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Biden condemns a ‘ferocious surge’ of antisemitism in the United States



WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday condemned a “ferocious surge of antisemitism” in the United States following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack against Israel and said people were already forgetting the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.

Speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Days of Remembrance, Biden tied the anti-Jewish sentiment that led to the Nazi effort to exterminate Jews directly to Oct. 7.

“This ancient hatred of Jews didn’t begin with the Holocaust,” he said. “It didn’t end with the Holocaust, either.”

For Biden, a self-described Zionist, the speech was a clear assertion of his support for Jewish Americans as he struggles to balance his support for Israel with increasingly forceful calls for the protection of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Biden’s address also comes as protests against Israel’s war in Gaza roil college campuses, with students demanding that the Biden administration stop sending weapons to Israel. In some cases, the demonstrations have included antisemitic rhetoric and harassment targeting Jewish students.

“I understand people have strong beliefs and deep convictions about the world,” the president said. But, he added, “there is no place on any campus in America, any place in America, for antisemitism or hate speech or threats of violence of any kind.”

Biden also denounced attempts to minimize the Hamas attacks, which killed 1,200 people in Israel and sparked a war that has killed an estimated 34,000 people in Gaza.

“Now here we are, not 75 years later, but just 7 1/2 months later, and people are already forgetting,” Biden said. “They are already forgetting. That Hamas unleashed this terror. It was Hamas that brutalized Israelis. It was Hamas who took and continues to hold hostages.

“I have not forgotten, nor have you,” he said.

Jewish groups have been pressuring the administration to take firmer policy steps to combat antisemitism on college campuses, in particular. On Tuesday, the Biden administration fulfilled some of those requests.

The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights released new guidance to every school and college outlining examples of antisemitic discrimination.

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