February 23, 2024
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Read the Facts on the US Antisemitism Strategy

On May 25, the United States government issued its first-ever National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. It included definitions, history, characterizations, current status, executive orders, proposals, recommendations and a fact sheet.

The Jewish Link (June 1, 2023) included two articles evaluating the government-issued documents and proposed program. One, beginning on page 13 (clearly labeled op-ed), by Micah Halpern, was generally appreciative of the effort being made. He states that while of course, it’s not going to eliminate Jew-hatred, “it might make a small difference and however small that difference will be, I appreciate the effort that is being made and I hope that others will express their appreciation.” Included in the article were supportive comments by Michael Herzog, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. The headline of the article seemed oddly negative (“Biden’s Antisemitism Strategy Not Enough to End Jew Hatred”). No one expects any plan to end Jew-hatred and the headline certainly does not reflect the generally positive view of the article.

The other article (labeled Analysis) by Jonathan Tobin is on the front page under a banner headline: “WH Spins Antisemitism Strategy.” The first paragraph of the article states that the West Wing is “manipulating Jews.” He goes on to criticize the rollout of the policy, the parties involved in the discussion, how the White House intentionally lowered expectations and that the organized Jewish world was clearly taken in by the orchestration of the White House. There is a seemingly grudging acknowledgment that “there is a lot within the strategy paper that is perfectly fine” but that same paragraph concludes with the statement that those approving it “failed to comprehend that most of what is proposed was utterly without value.” Overall, the Tobin article trashes the policy document.

I am not writing to dispute Tobin’s comments, although I disagree with many of them. What is disturbing to me is the prominence given to this analysis in The Jewish Link whereby readers of the headline piece will be dissuaded to read the policy. The conclusion one gets from the Tobin analysis is that this is just another continuing attempt by the Biden administration to assuage the Jews without harming their relationship with the left wing of the party. The reaction of the reader may well be “Why bother reading it?” (This view is somewhat bolstered by the negative headline to the Halpern piece.) I don’t know if this was the Link’s intent but the result of the placement and publication of the analysis pieces has that effect and that is very unfortunate. I encourage all readers to download the policy and the accompanying fact sheet that describe the policies and actions proposed and those already taken and come to their own conclusions.

Alan Schoffman
Teaneck
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