Ahead of National Strategy Launch VP Harris Says She is ‘Deeply Concerned’ About Rising Antisemitism

Ahead of National Strategy Launch VP Harris Says She is ‘Deeply Concerned’ About Rising Antisemitism

Andrew Bernard

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during an event with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as part of the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit, in Washington, U.S., May 13, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday addressed the leaders of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (Jewish Dems), telling the group that they are not alone in the fight against antisemitism as the Biden administration prepares to unveil its national strategy to combat antisemitism.

“It is also important to remind people that they are not alone,” Harris said. “And that we all stand together and that it is a sign of our collective strength to say no one will be made to fight alone. And so that’s how I think about this moment. I will tell you, I am deeply concerned about what we are seeing in our country in terms of hate, and in particular antisemitism.”

The forthcoming antisemitism plan will include more than 100 “meaningful actions” for the government and that was drafted partly under the leadership of Vice President Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff, who is Jewish.

“[The Second Gentleman] said and talks about – in particular with young people – about the importance of of living openly as a Jew,” Harris said Wednesday. “It’s really so important for people to hear those words and understand what that means.”

Harris’ remarks are the latest in a series of comments from senior Biden administration officials indicative of their focus on combatting antisemitism. President Biden has called antisemitism a “stain on the soul of America” and a “scourge” that must be stopped. In preparing its strategy to combat antisemitism, the Biden administration has also met with lawmakers and sought input from national Jewish organizations.

Harris, on Wednesday, went on to quote Corretta Scott King in saying that freedom must be earned and won by every generation.

“I think what she was saying is understanding it is the nature of it all,” Harris said. “Let us not be overwhelmed. Let us not be living in a state of fear. Let us not throw up our hands when it’s time to roll up our sleeves.”

Harris cited Jewish Dems efforts in the 2022 midterms as an example of those efforts.

“It was supposed to be this ‘wave’ – they said it was just a foregone conclusion,” she said of the election, which saw Republicans take a narrow majority in the House of Representatives and fail to take the Senate. “Well, it didn’t happen because we were not willing to sit back and let it happen and created a counter force that was based on fighting for our ideals, not fighting against anything, fighting for something.”

Jewish Dems CEO Halie Soifer in a statement said that she and her organization would be taking that attitude into the 2024 election.

“We’re rolling up our sleeves to win the battle for the soul of our nation by ensuring the President and Vice President remain in the White House and that Democrats win the House and Senate in 2024,” she said.

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