“We have seen a brick thrown through window of a Jewish-owned business in Manhattan, a swastika carved into the door of a synagogue in Salt Lake City, families threatened outside a restaurant in Los Angeles, and museums in Florida and Alaska, dedicated to celebrating Jewish life and culture and remembering the Holocaust, vandalized with anti-Jewish messages,” Biden said in a statement.
Police this week are investigating the vandalism of a Florida Holocaust museum, where someone spray painted “Jews are guilty” on the wall.
“These attacks are despicable, unconscionable, un-American, and they must stop,” the president said. “I will not allow our fellow Americans to be intimidated or attacked because of who they are or the faith they practice. We cannot allow the toxic combination of hatred, dangerous lies, and conspiracy theories to put our fellow Americans at risk.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported on May 20 that in the week since the conflict in the Middle East began, there were 193 reports of anti-Semitic incidents. The fighting between Israel and Hamas came to a stop after more than 200 deaths over 11 days last Friday.
The ADL found 2,100 anti-Semitic acts of assault, vandalism and harassment. In the days following the outbreak of violence, ADL found over 17,000 tweets with variations of the phrase, “Hitler was right.”
Biden pointed to an announcement from Attorney General Merrick Garland that the Department of Justice is increasing resources and adding personnel to combat hate crimes.
Garland recently became emotional as he described his own family’s experience fleeing anti-Semitism.
The most recent dustup in the Middle East has underlined a growing divide within the Democratic Party between the pro-and anti-Israel faction, while some maintain that being anti-Zionist doesn’t make them anti-Semitic.
Biden, along with Democrats like House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., have supported Israel’s right to defend itself and explicitly called out Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has accused Israel of “terrorism,” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Cori Bush, D-Mo., have called it an “apartheid state,” and others have taken aim at the Biden administration’s policy toward Israel. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a resolution to block a $735 million arms deal with Israel and condemned funding for the Jewish state.
“We must also take a hard look at nearly $4 billion a year in military aid to Israel. It is illegal for U.S. aid to support human rights violations,” Sanders, who is Jewish, wrote on Twitter.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D- N.Y., who is also Jewish, has condemned anti-Semitic attacks but has been markedly quiet on the fighting in Israel and Gaza.