Muslims for Palestine and the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR) that undercuts their efforts to effectively address antisemitism.
The need for a substantive and effective strategy cannot be overstated. American Jews, constituting a meager 2.4% of the U.S. population, are subject to an alarming 63% of reported religiously-motivated hate crimes. These disturbing figures paint a stark picture of the landscape of hate crimes against Jews in America, one that should have prompted a comprehensive response from our leaders that didn’t cozy up to anti-Israel groups. The Administration wouldn’t have consulted with white supremacist groups about a national strategy to combat racism.
The most outrageous part of the Biden Administration’s strategy is its reluctance to define antisemitism. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism is the gold-standard and is accepted by no fewer than 39 countries and over 1,000 global entities. Regrettably, the Biden Administration decided to sidestep this opportunity out of fear of upsetting the radical left, a move that even the Obama administration considered too radical, leaving a dangerous vacuum that will allow left-wing antisemitism to persist and potentially worsen. This decision emboldens those who adhere to the fringe “Nexus Document,” an alternative definition that erroneously contends that not all opposition to Zionism or unequal treatment of Israel is antisemitic.
Another deeply troubling piece is the strategy’s failure to recognize anti-Zionism as a manifestation of antisemitism. By circumventing the intrinsic link between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, the Biden Administration has provided a cover for those who wish to promulgate anti-Israel sentiments under the guise of free speech, allowing the Israel haters to continue spewing their dangerous rhetoric.
The selection of the Council on American-Islamic Relations as a partner in the strategy raises even more questions about its credibility and efficacy. CAIR has a long history of antisemitism, a fact that casts a shadow over the Administration’s decision to include them in this plan. Couple this questionable decision with the ill-timed release of the strategy on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, and it is hard to escape the impression that the Administration has opted to prioritize political posturing over the pressing need for genuine, meaningful action against antisemitism.
It is clear that the Administration has caved to pressure from anti-Israel organizations. By not adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism and by failing to recognize anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism, the Administration has not only abandoned the mainstream Jewish community but has also embarked on a concerning trajectory. This new direction indicates a shift in policy, suggesting that the White House could turn away from traditional Jewish institutions in favor of anti-Zionist organizations on other matters critical to the Jewish community, such as support for Israel’s life-saving Iron Dome system. This shift is more than just a misstep – it signifies an abdication of the responsibility to protect Jewish communities from antisemitic hatred.
The Administration’s strategy to counter antisemitism, unfortunately, misses the mark. To genuinely confront antisemitism, we need a clear definition of what it is, an understanding that Zionism is an integral part of Jewish identity, and a sincere commitment to challenging antisemitic narratives, no matter the political pressures from the far-left. Without these critical elements, any strategy will be insufficient. It is only with this level of sincere commitment and understanding that we can hope to genuinely confront and effectively counter antisemitism in all its forms.
Dr. Sheila Nazarian is an accomplished Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who starred in her popular Emmy-nominated Netflix series “Skin Decision.” She is also the founder of NazarianSkin, a line of medical-grade skincare products. Dr. Nazarian, who escaped from Iran, built her business from the ground up and inspires other entrepreneurs to do the same through The Nazarian Institute, a conference to help entrepreneurs to ThinkBIG!: Branding, Innovation, and Growth.
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