White House raps Republican who said its antisemitism strategy targets conservatives
‘If anyone finds opposition to hate threatening, they best look inward,’ Biden spokesperson says after Boebert claimed president’s initiative uses ‘tactics out of USSR playbook’
Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief
The White House hit back at a far-right Republican congresswoman on Friday who said that the Biden administration is aiming to “go after conservatives” with its new strategy to combat antisemitism.
Rep. Lauren Boebert retweeted a news post about the strategy’s release, which stated that “Biden says US government agencies will take over 100 ‘bold and unprecedented’ actions to ‘fight hate’ and antisemitism.” In her retweet, Boebert wrote, “When they say stuff like this, they mean they want to go after conservatives.”
“Their tactics are straight out of the USSR’s playbook,” she added.
Asked for comment on Boebert’s post, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a Friday statement to The Times of Israel that the congresswoman “is mistaken.”
“Antisemitism is not ‘conservative’ – it is evil,” Bates said.
“President Biden is standing up for a bedrock American value that goes beyond politics and is embraced by liberals, conservatives, and independents: that we are better than antisemitism and hate,” he added.
When they say stuff like this, they mean they want to go after conservatives.
Their tactics are straight out of the USSR's playbook. https://t.co/bnICe9b6zO
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) May 25, 2023
Indeed the White House strategy released Thursday enjoyed widespread support from Jewish organizations and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. However, there were a handful of right-wing groups, such as the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Zionist Organization of America and StopAntisemitism.org that voiced their disapproval over the strategy’s inclusion of an antisemitism definition backed by progressives.
“If anyone finds opposition to hate threatening, they need to look inward,” Bates said.
“Congresswoman Boebert should also Google the Soviet Union’s long, repulsive history of antisemitism. She might find a result for Joe Biden, who at the time decried antisemitic acts by Soviet communists as ‘shameful,’” he added.
The first-of-its-kind antisemitism strategy outlines more than 100 steps the administration and its partners can take to combat an alarming rise in antisemitism.
Months in the making, the strategy has four basic goals: increasing awareness and understanding of antisemitism, including its threat to America, and broadening appreciation of Jewish American heritage; improving safety and security for Jewish communities; reversing the normalization of antisemitism and countering antisemitic discrimination; and building “cross-community” solidarity and collective action to counter hate.
The strategy also calls on Congress, state and local governments, tech companies and other private businesses, faith leaders and others to help combat bias and hate directed at Jews.
Tech companies are asked to establish “zero tolerance” policies against antisemitic content on their platforms. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has committed to launching an education research center. Professional sports leagues and clubs are asked to use their platforms and clout to raise awareness. The White House public engagement office will invite members of the public to describe how they have supported Jewish, Muslim or other communities that are different from their own.
AP contributed to this report