Last week, the White House—to its credit—released a 60-page strategy for combatting anti-Semitism, a step unlike anything undertaken by previous administrations. But the document studiously avoids adopting the standard guidelines for identifying anti-Semitism endorsed by the Antidefamation League, the World Jewish Congress, and other mainstream Jewish organizations. The editors of the New York Sun comment:
The administration feints at moral clarity, acknowledging that the “most prominent” definition of anti-Semitism is the one adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. (IHRA), which the United States has “embraced.” The government of Germany, for crying out loud, has endorsed it. For America, though, it is a grudging first among equals. It’s given hardly a ringing, or any, endorsement. That’s a dodge. The issue, of course, is Israel.
The IHRA labels as anti-Semitic “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” by “claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor” and “applying double standards” to the Jewish state by “requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” It recognizes that anti-Semitism is an inherent feature, not a bug, of anti-Zionism. The Jewish state and the state of the Jews are intertwined.
But the White House document goes on to state that it “welcomes and appreciates” the rival definition of anti-Semitism known as the Nexus Document, which takes pains to defend hatred of Israel.
[I]f Nexus is true on its face then the IHRA definition can’t be true—and vice versa. So by letting Nexus through the door, President Biden negates the first endorsement and makes kosher a range of the attacks on Israel from the left. . . . With friends of the Nexus approach numbering the [Hamas-linked] Council on American-Islamic Relations—they are acknowledged by the administration in an accompanying “fact sheet” that lists those who contributed to its efforts—who needs enemies?
One sage with whom we spoke, Ruth Wisse, makes the point that it’s not all that complicated. She calls the administration’s strategy an “attempt to misdirect anti-Semitism so that you are justified in not dealing with it” and an example of “fighting yesterday’s war” at a time when anti-Zionism is the “great unifier” among those hostile to Jews. “Iran intends to destroy the state of Israel,” she observes. “What are we talking about?”