Bend the Arc CEO Jamie Beran: “White House Antisemitism Strategy Recognizes That A Future Free From Antisemitism Is A Future Where All People Are Free And Safe”
Responding to the White House Antisemitism Strategy released today, CEO Jamie Beran released the following statement:
“We all deserve to be safe while we walk down the streets of our neighborhoods or through the doors of our holy spaces. I’m heartened that the Biden administration has made dismantling antisemitism a national priority, and we applaud the White House for bringing in and hearing from a diverse range of voices from the Jewish community as part of the consultative process.
“This strategy recognizes that antisemitism is a key part of the machinery white supremacists and violent authoritarians use – together with anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, transphobia and many other forms of discrimination and hate-based violence – to undermine our democracy and build their own power. The solution cannot address antisemitism in isolation, nor rely on definitions and defensiveness. Instead, it must recognize how antisemitism is deeply connected to these other forms of violent bigotry and commit to addressing them together, across lines of religious and racial difference.
“Bend the Arc advocated strongly for a strategy which focuses on education, violence prevention, community networks, and joint action across communities, and we applaud the White House for prioritizing these approaches. It is the right choice for the strategy to safeguard civil and human rights principles, including freedom of speech, which protect all Americans, including our Jewish community.
“Understanding antisemitism is critical, and Bend the Arc trains stakeholders to understand this sometimes confusing form of bigotry. Rather than aiding this goal, the singular focus of some in the Jewish community to codify the IHRA definition into law or policy is an unnecessary and potentially harmful distraction from the real work of dismantling antisemitism. While we would have liked definitions to be left out of this strategy entirely, we’re pleased that the Biden Administration has rejected the idea that government agencies should adopt the IHRA definition as authoritative policy or that it is the sole guide to antisemitism. The robust arguments around this issue has made it clear the IHRA definition is one of many and there is a wide spectrum of opinion among the American Jewish community as to which definition is best, but none is essential in order to do the important work of dismantling antisemitism.
“A future free from antisemitism is one in which all people, regardless of our races, religions or genders, are free and safe. We applaud the White House for this important step toward that future.”
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action is uniting a movement of tens of thousands of progressive Jews across the country who are fighting for justice and equality for all. We are the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on social change in the United States.
In February, Bend the Arc submitted a memo to the White House, which consolidated a decade of learning about fighting antisemitism as the largest American Jewish social justice organization that is focused exclusively on domestic policy issues.