Biden: 'Too many people forget the horrors of the Holocaust and the horrors of October 7'

The U.S. president, at an event memorializing those killed in the Holocaust held at the Capitol, decried antisemitism; 'This hatred (of Jews) continues to lie deep in the hearts of too many people in the world and requires our continued vigilance and outspokenness'

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned that the threat of antisemitism is growing, in remarks honoring the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, as his support for Israel's assault on Gaza divides his Democratic Party.
"Never again simply translated for me means: Never forget. Never forgetting means we must keep telling the story, we must keep teaching the truth," Biden said as he addressed a bipartisan memorial held at the U.S. Capitol's Emancipation Hall. "The truth is we're at risk of people not knowing the truth."
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נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן
נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן
US President Joe Biden
(Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Biden spoke seven months to the day after the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200, in what Biden has called the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.
"This hatred (of Jews) continues to lie deep in the hearts of too many people in the world and requires our continued vigilance and outspokenness," Biden said.
"Now here we are, not 75 years later, but just seven and a half months later, and people are already forgetting ... that Hamas unleashed this terror," he said. "I have not forgotten, nor have you. And we will not forget."
Biden's speech comes as protests have engulfed campuses across the U.S. demanding that universities and the Biden administration withdraw support for Israel.
In his keynote address for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's annual National Commemoration of the Days of Remembrance, Biden aimed to cool a divided and divisive U.S. debate about Jewish security, Zionism, free speech and support for Israel, in the country with the largest Jewish population after Israel.
Biden said his commitment to Israel was ironclad even amid disagreements with the country's government.
One speaker who preceded Biden equated recent protests in the United States over Israel's actions with support for Hamas.
Many Jewish Americans have been critical of Israel's Gaza attacks, leading protests against actions of right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and condemning Netanyahu in Congress.
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הפגנה פרו פלסטינית מפגינים מחוץ ל אוניברסיטת קולומביה ב ניו יורק ארה"ב
הפגנה פרו פלסטינית מפגינים מחוץ ל אוניברסיטת קולומביה ב ניו יורק ארה"ב
Anti-Israel protesters at Columbia University
(Photo: Reuters)
Law enforcement and advocacy groups, meanwhile, report a sharp rise in antisemitic attacks in the United States since Oct. 7, as well anti-Muslim attacks. Some Americans favor zero-tolerance policies defining antisemitism broadly, others see the threat of attacks against Jews being used to limit legitimate criticism of U.S. support for Israel.
"Antisemitism is reaching crisis levels in our country," said Carol Ann Schwartz, national president of Hadassah, a women's Zionist organization that has been consulted by the White House.
Biden, who once avoided addressing campus demonstrations over his support for Israel, spoke about the subject for the second time in five days on Tuesday.
"Passions are high," said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of liberal advocacy group J Street, who has also been consulted by the White House. "The issue is being heavily politicized. There's a lot of tension. So this is a very important moment for the president to step forward."
It's also a key political moment for Biden, who is in a tight race with Republican rival Donald Trump. Biden may be losing crucial support from young and liberal Democrats over his support for Israel, Democrats say.
Biden pledged to unite the country and said he was inspired to run by then-President Trump's response to the 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally, where marchers chanted "Jews will not replace us." Biden governs a country no less divided than when he took office in 2021, most statistics show.
The FBI reported a 36% increase in anti-Jewish hate crime incidents between 2021 and 2022, the latest year for which data is available, as well as a jump in crimes against Black Americans and gay men.
The Secure Community Network (SCN), an American Jewish organization that monitors hate incidents, has referred more than 504 individuals to law enforcement though March this year, faster than last year's pace, including threats at colleges.
"This is a scary time to be Jewish - it's important for the president to rise to this challenge," said SCN CEO Michael Masters.

Campus protests and their effect on politics

Trump has sought to exploit Democratic divisions over Israel's response and widening college protests to improve Republican's lot with Jewish voters, who traditionally vote Democratic.
Police crackdowns on some campuses have given ammunition to Trump's claim that U.S. cities are under siege from violent crime, illegal migration and out-of-control leftist policies. Trump's Republican Party has argued that the protests are driven by antisemitism.
"Jewish Americans are realizing that the Democrat Party has turned into a full-blown anti-Israel, antisemitic, pro-terrorist cabal, and that's why more and more Jewish Americans are supporting President Trump," said Karoline Leavitt, a Trump campaign spokesperson.
Biden's antisemitism strategy includes directing the Department of Education to provide colleges with examples of antisemitic discrimination that could lead to a federal civil rights investigation.
About seven in 10 U.S. Jewish voters support Democrats, while three in 10 are Republican-aligned, according to the Pew Research Center. Many political analysts say that Jewish voters typically do not choose a president based on foreign policy alone.
Kenneth Stern, director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, who helped craft a modern "working definition of antisemitism," said the word is being misused to stifle protected speech about Israel.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would apply the definition Stern helped develop to enforce federal anti-discrimination laws on college campuses. Stern opposes the bill.
"I don't think that you can combat hatred of any type effectively with weak democratic institutions," said Stern. "When we have a government that decides it's going to stop certain things from being said, that creates an opportunity for totalitarianism, authoritarianism, and that's never good for the Jews."
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