FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2023
Contact: Mor Greenberg
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (“Orthodox Union”) – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – applauded the release by The White House of its “National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.”
In December 2022, acknowledging a disturbing and consistent surge in antisemitism in the United States, President Biden directed senior White House staff to develop this strategy. The effort was co-chaired by Domestic Policy Director Susan Rice and Homeland Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff also playing a significant leading role. Orthodox Union leaders provided significant input to the task force as it developed the National Strategy. Nathan Diament, Orthodox Union Executive Director for Public Policy, participated in several meetings and submitted written memoranda and many other conversations. After an initial review of the National Strategy document released today by The White House, Orthodox Union leaders issued the following statements: Mitchel Aeder, President of the Orthodox Union, stated: “The promise of America is for people of all faiths to live safely and securely as full citizens of this nation. The scourge of antisemitism is anathema to this basic American value. We thank President Biden for undertaking this effort and pray that the National Strategy will help curtail further manifestations of antisemitism.” Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union, stated: “We applaud President Biden for initiating this critical effort to combat antisemitism and support the right of American Jews to practice our faith free from fear. From the President’s repeated clear denunciations of antisemitism to his appointment of Amb. Deborah Lipstadt at the State Department to this National Strategy, which presents an unprecedented whole of government effort and which goes beyond the symbolic to concrete action, President Biden has been strong in his support of the Jewish community.” Nathan Diament, Executive Director for Public Policy, stated: We are very grateful to President Biden for initiating this important effort and for the dedication and seriousness that Second Gentleman Emhoff, Amb. Rice, Dr. Sherwood-Randal, and Administration staffers across the Executive Branch brought to bear. The resulting “whole of government” approach is, unfortunately, what we need right now, given the reality of rising antisemitism in the United States. We look forward to reviewing the plan even more closely in the coming days and working with the Administration to aggressively implement its action items.
Today, we note and commend the National Strategy for the following:
- Recognizing the “working definition of antisemitism” as developed by the IHRA (Int’l Holocaust Remembrance Assn.) as the most prominent, valuable definition of Antisemitism as the Orthodox Union and other leading Jewish representatives urged.
- Calling for the highest ever funding level – $360 million – for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) administered by the Dept. of Homeland Security. These grants, whose creation the Orthodox Union spearheaded more than 15 years ago, are the bulwark to keep our synagogues, schools, and other institutions safe.
- Calling for a range of initiatives to increase awareness and understanding of antisemitism, these initiatives are to be led by the Dept. of Labor and Small Business Administration for American workplaces, the Dept. of Education and the NEH for schools and cultural institutions, and more.
- Calling for actions to reverse the normalization of antisemitism and promote accommodations for Jews in various contexts, including the Dept. of Justice and EEOC promoting awareness of federal laws requiring religious accommodations in the workplace and schools
- Calling for the Dept. of Agriculture to expand access to kosher (and halal) foods in its food assistance programs and for the Dept. of Health & Human Svcs. to do the same in the context of its welfare programs.
- Calling for Congress to undertake actions to hold social media platforms more accountable and more transparent in ways that will reduce the spread of antisemitism, including a modification to Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act.
The Orthodox Union also commends the President and the leaders of this effort at The White House for their commitment to rapidly implement this National Strategy by setting concrete deadlines for its proposed actions and tasking an Interagency Group to pursue implementation. We look forward to continuing to review the National Strategy and to working with President Biden and his team to serve our community and the nation at large as we strive to stamp out antisemitism and all forms of bigotry.