ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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At White House Hanukkah reception, Biden to condemn rising antisemitism

A new menorah added to presidential holiday collection will be featured in candle lighting, attended by Holocaust survivor, rabbi and a US envoy to the UN rights council

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks before a menorah-lighting ceremony in celebration of Hanukkah in the East Room of the White House, Dec. 1, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks before a menorah-lighting ceremony in celebration of Hanukkah in the East Room of the White House, Dec. 1, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden will condemn growing antisemitism in his remarks at the White House Hanukkah reception on Monday, which will also include a candle lighting and blessing.

The Democratic president will tell guests at the night event that silence is complicity, according to White House officials, and will add that it’s imperative that hate, violence and antisemitism are condemned.

The holiday celebration comes during a spate of antisemitic episodes. Former US president Donald Trump hosted a Holocaust-denying white supremacist at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. The rapper Ye expressed his love for Adolf Hitler in an interview. Basketball star Kyrie Irving appeared to promote an antisemitic film on social media. Neo-Nazi trolls are clamoring to return to Twitter as new CEO Elon Musk grants “amnesty” to suspended accounts.

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, tracked 2,717 antisemitic instances of assault, harassment and vandalism last year, a 34-percent increase over the previous year and the highest number since the New York City-based group began tracking them in 1979.

Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, recently hosted a White House discussion on antisemitism and combating hate with Jewish leaders representing the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox denominations of the faith. At the event, Emhoff, who is Jewish, said he was “in pain right now” over rising antisemitism. The roundtable led to the White House’s decision to establish an interagency

Among those invited to Monday’s White House event are a Holocaust survivor and retired public school teacher, a rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Michele Taylor, who is US ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council and the daughter of Holocaust survivors.

A menorah has been added to the White House holiday collection this year, lit nightly during the eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah. White House carpenters built the menorah out of wood that was saved from a Truman-era renovation and sterling silver candle cups.

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