The National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism released by the Biden Administration last month represents a groundbreaking and historic milestone, said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.
“It is a historic document that elevates fighting antisemitism to a federal priority like combating climate change or creating economic opportunities,” Greenblatt highlighted, speaking at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Monday.
“This is gargantuan and shouldn't be overlooked,” he added.
Although plan isn't perfect, it presents a blueprint largely shaped by ADL
According to Greenblatt, although the plan isn’t perfect, it presents a blueprint largely shaped by ADL. American Jews should feel “energized about how we are going to hold the White House in government, local government, businesses and civil society accountable.”
ADL data shows that in the past few years, the level of antisemitism in the US has dramatically increased, both in terms of incidents and attitudes.
“The number of antisemitic incidents that we track reached an all- time high last year, the third time in the past five years, and we're at more than 500% compared to a decade ago,” Greenblatt said. “All the data is telling us that we're frogs in a pot that is increasingly getting hotter.”
Greenblatt stressed that there is no room for doubt that anti-Zionism is antisemitism.
“Zionism is essential to Judaism,” he remarked. “Zionism isn't 125 years old, it is 2,000 years old. When protesters say that Zionism is racism, they're not attacking members of the Israeli government, they're attacking the entire Jewish community. Full stop.”
Yet, according to Greenblatt, in order to defeat antisemitism, the focus cannot be just on fighting antisemitism.
“What good is defending our Jewish people, if we don't also focus on strengthening them?” he said. “The best defense is a good offense. We need investments and innovations in Torah literacy, in Jewish education, in embracing Jews of choice, Jews of color and in fighting assimilation.”
Finding the best way to address these questions is the big challenge for the next generation of Jewish leaders, he concluded.