For the first time, there's a national strategy to counter antisemitism in America as incidents rose to historic levels in 2022.
The Anti-Defamation League reports an increase of 36% over 2021. Now, President Biden and his administration are asking all Americans to join and take action to protect Jewish communities and reverse this alarming trend. The effort involves working with Fortune 500 companies to promote freedom of religion in the workplace.
"Silence is complicity," said President Biden. "We can't remain silent."
While American Jews account for just 2.4% of the U.S. population, FBI statistics show they're the victims of 63% of religiously motivated hate crimes.
Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff is the first-ever husband of a U.S. vice president and the first Jewish spouse of a VP as well. He helped introduce the strategy alongside White House colleagues.
"Right now, anti-Semitic hate crimes in the United States are occurring at the highest rates on record," he said.
Washington's strategy to help counter this hatred has three key goals.
"We must increase awareness and understanding of both antisemitism and Jewish American heritage," said Biden. "Second, we have to improve safety and security for Jewish communities. Thirdly, we must reverse the normalization of antisemitism and address antisemitic discrimination now and loudly."
This strategy also seeks to leverage the fight against other forms of hatred – including discrimination and bias against all religious minorities, race, and gender. Brian Grim, Ph.D and president of the Religious Freedom Business Foundation is Catholic, working closely with the Biden Administration on this. He's teaching Fortune 500 companies how all faiths working in business can build a better world.
"So, by having information that helps people overcome something that they think they know about, but really, it's hard to, unless you put yourself in someone else's shoes, you don't understand how it continues to imply Jews today," said Grim.
While praising the plan overall, Johnnie Moore of JDA Worldwide and the president of the Congress of Christian Leaders says it does raise some questions.
"So, this is like 90% there, but there are a few blind spots in the plan that are curious to people who watch antisemitism," Moore said. "For instance, in the entire plan, you don't see the word Zionist or Zionism or anti-Zionism."
States like Virginia have already implemented strategies to stop the hate. State Attorney General Jason Miyares launched a new task force to monitor and combat antisemitism.
"If you come in and you decide to commit acts of violence or violate anyone's civil rights, you're going to be hearing from the office of the Attorney General in VA very shortly," said AG Miyares. "So, I think that's a critical component is bringing those both in – law enforcement, security division on one page. They can get a clear picture of the depths of the problem that we're seeing right now in Virginia and we're obviously seeing this nationally as well."
This strategy comes when antisemitic harassment is surging in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Five states account for more than half of all incidents. New York leads the pack, followed by California, New Jersey, Florida, and Texas.