By Morton A. Klein, ZOA National President
(DECEMBER 9, 2022 / THE FEDERALIST) Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff brought together representatives of a handful of Jewish organizations — notably not the ones who’ve taken issue with Biden policies that hurt Jews and Israel — to discuss Jew-hatred in a Wednesday roundtable on antisemitism. While this roundtable could have been a good first step on antisemitism, the Biden administration must actually walk the walk.
The event was reportedly staffed by White House Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice, advisers Keisha Lance Bottoms, Josh Geltzer, and Shelley Greenspan, and the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt. Groups in attendance included the left-wing Anti-Defamation League and National Council of Jewish Women, the American Jewish Committee, headed by former Democrat Congressman Ted Deutch, representatives of the major religious streams of Judaism, some campus groups, the Jewish Federations, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Yet the Zionist Organization of America, the leading major American Jewish organization unapologetically defending Israel and the Jewish people, was not invited to the roundtable, nor were other organizations that have criticized left-wing antisemitism or President Joe Biden’s dangerous-to-Jews policies, appointees, and supporters.
President Biden tweeted that “silence is complicity” when it comes to Holocaust denial. I agree. Therefore, the Biden administration should immediately and vociferously denounce Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Ph.D. thesis, from a Soviet university, was a denial of the Holocaust that he then expanded into a book. Abbas has repeated this stance numerous times, yet President Biden calls him “my friend.”
The Palestinian Authority pays terrorists to murder Jews and Americans in Israel, and it does so with American taxpayer dollars. This “pay to slay” program awards lifelong stipends to Palestinian Jew-killers or their families; the more Jews they kill, the more money they make. Abiding by American law, the Taylor Force Act, then-President Donald Trump ended direct funding to the Palestinian Authority, but almost as soon as he took office, President Biden found ways to restore that money. You can’t sincerely decry antisemitism if you give money to people who kill Jews.
Furthermore, Abbas himself was reportedly the financier of the 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre in which Israeli athletes and coaches were kidnapped, tortured, and killed. Abbas is not a moderate, but a blood-soaked terrorist — and yet President Biden calls him a “partner” and seeks to increase engagement with his corrupt regime, which has repeatedly rejected offers of statehood made by the Israelis. Abbas should be utterly condemned.
Biden Administration’s Antisemite Staff
Not long ago, President Biden elevated Hady Amr to the position of special envoy to the Palestinians. Amr is notorious for writing, “I was inspired by the Palestinian intifada,” the terror wars in which Palestinian Arab terrorists murdered or maimed 10,000 Jews. If silence on antisemitism is complicity, what is hiring and promoting someone who finds the murder of Jews inspiring?
The Biden administration is staffed up and down, including in important roles, by appointees with varying degrees of animus toward Jews and Israel.
Current U.S. special envoy on Iran Robert Malley has met with Hamas, a U.S.-designated Palestinian terrorist group. Malley helped negotiate then-President Barack Obama’s catastrophic Iran deal, which, in the Biden administration, he has sought to rejoin officially and to unofficially appease Iran at every turn. The nuke-seeking mullahs of Iran, who chant “death to America” as well as “death to Israel,” have sworn to wipe Israel — and the millions of Jews who live there — off the map.
Biden Administration Friendly with Antisemites
Secretary of State Antony Blinken brought Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., to the World Cup in Qatar and, in so doing, the Biden administration is effectively mainstreaming her antisemitism. Omar has compared the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban. Promoting age-old canards that Jews are money-grubbing evildoers who seek to control the world, she has tweeted regarding Israel that “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” and “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Even President Biden’s own antisemitism envoy, Ambassador Lipstadt, who attended the roundtable, has acknowledged that these comments and others accusing American Jews of dual loyalty are antisemitic.
While she didn’t get a free trip to Qatar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has earned explicit praise from Biden, who said, “I tell you what, Rashida — and I want to say to you that I admire your intellect, I admire your passion, and I admire your concern for so many other people.” Those people, apparently, do not include the Jews who live in Israel. Tlaib has retweeted, “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free,” an explicit call for the replacement of Israel with an Arab supremacist terror state, if not a complete genocide of the Jews.
Biden cannot be serious about battling antisemitism when he embraces Jew-haters and allows bigotry against Jews to flourish in the United States. There have been numerous opportunities for the administration to act against the epidemic of physical assaults on Jews and the surge in campus Jew-hatred. Jewish Americans are, per capita, targeted in more hate crimes than any other group of people. Nearly two-thirds of Jewish college students feel unsafe on campus and half feel the need to hide their Jewish identity.
The Zionist Organization of America led the charge for including Jewish students under the protections of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act; in fact, we were alone for much of that battle. More than any other organization, our Center for Law and Justice has filed cases and engaged educational entities through the legal process to battle Jew-hatred under Title VI, while the Biden administration ignores its application to Jews. Any serious effort to combat antisemitism would benefit from our expertise.
Antisemitism is possibly the one position right-wing and left-wing extremists agree on. Biden must take real action, not try to score partisan points. Politicizing the suffering of the Jewish people is inexcusable.
Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America and is widely regarded as one of the leading Jewish activists in the United States.
This article was originally published in The Federalist and can be viewed here.