Ahead of White House extremism summit, ADL CEO sounds antisemitism alarm

The event came together because after the shooting at the Buffalo supermarket, ADL, along with a coalition of organizations, called for the White House to organize the summit.

 Jonathan Greenblatt attends Urban League Fights for You Rally on Civil Rights, Hate Crimes, Women's Rights & Economic Justice on July 20, 2022 in Washington, DC.  (photo credit: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for National Urban League)
Jonathan Greenblatt attends Urban League Fights for You Rally on Civil Rights, Hate Crimes, Women's Rights & Economic Justice on July 20, 2022 in Washington, DC.
(photo credit: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for National Urban League)

WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden will host the United We Stand Summit at the White House on Thursday to discuss ways to “counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety.”

The summit will include a bipartisan group “of federal, state and local officials, civil rights groups, faith and community leaders, technology and business leaders, law enforcement officials, former members of violent hate groups who now work to prevent violence, gun violence prevention leaders, media representatives and cultural figures,” the White House said in a statement.

After the mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket earlier this year, several groups, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), reached out to Biden, urging him to hold a summit on domestic extremism.

“ADL has been looking at these issues for decades, since 1979. I think the first thing to note is that something is certainly going on. Last year’s numbers were the highest we’ve ever seen.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt

“ADL has been looking at these issues for decades, since 1979,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told The Jerusalem Post. “I think the first thing to note is that something is certainly going on. Last year’s numbers were the highest we’ve ever seen.”

“The FBI tracks general hate crimes,” he said. “They get information from law-enforcement agencies, and they tracked a 6% increase in 2020. It was the highest total in 12 years, so something is definitely going on.”

Buffalo shooting suspect Payton S. Gendron appears in court accused of killing 10 people in a supermarket earlier this month. How did some purported experts link this Jew-hater’s Great Replacement theory rants to a Zionist ‘opposition to the Palestinian right of return’?  (credit: REUTERS)Buffalo shooting suspect Payton S. Gendron appears in court accused of killing 10 people in a supermarket earlier this month. How did some purported experts link this Jew-hater’s Great Replacement theory rants to a Zionist ‘opposition to the Palestinian right of return’? (credit: REUTERS)

“The fact that the White House is organizing this is important and a sign that they take this very seriously,” Greenblatt said. “It’s the first time in decades that anything like this has happened at the White House.”

“It is getting the attention of the president, the vice president, members of the cabinet; I think that’s very meaningful,” he said.

Buffalo shooting inspires calls for White House extremism summit

The event came together because after the shooting at the Buffalo supermarket, ADL, along with a coalition of organizations, called for the White House to organize the summit, Greenblatt said.

But it’s worth noting that the shooter went into the Buffalo supermarket, as he was motivated by the ‘great replacement theory,’ the conspiracy theory that claims that Jews are trying to commit white genocide,” he said. “And it led to the murder of 10 Black people at the Tops supermarket.”

“So as these conspiracy theories keep growing, we need a ‘whole of society’ strategy,” he added. “And that’s why I think this summit is so important – not just the government. They’re convening mayors and governors and elected representatives and organizations from civil society, and they’re businesses. It’s really going to be a broad-based effort.”

“We’ve seen intense political polarization, with both sides weaponizing antisemitism for partisan gain,” Greenblatt said. “We’ve seen a normalization of extremism, using the Holocaust as a prop to make points about COVID-19. We are seeing it on the Right from election denying to the QAnon conspiracies, and you’re also seeing the growth of radical anti-Zionism from the Left – attacks on the Jewish state that demonize and dehumanize all Jews.”