‘He Blew It’: Jewish Groups Hammer Biden While White House Pushes Islamophobia Scare After Hamas Attack

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
Font Size:

Some Jewish Americans aren’t thrilled with the White House’s response to a surge in antisemitism following the terrorist organization Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack against Israel.

Amid Israel’s war against Hamas, the United States has seen a spike in antisemitic incidents, particularly on college campuses, where students projected phrases like “Free Palestine From The River To The Sea” and “Glory To Our Martyrs” onto a building while others signed statements blaming Israel for the Hamas slaughter. While the White House has been quick to condemn antisemitism, Jewish advocacy organizations told the Daily Caller that President Joe Biden and his administration have done little to actually stop such hate. (RELATED: Kirby, KJP Shoot Down Idea Of Deporting Foreigners Attending Pro-Hamas Protests)

“We see an antisemitism, let’s call it a Jew-hatred, crisis on America’s college campuses and in the streets of its cities,” Stephen M. Flatow, the president of Religious Zionists of America, told the Daily Caller. “So far, all we’ve seen is talk and no actions taken against any of its perpetrators. Free speech is one thing, of course. But, inciting to violence by calling for intifada, spouting ‘gas the Jews,’ and a ‘free Palestine from the river to the sea,’ is a criminal act. But one that goes without punishment.”

While the White House has tried to respond to the rise in antisemitism, the administration has faced backlash for frequently looping in Islamophobia to its response to Jewish hate. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was forced to do cleanup in October after responding to a question about antisemitism by pointing to “hate-fueled attacks” against Muslims. Jean-Pierre told Politico that she “misheard” the question, causing her response.

“I’ll give the press secretary a pass on her inability to understand the question she was asked,” Flatow told the Daily Caller.

During the tidal wave of antisemitism sweeping the country this Fall, the White House announced the first-ever national strategy to counter Islamophobia. Biden previously unveiled the first-ever national strategy to counter antisemitism in May.

While touting the White House’s work to counter antisemitism, Jean-Pierre added that the administration stands against all hate, a segue that allowed the press secretary to begin to highlight the administration’s actions taken to combat Islamophobia. While condemning other world leaders for failing to denounce antisemitism, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby used his time during a press briefing to add that the same goes for Islamophobia.

The Department of Education announced a variety of resources on Nov. 14 amid the Israel-Hamas war to push back not only on antisemitism in schools, but Islamophobia as well. Shortly thereafter, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened several investigations into both K-12 schools and universities for alleged “antisemitism, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab” discrimination.

As the White House continues to speak out against Jewish hate, Flatow told the Daily Caller he has not received much assistance from the administration.

I’ve reached out to the Biden Admin’s antisemitism envoy on three occasions, none of which drew a response from Ambassador Lipstadt. Just last week, Amb. Lipstadt repeated figures provided to her by CAIR, a pro-Hamas group, on increase in Islamophobic events. It’s the same silliness that Western news sources quote Hamas Ministry of Health statistics.”

Biden could have done more earlier in the year but he missed the opportunity, Sam Markstein, the national political director and communications director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told the Daily Caller.

“By not exclusively using the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism – the definition favored by mainstream Jewish organizations across the political spectrum – in his long-promised national strategy to counter antisemitism, unveiled earlier this summer, President Biden failed to define the problem because of pressure from the anti-Israel left. The IHRA definition is indispensable because it recognizes that criticism of Israel is antisemitic when it delegitimizes, demonizes, or applies double standards to Israel.”

Markstein added that the administration promoted the IHRA definition alongside an alternative definition, which he claimed said “applying double standards and singling out the Jewish state for criticism is not antisemitic.” The national strategy to counter anti-semitism was set to be unveiled in December 2022 but was delayed after there was disagreements among Jewish leaders over how “antisemitism” should be defined, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

“This decision seriously weakened the White House’s strategy and was yet another deeply disappointing instance of President Biden caving to anti-Israel radicals who constitute a growing Democratic constituency at both the elected and grassroots levels,” Markstein told the Daily Caller.

Other Jewish Americans have applauded how the administration has handled the rise in antisemitism. The American Jewish Congress told the Daily Caller that it is necessary that the White House also bring up Islamophobia amid the Israel-Hamas war. 

“While addressing antisemitism, it is important for the White House to confront Islamophobia and other manifestations of hatred,” Jack Rosen, the president of the American Jewish Congress, told the Daily Caller. “As we know far too well from our experience, the historical pattern indicates that deep-seated animosity towards any minority group often translates into prejudice against Jews.”

While Jewish Americans remain divided on how the White House is responding to hatred, Markstein stressed that the time for Biden to take a strong position has passed.

“Joe Biden had a chance to take a strong stand against antisemitism, and he blew it,” Markstein said.